It’s 12 am.
You’re tossing and turning in bed. You want to be sound asleep, but how can you?
You have all these nagging thoughts running through your head:
… oh i’ve got to reply to that customer. What am I going to say?
… next week is mom’s birthday I need to plan. I wonder what I’m going to buy for her?
… I’ve got to attend this Parents’ Teachers’ Meeting, on the same day as the product launch. How to go about that one?
Our lives are so busy. There are myriad things in our mind, taking up our attention.
Sometimes things get so bad that sleep eludes us! And we end up thinking about all our to-dos and how to tackle them.
Is it Possible to Have Tons of Things to Do and not Worry about Them?
I used to think that the only way to be free of the worries around my tasks, was to complete them.
And once that’s a reality, then I can sleep peacefully…
… now it didn’t take me long to realize that the only people who had an empty to-do list are the ones in the graveyard.
I will “always” have things to do.
Does it mean I’m doomed to have sleepless nights?
Thankfully that’s not the case.
3 Reasons Why we Remember Things do to Just Before Sleeping:
Once you understand the reasons why incomplete things cause you worry, it becomes easier to adopt behaviors that can help you let go of them.
Here are the 3 reasons:
You’ve not written down the things that have your attention
It may sound very simple, but unless you externalize what has your attention, it will keep having your attention.
So, whenever I get a thought that goes something like “I should do this…”, “I must do this…”, I drop whatever I’m doing and make a note of it on my phone, the one place I know I will get back to later.
You’ve not defined the very next action
After capturing what has your attention, you must identify the very next action to make progress. The next action should be concrete and well-defined.
For example if “Change tyre” is on your mind. The next action may be to “Call Suresh to get tyre changed”. Identifying the next action is a critical step to free your mind from the drudgery of constantly tracking commitments.
You’ve not parked the action in a place where you’ll review it periodically
Finally it’s not enough to know the next action. You know the saying, “Out of sight is out of mind.” So once you develop a habit of reviewing your Next Action lists frequently (ideally every day), your mind can trust that you will take care of the To-Dos.
GTD®: Bullet Proof System to Track Commitments & Be Free From Worry
Earlier I used to be apprehensive of taking on new things.
Because new projects mean new commitments. And new commitments are just more things to track. Not good! Especially since I was already overstretched.
But living in the GTD paradigm has changed everything. I know stuff will still come at me. I know commitments will still be around. But now I know how to stay on the schedule control bandwagon. And get back on it even if I fall.
My mind now has the space for great ideas. Because it’s free from tracking commitments!
I don’t need to worry about sending an email to a customer at 12am ’cause I know that when I’m at my computer, I will be looking at all the next actions I need to do in that setting i.e “@ computer”.
It’s one thing to read about having the mental space for creative ideas. It’s a whole different thing to experience it.
You’ve got a lot of things going on, and they’re constantly bothering you at the wrong time, stressing you out! I know…..
And that is why I invite you to try GTD.
You will still have tons to do. Mind you! But you will know that your to-dos are safe in a reliable system, complete with relevant next actions.
And you will be reviewing these next actions when you have the bandwidth and the resources to take them on.
How cool is that?
Get ready to sleep tight by practising GTD right!
Hi! I’m a Master Trainer in Getting Things Done (GTD) and a Holacracy Coach. I believe our work should be an expression of our most creative selves. I work with business owners and their teams to achieve stress-free productivity.