Efforts to optimize productivity is key to accomplishing your goals.
Previously discussed were the techniques of brain dumps and mind sweeps. They allow you to be more productive by keeping intruding thoughts from interrupting your focus and concentration. These thoughts can be well-meaning to-do reminders, pop-up memories, or any extraneous thoughts.
The problem is that while part of your brain is channeling these intruding thoughts, the rest of your brain gets distracted and is no longer focusing on your priority.
The dilemma in totally dismissing intruding thoughts is that the important ones may be forgotten.
The solution is to use either a paper or digital planner. With a mind sweep, you record thoughts as they occur. With a brain dump, you record these thoughts at one time.
Both offer the advantage of recording important thoughts and organizing them for future reference. In so doing, your brain frees up space to focus and concentrate on what you are trying to accomplish.
According to Katy Paauw, professional organizer, the value of using an Incomplete Trigger List as part of a brain dump is to trigger your conscious and subconscious memory of business and personal commitments.
The Incomplete Trigger List is based on productivity expert and consultant, David Allen’s idea of “incompletes.”
There are at least 41 trigger categories, with subcategories, designed to trigger a memory recognition of any required action. By working through the list, you gain a sense of where you can optimize your productivity for achieving your goals.
The Incomplete Trigger List
Here are three sample categories from the Incomplete Trigger List. Some items may be anxiety producing while others are a low priority. The idea is to get them out as an overview and then decide how you want to respond.
List projects started & not completed:
- What’s on your desk?
- What’s in your drawers?
- What’s on your floor/under your desk?
- What’s behind your door?
- What’s in your briefcase or bags?
- What’s in storage boxes?
- What’s in the stacks of paper on your credenza or filing cabinet?
- What about the scraps of paper, business cards, receipts?
- Things to learn
- Things to look up
- Skills to practice/learn
- Tape/video training
Waiting For …
- Mail order
- Loaned items
- Medical data
The Incomplete Trigger List, allows you to optimize your productivity by —
- Becoming aware of what’s not being paying attention
- Re-prioritizing, focusing and concentrating on what’s important
- Seeing what ceases to be a distraction if time is allocated for completion
- Identifying areas that need less emphasis and attention
- Deciding where and what you can delegate
- Averting potential problems by addressing them sooner than later
- Breaking down and allocating time more effectively
- Discovering avoidance and/or procrastination areas
- Identifying weak areas that need better planning
- Determining where and how to allocate resources
I’ve given you three different links to the Incomplete Trigger List. Choose the format that you feel most comfortable with. It may seem rather intimidating at first, So make it easier by addressing only one section at a time. Allow your thoughts and feelings to become a brain dump of its own.
What’s now on your list of things that you can use to optimize your productivity?
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