One of the big problems that professionals have in learning how to improve their productivity is to discipline themselves to follow the simple principle of putting items in existence by making them tangible and visible.
Making something “tangible and visible” is the same as writing it down in a place from where it can be reliably retrieved when the item is needed. In other words, it means taking a Time Demand from one’s memory and writing it down, effectively outsourcing its storage from brain cells to paper.
For example, a conversation that results in a decision to take a certain course of action needs to be made “tangible and visible” by recording it in a capture point of some kind. Some possible capture points could include:
- a paper notepad
- a digital voice recorder
- a voice mail
- a piece of email
- an appointment in a PDA
- a reminder in a cell phone
- on a white-board with a marker
These are all valid capture points that can put the conversation in existence in a tangible place.
Professionals often make the error of over-relying on their memories, and underrating the importance of making things tangible and visible. My observation is that everyone from CEOs to front-line employees make this very fundamental of mistakes.
The cost to companies is staggering in terms of lost productivity, wasted time.