Your Brain is Untrustworthy & Discipline #1

The COPE System Part 2/5: Discipline # 1 – The Capture Habit  (if you missed part 1, go here)

Trust is necessary for any solid relationship, and this includes the relationship with your brain.  

The problem is, your brain will convince you that it will remember every little thing that happens to come up.  

But it won’t.  

And a few moments later we move on to something else, and we don’t even realize what we’ve forgotten.  And a week later, if that lost idea/task was important, we may have to spend an hour, or a few hours — or a day —  battling a fire. This is a huge waste of time.

You’ve gone to the store to get something, and returned with everything except the thing you went for.  You’ve gone into a room and can’t remember why you went there. You’ve got an important task to remember, and you tell yourself you’ll get to it later, but you don’t write it down, and it evaporates.

Our brains are excellent at some things and very unreliable at others.  

High on the list of things it’s NOT good at, is giving us the right info at the right time. The human brain is simply bad at remembering little things that accumulate throughout the day.

This is why the Capture Habit is foundational.

It’s a simple habit, to “capture” anything you want to remember.

You capture it so you can confidently defer it, moving it out of your current attention, and making it available for whenever you decide to engage with it.  

When a good idea comes into your brain, or when someone asks you for something, or when you remember something you need to do, or when you have an important insight — improvements, courtesies, obligations, innovations … you WRITE IT DOWN and STORE IT in a SINGLE PLACE.  The same way. Every time.

A crucial key is to make it as easy as possible to capture something. Your capture tool should be on you at all times.  It should take you less than THREE SECONDS to go from wanting to capture something, to actually capturing it.

This habit is among the most powerful strategies you can employ to keep a clear head on a consistent basis.

If you have things bumping around in your brain … you NEED to capture them, to get them OUT of your head, so you can focus on important things.  

But to actually relax, your mind needs to trust your system.  

It needs to know that what is captured will be revisited.  Consistency is so important because it builds and ensures TRUST.  (This is where Discipline #2 – Organize comes into play.)

Most people have experienced writing lists, but not looking at them … and losing trust in the list … so they stop writing lists. But the problem isn’t lists — it’s that we have so many of them, in different places that are ultimately ignored.

Choose one capture location, and stick with it.

All this is the what and how and why of the Capture Habit.  But to really GET STARTED, when you begin building your system, do a Global Capture — a big LIFE CAPTURE where you get ALL the stray notions out of your mind.  How?  

You literally purge, write down everything that’s been on your mind.  Big, small … all of it. Dump it ALL out.  Then chunk things together into like-categories —  family, projects, work, home, etc. These become the “buckets”, the “life areas.”

You can also switch the order: first, define your life areas (buckets), then, dump everything into the right place. These areas and projects are the building blocks of the Organize Discipline, as we’ll see in the next blog.

Building a system is not easy. People fall off, start again, quit, resolve, again, etc…  That’s okay. It’s expected. Toddlers learn to walk, and fall down … do they stop trying?

Steadily, if you continue, you’ll be amazed at what this system can do for you.

You’ll feel free, calm, knowing that anytime something comes into your head, you will deal with it at the appropriate time, with competence and professionalism. Things will stop falling through the cracks and you’ll seem to have it all together, almost magically.

Getting traction on your life, your business starts with a decision and then its follow-through. Decide to build the Capture Habit today, and reap the rewards.

Look for my next Blog on Discipline #2 – Organize

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