Do you ever have any of these problems?

1) You are doing some work, then you get distracted by something - an email, a text, a phone call, an idea - a while later you realize that you have been completely distracted from the job you were doing and are doing something completely different from the original task.

2) You are in the car or somewhere else where it would be inconvenient to write, and you start to think about things you have to do - a call, a project, an errand, a business idea. Suddenly you start to feel a bit stressed as all these things are buzzing round in your head and you're trying to remember them all.

3) A day goes by and you realized the tasks that you set out to do haven't been done at all as so many other distractions came along.

The answer? You need a way to capture all this information so that you can deal with it at the correct time. And the two devices to use are..........

1) A notepad

2) A voice recorder (mine is a simple app on my iphone).

So here is an example of how to use these devices. You are doing some work - let's say you're working on a project. While you are working, you receive a text message. Not only does the text message need a reply quite soon, but it also requires you to call someone else first to get some information.. Usually you would make that call and reply to the text. DON'T.  Write it down in your notepad and keep working. 

Then you remember there is an email you should have sent which is way overdue. Again, write it down and keep working. The same goes for any ideas you have or ANY other distraction. Unless it is life or death and has to be done in the next hour, don't let it take you away from what you are doing.

At the end of the time you have set yourself to work on your task, you can add all this information into an appropriate system to be done at the right time and cross it out of the notebook. In my next article, I will write about how you can build your own time management system. But for now, lets just say you have some system to track everything you need to do. I use The Journal, which you can get here

You will be amazed how much more productive you are in completing your tasks when you don't get taken away by all these little distractions. It is also very de-stressing - once these things are out of your head and onto a piece of paper, you can relax knowing that they will get done at the right time. You can really focus on the task in hand.

Another common situation is being in the car (or somewhere else where it is difficult to write) and you start thinking of things you have to do. It can be stressful trying to keep all these things in your head. Use the voice recorder here - record the thought then forget about it until you can add it to your system. Have a habit of transferring info from your voice recorder and notebook once or twice per day.

So using this simple process will decrease the stress in your life and make you more productive. But you must always have your notepad and / or voice recorder with you or the system won't work. Get in the habit of having them with you all the time. Whenever you have any thought about anything which you can't or shouldn't deal with there and then, get it out of your head, relax and get on with what you were doing.