I was inattentive since childhood. Perhaps my excessive curiosity was to blame. I was so interested in everything, I wanted to have time to read, learn, try so much that I grabbed for a new book without finishing the previous one, I started going to another club, having just signed up for a sports club.
Of the vast amount of information that I passed through myself in my youth, much is remembered, but the lion’s share of what I read and learned escapes me. The new knowledge simply had nothing to build on. I had no questions that attracted understanding.
Over the years I developed a bad habit of consuming information. A regular dose was formed by signals from books and magazines I read. In the late eighties, VCRs appeared, and I devoured stacks of videotapes. Ten years later the Internet came into my life, and the powerful stream of signals from the network began to flush out what was left of my need to think for myself.
Fixation of received information. Why is it important?
Our brain is designed to work without fatigue or interruption. Its structure is somewhat similar to the RAM in a computer: new information is consumed by replacing / removing old information. And if the brain has not recorded / stored something, this data can be considered to be already lost. Great ideas come and go, and then they are forgotten, as are many other wonderful things worth living for. That is why it is so important to record and preserve what really matters.
Mihai Chiksentmihai, a well-known professor of psychology at the University of Chigago, once said: “The information we allow into our consciousness is extremely important. In fact, it is what determines the content and quality of our lives”. And I absolutely agree with this statement.
How do you make your brain better record important information? It’s very simple – learn to record important events, meetings, special moments in life on paper or other media. Use a notebook, a camera or a video camera. Take more pictures. In the 21st century it is possible to capture any event in a fraction of a second. Many people already take it for granted.
Have you ever looked at pictures taken generations ago? Unfortunately, there aren’t many of them left. And how great it would be if there were more of them and we could use them to reconstruct the full history of how people lived a hundred years ago! So don’t be lazy to take pictures. Make sure you leave behind a treasure trove of pictures and videos.
Another way to capture information is through your personal library. We’re talking about the books you’ve been reading with a pencil and pencil marks and scribbling in them. Books that help you shape your philosophy of life. It’s a treasure to be preserved!
Today, when the possibilities of communication are greater than ever, I would also include in this treasure trove old tape recordings and videotapes that show how your life has changed for the better. This, too, is an invaluable legacy for our children.
Finally, all the knowledge gained in the course of life must also be recorded. So I encourage you to become serious researchers of wealth and happiness and keep diaries, recording in them all the thoughts that arise. Over time, such diaries can become invaluable treasures of business, social, cultural, investment and other ideas concerning your life. Can you imagine their value? They are much more valuable than your antique watch!
Another effective technique for capturing information in the flow of time is GTD. Before I read David Allen’s books, I was a fan of time management. It seemed to me that we were capable of time management. If we learned how to do it more deftly, we would make more time.
Part of this illusion stems from the ease of measuring time (David Allen).
The axiom is that you can’t control what you can’t measure. First measure, then control, then manage. So it seems to us that by easily mastering timekeeping, we can control time. Forgetting that we may as well control the rotation of the earth around the sun by learning to measure the course of the day and month with precision.
Why is it necessary to “manage time”?
The main reason – to get more things done. And why should we have more time? To feel better, more confident, happier. Everyone picks up his or her own image of the desired state. This state depends on many factors:
- the emotions we are experiencing;
- the tasks we are currently facing;
- and the opportunities that surround us.
I have read a mountain of books about so-called “self-development” and “personal growth. From my own experience: more important than a thousand answers read in books and heard at seminars and trainings is the right question. The question that got me out of the circle of vanity – what can and want to manage?
The second important point is our attention. Phrases like “we are what we think,” “energy and opportunity flow where our attention is directed,” look extremely effective, which is why they are so well-liked to be repeated, in and out of place. We see dozens of these definitions every day, without giving much thought to what they mean. I began to become aware of my attention span when I learned to see the contents of my inbox in everything that came into my field of vision.
In GTD, every item that enters the Inbox has to be processed according to an algorithm. I reread Alain several times, and at some point I noticed a very important point for understanding. Before you start processing, you need to fix what goes into the inbox. It is impossible to process what we are not clear on.
Why is it important to take notes?
I have one thing in common. Being at talks, meetings, seminars – wherever people take notes in notebooks or notebooks, I like to peek at how they take their notes. I think you can tell a lot about a person’s thinking style by their style.
