The book Getting Things Done by David Allen is a terrific personal and productivity instruction manual, and ideal for those of us with Adult ADHD. While the whole process appears rather daunting to me, the first stage of his five-stage method for managing your personal and professional life (or 'workflow' as he calls it) is very useful for me. This is called the collection process - gathering all of the 'incompletes' of our lives into a centralized collection list of some sort.
Below I quote David Allen describing a brief summary of his overall system, plus a more detailed explanation of the collection process. I also have included an extremely useful tool ( here is a link to the PDF file ) which will methodically lead you through a collection process covering many aspects of your entire life. I found this tool created by Kathy Paauw, a professional organizer and certified business & personal coach on her website http://www.orgcoach.net . This tool will help you to develop a big list of items written down - and therefore (as David Allen's theory goes) a big list of items no longer floating around in your head, taking up memory and distracting you for the necessary priorities.
Note: Make sure that you devote at least a couple of hours in a place where you can control or minimize your distractions - and recognize that the very act of thinking deeply and comprehensively about items you have not attended to can be anxiety-inducing. So give yourself breaks, and go easy on yourself if you feel guilty. Guilt was a necessary guiding force when you were young, so as not to violate the unassailable, implicit and explicit rules of authority figures around you. But now that you're all grown up, you may wish to allow yourself to question your feelings of guilt and perhaps allow yourself to behave in self-serving ways, counter to the messages of authority - towards the goal of reclaiming your lost agency and parts of your self, i.e. to reconnect with who you are.
David Allen's summary of the process behind Getting Things Done
"THE CORE PROCESS I teach for mastering the art of relaxed and controlled knowledge work is a five-stage method for managing work flow. No matter what the setting, there are five discrete stages that we go through as we deal with our work. We (1) collect things that command our attention; (2) process what they mean and what to do about them; and (3) organize the results, which we (4) review as options for what we choose to (5) do. This constitutes the management of the "horizontal" aspect of our lives—incorporating everything that has our attention at any time."Collection process details
"Gathering 100 Percent of the "Incompletes"
Here are Kathy Paauw's instructions for downloading the incompletes in your life. You may wish to adapt it to include 'trigger questions' that are more appropriate to your own life
"Begin the DownloadI hope you've found this post useful. At the very least, read the David Allen summary of the collection process, and download and print out Kathy Paauw's PDF document of the instructions for downloading the incompletes in your life, and take some time to go through it, with a blank pad of paper and a pen beside you in a quiet room.
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