There are 3 tools, and relative systems, that will make or break your success:
- Scheduling / calendar
- Tasks / to-do
- Notes / Information Repository
When considering the tools themselves, make sure it has the features that support you and the way you operate at your best.
More features may not necessarily make it better. Not enough features will only keep you frustrated.
1. A Calendar That Works for You
I recently had a tool experience that cost me precious time. I felt my default calendar wasn’t robust enough. In full disclosure, I can easily fall to the bright shiny object syndrome.
After much research, I chose a tool that runs both on my MacBook and my iPhone. There were many things I liked about the tool, but it started to have syncing problems. I had scheduled commitments on my iPhone that didn’t show up on my desktop and vice versa. NIGHTMARE!!!
I tried to go with something that had a nice set of bells and whistles. This included cute icons for every type of event I scheduled. Don’t ya know, I loved those cute little icons.
But, obviously, I couldn’t risk syncing issues that may have caused me to miss important appointments.
Stick with the SOS plan – Stable Over Shiny. I did my homework on the solution I had chosen. There were a couple of other things I didn’t care for but put up with because there was so much I really liked.
I’m thankful the syncing issues pushed me over the edge to go back to the stable solution sitting right in front of me. Looking back, I can see that I wasted some very precious time on the shiny object option.
2. Quick Entry Task / To-Do List
Keeping track of all those tasks must be done, but it must be done through a quick entry solution.
How many times do you think of something that needs to be done and then lose it?
You may even use the method of repeating it to yourself multiple times hoping that will retain it until you get to writing it down or entering it in your phone/computer. Then, days later, perhaps after it’s too late, it comes back to you. DANG!!!
There is way too many critical things your mind needs to process. Expecting to remember tasks that need to be done at some point is only cluttering the field.
Think about the features you really want. There are lots of options out there and I have tried many.
I use my default Apple solutions for this. I keep separate lists titled appropriately and I use reminders heavily.
Stick with the COC plan – Clarity Over Clutter. Get those to-do items out of your head.
Use your smartphone for quick entry or if you aren’t a smartphone person – no problem! Keep a small notepad with you at all times. Write every to-do down immediately and let your mind move on.
3. Keep Notes and Don’t Lose Valuable Information
I have been conducting research lately with women. One of the things I have heard multiple times is their concern to use and/or retain critical information.
Whether attending a webinar, reading something on the web, grabbing key points from a book or simply something they’ve heard someone say and they want to remember it. But how? HELP!!!
I have tried many, many tools and processes for this. I am an avid reader (I do book reviews every month in my newsletter!) and I hate losing sight of the many great pieces of information I read.
I have a specific recommendation on this one. Evernote. Evernote has a free version that runs and integrates seamlessly with all my devices. I have used this tool for a few years.
I have notes with lots of detail and I have notes that only contain a link. Photos can be stored with the notes as well. Honestly, I think the possibilities are endless.
I love that I can email a newsletter or information from people I follow and it goes right into Evernote. I will be the first to say that I do not take full advantage of all Evernote’s capabilities.
My goal was to have one place that I could go to find whatever type of information I desired to hang on to for whatever reason. I know that many highly successful people also recommend this tool specifically.
Stick with the WOW plan – Well-known over Wannabe. When you can file all those pieces of information you want to remember for some day in the future, you can let your mind rest.
You don’t have to feel anxiety about information wasting away or not being able to find it when the day comes that you want/need it.
Systems are Required
Make sure whatever tools you choose are part of systems that work well for you. For example, I am going to share my calendar/scheduling system with you. It may make you nuts, but for me it’s great!
I use both an online tool and a hardcopy tool. My system is to enter everything, including time I want to spend on priority tasks, into my online calendar.
At the end of each week, I write everything from the online tool into my Passion Planner (hardcopy). Sounds like twice the work; right? I don’t see it that way at all.
My online tool is for quick entry, invitations, and automatic reminders. When I write the items in my planner, it helps me:
- process and solidify my commitments in my mind
- consider if I’m really committed to my top priorities
I also color code everything by category. I am very visual. Looking at my color-coded calendar, both online and hardcopy, is very helpful to me.
I also then, use the extra space on my Passion Planner to mind map lower level tasks associated with the priority ones on my schedule. I can see it all in one place and this fits the way my mind works very well.
Pick your tools, establish your systems, enjoy processes that support your success!
Where are you?
Do your tools and systems support you well?
Do you need help?