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September 27, 2007 / compassioninpolitics

David Allen on creativity, getting things done, and productivity…

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David Allen, GTD mega-author and guru, posted today at the Huffington post about organizing yourself to capture all your fabulous ideas:

Most people have (or could have) many more of these kinds of thoughts than they realize, during the course of any 24-hour period. Most people don’t get value from many of them, because they lack both the habit and the tools to collect those thoughts when they occur. If they aren’t captured, they are useless, and even worse can add to the gnawing sense of anxiety most people feel about things “out there” they know they’ve told themselves they should or would like to do, but don’t remember consciously what they are.

Allen continues with the productivity solution:

To do this, and to make it easy, you’ll need two things:
(1) a collection tool with you at all times, and (2) the habit of processing all the thoughts within a short period of time.

(1) The Tools:
Simple, small tools are required. I use my NoteTaker wallet for this purpose since it has my driver’s license, credit cards and is always with me. I usually have my PDA/phone with me as well. Some people use a portable voice recorder. The tool doesn’t matter, as long as you have it handy when and where you have thoughts to capture.

(2) The Habit:
You must process these thoughts into your organization system soon, and completely. Processing could be as simple as picking up the flashlight from your inbox, and adding batteries to your shopping list that you take to the store. Of course some thoughts you capture will be about projects or larger goals, rather than simple actions. We’ll look at how to process those in more detail in the coming weeks.

Both elements are essential — capturing your thoughts outside your mind, and organizing the results. If you leave messages unheard again on your recorder, or notes piled up in a purse or briefcase, the whole process is defeated, and your motivation to continue will disappear.

But if you do get the tools, use them when you think, and organize the results into your system, I guarantee you’ll have more thoughts. And good ones, too.

I think social bookmarking like delicious is a great way to capture ideas. The new wave of web 2.0 collaborative tools, including the Google apps seems great as well. Are you a lifehacker? How to you capture and organize your ideas? Have any great lifehacks? (feel free to post a link if you like)
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thanks to Michael Bretheton for the Stock Xchange photo of the colorful charcoals and Ciordia9 for the flickr photo of the hipster PDA.

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