kendi and bryan’s dream report: week eight

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I have always been a “piles” kind of person. My papers rarely find themselves alone, but rather stacked together with other papers that may or may not have any obvious connection to one another…except to me. Albeit strange, I can typically remember where and why things are stacked together, and if I am looking for something in particular, I can usually remember where it is. Usually.

You can see how this method can quickly become problematic in a business…especially in a business that you operate with someone else…acutely so, when that someone else is your wife. Suddenly my piles of receipts, orders, sales plans, and everything else aren’t nearly as effective piled together on my desk. So I am working on getting organized…in a standard sense. Expense Reports are completed monthly, current projects are properly labeled with Clients’ names, and then filed alphabetically. Someone else could actually go through my file cabinets and it would be obvious why something is where it is.

(warning: they use the f word once.)

In going through this process though, I realized it was not just with papers that I was piling things up, but that I also kept mental inventory this way. Tasks, conversation, and memories all get piled up into their “appropriate” group and mentally stored. Suddenly, looking at the papers strewn across my desk I became fearful of the ideas strewn across my mind. I had been mentally filing much of my thoughts and action points for our business rather than writing them down. Rather than creating a task or check list to see what needs to be done and in what order, I operated off advice and conversation and what information could be recalled when prompted. Although the goal of officially launching was never hard to pull up, I had a lot of sub-folders.

Anxious about what was lurking around in my head, Kendi and I sat down together with a pen and paper. Together we talked through the ideas that had not yet been verbalized or put into our plan of action. We both emptied out what we knew, what we hoped for, and how we were going to make it a reality. And then we started a list. In order of priority, we listed all the things that we knew needed to be taken care of in order to launch. And when it was done, I was actually surprised that it was much shorter than I had anticipated. Now ideas that might be walking around in my head or accidentally get placed into the wrong mental folder were written in order in front of me. All I had to do was start on number one.

Since then, I also discovered which has been a lifesaver for mental notes to be keyed in immediately. While I never think I will lose the process and tendency of piling my thoughts and papers, I have found a new satisfaction of crossing off completed steps, one at a time.


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  1. Lisa @MindfulBIZ

    A “brain dump” like what you described is fantastic to do regularly to clear the mind. It makes it so much easier to figure out your priorities and focus on them. I use teuxdeux too and LOVE it!

  2. Bryan

    @Lisa, For someone with years of collected thoughts, I am actually finding the “brain dump” quite liberating. And teuxdeux really helps… I have even started adding things I have already done, just to be able to scratch them off.

  3. Nicole Martin

    Bryan, I can totally relate… except I brain dump into lists. Many, many lists that inevitably get misplaced. I do this at work, at home for chores and errands, and especially with my blog since it’s not a full-time focus. I’m going to try using teaudeux – perhaps I will actually follow up on most of my thoughts!! Thanks for sharing and good luck, you guys are going to do great 🙂

  4. kelsey

    Great advice here, Bryan. David Allen has similar tips in his book, Getting Things Done. It really helps! And I think I need that Teuxdeux app!

  5. Bryan

    @Nicole – If you love lists, you will absolutely love teuxdeux. Dump all of your lists and if something doesnt get completed, it will automatically roll to the next day. It really is a lifesaver. Thanks for the support!

    @Kelsey – Thanks for the book suggestion…as I can always use more help.

  6. Lisa

    I can totally relate — at any given point in time I could easily have several things that need to be done running through my head. I’m not working with someone else, but I did get to the point where it was just too overwhelming. I thought it would be silly to write down “design logo.” Of course I knew I needed to do that! But I too recently discovered the beauty of Teux Deux and brain dumped everything into that, even the big picture items. It’s been helpful to be able to dump things there, rearrange as needed, and break the larger items down into smaller tasks in the “someday” section.

  7. Megan Biram

    Guilty as charged. I’m a pile pro! Definitely something I’m always working on organizing. Loved your story.

  8. Raj

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on clutter Brian. I was so inspired by this post (and the entire series in fact,) that I got started on my own organization projects all over the house!

  9. Bryan

    @Megan- I will be sure to let you know when the pile-o-lympics comes around!

    @Raj- I’m happy to share my own story of piles, and best of luck getting organized.

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