According to David Allen, your brain is for having ideas, not storing them. You don’t need to remember ideas in your head if you have a system that stores them. As a result, you’ll get more good ideas, as your brain can work on having ideas instead of storing them. This is what David Allen calls “mind like water”
“Mind like water” is a state where you can respond to whatever life throws at you. When you throw a rock into the water, the ripples respond to the size and force of impact. By being in a mind like water state, the daily inputs that bombard us won't overwhelm us. By being in a mind like water state, you’ll be able to focus on the task at hand, and not have thoughts bother you.
Our brains were not built for multi-tasking. When you hold tasks in your head and work on what’s in front of you, you are always in multi-tasking mode. Trying to do two things that need cognitive effort is not possible.
David Allen refers to these thoughts circling in your brain as open loops. Open loops are unfinished commitments. When you keep it in your brain instead of storing it somewhere you can trust, you waste energy and attention. Ultimately, this will negatively impact your productivity.
If you want to achieve a mind like water state, use the Getting Things Done method. You’ll be able to respond to the different inputs in life and avoid overwhelm.
Start by capturing all the open loops in your brain into a place you can trust. You’ll be able to focus on the present, knowing everything that needs handling will be handled. I’ll share how we can use the Getting Things Done method in a future post.