The simple (but powerful) 15-minute ‘mind capture’ ritual

Takeaway: Every once in a while, sit alone with no distractions and a blank notepad. You’ll be surprised with all you capture.

Estimated Reading Time: 1 minute, 8s.

Every once in a while when I find 15 minutes of quiet time, I shut everything off, my computer and cellphone included, set a timer for 15 minutes, and lay down with a blank notepad and no distractions.

I’m always surprised what I capture.

When I shut everything off, I find that my mind still runs at 10,000 RPM, churning out things like: things I have to do (but haven’t captured), things I’m waiting on, ideas for AYOP, long-term ideas and plans, and a lot more.

Most of the things I capture are valuable and actionable, and I wouldn’t have thought of them otherwise, bouncing around between so many distractions.

Here’s a picture of everything I captured yesterday:


Our minds are often an arcade of thoughts that we don’t get the chance to step back and observe. When we force ourselves to step back for 15 minutes with nothing more than a notepad and a pen, the thoughts bouncing around in our minds have no choice but to defragment and organize themselves while the best ones bubble to the surface.

Next time you have a spare 15 minutes (or even if you don’t), try shutting everything off and laying down with only a notepad. You’ll be surprised at what bubbles up.

  • Vaibhav

    Absolutely true.Though i would want you to help in reaching a point where the thoughts being captured are not so vague. Usually when i sit down with a pen and paper, the tasks and aims I can think about are only abstract and no clue how to initiate upon them.

    The essence this method captures is pretty much the same when i am standing outside with a smoke by myself and the brain is churning out ideas of what needs to be done. I would love it if you could shed some light upon how mind capture can assist in setting a plan of action.

  • itsallsgoofy

    This sounds very similar to Julia Cameron’s morning pages, except hers are 3 pages and take about 40 minutes.

  • Damian Drewulski

    I’ve been practicing such a routine for some time. If you are able to cut off all distractions it’s really powerfull. I’m used to call it ‘flushing the dump’. For me it was usefull to take a deep look on professional projects from few months perspective as well as to observe my actual concerns and worries. Best wishes!

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