How to plan for brain productivity
If you’re looking to increase productivity in both your personal and business life, then you need to look at freeing up your brain productivity.
And, freeing up brain productivity means tracking yourself across multiple lists. Whether it’s a to-do list, a contact list or a resource list you now have one for almost every category of your life.
You use to keep a list for only two reasons. First, you had a grocery list because too many times you arrived home and forget what you went to the store for in the first place. Second, you had a list because you didn’t want to admit to anyone that your memory wasn’t as good as it used to be.
Now, a list is no longer just a reminder. It’s a major means of freeing up brain space in order to live a more productive life.
The Daily Productivity Planner
It all started innocently enough with a daily planner.
For those busy people, a daily planner was a scheduling tool. It was an easy way to schedule meetings and events and be able to plan the rest of your day around them. Without warning, it began to schedule your day for you hour by hour. There was no guessing or free time, you would know exactly where you were every working hour.
Then the daily planner took a leap and it became your future planner. It started planning for you months down the road and even started scheduling out your whole year.
I think there was some comfort in being able to look into your future and know where you planned to be.
However, within each daily planner were a couple of pages for a To-Do List. And, thus the rivalry began.
Trying to schedule time was suddenly competing against the to-do list items. As life was becoming busier so the to-do list items were becoming longer.
That brings you to where you are today. It’s a 24/7 world where your success revolves around your productive planning.
Productivity consultants and coaches preach the value of performing a brain dump or mind sweep to free up brain space in order to effectively focus and concentrate on what’s most important.
The challenge is that both techniques give you more than to-do items. There’re all kinds of thoughts and ideas mixed in with feeling and memories that are bubbling out of your brain at the same time.
The Ultimate Productivity Planner
The daily planner is no longer your primary planner. “The Planner” is now your productivity guide in a book.
In essence, “The Planner” has the following sections —
- Topic sections
- Each topic corresponds to a page number or range of pages
- Designated codes, symbols, abbreviations
- Symbols signifying importance, urgency, or additional context
- Planning guide in monthly and yearly formats
- Becomes a visual tool for quick overview and notation of important dates
- Left side is in numerical date order
- Right side is a list of tasks, events, notes for the month
- Left side is in numerical date order
- Right side is a list of tasks, events, notes for the day
- List of items you would like to get to
- Daily or monthly items can be moved to a future date
- Related ideas or notes
Additional Personalized Categories
- Goals (personal and/or business)
- Progress tracking
- Motivational quotes, images or words
- Specific projects (planning, scheduling and action tasks)
- Special reminders
- Spontaneous thoughts and ideas
- Bucket list of life experiences
- Contact list
- Resource list
- Items to further investigate or check-out
- Any other information of interest to you
Some prefer a physical planner. You might think of it as an external brain storage system that’s with you all the time.
It has the flexibility to be personalized according to your changing needs and preferences.You can add personal touches to the exterior cover and internal pages. Your favorite color coding can be used to identify different sections, tags, designate symbols and highlight in contrasting inks. Further, you can also insert images, drawings, graphs, charts and specific design layouts.
If you are the digital type, productivity planners may not give you everything you want, but they still offer the key planning features to enter, track, and make notes.
They also offer convenience. You have quick access without having to pull out a physical planner. Your information can be downloaded to different devices. And, you can edit, prioritize, and relocate items without having to rewrite them.
At the same time, planners require their own energy for focusing and concentrating. The difference is that once you close the planner, you know you have a handy reference guide when you need it. Or, there’s no need to worry about trying to remember something because it’s already recorded.
While planners appear to be versatile, there is a privacy threat if someone were to have access to your private thoughts and journaling entries. If your brain dump or mind sweep is going to include things you wish to keep private, then a locked diary or separate journal may be a more appropriate place to free up that part of your brain space.
The One Brain Productivity Problem
Whatever method you use to increase your brain productivity, there’s still one problem.
There’s still some space tied up with things that are important that you’re not even thinking about.
Before you despair, know that yes there’s a way to get at them out of your brain and into your planner or journal. However, you will have to wait till next week to find out how.
In the meantime, if you are already using a planner, check if there is anything you can add or revise to make it more functional. Or, if you’re the type that writes notes to yourself, why not give a planner format a try with some notebook paper in a simple 3-ring binder.
Images: Pixabay 791939