Organizing My Thoughts
Putting Thoughts on Paper
David Allen Getting Things Done Video Speaks at Google
As CEO, I spend a fair amount of time thinking and organizing thoughts. Strategic decisions like what partnerships to explore, what markets to go after, what type of people to hire, and how to get the company to work better together takes a lot of mind energy. With so many parts to our business, I have to be very organized with my thoughts. When I'm not, I often find that there is more ambiguity, and less focus.
Some People Talk to a Camera to Organize Thoughts - Warning: This is a strange video
Brainstorming and Coaches
My process for organizing thoughts begins by talking with other people. This is one aspect that you have to be careful with in a company. Some people like to brainstorm, and others don't. The second thing I find that works well is to get opinions from experienced people. One good thing about Silicon Valley, that when it comes to startups, there are lots of people to offer advice with the scares to back it up.
Putting Thoughts on Paper
So, I churn and churn on the problem as I'm getting feedback. When I have an issue, it stays in my mind day and night. I keep working on solutions until I have two or three reasonable ways to approach the problem.
Then comes chunking it down on paper. I often find that as a problem is dissected and solutions come to mind that they can often be complex. To make sure that the solution matches the problem, I write it down in my notebook. Sometimes a list and sometimes the pros and cons. Which ever feels right for the particular situation I'm trying to address.
One tip is to use a large pad of paper and make lists of all your thoughts. Reorder the list to have it make sense if things need to be done sequentially. Keep working on the list until it becomes an outline. At that point, an outline is pretty well organized for communicating an idea or filling it in to give a speech.
How Does it Feel
After I come up with a path to tackle a problem, I try to visualize how it would feel if it was happening now. I like to ask my self a simple question, does it feel right? If not, I know I have more to do and to keep working on the problem. This is where it can be difficult to identify what exactly is making a solution feel like it won't address the problem.
One thing we all need to do to organize thoughts is to understand ourselves. To know our strength and weaknesses, and to be honest in that assessment. I enjoy harmonious communication. So when I'm organizing my thoughts, I do my best to make sure that the solution isn't one that avoids conflict just because I prefer other ways of communicating.
After going through the process of organizing thoughts, my goal is to have a plan of attack. A clear action plan with a goal. Taking the time to organize and plan will help save you time and make you more efficient.
Off to plan some thoughts....