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Getting Things Done

Why Things Are on Your Mind (David Allen)

From the REIN recommended bestselling book "Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" by David Allen

Why Things Are on Your Mind

Most often, the reason something is "on your mind" is that you want it to be different than it currently is, and yet:

  • you haven't clarified what the intended outcome is;
  • you haven't decided what the very next physical action step is;


  • you haven't put reminders of the outcome and the action required in a system you trust. 

That's why it's on your mind. Until those thoughts have been clarified and those decisions made, and the resulting data has been stored in a system that you absolutely know you will think about as often as you need to, your brain can't give up the job. You can fool everyone else, but you can't fool your own mind. It knows whether or not you've come to the conclusions you need to, and whether you've put the conclusions you need to, and whether you've put the resulting outcomes and action reminders in a place that can be trusted to resurface appropriately within your conscious mind. If you haven't done those things, it won't quit working overtime. Even if you've already decided on the next step you'll take to resolve a problem, your mind can't let go until and unless you write yourself a reminder in a place it knows you will, without fail, look. It will keep pressuring you about that untaken step, usually when you can't do anything about it, which will just add to your stress.