I want to write more but my brain is overwhelmed or disorganized

Cognitive Unloading


The Context

Is everything you know written down somewhere? Can that material can be accessed anytime, anywhere, through a number of devices, platforms and technologies, in less than a minute? Good. That way, when it comes time to sit down and create something new, your cognitive load is lower, which means your leverage is higher.

The Tool

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Cognitive Unloading

COGNITIVE UNLOADING — Outsource as many mental tasks as possible to other people, things and processes

Do you understand what a huge asset this tool is to a creative person? It means you never have to remember anything, never have to start from scratch, and never have to worry about waiting for inspiration. It’s like having a nametag for your brain. There’s no need to remember who this person is, you just say their name and get on with the conversation. What’s your nametag? How are you reducing your cognitive load? Try creating a habit structure that frees up your mental capacity, so you can allocate your attention to more meaningful tasks. The human psyche is already handicapped enough its ability to focus. And so, don’t spend too much time working in your head, otherwise you’ll leave little room for other kinds of mental processes that will help you get closer to your goals. Keep it small and simple at first, and soon you’ll start applying this practice of leverage to every area of your life.

Scott's Take

Scott's Take

Wearing a nametag every day for twenty years has taught me the power of reducing cognitive load. Like when strangers thank me for having the label on my shirt. That’s one less name for me to remember, they laugh. And my response is always, sure thing, happy to help. Not all heroes wear capes. The problem is, that device only works in one direction. But what about me? My brain wants relief from remembering and reminding too. Imagine if the micro moment of peace someone experiences from not having to worry about remembering names could be multiplied exponentially? Life would feel a lot lighter and freer. That’s why it’s become an exciting and rewarding practice for me to find small, simple ways to reduce my cognitive load. To outsource as many mental tasks as possible to other people, things and processes. That way my mind is freed up to do what it does best without encumbrance, so it can focus on experiencing the joy and beauty that life has to offer. My writing process is the best example. Coworkers, clients, friends and family members alike ask me how it’s possible to publish such a high volume of output in such a short amount of time. Three books a year? A new album every eighteen months? Do you even sleep? Quite a lot and quite well, in fact.

The Rest

Cognitive unloading is one of the most addictive tools in personal creativity management. The excitement and gratification of finding ways to make your life lighter and freer is like nothing else. Is it foolhardy to think you can handle your current cognitive load?

The Benefits

Make your creative life freer and lighter
Increase your execution speed from the start
Reduce the likelihood of option anxiety
Produce a high volume of output in a short period of time
Free up your mental capacity to allocate attention to more meaningful tasks
Liberate yourself from having to make a thousand other decisions down the road
Redirect energy you save from not having to think about chickenshit into meaningful pursuits
Optimize your life so you paint yourself in a simple, life giving, stress avoiding, streamlined corners

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