Magnificent Seven: Think Right – Clearing Off Your Plate

It’s hard to think right when you are so overwhelmed with all the things you just have to get done.  Unfortunately, without properly prioritizing our daily schedule we spend far too much time on things that don’t matter.  Too often this leaves us neglecting the things in our life that we value the most, but due to lack of managing our schedule, we find a mismatch between our values/priorities and what we are actually spending time on.

Feeling pulled in so many directions affects the way we think.  There are two resources that I ran across a number of years ago that have helped me tremendously and I revisit often.  I would like to share this with you in this post and the next.

Getting Things Done

You can search Google and YouTube and see that this is a highly used system and many have written their personal tips and tricks of the system.  I have found by using the Getting Things Done (GTD) system as described by David Allen to be a tremendous way to…well, get more things done.  It helps you take incoming information and either do something with it right away, delegate it, file it, or trash it.  Everything that pops into your head as a “to do” should be written down and collected.  Then it can be sorted into a master task list based on contexts.

For example, you might think about the watch replacement battery you need to purchase.  Isn’t it funny that when you are at the store walking past the battery aisle, past the batteries at the checkout or see a watch display…you never think of the watch battery you need.  But you can be sitting at home just getting ready for bed and remember then.  That is just frustrating.  So what I do with the GTD system is when I first think of the watch battery I would put that on my to-do list under the context of “@ERRANDS”.  I choose to have this synced on my smartphone with Google Tasks, but you could use a simple notebook or index card filing system as well.  Then anytime I am out and about, in the context of running errands, I can simply review that portion of my to-do list.  Low and behold it was already written down, I could trust my system to remind me, and I could unclutter my mind of that piece of information.

Now that is just a simple example, but the program is easy to understand and easy to implement.  I have encouraged many patients with adrenal stress issues to utilize this program and they have done so with great success.  So if I know that I have a “jillion” things to get done, I am able to prioritize my to-do’s by day, by week, and by month.  That way when I am sitting reviewing literature on type II diabetes for an upcoming workshop, I am not worried about the OIG Compliance updates I am required to do, because that is written down and my system will help me take care of it at the right time.

I highly recommend this system.  Pick up the book.  Implement the entire system or just portions.  You will find your day more productive, your plate less full and your mind less-stressed.  That all adds up to you thinking right.

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