One of the tenets of most productivity systems is that you need to capture everything. While I don’t go quite that far and truly capture everything, I capture most stuff.

One of the best phrases I found to get this point across was written by Tom Clancy and said by his main character Jack Ryan.

If you don’t write it down it didn’t happen.

While my agreement with this didn’t save the world like Jack’s realization did, it’s still a principle to live by. If you want to remember it, then you must write it down. It’s easy to get caught up in the midst of the urgent emails that don’t matter when you don’t have your priorities written down already.

This also applies to planning your day. If you don’t write out a plan and tell you time where to go, nothing good will happen. You’ll get caught up in whatever feels the most important in the moment. Often that’s whatever is making the most noise.

Whatever system you use, you must make sure that it can capture all the bits you need captured or you won’t trust the system and you’ll stop using it.


  1. Do a brain dump of the most important projects you can be working on.
  2. Write down all the tasks that need to get done to launch those projects.
  3. If you really have many projects, cut it down to two. One to focus on, and one to work on when you’re either tired of the first, or waiting on something for the first project to get completed.

If you’re ready to take action then download my free worksheet. It’s going to walk you through the 10 Constraints from my book so you can start doing better work.

Photo by: clement127