How to Avoid Mind Clutter

After coaching MANY individuals (PM’s and otherwise), I’ve heard and observed numerous approaches to managing all the seemingly little things that we deal with on a daily basis. And, for lack of method, the significant inefficiencies that can result.

One thing I have found which has made a world of difference for me is doing things in one fluid motion. Doing so keeps me moving forward without leaving behind “little” tasks (a.k.a. mind clutter) requiring later cleanup.

For example, during meetings I’m taking notes directly on my computer, within my meeting notes template. Once the meeting ends (immediately, or as soon as possible after the meeting, always < 24 hours), I finalize the meeting notes and publish by sending via email AND post on the project’s shared site. At this point I’m DONE, on to the next, not looking back…

Doing the above ensures everyone has near real-time access to the meeting notes so they don’t forget what we talked about and supports them getting an immediate start (as some people wait for meeting notes to make sure they only do what is requested, etc.).

Waiting any length of time after a meeting to publish notes can result in:

  • Forgetting finer details that we want to convey. The longer after the meeting we wait the more we forget 🙂
  • Attendees forgetting the overall context of the topic and the specifics of what needs to be done.

A common alternative to the above is saving up these “little” tasks for a specific day / time each week. It is certainly good to (attempt to) carve this time out with the goal of cleaning up / catching up! However, in reality, that day’s emergency, a problem that must be addressed or customer engagement we must get involved in, demands immediate and sustained attention. When, not if, this occurs, it can completely wipe-out our scheduled clean-up session…Now, we are in to the next day or even weekend with an increasing list of carryover tasks for which we have diminishing context relative to each…

And, the longer we go the longer it can take to construct our notes because we have to think harder to recall important information we wish to convey.

There is a MUCH better way!

If you are looking for that next level in efficiency AND effectiveness, give the “one fluid motion” approach a try.

The main objective of the approach is to, whenever reasonably possible, fully complete the immediate task at hand, leaving no “little details” that require future attention.

I’ve found that doing things in one fluid motion allows me to have a much clearer head since I’m not worried about or trying to hold onto the finer details of any leftover tasks (a.k.a., mind clutter) that still need to be cleaned up…And, I’m able to get MUCH more done since I’ve minimized (to eliminated) the memory-swapping that otherwise occurs when bouncing between a bunch of “little” disparate tasks.

In closing, if you are looking to improve program management effectiveness in yourself or organization, feel free to reach out so that we can discuss how I can help.

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