Why We Resist "Capture Everything"

Capture Everything to Free Your Mind

One of the core tenets of the book Getting Things Done by David Allen, is to capture everything. Anything that comes to your mind deserves to be captured. Afterall, your mind comes up with brilliant ideas daily! 

Yet, so many of us resist having tools available to capture our ideas. Or, maybe we have the tools but we tell ourselves stories about why we don't need to, or can't capture everything. I've certainly been guilty of having the same idea over, and over, and over again.

But Why?

Lack of Tools

The primary reason many people don't capture everything, and anything that pops into their head is a lack of a convenient capture mechanisms. In order to capture, you must have something available to receive your input. Whether you choose an entirely electronic based capture system, a paper based system, or a hybrid of the two, you must have something that will hold your ideas. 

I'll Remember

Magical Thinking

Another reason we may not capture items is that we continually tell ourselves, "I'll remember". As much as we'd like to believe our minds are skilled enough to remember all of the ideas we come up with on a daily basis, we're not. I believe the reason we trick ourselves into this thought pattern is that, in some ways, our minds are built like giant filing cabinets. 

We remember things like our multiplication tables, how to drive, a favorite recipe, even the password to our backup hard drive*. This is the type of information that would belong in a file cabinet and therefore our brains tend to retain these long term memories.

Most people wouldn't file every piece of mail, new memo at work, and meaningless receipt in a file cabinet. So, why would you even try to store things such as "need bread", "text Mom about next Tuesday", or "make doctors appointment" in your brain's cabinet? 

Yet, we do it time and again. Rather than saying "Hey Siri, 'add cat litter to my Target list'", we think, "I'll remember I need cat litter next time I'm at Target". We don't.

Capturing your ideas is a form of self respect, not self assignment. 


Capture Does Not Mean Do

Still another reason many folks, with ADHD or not, resist capturing it all is it can seem overwhelming. First off there's all that writing, typing, or speaking into our voice assistant we must do. While that plays a factor, the thought of having TO DO everything we capture is daunting. 

Our ADHD brains are great at coming up with ideas. Very often we are the people friends and co-workers come to when they're in need of a solution. Got a problem? We'll come up with dozens of ways to solve the problem!

Just because something is captured does not mean it's something that must be acted upon. Capturing your ideas is a form of self respect, not self assignment. 


Capture, Don't Judge

I could go on for a few dozen headings about why I believe we don't capture it all, but the last significant reason I'll give here, is that we don't separate having an idea from judging an idea. Almost as soon as we have an idea we jump to a judgement of whether or not the idea is "good", achievable, worthy, sane, etc.

What if we instead adopted an approach of capture now, judge later? This approach would allow us to capture everything that comes to our minds with freedom. Freedom from self imposed judgement which leads to freedom to not have your mind constantly thinking** about the same things. 

Other Reasons

To be sure, these are just a few of the reasons we may resist capture, though I've not heard much mention of them in my journeys. What are some of the reasons you find yourself not capturing it all? Which idea from this post are you willing to explore, and think about? Comment below or on my Ask The Coach channel on Discord. 


* Why is it I sometimes can't remember my spouse's phone number but I have the security app-generated password to my backup drive memorized? 
** There are times that the same idea or thought keeps popping into my head despite the fact it's been captured. I take those instances as an indication that the idea needs to move up on my priority list. 

Standard disclaimer: Just because you read something on the internet does not mean it's great advice for you. Remember to experiment with what "sounds good" to you, and discard the rest.

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