Empty Your Mind by Doing a Mind Sweep

Everyday, I am sharing a small tip on how to become more productive, effective and creative.

David Allen from ‘Getting Things Done’ recommends doing a mind sweep to empty your mind of all the woulds, coulds, shoulds running as background noise and draining your attention and energy.

Start by identifying all your inboxes: physical ‘in’ trays at office and home, Moleskine notebooks, work and personal emails, RSS feeds, podcast feeds, and so on.

Then, look around your office and home, and collect everything that is not in its appropriate place in the inboxes: invoices, post-it notes, letters, unread or unreeled emails, and so on.

Then, do a mind sweep and capture everything that has your attention into your inboxes. Write it on paper, enter it on your phone, leave voice notes to yourself. Capture everything: things you need to buy or fix, projects to start or finish, tasks to do or delegate, books, articles, podcasts and videos to read, listen to or watch.

This is the first step in the five-step Getting Things Done process: capture. The other steps are: clarify what your projects and next actions are; organize your calendar, task list and reference system; reflect on your progress and priorities in a weekly review; and, engage with your moment-to-moment actions with a mind like water.

I have recently implemented the ‘Getting Things Done’ system for myself, and I do feel like I am living and working at a higher level of energy and clarity. I’ll write more about my GTD workflow once I feel that it has settled into a sustainable routine.

The GTD system is not only a time management or a task management system; it’s a system to manage your attention. So, if you wish to become more productive, effective and creative, I would highly recommend reading David’s GTD book or taking his GTD course on LinkedIn Learning. Or, simply start with doing a mind sweep and emptying your mind. Even the first step can help you release new reserves of energy into your life and work.

If you already use GTD, and have had success with it, I would love to learn about your experience. And, if you have been inspired to empty your mind after reading this post, I would love to know what impact it has had. Do share your experience in the comments below or on Twitter @gauravonomics.

Sign up for my free 12-week email course on learning creative habits. You will also receive my weekly newsletter with new essays, quotes, book suggestions and tool recommendations.

Author: Gauravonomics

Recovering creative re-learning how to create a daily writing and sketching practice for the second half of life