I'm pretty confident that I know what I should - and shouldn't - be doing at a given time. I keep my OmniFocus setup clean, carry out daily reviews (some good thoughts on this) instead of weekly and, generally, I feel unencumbered by stress when I leave work for home.

However, I've struggled in the last couple of weeks:

  • 5am starts? Check.
  • Returning home late? Yah.
  • Stress/general feelings of anxiety? You betcha.

I thought that reviewing daily meant I captured everything on my mind and, therefore, I didn't need the full-blown "get everything out of your head" effort each week.

Turns out not to be true and I was stressed out for 4 weeks until I understood why. I first attempted to fix this problem by adding a one-off task to OmniFocus called "go somewhere and complete a quick brain sweep". This lay dormant for days as I repeatedly reviewed it and chose not to do it. Then I worked out why:

  1. I was subconsciously afraid of capturing all the built up "stuff" in my head and the effort required to deal with it
  2. The title of the task was poor, I wasn't specific about where I had to go

I rewrote the task as "Go to the Nordic Bakery with your notebook/pen and capture everything that's on your mind". At lunch, I left the office, bought a strong coffee and sat down. I sat there for 30 mins and wrote and wrote and wrote. End result? Six pages of stuff, notes and strange doodles that I needed to deal with. I felt so much better afterwards: anxiety gone and I looked forward to getting stuck into my, by now very full, OmniFocus inbox.

I'm continuing to do daily reviews. I've also scheduled 1 session per week away from the office with just my notebook and pen. It's astonishing how much your mind appears to work against you if you let it.