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Why and how to clear your mind

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Source: earl53

One day or another, everyone feels like their head just do not have any space left for new information. This feeling is generally accompanied with a lack of sleep, more stress, a reduction of efficiency, and we tend to forget more often. Yet, we try to fill our head more and more, thinking it’ll pass. The reality is, it won’t.

Fortunately, there is a way to clear your mind and make room for more “thinking” and that is to transfer the information elsewhere, via writing. Many methodologies like GTD mention this but are generally more task oriented and how to note everything. In this article, I want to help to clear your mind of more than just what you need to get done.

Why you should clear your mind

Think of your mind as a box. Like any box, you can fill it up with anything, but at some point, you can’t add more stuff in it. If you need to add something else, you either first remove something from the box or use another. In our context, we’ll concentrate on removing stuff from the box rather than using another box which could be the equivalent of getting an assistant.

If you do not remove something from your mind, you will have a hard time learning/remembering/thinking. Having your head cluttered like this is not good for you, so avoid it.

How to clear your mind

As mentioned above, by writing, you can clean up your head, it’s actually quite underestimated. There are different “types” of information you need to clean from your mind and different approach:

Knowledge: Everyone good at what they do wants to share valuable information to others, it’s in our nature, so why fight it? If you feel like you have knowledge, tips, information, anything that should be shared, share it! How? Years ago, writing books was almost the only option, but today, you can write a blog, use social networks, commenting on various platforms, etc.

By writing that knowledge down, you’ll make place for new knowledge, and if you forget anything, you’ll know what to read to remember it. Teachers or coaches may interact with people to share information, but they still write down their plan before (if not, they should).

Things to do: People are more familiar with this one, but the basic of this is to note what you need to do. Have the information easily accessible (apps, cloud, computer). If you do need such accessibility or it’s just simple “today” lists, you a good old paper and pen. The idea is to never leave actionable information inside your head only. It’s also important to check this information at a reasonable interval, if you don’t, you’ll have a tendency to want to remember everything by heart, and it beats the whole purpose of the thing. You need to be able to trust your system.

Meetings/reunions/etc.: I separated this one from “Things to do” since they are more dependant on a specific time, so here you want to note in anything that can notify you of that date approaching. A calendar for example, or reminder apps. If you trust your tool to inform you when the time is right, you will liberate your mind of that date, and yet, you won’t forget it! The probability of you being on time for your meeting is much higher than if you depend on your mind to remember at the right time (which it probably won’t)

Emotions: This one is tricky compared to the rest, and depending of how you feel, writing will not do miracles, but it will help at the least. Clearing your mind of emotions is not new, people have been writing personal journals for years, so give it a try.

Keep in mind that what is key here is to never share this with anyone, it’s for your eyes only. That way, you will not hesitate to write what comes to mind exactly how it comes to mind, and that’s the trick. If you are scared that someone may read it afterwards, than burn the paper, delete the document, erase everything! Nevertheless, you’ll have freed your mind of it. It may feel awkward at first, but keep writing, and then, explore what you are writing/thinking, and write some more! If you feel like some information could be shared or should be noted elsewhere, then do it immediately and come back to writing how you feel right after.

In conclusion

Freeing your mind lets you stay focus, efficient, and makes place for new information. Do it and you’ll feel better, and will accomplish so much more.

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3 reasons ‘clear’ is better

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Source: pedrojperez

As project managers, it is said that 90% of our time we communicate. Throughout that communication, it is important to make sure everything is clear for everyone, and that nothing is left out.

Here are 3 reasons why:

1. Motivates

Have you even been asked to do something and wondered why you were doing it? Not knowing why you are doing something can become a very bad demotivator and may affect your efficiency, and the result of your work.

That goes for your team too. Imagine this lack of motivation spread across a whole team of people working on your projects. It can be disastrous for your project so you must make sure the goals/objectives are clear for everyone, not just half of the team.

You may even receive valuable ideas from your colleagues!

Note that extended work conditions where you do not know why you do what you do may result in quitting the job; you wouldn’t want to lose a valuable resource for a lack of clarify.

2. Prevents surprises / scope creep

This goes for your team and for your clients.

Towards your team, unclear communication can prevent unnecessary work (or rework) due to a misinterpretation of a conversation or an email. A simple word could give an entire different description to a functionality.

As for clients, unclear communication or documentation can leave them interpreting the scope or functionality. Then what happens? Scope creep! If everything is clear right from the start, then this is prevented.

3. Creates better notes and documention

Taking notes is a must in IT projects, there is so much information going around, and the pace of the domain is fast and never-ending, you must take notes.

However, what happens generally? You take quick notes that you understand while writing, but when you look at those notes a week later, you cannot understand half of it.

We have a tendency to write notes that we understand now, but we must take notes that everyone can understand anytime.

It may require to take some more time when noting, or to review/complete our notes right after a meeting, but by doing so, we will save precious time later, either for us or for a colleague.

In conclusion

Take the extra time to clarify how you communicate, whether it’s while talking, while emailing or while documenting, it is important to be clear for everyone, not just for you.

Have you ever worked on a project that wasn’t clear? How did you react to it?