Load, Relax, Capture

Relaxing View for Productivity

Ever met someone who seemed to have it all together? Life just seems “easier” for him; he always has great ideas, doesn’t forget things, and is very productive?

Many creative and efficient people have discovered the benefits of what I call “Load, Relax, Capture.” This is a life strategy for receiving, processing and building on the prolific information we interact with daily.  By embracing this strategy, individuals are able to function effectively in what can frequently be an overwhelmingly complex environment. Here is how it works:

LOAD: This is probably what we talk about most in the organizing world. Every day we are bombarded with images, opinions, tasks, questions, and more. Loading means finding a way to ingest all of this information. Efficient loading requires that we triage what comes at us into categories:

  • Dismiss (trash the email, disregard the comment, pitch the catalog, etc.)
  • Attack (immediately process any item we can “deal with” in under 3 minutes)
  • Stage (any information we need to respond to/act on requiring scheduling to complete)
  • Hold (information we find interesting, don’t necessarily need to respond to, but want to keep around for future reference)

RELAX: Here is the step we often undervalue. If a problem comes into our lives, we often rush to solve it. Sometimes, this is necessary and effective, but often we benefit by holding off and giving ourselves time to reflect and problem solve. In our fast-paced world, we’ve lost the art of “chewing on it” and instead rush to put the fire out. Interestingly, we often get our best ideas when we are not trying to think up solutions. Ever remembered a name out of the blue that you couldn’t retrieve in the moment? Relaxing gives our brains time to process new stimuli, connect seemingly disparate facts and innovate. Exercising, sitting on the beach, taking a nap, listening to music… all of these create space in our minds into which ideas can flow.

CAPTURE: To benefit from the ideas percolating out of our relax time, we need to capture them as they pop up into our brains. This could be as simple as writing in a tiny notebook kept in a pocket or as high tech as keying into an electronic list on a smartphone. The key here is to record any ideas/solutions/etc. exactly when we think of them.  We don’t need to act on them at this time, but rather record them so that they can be accessed later.

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All three aspects of this system need to be in place to experience the maximum benefit. Most of us are naturally stronger in one area than another, so pause and consider what changes you can make that will make you more productive.

When do you get your best ideas? How do you capture them?

10 thoughts on “Load, Relax, Capture”

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    1. I love the idea of the audio recorder while walking in nature. I often find that walking opens my mind to new ideas, often ideas on what to blog about! But if I don’t capture them on the spot, they can quickly disappear. Next time I’m walking, I’ll think of you doing the same:)

  2. I love the points you list under the triage step. It’s so important to take the time to assess if something is really worth responding to. It certainly saves our time and sanity in the long run!

    1. Some of my clients struggle with this. It can be hard to tell what is worth keeping or answering, and what isn’t. Sometimes advertising looks like a true “call to action” from a company we are involved with. Like anything, it is a skill, and as we begin to identify patterns and clues, we can ease the anxiety of this process, which is freeing!

  3. So glad you brought this post back for our reading pleasure. I love this one! While all parts of the process you describe are essential, I particularly have learned in these past few years how essential step #2: RELAX is. The idea of “chewing on it,” which so often doesn’t happen is key. We’re so accustomed to responding quickly, that we can easily lose the value of letting things simmer, even if just overnight. That practice has saved me so many times by allowing my brain the space to ponder and come up with a better solution or response. It required suspending the “instant” mentality to do, but the outcomes are well worth it.
    Linda Samuels recently posted…How to Use “Dumpster Envy” to Get MotivatedMy Profile

    1. I’ve had the same experience, Linda. Allowing ourselves time is critical to optimizing our thought process. Sometimes, a quick response is required. At others, reflection and creativity are the “secret sauce” of success. Relaxation, time in nature, exercise time… all of these nourish parts of us that ultimately are quite productive.

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