ZTD catch up 3: capture

We are most of the way through March and I am feeling quite good about capture. The danger now is complacency.

There hasn’t been a lot to of capturing to do the last week because not much is coming to the surface. This may be because there is genuinely nothing there, or I am scared of having ideas because I have too many of them or not deleting enough of them. What I have found when being very disciplined with capture in the past is that things that you wouldn’t expect start to rise to the surface; repressed memories from years ago. Sometimes I resist writing these things down.

So, I need to make the push for the last 10 days of the month.

Here are some of the things I’ve noticed:


At work I’ve acquired a big A4 diary. I break a page down into different areas:

One has my three big rocks (priorities). Another has the smaller pebbles that I can do once the rocks are gone. Then I have an area for waiting for, for things that I expect to arrive that day.

I decided against a diary for home: I just don’t do enough here to justify it. On the weekends it would be useful, but I can just use a notebook for writing down tasks.

engage – recognising stress

This weekend I was stressing a bit, and it was partly because I stayed up late with a friend playing chess and drinking scotch. This meant that I woke up at 8am. This weekend I really wanted to change the bar tape on my bike as the old tape was old and falling off. I bought new tape; the problem is that I’d never changed the tape before. I watched a really useful (possibly too long) video that shows you how to do it.

The stress came from the fact that once you start, you can’t pause and finish later, you have to do the whole thing in one go. So I had to wait until my son was asleep.

This is the nature of certain tasks. One of the things on my @Home list is move my mac files to my laptop, as part of the process of getting rid of my desk. I am selling my mac mini and my 27″ screen, to be able to sell my desk, to make a lot more room at home. I’m moving to an old laptop, and I plan to buy a macbook air once I’ve sold a couple more things to fund it.

But I can do that task in phases. I can do a little bite at a time, and stop whenever I need. This has been one of the big revelations of having kids, is that your time has to be dedicated to them, but that leaves little time to get everything else done.

I hate to say it as well but it’s amazing how productive a child makes you. If you don’t take advantage of little windows of time you have, then you won’t get anything done. It will accumulate. If you actually want to get things done at a reasonable speed, then the time is now. There won’t be a later because you have so much other stuff to be doing later.


One of the benefits of capture is additional focus, but it requires discipline. I was reading a paper that I had to focus on to understand. My brain interprets this as the key moment to throw weird and wacky ideas at me, particularly things that I can google and procrastinate on. So the discipline is to write whatever it is down, rather than letting it be an interruption. I’m hoping that eventually, once I’ve practiced this process enough, my brain will actually stop misbehaving!



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