Do you have capture fear?

Capture fear is a known ailment among GTDers. Common symptoms include self-induced forgetfulness and a guilt complex. The cause is unknown, but some experts speculate that a compulsive desire to do whatever you wrote down, often immediately, is a leading factor in developing capture fear.  

These people make every written thought into contract with themselves. When they are feeling overwhelmed, they simply stop capturing.  

If you have capture fear, let me assure you that there is help. You can learn to capture your thoughts and save the doing for later. Or simply never do them all. Many other people just like you have been cured.

The key?
1.        Recognize you have problem. Straight from the AA handbook.
2.        Just stop it already. Stop. I mean it. Writing things down is not a binding contract. Treat them as suggestions, not laws.
3.        become a GTD blackbelt. Learn to write your thoughts down and forget them immediately afterwards. Only remember them when you do your Weekly Review or look at your action lists.  And get better at throwing items out. There is more to life than scratching items off a checklist.
Guest Post by Ryan Heathers

Discussion/Comments (2):

Ben Brooks ( 4/16/2009 12:49:57 PM
If I Write Something Down… GTD and Productivity Tech

I think that a lot of people have this very fear. However I would disagree with #2 about treating them as suggestions. I think that is to loose, but I would not treat them as contracts either. I guess it would fall somewhere in between the two.

Ryan Heathers ( 4/16/2009 7:20:43 PM
If I Write Something Down… GTD and Productivity Tech

Ben, thanks for the feedback. I agree with you that "suggestion" is a little weak. Perhaps something along the lines of "priorities" or "potential commitments" hits that middle ground a little better. Reflects the importance of these to-do items without taking away your freedom to ignore them.

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