Another key learning from this process of researching and composing my MA dissertation has been a rediscovery of the centrality of ‘Ubiquitous Capture’ as a behaviour. This is a core practice of the GTD methodology, and one I am mostly in the habit of observing. But given the amount of work to be done on this dissertation and the time scale involved I have gained a new appreciation for its utility. Whether it was on my daily commutes, lunch breaks, or sitting in the car with a sleeping baby in the back seat, all opportune thoughts, ideas, and insights went into the Notes app on my iPod , or were jotted into one of many small black notebooks as they occurred to me.
Even as the majority of these notes were heavily revised or simply abandoned, the importance of recording all such relevant thoughts as they occur made the task of actual composition far more efficient. Being able to start with some raw materials ready for crafting and refining means that I always have something to work on for those days when my mind was unprepared to tackle an intimidating blank page.
Thinking that your brain works on any project only during its allocated time is a self-defeating fallacy, one that this practice routes around. Helpful as this practice was in marshaling all of my thoughts for this dissertation, it really is a critical life skill with broad application to all projects.