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"Mind Dump" creating havoc

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  • "Mind Dump" creating havoc

    Four months using GTD and I've only just started doing a proper "Mind Dump", the Empty Your Head stage of the Weekly Review. I thought I'd been doing one before but this time I have used DA's Incompletion Trigger List which has made me think much more thoroughly about what needs doing and what is at the back of my mind. The trouble is that it has sent me scurrying off in all directions actually completing jobs rather than handling them in a more controlled way, with the Weekly Review taking another couple of hours. I suppose I'm doing things now because I don't trust myself to do them later.

    Does anyone have any advice on how they do a more controlled Mind Dump than I am doing?

  • #2
    What works for me is this:

    1) Go though the trigger list as quickly as possible and scibble actions/project/ideas on bits of paper and put these in your inbox/tray as you go. Don't be diverted to doing any or even inputting on Outlook or whatever list system you use.

    2) Then go though the inbox and if they will REALLY take less than 2 minutes to do - do them. If not, put them in your list system (or process as necessary if just ideas).

    3) Carry on with weekly review.

    For me, just being able to scribble on bits of paper in 1) has been the key. Otherwise the effort of inputting into the system diverts me into trying to do them instead.

    Comment


    • #3
      Spot on

      Originally posted by tominperu View Post
      1) Go though the trigger list as quickly as possible and scibble actions/project/ideas on bits of paper and put these in your inbox/tray as you go. Don't be diverted to doing any or even inputting on Outlook or whatever list system you use.
      Thanks Tom. Exactly the tip I was looking for. This brings the Mind Dump nicely into the standard GTD workflow by treating each thought as a separate processable item. I was building a list on a sheet of A4 which was looking a bit of a chore.

      The trigger list is a powerful tool; when you've gone through it you feel a bit like you've just been interrogated - it works well.

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      • #4
        So it sounds as though the mind dump has two steps:
        1. dump it -- onto scraps of paper, into a mind map, onto a list, whatever is the easiest way to quickly capture
        2. process the dump -- sort it into project lists, action item lists, sometime maybe lists, etc

        Do both steps take place in the review? Or do you postpone the processing? If both steps take place in the review, would it make sense to dump directly into the proper place (project lists, sometimes maybe, etc). Or would that slow the dump down by filtering as you go?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ArcCaster View Post
          Do both steps take place in the review? Or do you postpone the processing? If both steps take place in the review, would it make sense to dump directly into the proper place (project lists, sometimes maybe, etc). Or would that slow the dump down by filtering as you go?
          You can't "dump directly into the proper place," because you don't know what you have yet. That's why it's called a dump. It may turn out, for instance, that something you thought was a Someday/Maybe item is creating enough mental noise that you really should address it immediately or, conversely, something you thought was urgent turns out to be stalled for reasons beyond your control.

          For that reason, I would separate the dump itself from the processing.

          Whether you do both (or either) as part of the review is really up to you. For me, it makes sense to separate the essentially clerical parts of the review from the more big picture/brainstorming parts. YMMV.

          Katherine

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          • #6
            How I Dump...

            I agree with previous posts... I purposely do my weekly dump onto a legal pad because it's fast and I am never tempted to organize my thoughts. If I am sitting at the computer it becomes much easier to want to dump and organize in one fell swoop. The dump is much more effective for me if I just keep writing instead of switching mental gears for organizing.

            gw

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