"I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say."
--- Flannery O'Connor
Outsourcing all of the stuff rolling around in your head to written words has immediate payback. There are no special skills, talents or tools required. You don’t have to be an award-winning wordsmith. You don’t even have to like to write.
This is an easy get-things-done ritual that anyone can start doing right now. When you find yourself distracted by all of the disconnected thoughts sucking up your mental bandwidth, hit pause. Start making notes without worrying about format and structure. You have permission to ignore all the things your high school English teacher drilled into you.
The goal is to declutter your mind so you can focus on your important work right now. Your distracting thoughts need to be captured before they’re gone. You can decide later what to do with them.
The tools you choose should be ones that do the job for you comfortably. If you find yourself spending more time mastering the tools than making your brain dump notes, then you might want to stop and find a more useful tool. No one will grade you on your technique so make it your own.
I confess to being a spiral notebook and blue Pilot Precise V5 note writer. The act of physically writing the words or drawing my very unartistic pictures puts my cluttered thoughts away for the moment. There is a very real feeling of relief when I erase my mental whiteboard and make room for the next round of random thoughts.
Adopting a writing habit is rewarding, even for the most diehard non-writer. Your thoughts have more clarity. You can focus on creating the value that matters to your organization and your clients. There is a surprising sense of accomplishment that naturally moves you forward with a positive, upbeat attitude.
Writing frees your unconscious mind to explore the hidden possibilities in seemingly unrelated ideas. Watching the dots connect in unexpected ways as you write is an eye-opening experience.