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Personal Productivity Secrets: Do what you never thought possible with your time and attention... and regain control of your life by Maura Nevel Thomas

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Chapter 4

Controlling the Constant Chatter

In This Chapter

  • Organizing the mental clutter
  • Gaining clarity
  • Five ways to organize
  • Most efficient categories for to-do lists
  • Avoiding speed bumps

Regaining control of all the demands on your attention enables you to be proactive, but first you need to be organized. You must get the details necessary for running your life out of your head and into an organized system; and to most people, “organizing” means grouping items and information in ways that are logical. Often organization is intuitive, but sometimes you need to think specifically about the discrete ways you could organize various things, and the most appropriate and efficient use for each organization method.

Organizing Your Mental Clutter

A big source of stress is having to mentally keep track of things for which you’re responsible.

To create an effective organizational system, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of all the things that need to be included in your system. If you are like most people, all the commitments, communication, and information required to keep your life running smoothly are scattered in many different places. Many people carry the bulk of their responsibilities in their heads, perhaps supplemented with a digital or paper calendar, scraps or pads of paper, sticky notes, and items scribbled on business cards, cocktail napkins, and random envelopes! Writing things down can be helpful, but where you write them matters. When you lack ...

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