MM- Freedom to Think

The challenge this month is to unleash your inner genius—improving productivity and creativity by outsourcing your brain like the maestro Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci both artisan and engineer is revered for his creative mind and inspired genius. The renaissance man influencing generations long after his passing with iconic paintings and literature divulging the mans thoughts, aspirations and creations. Never without notebook, the maestro found that expression affords a person with the freedom to think. The sketches of thought expanding new horizons of creative energy, intuition and awareness.

Today, this principle is transformed through digital means and interpreted best via David Allen’s ‘Getting Things Done’ (GTD) method. Elevating productivity on any level is of great advantage in our frenetically paced society but feeling overwhelmed can stifle motivation and stall progress. Enter the GTD method of clearing your mind to think freely which relates closely to Leonardo’s practice of capturing and storing thoughts outside his mind.

Having a capture tool that is easily accessible and uncomplicated will liberate your mind enabling you to leverage thoughts constructively as an aid to creativity and reference of focus. If you know what you have to do you can decide your next actions prioritising with new perspective and identifying opportunities to expand on existing ideas.

Whilst, Leonardo referenced his thoughts on paper the technologies of this century afford greater flexibility. There are various digital capture tools to outsource your brain and of these several are particularly synergistic with the GTD methodology.

Following, is a list of capture tools to try and resources exploring the subject in greater detail.

Capture Tools

PersonalBrain: A personal favourite of David Allen founder of the GTD method, a lite version of this intuitive software is free to download. With PersonalBrain you’re never more than a few seconds away from any piece of digital information. Web pages, documents, images, notes… From people and projects to ideas and task lists, it’s all there in an instant. Take control by visualising all your open loops, tasks, and ideas in your PersonalBrain. Syncs makes your ideas and to dos available from your desktop, web browser, or mobile device anytime.

Life Manager Pro: This software is based upon the GTD method allowing you to move to do thoughts out of your head and into an effective system that makes it easy to keep on top of things. Life Manager Pro system focusses on just those actions that need your attention right now. This prevents you from feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things on your to do list. Once again a lite version of this software is also free to download.

OmniFocus: An effective personal task manager OmniFocus is designed to quickly capture your thoughts and allow you to store, manage, and process them into actionable to-do items. Syncs with OmniFocus for iPhone and OmniFocus for iPad (sold separately).

How to Think like Leonardo de Vinci Workbook by Michael J. Gleb: is an activity based notebook/capture tool which encourages a deeper analysis of your thoughts and inspires the exploration of new ideas. If you wish to experience the maestro’s mind in authentic style this option offers a beautiful recapturing of the renaissance.


GTD Times: The Official blog for David Allen’s Getting Things Done.

TheBrain Blog: Indispensable educational reference with articles, webinars and ideas for integrating your digital brain to maximise creative energy and productivity.

Michael J. Gleb’s Website: Be inspired by articles, products and Michael’s own notebook to think creatively and lead innovation.

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Inga Yandell
Explorer and photo-journalist, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide educational resources and a platform for science exploration.
Inga Yandell

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