Before you can make decisions about the big picture direction of your student life you need to first gain control over your day to day existence. With this in mind, we're starting with the seemingly mundane topic of wrangling your obligations. As you'll learn as the semester progresses, this basic organization will be the foundation on which the rest of your transformation is built.
Allen defines stuff in your life as anything that requires some action on your part. For a student, this ranges from small tasks, like paying your cell phone bill or setting up a professor meeting, to large responsibilities, like finding an internship or writing a research paper. Allen notes that most people keep track of their stuff in their head. The result is stress generated by the mind's constant worry that it's forgetting something important.
His solution is the same solution I'm going to preach here: have a trusted system in which all of your stuff is captured and regularly reviewed. This provides two advantages. First, it significantly reduces stress because you no longer have that nagging feeling that you're forgetting something important. Second, you can't make efficient and smart plans until you have a way of facing everything that's actually on your plate.
We'll tackle the more complicated question of taking action on your stuff in the next discussion. The experiment suggested here focuses on building trust in your system. I suggest doing the following (though the ambitious student might jump right into the more involved GTDCS approach to capture):
The most common problem students face when learning capture is falling out of the habit of regular review. I know it can seem dumb to look over that list and calendar every single morning, even when you know that there's nothing new on it since the last time you looked. But you need to make it a ritual. At this early stage, you're more focused on building trust than you are actually trying to prevent forgotten appointments (though you will certainly enjoy this latter benefit).