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Rolling mind sweep?

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  • Rolling mind sweep?

    A remark by DA that has stuck with me is that after a good mind sweep we need to be vigilant for those issues that crawl back up into our minds. It occurs to me that some kind of running journal – literally open on the desk beside me at all times – might be a useful remedy here. When something enters my head that is not the thing I am working on, I should just write it down. It would be a process as basic as sipping water from a bottle during the day.

    The usual time for the mind sweep is the weekly review. But I think there are several factors associated with a weekly review that may cause the sweep to be incomplete.

    Firstly, we need to be in a reasonably robust state of mind doing the review. This means that we would dismiss small items of concern because they barely bother us at the time. However, these items may come back with a longer shadow at the end of a dreary Wednesday in the office.

    Secondly, there could be a deep self communication issue surrounding an item spotted during the mind sweep: can we really figure out in ten minutes all the ramifications of, say, a relationship issue that is bothering us? Can we objectively look at it from all sides in that space of time, in that single frame of mind, and successfully come up with an outcome and next action?

    Thirdly, a good metaphor for the mind is a river in flood in which chunks of debris are being carried powerfully along. One minute you see the water's smooth surface, next moment, a plank of wood or a child’s toy, then something that may be the edge of a submerged garden shed or upturned boat. Can we get the whole thing figured out in a few minutes? The mind sweep enables us to get a fix on these items – but they may need to be monitored and examined over an extended period.

    The remedy, I think, is to treat the mind dump as a continual process. Personally, I have tried journal writing, but again this tends to be a semi formal process in a particular frame of mind at a particular time, leading to some or all of the above problems.

    What I am going to try now is to keep a notebook open beside me at all times (10 hours daily at the desk). I want to catch the things that are bugging me when my energy is low, and which drain away my resources. I’m not sure what I will end up with; but I am tired of sharing my mental workspace with a whole load of pointless clutter, and I think the continual mind dump could be the answer.

    Dave

  • #2
    That's an interesting idea, a continual mindsweep. I find when I do the weekly review that there are no mindsweeps for me. Normally, when I'm doing the review, I'm focused on the review, and my mind is not wandering with various floaty bits. And I'm not in the mindset to just sit down and empty stuff, in other words, I seem to not have stuff to empty when I'm reviewing. Something like if I try to focus on random thoughts, I have no random thoughts.

    Anyway, I like the idea of just keeping a running mindsweep.

    Comment


    • #3
      Mind Sweeps

      See Jason Womack's article about Mind Sweeps here:-

      http://www.davidco.com/coaches_corne.../article1.html

      Also, I have adopted Jason's idea of performing mind sweeps before certain types of key activities such as exercise/training, delivering performance feedback and chairing meetings. I find such activities require 100% focus and doing a mind-sweep prior to them allows me to write down anything that is distracting me knowing that I can review it later.

      In his blogs Jason talks about Intention and Attention and how, by doing a Mind Sweep before an activity (an intention) you can capture everything that otherwise has your attention so that you can focus fully on your intention. Or, as Jason puts it, your attention and intention intersect and hence high productivity occurs (you are in your "zone").

      An interesting theory and one that I have found to have some value personally.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sidebar Thinking

        Dave,

        I learned a similar technique from the writings of Win Wenger. He called that compelling mental background chatter "sidebar thinking." He attributed it to the fact that your mind is constantly working on lots of different things. His technique was to reserve a couple-inch column on the right side of your notepad to record the sidebars while you were taking notes from the meeting, lecture, or whatever. This process of attending to them and articulating them allowed you to release them from consciousness and get back to whatever you were doing.

        Some might think that such a process would actually encourage more sidebar thoughts to emerge. My own experience is that it occasionally does, at first, but after a while the sidebar thoughts subside, and then I can really focus on what I was doing.

        Periodically, you can process your sidebar thoughts just like any other input. Sometimes a sidebar thought can be the seed of something really significant. Other times, it was just a thought you "had" to think, and once thought, that's pretty much the end of it.

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        • #5
          Never forget to carry your "universal capture tool" with you, even when you are at home or in nature.

          I normally do a "mindsweep" when I'm cycling or cut the grass in my garden. So I have to stop this and write the idea down and continue. Here I get many useful hints from my subconscious brain.

          Yours
          Alexander

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          • #6
            Usually, if "something enters my mind," it's something for me to do, an action. Even "thinking about" a particular project is an action. If something like this occurs to me throughout the week, I'll put it straight into my Someday/Maybe or Next Action list.

            Note that you can create a Next Action that states, "Add 'Research AIM Games' to Someday/Maybe list."

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree with hth that this is what the universal capture is for. When I'm at my desk, I have a small pad of blank paper--anything like this that pops up gets scribbled onto that, and the sheet dropped in my in box. Then I can go forth with my day.

              Comment


              • #8
                "How to Make a Complete Map of Every Thought You Think" by L. Kimbro

                Originally posted by Busydave
                What I am going to try now is to keep a notebook open beside me at all times (10 hours daily at the desk). I want to catch the things that are bugging me when my energy is low, and which drain away my resources. Iím not sure what I will end up with; but I am tired of sharing my mental workspace with a whole load of pointless clutter, and I think the continual mind dump could be the answer.
                Dave,
                perhaps you want to read the book "How to Make a Complete Map of Every Thought You Think"
                by Lion Kimbro at http://speakeasy.org/~lion/nb/book.pdf.

                Unfortunately I haven't found the time to read the book completely yet,
                so I can't give it my unreserved recommendation, but maybe you'll
                find it interesting.

                Rainer
                Last edited by Rainer Burmeister; 04-08-2006, 02:20 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  There is a meditation technique where you acknowledge thoughts that crop up while you are meditating. Instead of fighting to keep those thoughts at bay, you simply name them and acknowledge them and go back to meditating. Like, "I'm thinking about how my bike needs maintenance". It works that sidebar thing that if you acknowledge the thoughts they will eventually go away, like a child who wants attention and will stop jumping around if you just show that you saw him.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A number of posters, my self included appear to be be capturing these "mind sweep" thoughts throughout the day and then procesing.

                    One could also bring forward on a more regular basis the higher order GTD actions and see what happens. In any event if the thought arises one should capture it and process it as necessary.

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