Simple Productivity Tip Of The Day: Collect Your Thoughts

by Randy Murray on January 2, 2012

Many people make lists of things to do, but their minds are frequently filled with other thoughts. They’re not all things to do.

If you find yourself having a difficult time getting things done, even if you’ve captured all your to-dos, perhaps you need to clear out some other things, too.

Try this: sit down, take a deep breath, and write out everything on your mind. If it’s something to do, fine, you can transfer that to its proper place later. Now keep going. Write down everything you’ve been thinking about this day. Be honest. Don’t censor yourself. Write it ALL out, everything you’ve been thinking about at this moment, in this day.

Now step back and take a look at what you’ve written. Is this everything? If not, get it on the page.

Now read your list.

Take another deep breath.

Now see if you can set your mind to doing something productive. It might not be something you set out to do. It might be something on this list. But it most likely will be something that you need to do.

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The Simple Productivity Tip Of The Day: Collect Your Thoughts by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nate Klaiber January 3, 2012 at 9:53 am

This is excellent advice. I have notebooks full of thoughts like this. They are random. They are shorthand. They allow me to get my thoughts on paper and spend some time processing them at a later time. This allows me to step back and see what was really important, versus what I thought (at the time) was important.

It also highlights things for me. It’s a personal retrospective that helps me to become better at the things I am passionate about.


Randy Murray January 3, 2012 at 10:33 am

Good for you. In addition to my physical writer’s notebooks, I also make notes, often random, in Notational Velocity (nvALT, actually). It’s great for making notes on my Mac, but also on my iPhone and iPad – and all synced.


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  • Simple Productivity Tip Of The Day: Collect Your Thoughts - Monday By Noon January 2, 2012
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