I’ve told many people over the years that GreenMellen Media simply wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done“. In the early days of the company, going back to when I was a freelancer, I was juggling a lot of things — a full time job, two young children at home, this new freelance thing, etc. It was a mess.
I applied the concepts in the book and was able to get all of my inboxes and systems under control. At a basic level, the book and system are intended to help you get the “stuff” out of your head and out of your inboxes and into trusted systems. As it says on David’s site right now:
Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.
It’s a simple concept, but can be hard to implement. David Allen was on a 45-minute podcast last year that introduced one simple idea that really helps people grasp the concept: “only think about cat food once”. In David’s words:
The whole idea of GTD about being present is that you can’t really focus your reflective brain fully on being present if you’re distracted. If you need cat food and that thought “Gee I need cat food” pops in more than once, you are inappropriately engaged with your cat and “you need cat food” could pop in and take up brain bandwidth when you’re trying to focus.
The first time you think “oh, I need to buy more cat food”, that should go on a list. This could be a paper list, or you could tell Siri to remind you, or put it in Google Keep, or whatever you want to use. The key is that it needs to be a fully trusted system. If your brain isn’t completely trusting that the system will remind you about the cat food when it’s time, your brain won’t let it go. Seven years ago I posted about trusted systems and the analogies still hold true.
Finding and developing the right system can take some time. At GreenMellen we use Asana for task management and I use Google Keep for quick notes on the side. Both applications work on Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, etc, and I’ve grown to trust both of them over the years. If I put something in there, my mind is free to let it go.
Stop wasting your time worrying about cat food, and free your mind to be able to focus on bigger issues.
What is your favorite system for keeping track of things like cat food?