Any Benefit to Keeping Things in Your Head?


Big fan of GTD. One thing I have been wondering about is if there are possible benefits to keeping things in your head. Consider, for example, the last section of this article:

Could trying to keep things in our brains make them stronger? Perhaps even help us prioritize better? I know that this is contrary to the GTD method, so I ask with the utmost respect and sincerity.


I “keep“ lots of things in my brain. Some of it is current but approximate, like budget numbers for home and work. Some of it is ideas I am mulling over for work. Some of it is professional knowledge. All of that helps me prioritize better. What I don’t keep in my head are grocery lists (more important now than ever), appointments, and places I might want to go (really someday/maybe now!). I can’t keep dozens of projects and more than a hundred next actions in my head. Just today I got details on budget re-planning for the next fiscal year. Although this is very much “on my mind” today, I can’t risk losing important information and plans because I only had it in my head.

My impression of the last section of the article you referenced is that it is warning of the danger of relying on tertiary sources like Wikipedia or Fox News and MSNBC commentators for Information and news. With Wikipedia, the level of explanation can be uneven in level and even unreliable. With news commentators, you are very often getting biased and incomplete information. Thus our ability To analyze and critically assess information is more important now than ever. The problem is not the Internet per se, it’s how one uses it. In my professional life, competence in higher mathematics is a given. Knowing half-angle trig formulas, integration by parts, separation of variables and Fourier transforms are just essential. If you have to look these things up, whether on the web or in books, you have things you need to learn. So I think it’s an apples and oranges thing: oranges in your head, and apples in your pocket and your desk. Or androids in you pocket and windows on your desk. :)