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Mind Dump -- Letting It Flow

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  • Mind Dump -- Letting It Flow

    I've been using GTD for about 12 years, and have the Weekly Review installed as an ALMOST weekly event...! Where I fall short (not to some external standard, just to my own intention) is in capturing and downloading what's on my mind, both on the fly, and in the context of a more structured "mind dump."

    A lot of times I do my mind dump at the "end" of my weekly review process; at which time I'm often feeling pressed for time. So I don't "let it flow" as well as it could. While I could say, "Well, I guess nothing's on my mind, I'm cool!" I have a nagging suspicion it's just that I haven't allowed myself to dig down quite deep enough.

    I also think that capturing ideas on the fly is really the best way to go (being a songwriter, I try to be in that habit anyway), because then there IS no digging necessary -- you're just plucking the ideas out of thin air, almost...

    My question? I suppose just a request for other people's experience in dumping their minds. I know there have been posts on "How do you know you're 100% downloaded?" and that's a great question. My question is more...what techniques do you use to let it flow?

  • #2
    CJ, I struggle with the same thing. I have a checklist item during my weekly review called "Is there anything on your mind that's not in your system?", and would often, like you, check it off with a nagging doubt.

    One of the tricks I've started using recently is a triggers list. There is one on the connect site, http://www.davidco.com/connect/white...load.php?id=43, but you'd have to join GTD connect first.

    There is a great free one here: http://wiki.43folders.com/index.php/Trigger_List

    - Don

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dschaffner View Post
      CJ, I struggle with the same thing. I have a checklist item during my weekly review called "Is there anything on your mind that's not in your system?", and would often, like you, check it off with a nagging doubt.

      One of the tricks I've started using recently is a triggers list.
      Yes -- I agree, a trigger list is very helpful. The one you point to on 43 Folders is actually one that I have -- it used to be given out in the old two-day "MAP" Seminar that David has since replaced with "GTD." I still have a tendency to run down the list in a kind of "rote" fashion sometimes.

      I think what it may boil down to is just chipping away at whatever pops into my head throughout the course of a day/week and trusting that if I do that consistently I'll feel the effects of "not much going on up here"!...

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      • #4
        Originally posted by CJSullivan View Post
        I think what it may boil down to is just chipping away at whatever pops into my head throughout the course of a day/week and trusting that if I do that consistently I'll feel the effects of "not much going on up here"!...
        That's how it has worked out for me. Like any habit, it just takes time to establish it.

        I do also use the trigger list during my weekly reviews, and occasionally I'll find myself going over it in rote fashion, as you described. But here and there something clicks, and I write it down, and that makes it worth it to me.

        Another cool thing about using the trigger list is those times when it does trigger a thought about a project or action, but then I quickly realize that it's something I've already remembered to put into my system. I find that reassuring.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the feedback. I had an epiphany this afternoon... I think there is some resistance to writing everything down -- just as at the very beginning when one is just getting started with GTD... When you do that very first mind dump and think "OHMIGOD!!! I've got so much to do!"

          I experience some resistance to writing everything down because then I think I'll have to "process" and/or make decisions about all of it. But then I realized... Just because I write it down doesn't mean I have to DO anything with it! But how much richer my life is for all the scraps of paper and "notes to self" -- so much of the joy of writing for me is a way to get to know my own mind. To laugh at it, to marvel at it, to be grateful for every little thought.

          So... I shall now "let it flow," knowing that it's entirely up to me what agreements I make with myself about acting on any of it...

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          • #6
            Do you have a ubiquitous capture tool that's working for you? Getting those in place (moleskine and digital recorder for me) both made the brain dump process continuous over the week, so that there's very little left in there at Weekly Review, and also made space for fountains and blossoms of ideas that were getting shut off before. Hmm, a thought about why I was shutting things off: 1) I had no expansive place to "put" them, and 2) I thought that if I allowed a new idea into my mind (an art project, for instance) I would be committing myself to do it right away, and I knew I didn't have time. So I guess the concepts of "Later Projects" and "Someday/Maybe" also helped.

            Do Mi

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            • #7
              Originally posted by CJSullivan View Post
              I think what it may boil down to is just chipping away at whatever pops into my head throughout the course of a day/week and trusting that if I do that consistently I'll feel the effects of "not much going on up here"!...
              I agree with this statement. Whereever you are and whatever you do, have your UCT with you to write down whatever pops up in your head.
              Don't try to remember that you have to write something down. Really write it down and later enter the note in your inbox.

              Yours
              Alexander

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              • #8
                As Alexander posted, if you capture or write down as much as you can throughout the week, there is less pressure when you brain dump.

                What's interesting for me with a weekly (or more often) review/brain dump is how much of the "stuff" or ideas that come up are completely new ideas or are items that had been thought of earlier but weren't captured.

                I'm managing to capture most of my stuff through the week, just by having something always at hand; be it a cheap memo pad or the voice recorder on my phone.

                Then at the weekly review/brain dump, it's then easier to piece the separate thoughts and ideas together - which in turn trigger new ideas and projects.

                It's "thinking of new stuff" versus "remembering what's been forgotten throughout the week"!

                You said you're a songwriter, do you treat capturing song ideas etc differently to how you capture other general GTD stuff?

                Interesting thread, best regards,

                Andy.

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