002: Capture (If You Can)
Welcome to Toolbox Tips, Effective’s weekly newsletter aimed at putting more tools in your productivity toolbox.
This week’s tip is the essential basis for most productivity systems.
Think about the last time you had an idea, neglected to write it down, then 15 minutes later it’s gone. Forever. Never to be remembered again. Or maybe there’s the one thing you need to do next week that won’t stop nagging you, distracting your mind from what it needs be focusing on right now.
Research has shown that our brains are great at keeping incomplete tasks top of mind, and once they’re done, we forget them. These incomplete tasks are what David Allen calls “open loops” in his book Getting Things Done. Open loops can pile up in our minds and cause stress because our brains are continually trying to track them until they’re completed when it can finally let them go.
This is where Allen’s idea of ubiquitous capture comes into play, and is the basic habit for nearly every productivity process. Capture is a simple idea: if it’s in your mind, write it down.
Ubiquitous capture takes it a bit further. Make sure you have something you can capture with wherever you are. Carry a pocket notebook with you (I love Field Notes), type it directly into Obsidian or Things 3, or use an app like Drafts on your phone.
Writing down these open loops allows your mind to be done tracking them because they’re now in an external system. As a result, you can more freely focus on what’s demanding your attention right now.
ACT: Pick an ubiquitous capture tool, and every time a new idea or task comes to mind, write it down. Building this habit is all about consistency.
Welcome Samwise, Elena, Naufal, Mark, and Jonas to Toolbox Tips this week!
Recently, I conducted a poll on YouTube where a significant number of you shared how you’re struggling to hit your goals. Here’s a video outlining five key ideas to help you move toward achieving what you want in life. These ideas have helped me, so I hope they help you!
For Your Enjoyment
Join us 1pm CDT this Thursday for our weekly livestream. This week, I’m giving an update on my job hunt, outlining my remote work talk for next month, plus answering your questions.
In last week’s stream, we looked at Buffer’s 2022 State of Remote Work report. There are some interesting findings there, including how flexibility remains one of the most impactful benefits a company can offer.
I’ve been upgrading my livestream setup, including setting up my PC to be the main stream rig. Sometimes I want to stream from my Mac’s screen too, so I now have that set up over my network using OBS and NDI. I took some inspiration from this setup.
Here to Help
Have a question about your system or productivity concept and need help? Ask it here.
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