Episode 12: You Need A Capturing System

My friend, my friend, my friend. Welcome to today’s episode of The Work Of Becoming podcast where we are gonna talk about capturing systems. Here’s a spoiler alert: you need a capturing system. So, we’re gonna talk about what a capturing system is, when you would know if you would need it, and how to set one up. Okay?

First of all, what the heck is a capturing system? A long time ago, I realized that my brain was a very active place. Particularly when I was in grad school, I would be sitting in class and it would be like fireworks were going off in my brain with this idea for a paper, this task I need to do, this thing I need to do when I get home, this person that I forgot to call back. It was constantly going in my brain, and I thought that that was a normal part of human existence that was unavoidable, and to some extent it is. We’re always gonna have an internal monologue that’s kind of firing off thoughts, but a lot of people feel really overwhelmed by all of those tasks that are kind of popping off in your head.

Let me tell you something about neuroscience for a minute. Your brain wants you to remember things, and so, when you have an idea and you ignore that idea, it will continue to swirl around in your brain and your brain will continue to send it back to you until you act on it or until you remember it. If you are a person who’s impulsive, who’s constantly acting on whatever ideas you have in the moment and constantly shifting tasks as a response to those thoughts, that is another reason you might need a capturing system. A capturing system is exactly what it sounds like. It is a mechanism, it is a system, it is a way, a protocol, of what you do with those things.

So, back in grad school, I started with something very simple. When I was taking notes in class, I would split my paper. So, 75% of the paper was on one side of the line, and 25% of the paper was on the other side of the line. On the 75% side, I would take notes from class. On the 25% side, I would bullet point everything that was swirling around in my brain that was making me distracted from the 75%. So, I would write down all the tasks that were coming up. I would write down all the things I wanted to buy on Amazon that I was thinking about. All of that stuff, I would capture, and then at the end of the week, I would look back on my notes and make sure that I had crossed off or reallocated or decided not to do everything on that list.

I do the same thing now with content ideas. So, if you’re a business owner that’s listening to this, what I do every time I have a content idea is I open up my Notes app, I type whatever it is, and then I use #content, and if you have the Notes app on iPhone, you can create smart folders so that you have everything that’s hashtagged #content into one folder. That is my capturing system for content.

Now, rather than having it swirling around in my brain, my brain knows that it’s written down, and so, that task is marked as complete, and I can refocus on whatever it is that’s in front of me that I actually need to be paying attention to. So, that is what a capturing system is.

I have found that the people who are in most need of a capturing system are the people who feel overwhelmed. Anytime you’re feeling any kind of overwhelmed, it’s likely because you have too much going on in your brain and you’re not bringing that onto paper. I worked with a client in Alliance Coaching recently who was a mom, and she was a working mom. So, she had a full-time job, and she was mom-ing at home, and she was a classic case. She came to me telling me that she felt like a ping-pong ball that was just kind of like ping-ponging around to different tasks. And one of the first things we implemented for her that made the biggest difference, I think, for her was having a task management system (she used Todoist) where it was an app on her phone, she opened it, and she wrote down all the to-dos that came up throughout the day that she remembered.

So, if you are feeling a lot of overwhelm, if you’re feeling like you can’t keep track of the things in your life, if you’re feeling like your thoughts are full of random firework-pop thoughts, that is a sign that you need a capturing system.

The last tip I have is how to implement a capturing system, and I will say I’m gonna talk extensively about this in today’s Change Academy workshop, so make sure that you’re signed up for that. However, the two tips I have for you is number one, keep it as simple as possible. A lot of people want to get some fancy to-do list app, and they want to have multiple categories, and all of this, that, and the other thing, and what that does is it makes it more complex for your brain to get that task in place.

So, for example, we use ClickUp for my business, but logging into ClickUp on my phone, finding the right list, and then putting the content idea on the list? No, no, no, no, no. That’s way too much for me versus putting it all in Notes, I can access that really fast. So, when you’re creating a capturing system, ask yourself, “What is the simplest way that I can get all of this down?”

Tip number two I have is to make sure that you have something in your calendar reminding you to check that place on a regular basis. So, like me, I have that list on 25% of my notes. I had a reminder to myself on Friday to look through that list and write everything down from that list so that I would actually act on those things.

Those are my two tips for you. I hope this gave you some ideas of how you can use a capturing system in your life. I will talk to you later!


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Hi, I'm Karin

I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.


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