How Disorganized Are You? Use the GTD Mind Sweep To Clear Your Head

How disorganized are you? Do you wrestle with forgetting important details, events and opportunities?

Well, you are not alone Atlanta Based Professional Counselor Gordon Shippey notes that “disorganization” is the biggest stress in modern life which can manifest itself in failure to meet  commitments to oneself and others as well bad memory loss; and Gordon Shippey prescribes David Allen’s Mind Sweep technique as a tool to first gain control.

Like you, suffering from a protracted states of overwhelm and disorganization has been my MO for any number of years.  In Making It All Work, David Allen talks about the Mind-Sweep as one of the first exercises in his company’s one-on-one client coaching in which they  have you identify  anything in your life and work that you think might need to be different or considered for whatever reason and create a crude place holder for it.  The critical question here is always, “Do You have any attention on this?”

A bed rock of the Mind Sweep is the Personal, Professional and Project Incomplete Trigger lists which you can download here. You simply go over the list and write down anything and everything that comes to your mind that may need to be different. This takes the weight off your mind. Warning it take a person on average several hours to several days to complete. I did my first mind sweep with IBM Notes over 3-days two months ago.  Some people will do a quick Mind Sweep in as short a period as 5-minutes to jog their brains.  Whenever i do it, I  experience an immediate burst of creative energy and clarity about my visions for short and long term projects and goals.

You may be surprised  to know that there is no quackery here but hard science to substantiate the process. According to the BBC, Florida State Psychology Professors Roy Baumeister and EJ Masicampo wrote a whole paper on this — it  centers on a phenomenon known as the Zeigarnik Effect, which is what psychologists call our mind’s tendency to get fixated on unfinished tasks and to forget those we have completed.

“People don’t capture stuff that has their attention.” David Allen stated in the Harvard Business Review. ”They don’t acknowledge it or objectify it. And it keeps rolling around in the organizational psyche as well as the personal psyche, draining energy and creating incredible psychic residue.”


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