Task Management Technique – Your Focus Improves When You Write Things Down
Consciously you can only store an average of seven things in your short-term memory – and that is on a good day.
You have heard it before: Write everything down. Chances are you already have several lists of ToDo items. But then I’m guessing that there are still some items that you simply keep in טודובום your head because you are sure you will remember to do them.
It is easy to underestimate how much you are mentally tracking, and this need to keep track of numerous items diffuses your daily focus and your ability to be present in the moment, since you are so often sidetracked by a random mental reminder.
When I talk about multitasking in seminars, I have the audience pause to write down everything in their heads that is not already listed somewhere else. They use index cards, writing only one item per card so that they can later prioritize the items. After a few giggles and some brief hesitation, people begin to write…and write…and write. The stacks of cards grow.
The reason for each pause is that the conscious mind has been temporarily emptied. Then suddenly the pen starts moving again. Even as my time management seminar session continues, another item may suddenly be added to the list.
Consciously you can only store an average of seven things in your short-term memory – and that is on a good day. The unconscious mind, however, has an unlimited capacity.
When a conscious slot opens up, your unconscious will remind you of pending tasks. Therefore once my participants have written everything in the forefront of their memories, they mentally delete the tasks and other items surface.
Reminders of looming tasks can pop into your head at inappropriate hours because the unconscious has no concept of time, and it is not very organized. During the day it can be easy to submerge some thoughts, even important ones, because you are running around multitasking, and you have several fragmented focuses. Then later you might be asleep and, in the middle of the night, you awaken to wonder if you overlooked something that was due.