The Problem of Too Many Thoughts
How many thoughts do you suppose run through your head in a day? I didn’t do any formal research for this blog post, but based on personal experience I would suspect hundreds. How many of those thoughts flutter in and out so quickly that you are left saying, “wait, what was I going to do?”
This phenomenon is something that has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. The reason for bringing it up now is that a client of mine seems to have several of these moments every time we meet. Often they are paired with a sense of urgency or dissatisfaction with himself for not following through with the thought. I asked him what (if any) system he used for writing down those fleeting thoughts of things to buy, people to call, tasks to deal with. He responded that either the idea did not get written down or it was jotted on a piece of loose paper sitting around.
Random Recording Won’t Resolve It
When potentially important notes and information are written on random envelopes or newspaper corners, they will be lost. What distinguishes one envelope from another? While the system seems convenient in the moment, the likelihood of following through with the task is unlikely. Also, how much time will you spend looking for that little piece of paper if you do think of doing the task?
Create a Reliable System
I suggested to my client to keep a small notebook in his pocket with a pen. Just the wallet-size wire bound kind that is sturdy enough to survive living in a pocket and unobtrusive enough to be easy to carry. I used to laugh that my father could always be depended on for having a small notebook and pen on him. This came in handy for jotting notes, phone numbers, to do’s, anything else that was of importance to him. This system has however kept him from constantly scratching his head trying to remember what he had to do and were to find the information.
In our technologically driven world, a Smartphone also a notes section that can be utilized in a similar fashion. While my client has and uses a Smartphone, he is not as proficient typing on it as he may like. As a result he would be less likely to use the phone as a resource if it is difficult for him to use. If you are fast on the phone keys, don’t discount the extra abilities your phone may have.
Getting all these fleeting thoughts out of your head and on paper will allow you to relax and rest assure that things that are important to you will be taken care of. What do you have to lose? Give it a try!