When I have an idea for a dot topic, it becomes a task to be done but requires little thinking time. I can usually sit down and write a dot in a matter of a few minutes. But if I’m not clear on a subject and corresponding lesson, I can think about it for hours without ever putting a word on the page. The identification of the content moves writing a blog from a thinking exercise to a task to be accomplished and allows all my energy to be dedicated toward getting it done.

I think everyone is far more productive when working on tasks instead of nebulous thought projects. Instead of ruminating about what I could incorporate into a syllabus, I turn thinking-into-task by putting my short list of options on paper to make it easier to choose what I use. I keep running lists of many things: dot ideas, things to do, gift suggestions, books to read – so that I can select one when warranted (task) instead of generating ideas from scratch (thinking). I try to start on a big project – the hardest part for me – so that what remains is more of a task to finish instead of a more daunting requirement to think about all of its component parts.

Consider strategies that you can incorporate to turn your thinking into tasks. Set up a weekly menu, so the object becomes making dinner instead of spending time wondering what to have for your next meal. Keep a cheat sheet of the clothes you pack for a trip so you know which outfit to wear for the day (task) instead of staring into your suitcase trying to remember what you brought (thinking). Develop a checklist for onboarding of new employees so you can focus your attention on making the experience special instead of spending brain power trying to remember all of the steps.

Yes, there is great value in thinking and allocating time to allow your mind to roam free – and it requires more time and mental capacity than most of us have for routine projects and daily responsibilities. Create systems to minimize the time spent thinking about inconsequential matters so that your brain and calendar are free to ruminate about the really important choices.

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