Writing it down

I’ve been writing things down for as long as I can remember. Sometimes it’s because my memory is not so good. One of the lies I tell myself is “I’ll remember that. I don’t need to write it down”.

Sometimes when you write something down it’s easier to forget it.

I’ll explain.

I started in real estate in 2003 and in my effort to learn how to work by referral from the start I went to a 3-day seminar to learn how. I paid a lot of money to go and I even signed up for coaching with that company but at the end of the day, I could have learned the most valuable part of that whole thing from an $8.99 book. I’ll tell you more about the book shortly but let’s go back to the lesson I got.

The presenter got up on stage with 2 books. He walked up and down the stage with the books over his head and said “These are for storage” and then pointed to his head and said, “This is for processing”. He had us open our notebooks from the event and said “Write down 50 things you’re trying to remember” and I thought, “50 things?”. I can’t possibly be tracking 50 things.

The surprise to me was that once I got started, writing down 50 things was easy. I wrote down stuff about my car (oil changes, tires, etc), my kids, my wife, and the list kept going.

After about 10 minutes the presenter interrupted and said to stop but the assignment for that evening was to write down 200 things. Now I didn’t have 200 but I remember a list of 187 things I was trying to keep track of in my head.

This was an exercise to show us how things are in the subconscious mind and they are constantly interrupting us. I’ve learned to call them ‘birds’. You know how it is, you’re sitting there thinking about a special stipulation or working on a flyer and all at once your brain reminds you “the right rear tire on your wife’s car looked a little low. You better remember to take care of it or she’s going to be stranded.” That’s a bird. It’s a distraction and it derails the work you’re doing. Some might call it a squirrel.

If you write those things down in a trusted place, you can forget them. At least forget them at the moment and do the work that’s really important. That’s what I mean by being easier to forget.

As to the presenter, the coaching, and the conference, the money was not totally wasted because I count the $3000 I spent on his coaching plus expenses for the trip as tuition and I made sure I learned the lessons. One of my goals is to save you the expense of those lessons if I can.

He was doing his best to teach us how to manipulate others in the same way he was manipulating us. I found a better path about 6 months later and abandoned what he was teaching but I learned that lesson about writing things down. He never gave credit to the source of the lesson about writing down things but I will.

The book I referenced above is by David Allen and it’s called Getting Things Done. David teaches about getting things out of your head, into a trusted system so you can look at all your obligations and decide what to be working on at the moment. The tip David gives that helped me find the true source was the 2 Minute Rule. The presenter mentioned that and I went on a search in a book store.

I found the book and I’m sharing it with you. I also found this clip talking about David’s new edition of his book. Check it out.

That’s all for this one. One caution, you can really get into the weeds with detail when you make the list and I’ll say be careful. Don’t spend so much time making your lists that you don’t get any work done.