Many people underestimate the value of a clear mind. In today’s society we tend to rush from one urgent task to another, rarely taking time to strategize, plan, or even think. I’m likely the worst culprit, running from one meeting to the next and juggling more than I should have said yes to in my mind.
Over the past few months, I’ve become more and more convinced that taking the time to clear my mind is perhaps the biggest productivity boost available to me. Clearing my head helps me to focus on the task at hand, move on quickly to the next important item, and ensure that I don’t waste important grey matter simply trying to remember what I ought to be doing.
If you haven’t read “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, it’s an excellent read. While I don’t apply his entire system to my own life, I have found the principles presented in the book, and much of the methodology, to be applicable. The basic premise is that if you get things out of your head and into a filing system, your brain will waste less time worrying about what you’re not doing and that will boost your productivity through focus. As I’ve implemented this practice I have gained a significant boost in productivity.
The value of a clear mind was presented to me in a different manner over the weekend. After camping with the family, I returned home to a full day of recuperation before heading back to work. I quickly realized that the slow pace of the great outdoors and dedicated time without my cell phone and every other device that keeps me in touch with my busy life had significantly reduced the amount of stuff continually running through my head. In fact, my thoughts were nearly empty. As a result, my recuperation day became the most productive day I’ve had at home in the past several years. I cleared two daunting projects off of my list – both of which had haunted me for (literally) years.
Do you have a clear mind? Do you find ways to get things out of your head and onto paper? Do you make yourself enjoy a bit of downtime in order to clear your head and increase your productivity? What mind-clearing tricks do you use to increase your productivity?