Personal Productivity | Multitasking | The nightmare of a cluttered mind

It’s not the clutter of the desktop or inbox … but the clutter of the mind that scuttles our personal productivity plans and leads us into unproductive habits and wasted time.

Yes, I know, our inbox is spawning new life forms, ending the paper flood has been about as successful as ending world hunger and our mobility means that we have to juggle all of this like we’re riding a unicycle.

Sometimes we’re infected with the attention span of a mosquito.
We’re moving fast … but we aren’t getting anywhere.

A lot of it starts with The Great Multitasking Hoax: It’s killing us.

Most of our conversations about personal productivity seem to revolve around related fields like organization or time management … but it’s probably more about mind management.

What’s the sign of a Cluttered Mind?

The consequence of a cluttered mind is our inability to focus on one thing at at time, fueled by our obsession with multi-tasking.

In many ways, technology has driven us to overestimate our multi-tasking abilities … and science has repeatedly confirmed that we are misguided about this.

Consider the debate in Is Technology making us Smarter or Stupider, or the results of one man’s decision to stop multi-tasking for a week.

Late last year, the New York Times summarized the most recent data on failed multitasking.

Don’t overlook the Atlantic’s detailed analysis, either, in Is Google Making us Stupid, which looks more closely at what the Internet is doing to our brains as we become increasingly focused on short mind-bites of information.

Try going somewhere else to regain your focus

One thing really works for me … and the more I talk to others, the more this seems to work for them, too.

It’s stupidly simple and it doesn’t seem like it should work at all. In fact, I’m not exactly sure why it works … but it seems like it’s connected to our ability to focus.

What is it? (more…)

Continue ReadingPersonal Productivity | Multitasking | The nightmare of a cluttered mind

Not important? Probably not!

gtd-bookHow about that for a double negative … meaning that “Not Not Important” is actually “pretty damn important”. Some of you took English, right?

What do I mean? Many of the followers of Sword Tips know that I’m a big fan of GTD, the “Getting Things Done” framework promoted by David Allen. He wrote recently in Wired magazine about one phenomenon that comes up all the time in my work with CEOs. If like most of us you’re always struggling with priorities, you need to read this. If you’ve got some ideas that have worked for you, share them.

By any other name, it’s the “it’s just not a priority” syndrome! God knows we’ve all got too much to do, and most of us have probably tried the 1-2-3 system of prioritization at one time … soon realizing that everything was becoming a “1” because it wouldn’t get attention any other way … and then we realized we made everything a “1” … and then we realized we ended up right back where we started.

There is no avoiding the pain that arrives like a SCUD when something that needs to get done doesn’t get any attention (more…)

Continue ReadingNot important? Probably not!