You brain is a brilliant machine. It is able to come up with the craziest ideas. There is one thing your brain cannot do: remind you about something exactly the moment you need to remember it. To fix this, your brain will remind you regularly about something you shouldn’t forget. Most of the times the timing will be off. You’ll be thinking of emptying the trash when you’re already on the train to work, for example. These thoughts are distracting and can be really annoying.

Getting Things Done by David Allen is built around the concept of “a mind like water”. It is the absolute opposite than what I’ve described earlier. His concept is really simple:

Stop keeping things in your head and store them in a trusted place.

The nice thing about your brain is that it’s actually pretty easy to please. As soon as it is sure something is taken care of, it will stop sending you these “local notifications”. Obviously you want to store all of your things in a system where you’re sure you’ll get back to at the right time. There is a lot of software to help you with this, but a simple notepad and a pencil will work great too.

It will only work when there is NOTHING that is not in your trusted system. David Allen provides a framework to make sure this won’t happen and doesn’t creep back in. If you want to be more effective, read this book.