Join Zack Arnold for an in-depth discussion in this video The GTD system: Brain dumping, part of Video Post Productivity Weekly.
- [Instructor] Between editing for a living, hosting a podcast, running a blog, designing online courses as well as raising two kids, I admittedly have a lot of plates spinning at any one time. And one of the most common questions that I get is how do you manage it all? The simple answer to that is that I have a system. And that system is called the GTD. GTD is designed by David Allen and it stands for Getting Things Done. And if you want to take a much deeper dive, he has an entire course where you can learn more. There are five basic components to his system.
In this lesson, I'm going to walk you through the most vital component to the GTD system which is the very first step. The brain dump. Or as David Allen calls it, the capture process. Essentially brain dumping is just getting every single task and project out of your head and externalizing it. Your brain is only designed to hold and store between five to seven pieces of information at any one time. So if you intend to be both creative and productive, we need to get this stuff out of your head. Now, here's how I do it using a program called Omnifocus.
I'm not specifically going to be teaching this piece of software. But it is my favorite program for using and implementing the entire GTD system to organize all of my own individual tasks. And simply by watching, you're probably going to pick up a lot of it pretty quickly. For the sake of this tutorial, I'm going to brain dump a bunch of editing related tasks as if I were editing several projects at once. I'm also going to throw some real life stuff in there as well. So step one of the capture process or brain dumping is creating an inbox.
You'll see right now, I'm inside the inbox of Omnifocus. But if you're thinking, "I don't want to learn a new piece of software." This is a system that's not about the software. You can use pen and post it notes. You can use Microsoft Word Document. You can use Trello. You can use whatever system is going to be the easiest for you to implement. The whole idea is getting everything out of your brain that you're thinking to yourself, "these are things that I need to do. "This is something I think about when I'm in bed at night." Whatever it is, just get it out of your head. So I'm going to go ahead and just put down 10 to 15 random tasks that you might be dealing with on a daily or weekly basis.
If you're juggling several different editing projects at once. I'm just going to create a new task and say send email about latest version of script to producer. Oh wait, you know what? Before I do that, I have to remember to water my office plant. And I have those background sounds that need to be added to version four of Act three of episode 105.
I also, I have a TV spot script that needs to be approved email producer about this too. I have I will send music cues so I need to review music cues for upcoming trailer and then once I review them email director about music cues telling him the best options.
I have to watch dailies for my next episode. I have to call my insurance agent. Call insurance agent about updating car insurance. And you know what? I just remembered I got to email mom. So email mom about going home for Christmas. Oh you know what? And then, there's a blog post. Read blog post about doing daily meal preparation.
What was that other thing I needed to do? I have to clean up the dialog edits for the studio cut of episode 106 and then I have to tell my assistant we are locking episode 105 and then I need to. You know what? I need to clean up all of the random files on my desktop because a new editor is coming in next week.
So you can see, this is a very random brain dumping process. This is going to be total stream of consciousness. But you will be amazed that if you dedicate some time to this how much comes out. In just one to two minutes, I've come up with 10 to 15 tasks. Most likely, the first time you do this, you're going to spend between three and six hours doing this. It is an amazingly liberating process to get all this out of your brain. But you're still going to have a lot of tasks in front of you. So you can't just brain dump, because you're going to look at the list and you're going to say, "oh my god.
"I have so many things that I need to do." So we're going to need to take it to a next step after you done this. So step one is the brain dump. So step two of the capture process is we need to start figuring out which of these are actionable. Which of these are things that you need to file for later reference and also, which of these are possibly a member of what I would call or what David Allen would call the someday, maybe list. So for example, if you say I need to file for later reference blog post about creating, editing keystrokes.
That's not really a task that you have to do. You just have to file something and you put it in a program for later reference as I've mentioned in earlier lessons. Evernote is my program of choice for holding reference material. As far as the someday, maybe list, let's say do you think yourself, I want to learn Fusion for compositing visual effect shots. That's not necessarily a task. That's going to be a much larger project. But you probably don't have to do it this afternoon.
So that's an example of something that belongs on a someday, maybe list. So once you have your pile of all of these actionable tasks. These reference things. You have all these things that belong on a someday, maybe list, you're going to need to start sorting them. And that's something that we're going to talk about in a future lesson where we're going to start learning how to break these down into projects. Well at first, it may seem overwhelming to spend hours and hours emptying your brain of every thought that you could possibly think of. It's also incredibly liberating. You're going to be surprised at how much energy, and less brain fog you have once you've externalized these tasks.
You may even lose a pound a two. Literally! Now, if you want to dive deeper into GTD before next lesson, I've recorded an hour long interview with David Allen, the creator of GTD, and you can access that interview at optimizeyourself.me/101
- File management
- Time blocking
- Cleaning up your email inbox
- Organizing and prioritizing notifications
- Selecting apps to help you with task and time management
- Filtering email messages and paperwork
Skill Level Intermediate
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