The Pros and Cons of Writing Things Down, and the Six Blog Posts that Won’t Happen (Probably)
One key GTD principle is that if you have a thought that you want to act on, but which you can’t act on right away, you write it down. You then process it later along with the rest of the stuff in your inbox (or capture tool).
I am a big believer in that principle. And I also see that it has a slight down side: the more ideas you write down, the more time you have to spend processing them — thus taking time away from literally doing things (or just doing nothing).
As a result, sometimes I try to have a very tight filter over what I actually write down when it comes to actionable ideas. But this also has a trade-off: some of those ideas don’t come back, and if they are good, that means they won’t happen.
Maybe in some way or another the best of them end up coming back (though it is interesting that David Allen observed once that “if you have to have the same thought twice, that’s inefficient”).
However, I think that there are at least six such ideas that probably won’t. For over the weekend I had about six really good (in my opinion!) ideas for blog posts which, in my desire to save time and not overwhelm myself with input, I didn’t write down. (Plus, I was also outside — although that’s no excuse, because I am now using Jott for iPhone as my capture tool.)
Now, they are gone — I cannot remember them at all. The one thing I do remember about them is that they pertained to current, ad hoc observations on certain things — examples of productivity problems and how to deal with them, and so forth. Their ad hoc nature is probably one of the main reasons that I can’t remember what they are anymore. There is one other thing I remember about them, I guess — I found them interesting (though maybe I forgot them becasuse you wouldn’t have!).
Regardless, here we see an immediate, real-life example of the pros and cons of writing things down (or not)!