Young Professionals, Leadership

Am I? vs. I am - a useful tip for getting things done

One valuable tip, at this time of New Year’s resolution angst, is to use what one delightful coach I know calls ‘Brain Science’.  Here is one small application of it to help achieve those things we would like to get done today.

To use language this colleague would approve of, The Brain doesn’t like it when things are left incomplete.  Why do you wake in the night with the name of that person you were struggling to remember earlier?  It’s because your brain kept working on the problem.  Many efficiency gurus suggest that when you want to be creative or problem-solve, you should take a walk or do something distracting that allows your brain to work quietly away on the question you have left it with.

So when you set yourself a goal, it is arguably better to put it to yourself as a question rather than as a statement.  ‘Am I going to do the financial analysis today?’ leaves the brain in a state of unresolved uncertainty.  Will I or won’t I? The matter stays alive until you have your answer  - you’ve either completed  the task or not.  However, ‘I am going to do the financial analysis today’ does not provide the same stimulus, and your brain is more likely to regard this piece of information as uninteresting and more easily forgettable.

Try turning your ‘To Do’ list into a ‘Will I Do?’ list and see if it helps keeps your attention where you want it.