The two most important parts of a personal productivity system that I’ve learned are capturing and refiling.
The idea of a “capture” comes from Getting Things Done (GTD) where you have a low friction way of capturing any task and putting it somewhere. This allows you to reliably queue up work so you don’t need to use your limited mental bandwidth to keep track of it. It also give you a moment to decide if you should do it right now (if it takes a few minutes it’s better to do it right away because of queuing cost).
Refiling is going through the list of captured tasks and deciding what to do with each item. This is a chance to decide when you want to do it, how important it is, and where it should go. Separating refiling from capturing further lowers the friction to getting tasks into the system and builds confidence that you will actually look at it later.
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Open tasks occupy short-term memory until they are done. It’s distracting to have so many open tasks because it’s natural to keep thinking about them.