Organizing your thoughts

There is so much clutter currently in my brain that I am finding it extremely difficult to organize my thoughts. There is so much I want to do and so less I am actually doing. I wanted to write something, as it has been quite long since I have updated my blog. But getting hold of one thought among the many floating around, sticking to it and writing about it seems so difficult. Let me make something very clear at the outset. I am not under the false illusion that I lack time. It is just that somehow my brain is unable to segregate the thoughts and put it into different buckets.

I was in the above state sometime ago. That is when I did some research on the Internet on how to organize your thoughts. In order to get something done, be it in your professional space or in your personal life, it is extremely important to get a hold on your thoughts and not let them stray away. Below is a summary of whatever I read across the different articles.

  1. Write down your thoughts

first

Use a personal journal, if you are the traditional pen and paper person. Better use a note taking app. I would suggest Simplenote. As the name suggests, it is extremely light-weight, simple and easy to note down your thoughts. You can also organize the notes using tags. Moreover, it syncs automatically across all platforms. Hence, you can access it anywhere.

  1. Divide into compartments

second

Find out a time in the day when you think your brain works the best. For me, early mornings work. Then go through the notes you have made. Strike out certain items that you think was a passing thought which you had anyways decided to jot down. Once you have done that, separate them into different buckets. Categorize them. Work, Personal Growth, Family etc. could be some of the possible candidates. Allocate time for each category.

  1. Start working on them

third.jpg

I am a Project Manager on Agile Software One of the things that Agile advocates is build in small cycles and continuously get feedback from customer rather than waiting till the end to show them the final product. The caveat in the latter case here is that there are hardly any feedback cycles and the customer may get something completely different from what they have asked for. So, when you start working on the items, set smaller targets. Keep on achieving them as you move forward. It will also give you a sense of accomplishment. When you want to accomplish something that requires at least a month of effort, set smaller targets, say whatever you can achieve in one week and then divide the work accordingly.

  1. Monitoring progress

fourth.jpgIt is important that you monitor your progress. Did you achieve your target? What problems did you face? Answering these questions on a regular cadence helps you as you move forward. Reward yourself when you achieve something. Retrospect when something does not go as per plan.

Doing this over and over will help you organize your thoughts. You will move ahead with a purpose rather than thinking all day and gloating at the end of it at not being able to achieve anything in spite of having so many good ideas and placeholders. I have started with this and I can see the changes. Instead of wandering around aimlessly, it feels as if I am walking around with a map.

Do let me know in the comments section if you have any more ideas/suggestions.

References

  1. http://thinksimplenow.com/productivity/how-to-organize-mental-clutter/
  2. http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/how-to-organize-your-brain-for-better-productivity.html
  3. http://www.theorderexpert.com/17-ways-to-organize-your-thoughts/

P.S. All images are sourced from Google

 

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