Success Secret 6: The Magic of Writing Things Down

Published by Linda Rolf on 3/12/2019 and updated 11/17/2021

6.  Outsource Those Distracting Thoughts to Writing

"I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say."

--- Flannery O'Connor

Outsourcing all of the stuff rolling around in your head to written words has immediate payback. There are no special skills, talents or tools required. You don’t have to be an award-winning wordsmith. You don’t even have to like to write.

This is an easy get-things-done ritual that anyone can start doing right now.  When you find yourself distracted by all of the disconnected thoughts sucking up your mental bandwidth, hit pause. Start making notes without worrying about format and structure. You have permission to ignore all the things your high school English teacher drilled into you.

The goal is to declutter your mind so you can focus on your important work right now. Your distracting thoughts need to be captured before they’re gone. You can decide later what to do with them.

The tools you choose should be ones that do the job for you comfortably. If you find yourself spending more time mastering the tools than making your brain dump notes, then you might want to stop and find a more useful tool. No one will grade you on your technique so make it your own.

I confess to being a spiral notebook and blue Pilot Precise V5 note writer. The act of physically writing the words or drawing my very unartistic pictures puts my cluttered thoughts away for the moment. There is a very real feeling of relief when I erase my mental whiteboard and make room for the next round of random thoughts.


Adopting a writing habit is rewarding, even for the most diehard non-writer. Your thoughts have more clarity. You can focus on creating the value that matters to your organization and your clients. There is a surprising sense of accomplishment that naturally moves you forward with a positive, upbeat attitude.

Writing frees your unconscious mind to explore the hidden possibilities in seemingly unrelated ideas. Watching the dots connect in unexpected ways as you write is an eye-opening experience.

GrowinByte 23

Grab Your Note-Writing Tools

Pick the writing tools that you're most comfortable with. Remember, no one is grading you on form, style or your tool choices.

Without thinking too much about it, just begin dumping what is rolling around in your head onto paper or screen. Keep going until you feel your thoughts slowing down.

As ideas, thoughts, "I need to remember to do ..." pop into your head, write them down. Right then. Not later.

Do you notice how all of those nagging thoughts are becoming quieter?

GrowinByte 24

From My Reading Collection. You Might Like Them Too

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyl

Jump ahead to all 8 Successful Secrets For Getting Things Done

I hope you enjoyed your snack!

GrowinBytes snack

Linda Rolf is a lifelong curious learner who believes a knowledge-first approach builds valuable client relationships.

She is fueled by discovering the unexpected connections among technology, data, information, people and process. For more than four decades, Linda and Quest Technology Group have been their clients' trusted advisor and strategic partner.

Linda believes that lasting value and trust are created through continuously listening, sharing knowledge freely, and delivering more than their clients even know they need.

As the CIO of their first startup client said, "The value that Quest brings to Cotton States is far greater than the software they develop."

 Our Partner Promise

Quest Technology Group
315 E. Robinson Street • Suite 525
Orlando, FL 32801
Phone: 407 . 843 . 6603


© 1991-2024 Quest Technology Group, LLC All rights reserved. Your Privacy Matters