“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain
Daily Nugget of Gold 1107
Empty Your Mind
In a funny episode of Spongebob Square Pants, Squidward is trying to impress someone he went to high school with, Squilliam- a highly successful and snobby rich guy. Squidward is just a cashier, but instead of admitting that, he tells Squilliam he owns a five-star restaurant, and in need of a great waiter for the rouse, he drafts Spongebob for the job. He gives Spngebob a book on fine dining but Spongebob, after trying to absorb it all says, “I can’t do it!” at which point Squidward tells Spongebob, “Empty your mind of everything except fine dining and breathing” The next scene is an imaginary office setting of Spongebob’s mind where all of his memories- files- are being emptied, shredded, burned and the like. Once he cleared all of what he knows out of his mind, Spongebob becomes an excellent waiter. Did you see that one? Funny stuff. More importantly, Squidward made an excellent point in this cartoon- the importance of emptying our mind if we want to be the best at what we choose to do.
In David Allen’s fantastic organizational book, Getting Things Done, he points out that every time we are thinking about something at a time we can’t do anything about it, we are expending wasted energy. His book details his ideas about how to capture all of our unfinished projects, big and little, onto paper and then to organize them in such a way as to maximize our output. The other important point makes about having such a system in place is it frees up our short-term memory for dealing with the whatever task is at hand so we can give it 100% of our attention. Allen says that the size of the project doesn’t matter, it could be a small as getting a loaf of bread or as big as building a house. Either way, he asks us to list those projects and then choose the next action we need to take on it to make it happen so we can then put it on an appropriate next action list. Those lists are organized not by the importance of the project, but those things we can do at only certain times such as “at computer” or “call list”, or an “errands list”, etc.
There’s no way we can do this subject justice in this short format, we strongly urge you to pick up Getting Things Done and read it or listen to it for yourself (It’s also on audio for you busy folks out there) While it’s written in executive-speak, Allen clearly has a handle on the idea of maximizing our output by curtailing wasted energy- and getting stuff out of our mind so we can concentrate more clearly on the task at hand.
Question of the Day to Ask Ourselves
“What can I do today to free my mind of things I don’t need to focus on so I can do more things more effectively?”
Copyright 2014 Kevin Littleton, all rights reserved.