Ever find yourself staring blankly at your to-do list, feeling
overwhelmed with the seemingly endless work you have to get done?
We’ve all been there – our minds crammed full with deadlines and
assignments, wondering how on earth we’re supposed to get it all
Our brains are more like overcrowded, messy bedrooms than sleek,
efficient filing cabinets. They’re filled with thoughts, ideas, to-dos,
and an odd collection of random facts.
But wouldn’t it be awesome if we could declutter this mess and
navigate through our responsibilities like a pro?
That’s where the Capture, Configure, Control CCC) method comes
How to Use the CCC Method
The first step of this method involves capturing everything you need
If you don’t write down your tasks, it will be really hard to organize
them in the next step. There are various ways you can capture your
- On a physical notepad
- In a plain text file on your desktop
- The notes app on your phone
- A service like Notion, if you’re feeling fancy
The main point is that the place you capture your work doesn’t matter as much as making sure everything you need to do is written down
David Allen’s famous quote applies here: “Your mind is for having
ideas, not holding them.”
Humans are forgetful.
If you don’t write down your homework assignments or the due dates
of your study plan, there’s a good chance you’ll forget they exist.
Now that everything is out of your mind, it’s time to start organizing.
This step aims to ensure you know all the information about the tasks
you need to do, as well as the order in which you should do them.
Rank your tasks by priority, with the most critical or urgent coming
first. If you need help with this, check out this overview of the time
Then, make sure you have everything you need to complete those
tasks. For example, if you have to write an essay, make sure you have
the grading rubric, the essay topic, etc.
Additionally, this is where you should move things around to different
apps, notebooks, or tools. A due date could go in your calendar, or
you could move a homework assignment to your to-do list app.
At the end of this step, you should have a clear idea of which tasks
are most important and have them safely organized in a place you can
find later. After that, it’s time to get things done.
So you have the tasks, and you’ve organized them. Now it’s time to
The control step is all about making sure you actually do your work.
For Cal Newport, this means time-blocking your schedule. In other
words, block out hours of your schedule for every task on your list.
That’s undoubtedly an excellent way to control your work, but it isn’t
the only way. You could use any time management technique as long
as it creates a plan for completing your work.
Control doesn’t just mean scheduling. It is also about accountability.
Did you get everything done?
Do you need to reschedule some assignments?
You should regularly check your tasks to make sure you’re making
sufficient progress. If you aren’t, you need to adjust your schedule.
The CCC method isn’t a magic pill and certainly doesn’t promise
overnight success. It’s a tool you can use to overcome a “messy
bedroom” full of work. And as with any tool, it will take a lot of
practice to really get the most out of it.
The more you practice these three steps, the more you’ll see
improvements in your ability to manage your tasks and
It might not happen overnight, but the progress will come with
So, keep capturing, keep configuring, and keep controlling!