A computer’s RAM (Random Access Memory) can become overloaded and then shut down a whole computer. In his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity, David Allen describes the concept of ‘psychic RAM’ and notes that it, too, can become overloaded and shut you down. This article gives you some great reasons for emptying out your psychic RAM and some suggestions for how to do so. Prepare to more productive!
Consider your amazing brain and all the things that you are trying to keep in mind at any given time as your ‘psychic RAM’ and tend to it. It’s a powerful concept. Some reasons why you need to empty your psychic RAM include:
- Your stress is reduced.
- You won’t have things fall through the cracks if you get them out of your head and onto paper or an electronic system.
- You are more clear-headed.
- You are more effective.
- You are more efficient.
- You are less likely to be overwhelmed.
- You are more creative.
- You are a better listener.
- You can sleep. And hold onto your hat because here comes the reason to trump all reasons, when you have emptied your psychic RAM…
- There’s room in your head to actually think.
Whew! Aren’t these good reasons!
Now, here are some ideas for how to empty your psychic RAM:
- Never miss the opportunity to write something down.
- Have good places for capturing your thoughts (planner, PDA, etc).
- Process those places regularly.
- Avoid having too many places where you collect your thoughts.
- Go through your calendar…day by day, month by month and see what pops into your head. Then write it down and get it out of your psychic RAM!
- Just sit and think. Your brain is happy to tell you what is whirling around in there. Just give it time to do so. Then write it down and get it out of your psychic RAM.
- Walk around your house and see what pops into your head and capture those thoughts.
- Walk around your office, classroom, or lab and see what pops into your head and capture those thoughts.
- Ask those close to you, “Is there anything I need to be attending to?” Capture what they tell you.
- While you’re sitting in meetings, see what pops into your head–and it may or may not be related to the meeting. That’s OK. Capture it (see Tip #1 above).
Once you get started keeping a clear psychic RAM, you won’t believe the difference. So, take a few minutes and start right now. And then….