Time Management

Take Note: Getting Things Done


Do you take notes? I rarely did. In school, I found it a distraction. I couldn’t engage as well with what my teachers were saying if I was too busy writing. Even as a film producer, I mostly relied on my memory and my email inbox to serve as reminders. This worked fine…except when it didn’t.

As I completed my professional organizing curriculum over the summer, I learned about a time management method called GETTING THINGS DONE (GTD) created by productivity consultant David Allen. Allen’s strategies include detailed systems for recording things, whether on paper or digitally, to get them off your mind. Only then can you focus completely on the task at hand.

According to GTD, unrecorded thoughts are like open browser windows. As you open more and more windows, your browser performs less and less efficiently. The same is true of your mind. If you are mentally reminding and re-reminding yourself to send out those client materials, buy more paper towels, RSVP to your cousin’s wedding – you’re wasting brainpower that could be directed at your most important goals. 

Whatever that nagging thought is, record it on a to-do list, schedule it on your calendar, tell your smartphone to remind you at a relevant time. You’ll discover that you magically “closed” the browser window. The thought will stop popping up at inconvenient moments when you need to be concentrating on something else.

Note-taking didn’t come naturally to me, but over the past few months I’ve made a real effort to record and write things down. It has made a noticeable difference in my time management, helping me track a long list of items to accomplish as I build my business. I hope it does the same and more for you!