One of the key habits we talk about in our productivity training and in the CORD Productivity Model is Capturing and Collecting: the idea that we should bring together all the bits of paper, ideas, emails and anything else that needs something doing to it, so that we have a pile of things to then make sense of and organise into actions, projects, reference material, good ideas and piles for the rubbish bin.
It’s often an unappreciated habit, because we all capture and collect stuff to some degree anyway, so many people wonder why just doing more of this or practising this habit more comprehensively would even make a difference.
Last month, my experiment has been called ‘Maynia’, and has meant me going back to my pre-productivity days of bad habits, no systems and stressful ways of working.
I’ve noticed several times during the month that as I’ve had ideas, I’ve had an immediate instinct to write them down or put them into my Toodledo – and whilst it’s pleasing that it seems some of these good habits are engrained in me, as the month went on (a month in which I haven’t had access to my Toodledo account at all!), I realised there was nowhere to capture these ideas. And even if I did capture them, none of those ideas were going to be organised or dealt with.
If you don’t capture ideas when they arrive, you don’t get to evaluate them in the context of the rest of your working world. If you don’t do this, you’re liable to over-commit your time to too many things, or let potentially brilliant things get lost or wither on the vine because you haven’t organised and planned accordingly. It’s a failure of personal workflow.
And we know ourselves well enough to sense when these kinds of failures are happening. Knowing our own systems are failing or getting that fleeting glimpse of a crack in our productivity can be a big cause of stress. The good news is when you catch that glimpse, that’s when you have the ability to diagnose the fault – so feeling stressed by your failures means you’re halfway to doing the repairs to make it all work well again.
So next time you experience that pang of stress, feeling like something isn’t quite working with your productivity systems, make sure you turn it into the action it needs to be.