ForumsGetting Things Done®Starting GTD
I have been working on GTD for a month or two. On a whim, I just started to do the following: I spend some time during my day with a pen in my hand even if I am not using it. I just don't put it down. My thinking being that it will help me with capturing as habit. So, I walk around with a pen in my hand for some part of each day.
Obviously, it is impractical to do this constantly, but I believe it has helped me to remember to capture everything, even when i put down the pen, which of course I then pick up.
Eventually I will stop.
Why is having a pen at the ready impractical? Many of us who follow the TAO of GTD have some sort of 'capture device' always at the ready. It can be electronical (iPhone, voice recorder, Palm, etc.) or a notepad. I always have a Moleskine notepad with me or my iPhone and use Jott.
In my experience using GTD since its hardcover debut, the hardest part is capturing. We have a tendency to think that whatever comes to mind, we will remember it later. Our brains more often than not just don't work that way. We think about work projects while mowing the lawn, think about home projects in the middle of meetings that are far too long than necessary, etc. And if your capture device is right there, all the better!
Having a pen in your hand is the path to least resistance. I wouldn't stop.
Lance, I think jpropper actually carries the pen "in hand" for a portion of the day...beyond just having the pen available in a pocket or purse, for example. That way, the pen becomes a physical reminder to capture ideas. (Is that right, jpropper?)
Still, I don't see why it's impractical. In fact, I think it's important to devote some time explicitly to the capturing phase. Maybe not every day...but at least during your weekly review. But doing it daily sounds like a great way to help form a capturing habit for a new GTDer. I think your GTD instincts are good.
BigKC: Ok, I think I understood the pen is a prompt much like a string tied around a finger. However, I don't think setting aside time just to capture is efficient (for me). I do a weekly review and if anything comes to mind at that time I capture and process it.
My point is that setting aside time just to 'capture' doesn't work for me. It's kinda like sitting down and telling myself that at this time everyday I'm going stop and think about all the stuff I need to think about. I know it works for some people out there and that's great, just not for me.
Its my experience that if I don't capture it when it bubbles up in my head right then and there, it will fester in my psyche as something I need to act on, but can't quite remember what it was. And usually, the more profound the idea, the more likely it will not come back.
Now I'm not saying I'm good at this, its one of my biggest struggles with GTD. I find it very hard sometimes to shift gears, even for just a few seconds to capture a thought, then go back to the task at hand. But it has made a huge impact when I do.
So if carrying a pen in your hand facilitates this process without interrupting normal workflow, go for it. I do agree, I don't find it impractical at all.
This message was edited Jul 10, 2009.
Thanks to all for responding. I do carry the pen "in hand" while going about my business. The idea being that I am extra "locked-in" on things bubbling up that I need to capture, and they are not flying past me.
As part of being a constant reminder, i am much more mindful of things to capture while I am holding. I don't obsess but am more acutely aware of things that should be captured. Just happens because I have a pen "in my hand!"
Impractical did refer to walking literally with a pen "in my hand" all day, 9 to 5. I need three hands just to eat lunch so it'd never work.
I also agree and do not drop everything (deer in the headlights), stand there with my pen and wait for it to rain captureable items. . Also becomes noticeable when I have a better use for my hand with pen. Of course I put it down but a lot of mental processes brought it from my hand to my pocket.
I always have, and always will, carry a pen in my pocket. Keeping it in my hand for extended periods without an immediate need for it is my "strategy" expressed in this thread.
My exit strategy... some day soon, I will be so one with my capture zone, that I can put down my pen and still be locked in and capturing everything I need, just as I had with pen in hand.
Then, maybe for old times, I'll walk around with a pen in my hand sometimes for fun.
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