In our always connected and busy world you will be pushed and pulled into many directions. Some things will be critical for you to handle now. Some things will just distract you. Some distractions can be deadly!
Webster defines distractions in three ways:
- something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention,
- something that amuses or entertains you so that you do not think about problems, work, etc.,
- a state in which you are very annoyed or upset,
David Allen says “The degree to which your attention is being grabbed is the degree to which you are not free to place your attention where and how you want to.” There is a way to be less distracted throughout your day but it requires critical note taking skills and review habits!
The power of a note and its supporting elements (file folder, journal, Microsoft OneNote or app) is that you can think about something and then put it away. You can take action on it when you actually CAN do something about it. Leaving it “in your head” will guarantee it will distract you in the least convenient time. That’s like getting a phone call every time you don’t want one.
Who wants to live like that?
David Allen, http://gettingthingsdone.com/newsletters/archive/0909.html
Image Credit: https://www.freeimages.com/photographer/chidsey-43131
I really don’t understand the appeal of new apps like Blinkist and many courses on speed reading. Unless you’re a student who hasn’t read or understood a reading assignment, speed reading and summary books have little value.
Consider speed living. Everything you do is abbreviated: your work and fun are cut down to the main ideas and lasts only seconds. You have a nice outline of events but it has no detail or substance. No story.
A book is something that should be enjoyed, read slowly, understood and pondered (meditated on) because of the meaning you get from the author. There is life in the words that you miss if you hurry through it.
Consider this: someone will write your abbreviated life story for your funeral. Only your loved ones will know the whole story and the rich life beyond the eulogy summary.
Let’s slow down, read less but with more value. Choose the best books and stories then read for the entire experience.
Remember them? It seems like forever when I had nothing to do and life was in total control. Then life happens…you graduate, get married and get the big job. Then have 2.3 children and the race for your time, attention and sanity becomes the new normal. How I wish I could time travel back to my youth.
A note has this superpower of time travel. It represents a part of your work, thoughts and the purpose of your life. A journal entry captures time and helps you journey back when you want to. It creates history and context for the time you lived.
I started my note taking journal in my forties and wish I had the discipline and foresight to have started earlier. With only my memories and captured pictures, they are an incomplete story. Start today with your commitment to journal and write notes so that you have a full account of all of your days. When you have the time you can open your notes, travel back in time and relive the moments.
Photo by Recal Media from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/architecture-big-ben-blur-building-372038/
The brain’s abilities to reason, comprehend and remember may start to worsen as early as age 45, a new study from England suggests.
“Psychologists researching the normal changes of aging have found that although some aspects of memory and processing change as people get older, simple behavior changes can help people stay sharp for as long as possible.” http://www.apa.org/research/action/memory-changes.aspx
If the research is accurate, we need tools to help ourselves age without the terrible loss of memory. Using Microsoft OneNote can act as a supplement and “external brain” to help you remember important information exactly when and where you need it.
Each person has something unique to offer this world only they can give. Few people really believe this or will even try to share their unique gifts and talents. How sad!
The best money spent is the money spent to cultivate the genius of your own mind and spirit. – Jim Rohn
Taking notes, reviewing your ideas and thoughts are ways you can cultivate your genius. By investing in a good notebook and pen or Microsoft OneNote, you can start adding value to yourself and others simply by recording your thoughts, ideas and challenges.
- Notes provide you with an external feedback loop – in essence, a help to your brain.
- Notes can help you solve your own problems and challenges.
- Notes can make you smart and wise.
- Notes are always an investment into your future.
Why not invest right now?
Sometimes we are so busy we neglect writing notes down in one place (like in Microsoft OneNote or your Bullet Journal).
The practice of using one tool to capture everything is a hard habit to start. Most good habits are.
Tomorrow, consider keeping everything in one place and see if your life is more organized and less stressful. You will find all your ideas, thoughts and tasks are not lost to sticky notes, email inbox, scrap paper and napkins.
Write yourself a note and you have it for the future. Write a smarter note and you will give your “future” self an advantage, saving time and reducing frustration.
What are the elements of a smart note?
- It needs specificity – action words and enough details that your future brain will understand what you were thinking. Dumb notes are written quickly and lack definition, making them useless.
- It needs an index to allow you to find information quickly and efficiently. The Bullet Journal system is an excellent way to index written notes. Evernote has built in search to find information quickly.
- It needs to be processed. Follow the 4D Rule: Do it now (if it can be done quickly), Decide when (put it on your to-do list for some future date), Delegate it (send to someone else to deal with), or Delete it.
- It needs to be reviewed. The meaning of review is to “see again” and solves a problem for the human brain. Your brain is not good at retaining large amounts of information. A review helps you see again what is important in your life and work.