Greed to remember every day lived, accustomed me to keep in my diary and workbook a chronicle of my contacts and telephone conversations. Then I began to write down ideas and thoughts that came up during the day. After reading books about the Flow, I began to note the emotions I was experiencing.
Gradually I developed the habit of linking my inner experiences and conscious thoughts with what was going on around me, with the opportunities of the environment, like stitches. Today this habit has become a necessary component of the ability to manage attention. Fixation has become a basic condition for successful action.
How do I manage my time and the flow of received information?
(1) Before taking on even the most familiar, ongoing task, I formulate in writing the end result that I would like to get. For me it is already a habit that does not take much time and effort.
(2) At work, during communication, while reading, watching movies, listening to music, and in principle at any moment I “sharpen” the thoughts that arise in my mind. I always have a workbook, day planner or Evernote on my iPhone at hand. Try to write down what currently occupies your attention in one sentence.
At first it seemed to me that such an approach would simply lead to overload. You have to be in a constant state of tension to keep track of your thoughts. In fact, the opposite process happened. I have become calmer, more relaxed, and much more likely to “listen to the silence” when I manage to stop the endless internal dialogue.
The thoughts and ideas that swarm in my head, distracting us, once recorded in writing, are built into a sequence of actions that can be seen in GTD. You have fixed a thought and next you must necessarily decide what to do with it. Between your fixed thoughts comes a space of silence and stillness.
(3) I keep a timeline of the day. My actions, contacts, new information that I paid attention to are recorded. It’s also an interesting experience. Try to describe in one sentence or word what you do. Because “It is impossible to manage and control what cannot be defined and measured”.
(4) Today almost everyone has a camera on their phone. I’ve been running a photo blog on Flickr for years. For about a year I have been actively learning Instagram. What is the point of taking a lot of photos every day?
(5) First, as you get used to refilling your accounts, you become more attentive to what’s going on around you and start looking for occasions to take pictures. Second, looking at photos taken later in the day, you notice a lot of details that would have passed you by if the pictures hadn’t been taken. Some of the recorded thoughts can be made into entries on social media. Then you have the opportunity for feedback, which can also serve as a starting point for action.
(6) My longtime passion for time management has now turned into a record of time spent on each of my meaningful projects. The idea came to me when I got into triathlons. Reading books and articles about this increasingly popular sport, I kept coming across references to how many hours a week athletes spend training.
Fixing the time spent allows me to be realistic. How can you hope to achieve the long-term goals of the same 100 days, for example, if you do not see how much time you spend on achieving each goal each day, for a week. This approach helps me to be honest with myself and act.
(7) A long time ago I studied at university as a radiophysicist. Since then I have been attracted by articles about the role of the observer in quantum physics. Today I have several apps installed on my iPhone that help and remind me to record my sensations. This has made my habit of regularly testing my current state much easier.
What should we do next?
Following the logic of GTD, we must now decide what to do with each fixed thought, emotion, and intention. In essence, fixation is the steps in the workflow up to the point of “action:
- Data collection;
So, the first point of your program will be this: write down what worries you, interests you, worries you, in any other way occupies your attention. Already in the process of formulating a fixed thought, it becomes clear whether it is worth paying further attention to. I often return to the same thing over and over again, until I mentally put the thought I have written down in the trash.
What you can work with next must be related to the tasks, intentions, dreams, or people you already have. The processing of my notes is that they should generate tasks, ideas, and interactions with people. A fixation that does not lead to action is “information fat.”
Don’t be afraid to dive into analyzing information. Action and inner peace seem to be two mutually exclusive concepts. But this is the main thing worth engaging in fixation for.
What tools will be useful to manage time?
- Diary and Planner. They always with me when I’m away from home. I use it to record all the current information during meetings, negotiations, and appointments. Often I use it for freelance writing exercises, when I have free windows outside the house;
- Workbook. This is my Inbox paper garbage can. Constantly by my side at home while reading, writing articles, watching movies;
- Evernote (https://evernote.com). If I were younger, I’d probably be able to give up all the paper-based tools to make sense of life and make do with just Evernote. It is installed on all my computers, my iPhone, my ipad. Great repository of information, but a bit cumbersome to commit to;
- Day One (https://dayoneapp.com). If I need to commit something on the go not in a notepad, I use this app for my iPhone.
Use them daily and everywhere. Accustom yourself after every negotiation or meeting to write down important information, a “squeeze of the essence”, a “dry residue”. This will help you better manage your time, devoting it to the most important and essential things in your life.