I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have a lot on my mind. If I’m not careful, then pending deadlines, pressing issues, personal commitments, and my grocery list will take up simultaneous residence in my grey matter. When this happens, their good friends, anxiety and distraction, aren’t far behind.
I recently had the chance to interview The New York Times bestselling author David Allen for this week’s episode of the Leadership Lab podcast. David’s watershed book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity (published in 2002), has for decades changed how people spend their time, energy, and resources.
David and I explored how increasing individual productivity and reducing anxiety often starts with emptying our minds of the clutter that takes up space between our ears. We discussed how our minds are great at generating ideas but poor at storing them.
My conversation with David served as the catalyst for this week’s video and tool. When we try to hold too much in our brains, we create clutter and anxiety.
Use the video and tool to empty your mind purposely. Write things down, put them in your calendar, and find a home for them outside of your head so you can allow your brain to do what it does best.
Of course, I couldn’t pass up the chance to create an acronym to reinforce this week’s learning. The acronym is E-M-P-T-Y, as in EMPTY your mind. Here’s what each letter stands for and the corresponding question to get you thinking.
- EVENTS: What meetings and appointments are on your schedule?
- MILESTONES: What results or outcomes must you deliver?
- PROBLEMS: What troubles, pressures, or issues are you looking to solve and overcome?
- TASKS: What items do you want and need to get done?
- YEARNINGS: What goals, dreams, and desires do you hope to pursue?
What you’ll find is when you empty your mind, it frees up some space for some new thoughts, ideas, and innovations.
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.