The Indescribable Impact Of The Index Card

I’m in the process of writing a book on developing student leaders. While that really sounds cool and admirable – I quickly realized that one doesn’t just sit down and write a book (at least this someone – me! – doesn’t do it that way).

I have a wide range of thoughts, quotes, and ideas that I need to organize. I feel like I’ve forgotten at least half of the ideas because I didn’t have a good system to capture them. It’s amazing all of the good stuff one can think up in the shower and forget by the time you’re done toweling off.

While there are a number of great tools and resources out there for idea capturing (Evernote, moleskine notebooks, the back of one’s hand), I’m still impressed with the simplicity and beauty of the index card.

One Calendar To Rule Them All

Continuing with the theme of planning from yesterday’s post (read it here), I want to share some observations about my calendar.

1. I have one calendar.
You might walk into my office and see a calendar hanging on the wall, but that’s not my calendar. The calendar that shows me the date on my desktop isn’t my calendar either. I am surrounded by gadgets and paper – all of them provide calendar information. But none of them are my calendar. My CALENDAR is Google Calendar (or Gcal). It’s the only one I use to keep track of my schedule and to note deadlines and timelines. One Calendar. If you have more than one…consolidate into one.

Love It When A Plan Comes Together

The title of this post is one of the classic lines from the 80’s TV show, The A Team. Colonel Hannibal Smith usually cites it toward the end of the show (while lighting his victory cigar).

It’s the plan that helps them save the day.
It’s the plan that helps the good guys beat the bad guys.
It’s the plan that helps everyone on the team know what to do next.

I’m discovering I do better when I have a plan. Without a plan, I tend to be more reactionary than intentional.

Think about it – prioritizing is simply creating a plan that shows what’s most important. Scheduling is creating a plan that determines how you’ll use your time. ToDo lists create a plan for accomplishing what’s next.

Each of these organizational tools are merely different ways to plan. We are more productive with the right kinds of plans.