I recently found myself more productive at work without putting additional effort. Instead of trying to hold everything in my head when working on complex problems, I tried implementing one of the most important principles behind the Getting Things Done Methology — write everything down.
“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything.”
While working, I often get ideas but I am faced with a dilemma — should I pause with my Flow state and take a note on my computer or smartphone or should I continue my task, postponing them for later ?
As some post it notes were scattered on my table, I wrote a few words of the task I wanted to check later that day. I got additional ideas that I also wrote down. Within a couple of minutes, I zoomed back to my coding task. Later, on checking the notes, I found it easy for me to structure my work and have additional insight.
I’ve often hear that most of our creative ideas do not come when we think about them. For example, I might be coding a HTML page when I get an idea about refactoring a piece of code I had written earlier. As all my attention is with the current task, I quickly log the thought in a few words. I continue working with a relaxed state of mind.
Other times, when working, I suddenly remember that I should pay the bills this weekend. I jot down these personal tasks on the post it notes to later add them on my phone when I take a break. I noticed adding such notes or reminders directly on my phone takes time while often distracting me from the flow state.
I encounter plenty of friction:
- to remove my mobile phone from my pocket
- unlock it
- go to AnyDo app
- wait for it to open
- think about the list to input the data and
- finally inputting the data itself. I also have to think about the reminder, if any.
In comparison, I just take my pen and write the thoughts down on a post it paper. I usually add a subject name or date before or after scribble with the ideas. It’s a huge plus for me using papers directly in the moment and later adding it to the technology. I believe that’s a good reason why people prefer to stick with papers even in the modern age of technology. I find myself far more productive doing so — maintaining flow state whenever possible, without forgetting important tasks.
I tend to ignore how such small things make such a big difference.
“Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things.” — Bruce Barto