David Allen, the author of the book “Getting Things Done”, argues that our brains were not made to keep a bunch of tasks in them. They are very poor at holding them, organizing them, and reminding us when something is due. They are notorious for doing exactly the opposite.
How many times have you reached home and then remembered that you could have gotten milk or pens or veggies at the grocery store you just passed on your way from work! Damn it!
The other day, I saw my friend coming out of it, spoke to him for a bit, and then moved on.
How many times has your brain reminded you of tasks you could have done, should do tomorrow in the middle of the night? What’s the point of that?
It only serves to stress us out.
And a founder of a bootstrapped SAAS company(Proxies API), I know a thing or two about stress.
When I find myself overwhelmed with too many things, I know that it is time for the “Brain Dump” invented by David Allen.
Here is the idea:
Your brain is not the place to hold your tasks, projects, schedule, and things you need to remind.
But the brain won’t stop till it knows that you got the tasks somewhere safe.
So knowing this, pull out a paper or a laptop or a phone, make sure it’s something your brain trusts as being safe and something that will not be lost or destroyed.
Then set time aside for at least an hour.
Now write everything that your brain says you have to do. Write down tasks, projects, ideas, vague ambitions, calls you have to do, things you had to look up anything that comes to mind.
The order doesn’t matter. Don’t reject any tasks or ideas, don’t process them as well, don’t organize them at this moment, don’t even worry about spelling, let your brain work at its full speed, don’t miss anything, don’t get distracted, don’t wait for it to stop. Encourage your mind to come up with more. And write everything down. Write till there is nothing left and then wait some more. It will start the stream again. So give it a bonus time. It might happen after you have finished the session over the next few days. Please write all of it down.
If you do this right and thoroughly, you will find that a sense of relief and lightness will come over you. You are free. The brain will stop reminding you repeatedly of the same thing over and over at the wrong times. It knows the data is safe. It’s like it's got an assistant now. Now it’s free to take up one task at a time and go deep. Overwhelm will be a thing of the past.
But this is not the end, the brain dump has to be processed. The whole philosophy is called GTD or Getting Things Done, and to learn from about how to handle the brain dump data to tasks, projects, actions, and increase your productivity study his system here.
The author is the founder of Proxies API, a proxy rotation API service.