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.

Meeting Planner/Organizer Worksheet – Version 2.0!

Meeting Planner/Organizer Worksheet (click for larger view)

Every once in awhile I go back through some of the resources I’ve created and give them a fresh look.

I just updated what has been my most popular resource ever – The Meeting Planner/Organizer Worksheet (MPOW).

Version 2.0 includes:

  • A cleaner layout
  • COLOR!
  • Better use of symbols
  • COLOR!

The MPOW has been a wonderful tool for people who lead meetings. It is a one page PDF designed to help you cover all the bases – both before, during, and after the meeting. Many of the ideas I’ve learned for what makes an effective meeting have been incorporated into the information and checklists on this worksheet.

Check it out. Pass it out to the people who lead your meetings. Point others to the download link.

This resource, as with all my resources, is available on my Resources page.

Different Strategies

One person decides on a certain outcome that’s needed. Plans and strategies are put into place that guide the person toward and to the desired result.

Another person decides what the right thing to do is and does it everyday. There isn’t a set point of arrival or completion. Only a steady effort and discipline to work at daily priorities.

Both people are working toward a better future. They just go about it in different ways.

The first person sets goals. The second person focuses on growth. The goal-setter will grow along the way. The growth-gainer will accomplish goals, even if un-stated.

Both are needed and necessary. Different situations call for different strategies. The trick is to decide which one is right in each area of your life.

My Top 3 Excuses

All this talk about productivity, calendaring, discipline, and consistency on a daily basis. You people reading this blog might start to get the wrong idea. I’m not as good as the posts I’ve been writing this week. While I will admit that I am pretty proud of the fact that I stuck with, worked hard, and completed P90X…I had my moments.

In an earlier post, I talked about how I would lie to myself. My inner “me” would try to convince the rest of “me” to not do what needed to be done. Seth Godin calls this “the resistance” or “the lizard brain.” (Folks…you gotta read his latest book, Linchpin…I’m just saying).

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.