From our Uniquely Brilliant Podcast

Episode 89: Get Things Done

Each week on our Uniquely Brilliant Podcast, Diana Bader and I talk about strategies for creative, quirky, and extraordinary thinkers – and I know all of you fit that criteria! We share our experiences, our stories, and our strategies for surviving and thriving at home, at school, and at work.

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In this episode of Uniquely Brilliant, Diana and I explore concepts from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done where he describes the 5 step process he developed to help himself and others become more productive. We picked this topic because this is the productivity system I use.

My productivity secret!

The key tenet is capturing everything – every thought, every wish, every plan, every item on your to-do list, every idea for an article, a project, a vacation, a honey-do, or retirement.

It’s pure genius. I’ve found that when I take the time to capture everything that’s flying around in my mind, all of the sudden I become more creative; I have more insights into what I’m doing and how to meet my clients’ needs.

Cognitive load of incompletions?

And that’s because I have lessened my “cognitive load of incompletions.” That’s a mouthful, huh? Here’s what it means. Our brains want us to reach our goals. Our brains also want us to complete any task we have on our mind. So as long as our goals and tasks are floating around in our brains, we will feel tugged in a million different directions.

When we write down (capture) those items/ things/ ideas/ to-do’s, our brains let them go and start working on what’s not written down. Hmmmmm.


Which begs the question, “How on earth do I capture all the stuff in my head?!?!?!?” I get that. Here’s what I do. I use two apps: Nozbe (for to-do lists and projects) and Evernote (for blog ideas, random ideas, articles and books I read, and everything else) to capture everything I can. Both apps run on my laptop, my tablet, and my phone, so I always have access to them. I also use traditional file folders. The trick is to identify the combination that works for you.

There are dozens of apps and non-tech ways to capture what’s on your mind. Listen to the podcast and found out more about how it all works.

You can listen on YouTube here (no need to download anything).

Show Notes:

5 Steps to Productivity

David Allen’s 5 steps to productivity: Capture, Clarify, Organize, Reflect, and Engage.


  • Get every idea, task, and to-do item out of your head and put it somewhere.
  • Whether you use an app, a whiteboard, a notebook, or something else, find a place you trust to store your ideas.
  • Developing this habit prevents the “cognitive load of incompletions” (Roy Baumeister).


Process the ideas.

  • Ask “Is this important to me now?”
  • Ask “Does it add value?”
  • Use the 2 minute rule. If it only takes 2 minutes to deal the item, do it immediately.


  • Where does this belong?
  • Give ideas and projects a priority.
  • What do I need get done today?


  • Review what your tasks and projects so you learn to trust your choices.
  • Schedule time for reflection.
  • Reflection creates more clarity.


  • Take the first step.
  • Don’t let worrying about the end result paralyze you and keep you from moving forward.

You’ve got this!

You can do this, right? I know you already make list after list and keep files on your future plans and ideas. When you move to capturing everything that’s on your mind in your preferred system, you will be amazed – really, you will – at how productive you become.

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Get ‘er done!