One minute I’m unlocking my phone and the next– two hours have flown by and I’m still scrolling.
Whether I’m on my phone or my laptop, I fall victim to the World Wide Web every time I don’t have a plan.
Whenever I have no clarity, focus or reason for plugging in… I get trapped in limbo. Setting intentions always helps.

Intention: to have in mind a purpose or plan, to direct the mind, to aim.

We should set intentions in all areas of our lives to really make magic happen. To manifest our dreams. For now,  I’ll expand on productivity in workflow.

The “brain dump” technique I’m outlining will focus on how to get stuff done when you sit in front of your computer. If you need to clear phone distractions– plant a tree.

Ok! So now that you have cleared your surroundings and put your phone glass-side down… 

Start Plottin’

  • Grab a pen and single blank sheet of paper

    If you prefer to use a notebook, I recommend using one solely for these “brain dump” exercises.
    This practice takes your tidy, at-a-glance, to-do list to another level, so you may not even want to keep it.
    Let’s call it the Gotta Do Now list.
    It highlights the tasks you intend to (WILL) accomplish THIS computer sitting/workday.
    Not the broad “to-do” that haunts you for weeks, so don’t write tasks like “write my e-book” — be specific.

  • Write what you intend to do down the middle of the sheet

    i.e. Research ________, read ___________, write to___________, sign up for ____________

  • Leave at least an inch of space under each task

  • Write whatever tasks come to mind without thinking about the order of importance.

  • After you’ve made your list–  you can use the space on the left side of the page to help prioritize each task

    You can go with the flow and scratch tasks off as you go, instead of numbering each task.
    However, I recommend doing the task you LEAST want to do, second.
    This will allow you to build on the momentum of the first task you completed while ensuring you don’t put it too low on the list and 
    accidentally put it off.

  • The space below each task can be used to break the task into smaller chunks and to the right, you can list some resources/notes

Wandering Thoughts

Before you start googling the random question that came to mind while you were on task... write it down on the back of the page. Save it for later. In the moment, it may seem absolutely imperative to satisfy your curiosity– but it can most likely wait.

Writing it down will ensure you don’t forget! It will also put your mind at ease. If you choose not to write it down and try to ignore it, the thought will bounce in the back of your mind. You have to “act” on it. By putting it to paper, you’re acting on it enough for your mind to stay on track.

Give Yourself a Break!

After every “main task” is complete, give yourself 2-15 min to something not on the Gotta Do Now list.
The trick is to set your intent by predetermining how long of a break you’ll take. Depending how much you’ve completed, you can choose a shorter or longer period. This may be the perfect time to search the question you jotted down earlier.
This is an intentional “distraction” to keep your energy flowing. Treat this time as a reward.

If you’re on a real time crunch, I recommend setting an alarm between longer breaks. If you want to take a 15 min break, set your alarm for 14min. This will ensure you don’t completely lose track of time, and it will give you a minute to get your head back in the game.

Putting this in Perspective

You don’t have to write anything down to simply “set your intent” but I promise this exercise WILL help clear the clutter so you can make the most of your time. When we’re just moving on whims, our mind can’t help but think about what we have to do next. Even when we’re trying to focus.

If you use your thinking like a tool– you can get it done BEFORE you start tackling tasks.

If this is your first time doing this sort of “brain dump” you will probably write a lot more on the list than you’ll be able to accomplish in one sitting. That’s ok. This technique is simple but it takes practice before it gets “easy”. That goes for writing down your wandering thoughts, too. If you’re new to that practice, you may be surprised by how many distracting thoughts you tend to have.

I keep hearing the notion “how you do one thing, is how you do everything.”
Setting your intent in this small way, will help you in other areas of your life, too.