“Have any of you here felt your back up against the wall and you felt sort of confused and overwhelmed and you sat down and made a list and you felt a little bit better? Anybody ever do that? If you had figured out why that works you’d never keep anything in your head the rest of your life. Just most people have to feel really bad before they do things that make them feel a little bit better. But if you actually figured out why that works, you’d realize that your brain is not for holding commitments. It doesn’t function well that way…
I think we’re still at the beginning of sort of testing, exploring, and researching what those tools are that facilitate us freeing ourselves up for what the brain is really designed to do which is intuitive, you know, your intuition, your intelligence. No system can do that.”
David Allen – address to Google
Your brain is a stunning invention – it decides, it creates, it makes connections, and so much more. But there are things it is not so good at.
Imagine you are sitting at your computer and you begin to open new windows. Some of these windows are files, some are streaming video, some are music, and some are programs running processes. Eventually your performance starts to slow. You stress out the system and eventually you crash it.
That is the all-too-frequent experience we all have when we ask our brains to hold on to and remember the countless commitments we have made. There’s the important work project, your relative’s birthday, your son’s homework, cleaning the gutters, the looming deadline, the oil change that is overdue, planning for your vacation, the 50 emails in your inbox, the light on your phone that says you have a message, paying the electric bill, and the person knocking at your door to ask a question.
Getting Things Done (GTD) is David Allen’s system for getting your brain out of the business of being a bulletin board or an overstuffed filing cabinet, and freeing it up for higher level thought.
This video clip is a great introduction the marvelously simple concepts behind GTD. It is a bit long, but absolutely worth the time. Some people design elaborate GTD systems and software, but I have found there’s no need for that. This little video and a pack of 3×5 note cards for processing your thoughts will give your brain the oxygen it needs!