The COVID crisis throws into relief what happens when grief has—quite literally—nowhere to go. The evidence suggests that most people summon strengths that surpass their own expectations.
Verified by Psychology Today
I love both the Pomodoro Technique and GTD, but in GTD you can definitely tell D.Allen worked out a formula through years of experience and trial and error, while those making the Pomodoro Technique "stumbled" onto a method very similar without knowing the finer points that make it chug.
So Anon, your question is: "Even after you write down all the distracting thoughts/ideas, you still find yourself focused on them, working on them?"
Well of course your brain is still working on them!! "Writing it down" is not the last piece of the puzzle, in fact it's not the piece you're looking for at all. You must put those tasks/reminders/bold ideas into a Safe Place where your brain knows you can find and access them again anywhere quickly, someplace you know you won't forget about. Otherwise, your brain will take back the job of "remembering" for you.
GTD is all about admitting your brain is not the best place to store things you need to remember. To do that, you need a System, an "Inventory" of all the outstanding commitments you've made to yourself and others, something you trust yourself to use and update, and not file away and forget about like the 18 other times you tried this. Though not a requirement, it's best if the system you choose is somewhat enjoyable & fun to use.
Once you and your brain know every stray thought or possibility is captured, categorized, catalogued, and ready to be returned to at the appropriate moment, then your brain can let go of the strenuous job of "remembering" and go back to doing what it does best: high level thinking, problem solving, imagining crazy new ideas, etc.
You see the difference now between "writing it down" and "filing it in a system you know and trust yourself to use at the appropriate moments"? Sure, you hear 'write it down' from everyone because that's the first step — for those who already have system they rely on to catalog all their outstanding commitments!
The last and most obvious question must be "what system do you use" which honestly has plagued me for years. You'll have to find something specifically that works for you. David Allen made a point of maintaining all his on paper lists in a breifcase he took everywhere. If you're like me, you might be thinking more about what "cloud solution" could work for you.
There is no one good system that does everything. You'll always be using a multitude of purpose-built services that together make up your personal "system". Try out everything, and stick with the ones you use and like. For me personally, I've finally settled on Workflowy for Project Notes. These are "potentially actionable materials" anything related to a project, to be reviewed for more Actions, and is the bulk of what I write down and work on. For 'Next Actions' I'm using new tool called Nirvana (nirvanahq.com) to capture tasks ready to start work on, and categorize them in Projects and Contexts (Areas). For Calendar/Date-specific tasks I use Google Cal. For Reference Mat. I use OneNote. When I need a checklist, I use Checklist.com
One of the biggest changes you'll have to make once you've found all your tools is working your system. Review your lists, fill in what's missing, check off what's done, delete what's no longer necessary, etc. If you still have anxiety about outstanding work, or your brain still wanders to other things, review & update your system until you feel calm and complete. Fill it in until you get comfortable knowing *everything* is accounted for, nothing fell through the cracks. This will take a few days or more, David A. notes that busy professionals usually have 150-200 outstanding commitments. That will give you the mental freedom to focus on the task at hand, to get to a place where you know *"I'm doing exactly the best thing for me to do right now."*
After your first brain dump, you may realize "...I'm not *actually* going to do half this stuff." Don't worry, throw it in your 'Someday/Maybe' folder, review & update that folder often, delete what you know will never happen. After a while, your brain will see the cycle of how all those crazy ideas eventually end up with an opportunity to work on them, and then you'll become much more critical about what you write down (because you know you'll have to handle it at some point) and you'll evaluate your ideas much more thoroughly before getting lost in those infinite possibilities. Cheers, Good luck.
Get the help you need from a therapist near you–a FREE service from Psychology Today.