Join Dave Crenshaw for an in-depth discussion in this video Clearing your mind of its to-dos with mental triggers, part of Time Management Fundamentals.
- I've explained the principle of keeping your mind clear. Now what? If you're like most people then you have accumulated a vast pile of to dos. Unresolved items that are floating around in your head. I want to give you a clean slate. Let's clear all of those items out of your head and get them into an approved gathering point. This will make it easier for you to process them in the future. The simplest way to do this is to use a list of mental triggers.
We've provided a handout you can download that gives you a list of triggers for every single aspect of your life both work and personal. By using this list, you'll be able to clear everything from your mind and get it into an approved gathering point. Please download the mental triggers list and I'll show you how to use it. This process is really pretty simple. First, read through each trigger on the list one at a time and think for a moment about that trigger.
If anything comes to mind that's unresolved, write it down then move to the next trigger on the list and repeat. If something comes to mind that's completely unrelated to the trigger, great. Go ahead and write that down. If nothing comes to mind, that's fine too. Just move on to the next trigger on the list. I compare this to mining for gold. As you go through the list, you'll have lots of spots where nothing comes to mind. Eventually, you'll hit a rich vein of unresolved tasks and to dos and you'll just mine that for a while.
So don't feel that you only need to write down one item per trigger or that you're not doing things right if nothing comes to mind. This will be easier to understand if we do a little practice run together. Get your favorite gathering point handy such as a notepad. I'm going to read a trigger from the list and you will think about the trigger. If anything pops into your head as unresolved, write that task down. Let's go ahead and practice for just five items on the list.
Got your gathering point ready? Let's begin. Filing. Gathering points. Areas to organize or clean. Computers, monitors or printers. Software and apps. Let's stop here. How many items did you write down? You've got an idea now of how this process works and you're ready to go through the full mental triggers list.
In my experience, this process of going through the full list takes about an hour. While you can complete this process by yourself, I'd recommend you find a partner to help you. It's easier to clear your mind with a partner because having someone else read the list aloud will help you stay focused on clearing out your mind and therefore have less switches. If you don't have a partner that's available right now to help you, you may want to contact someone and set up a time on both your calendars when you can sit down and go through the entire list.
And if that's not an option, you can still do this by yourself. This simple mind clearing activity is powerful but the real power comes when you've completed the entire list and scrubbed your mind of its many to dos.
Learn how to get more done in the shortest time possible and avoid the obstacles and distractions that can get in the way of good time management. Dave gives practical strategies for increasing productivity in three main areas: developing habits to be more organized and reducing clutter in your workspace; staying mentally on task and eliminate the to-dos you have floating in your head; and developing a time budget to get the most done during your workday and focus on your most valuable activities.
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- Finding your productivity style and motivation
- Understanding the principles of time management
- Avoiding the pitfalls of multitasking
- Narrowing your gathering points
- Consolidating email and voicemail accounts
- Practicing mind-clearing techniques
- Choosing and using calendar software
- Saying no with tact
- Mastering the what, when, where processing system
- Processing email vs. checking email
- Maintaining productivity gains