Easy: follow orders; think, but only a little; and don’t use it for data storage.
I’ve learned over the years that my brain works best when it follows orders and processes for getting things done. I am a big believer in establishing processes to get things done. In fact, if you were to ask me what my number mode-of-operation (MO) for how I work, its processes.
I absolutely like to put a repeatable task into a process. Thinking takes time and brain power, both which are limited, so I like to think carefully once about how to design the process for the future. This allows me to focus on doing instead of thinking the next time I need to complete the task. It also allows others to use the same process to complete the task so that it’s not dependent on me to get it done.
Even if a task is not repeatable, there are always other processes and tools to draw on to help guide me. For example, developing a marketing strategy is customized to each company and product, but there’s a process I’ve put in place to help guide me through it each time.
Putting a process in place generally means documenting it, and since my brain has a limited storage capacity (that I can consciously recall), I need to document it so I can access it easily, quickly and almost at anytime. This means using digital storage that is accessible across all devices (laptop, smartphone, tablet or any PC connected to the cloud). Documenting helps reduce my stress because I don’t have to worry about remembering it.
For me, my digital storage mediums include Evernote, MSFT Skydrive for Office documents, Google Drive for other stuff and sharing, Mozy for backup and instant access to all my files, and Gmail. Why email? Because it has 10+ years of every version of every document I have ever sent to or received from someone (16 gigs and counting). I NEVER delete my email because who knows what I will need and when.
Think about your day and all the things you accomplished. What was something completely new that you did? What was something you’ve done before? Maybe some of it was new, but some of it was done before. I bet at least 85% of it was something repeated. If so, document it and put it into a process so that you don’t have to re-think it again in the future. Save your brain power for when you really need to think.
Disclosure: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to brands, products or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.