If you haven’t been following my adventure, I have recently attempted to get my mind free. By free, I mean without any distractions from the day-to-day life. The idea behind this experiment is to enjoy not being disturbed at all during the tournament next week and thus be fully concentrated when I play.
Consequently, I rigorously followed a procedure aiming at regrouping and then sorting all items, thoughts, projects or ideas, globally everything that occupies my mind in a way or another.
Before continuing reading, I suggest you review my previous article on the subject where I describe the details of my experiment. Without it, you may not understand the following explanations. That said, here are the top 10 things I learned by getting my mind free.
1) The less clutter, the better your focus
Failing to pay close attention to the game may set you up to miss key moves. What I have observed for a few days now is how my mind stops juggling between things I’m responsible for. I can more easily focus on the task which is in front of me, without worrying about anything else that needs to be done. And if for any reason my mind starts to wander, I simply send the new piece of information to my inbox and then continue my current job.
By adopting the GTD framework, I have definitely gained mental clarity which allows me to do better quality work in less time.
2) Distress effect
Once I treated the last inbox entry, I knew everything was now under control in every area my life. It may be strange to say that but I have noticed this feeling gives me a certain form of release. I’m not occupied anymore with little worries from daily life and I know exactly where I’m at in my big projects.
I also make sure to maintain this stress-free situation by doing a regular run-through of tasks (weekly review, daily review etc. as discussed in my previous article)
3) Unconscious creativity
Since I have freed up my brain, I have also realized new ideas tend to pop up more naturally. It seems that a stress-free mind favors deep thinking and creativity too.
4) Memory boost
Science is clear about it, overloading your memory can lead to recall issues. If in addition you keep unnecessary stuff in your mind, you waste your chances of remembering what you really need at the right moment.
Wouldn’t you rather remember chess techniques or your preparation? More than retaining what you have to buy for dinner? You know which choice I made.
5) Higher productivity
If you’re constantly telling yourself, “I need to remember to do x,” you may not have a good way of capturing things in your memory. A good organization system helps you manage easily, plan and finally do the job according to your priorities. Getting your mind free requires being consistent with your system but once you control the process, it takes a huge pike on your productivity.
6) Being a trusted and reliable person
With your good system in place, you will also respect deadlines more easily. By doing so, people can now count on you more easily. Co-workers and your relatives will trust you more easily as they know you will do what they expect from you. Becoming more reliable builds trust around you and opens doors.
7) You know what is important
Sorting your inbox allows you to decide what is important to you. During the process, I got rid of the stuff that I could delegate or I didn’t need at that moment. I created a system that I trust and that supports my objectives and values.
I can now say that I really go progress towards my important life goals.
8) Gaining time
Before cleaning thoroughly my apartment, I calculated how long the whole process would take. Now that everything has its place, I tidy up more quickly, which represents a 30-minute gain, because I know where everything goes. I didn’t even mention all those times when I was looking for something and had no idea where it was.
Also, I learned how to master the 2-minute rule which saves up precious minutes here and there. When something is done, you go to the next thing and as a result, you don’t fulfill pointlessly your inbox.
9) More space than you think
I couldn’t have predicted this, but by cleaning your space and putting everything in one place, you realize that you have more available storing space than you think. And once a big part of your stuff is in the trash, this is even more impressive.
Lastly, another good point is you can actually earn money. Here and now, you might decide to sell some items that you don’t want to use anymore. And for the future, chances are you will understand that you don’t need as much as you initially thought to be happy, which will slow you down before any new unnecessary purchase. I have to say that was the case for me.
Let the ‘digital brain’ carry the weight
We live in a digital age, where our minds are besieged 24/7 by news or data in any form. This never-ending whirlpool of information constantly distracts us from what is in front of us.
Practicing GTD was a big game-changer for me. I can’t think of a project anymore, however little it might be, without automatically breaking it down into actions that must be completed before the project itself is done, sorted, solved. I can’t imagine an open loop disturbing me for longer than it takes to reach for a post-it, a notebook or my mobile to note it.
In a nutshell: the less clutter, the sharper your brain.
I’m convinced it will help me for my next chess battles, but beyond that, it has helped me organize my life the way I want to.
If you think you are just a messy person by nature, please think twice. Two days to begin with the method is all it takes. Try it, enjoy the results, and I promise you won’t ever look back.