Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all of the tasks and notes you’re trying to remember?
From bigger projects (“write a blog post”) to smaller tasks (“call the dentist and schedule an appointment”) and even tiny stuff (“check to see if we need more juice before going to the store”), it all adds up.
I don’t know about you, but having a brain full of stuff makes me anxious.
Like, struggling-to-breathe anxious.
The Story of Jonathan Edwards
Because I’m a nerd, I read books about the daily rituals of artists.
One of my favorite rituals is from Jonathan Edwards (the 18th-century philosopher).
Edwards would take long, early-morning rides on horseback in the woods around his house. On those rides, he carried paper and pins.
Every time he thought of something he wanted to remember, he’d pin a piece of paper on a part of his clothes, and he’d associate that pinned note with his thought.
“When he returned home he would unpin these and write down each idea. At the end of trips of several days, his clothes might be covered by quite a few of these slips of paper.”
The lesson here?
(Other than “Jonathan Edwards probably had to buy new clothes a lot.”)
Don’t rely on your brain to be your to-do list.
Your brain is amazing, and it does incredible things. But by freeing it from having to do a lot of simple things — like memorizing tasks — you leave it uncluttered and process the hard, important stuff much better.
I always keep my phone nearby, and when I think of anything I’ll need to remember, I jot it down in Evernote.
Then when I get back to my desk, I go through my “In” note and break it apart using the Brick-by-Brick Technique.
It sounds simple and obvious, but many of us don’t do it.
Do this now: take two minutes and write down everything that’s weighing on your mind. Every task, nothing is too big or too small. Don’t worry about organizing, just get it all out there.
You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to take the burden off of your brain.