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Tactics to help unload your brain


Several methodologies have proven useful throughout the years which many busy CEOs in the world use every single day.

Capture everything

As explained in the now famous book Getting Things Done, David Allen describes a system for getting that information out of your brain as quickly as possible, to get your brain free of the unconscious stress it otherwise produces.

The method is known as Getting Things Done (GTD) and goes as follows:

  1. Whenever you think of something
  2. Write it down in the rawest format possible and save it in what is called your Inbox (of thoughts)
  3. Do not apply any formatting, do not enter a description, delegate it or plan it, just get it out of your brain

Inbox Zero

You should, on a regular basis (could be once a week, a month or even every day), go through all the items of your inbox and organize them, create proper items of work that can be planned, delegated or just ignored if they have already been completed.

Note that you should not wait too long to process your inbox because it will otherwise be demoralizing to go through hundreds of items. The less you have to go through the easier it gets.

Just pick the frequency that works for you and stick to it.

You can even create time blocks in your calendar to process your inbox or tasks (and/or your email inbox) to make sure you will dedicate the time to such an activity and on a regular basis.

This methodology, known as Inbox Zero, is used by busy professionals throughout the world to achieve a state of peace of mind not only when dealing with emails but also tasks.

For every item in your inbox, go through the following process:

  1. If the item is no longer relevant, archive it
  2. If the item takes less than 2 minutes to perform, do it right away and mark it as done
  3. If you know when this item should be completed, schedule it for a specific day
  4. If you do not know exactly when to work on this item, postpone it to later for reconsideration
  5. Repeat this process until you reach inbox zero

For more information about GTD, please refer to David Allen’s book.

2-minute rule

In order to reach inbox zero, consider making use of the 2-minute rule which many busy people use to empty their email/task inbox.

For every item in your inbox of tasks, decide what to do with every item:

  1. If the item is no longer relevant, ignore it.
  2. Depending on the actionability of the item:
    a) Actionable (i.e task)
    - If the task is already done, mark as completed
    - Otherwise, plan it following a simple method to keep things as simple as possible at this stage: if the task is important, put it in a bucket to consider the task this week; if not important, postpone it to a later week in order to reconsider the task in the future
    b) Not actionable (e.g a note)
    - Organize it in its relevant context: a page, diary, etc.