Are you on top of all your projects, priorities, and to-dos, or are you drowning in an ocean of sticky notes and endless lists? I had a wonderful and effective system to manage my life’s priorities. I used it consistently for five years, but then in 2002 I had a great improvement idea… I’ve been trying to unsuccessfully recover ever since… until last night. I’m going retro!
From 1997 to 2002 I managed all of my priorities, actions, dreams, ideas, projects, etc. very effectively by using a day timer from Franklin-Covey patterned after the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” book. It was great! Then I decided to improve my system by using an electronic PDA (Palm Pilot) for my calendar and to-dos, and a Levenger binder for notes and reference pages. It was not the same, but I tried hard to make it work. In the last years I have “upgraded” to two models of iPaq PDAs and two models of BlackBerry PDAs, now with wireless updates to my calendar and e-mail and replication of to-dos with the computer. I can’t do it! It’s great to get e-mail everywhere and to instantly see changes my administrative assistant makes to my calendar, but I couldn’t get to do to-dos effectively. Why?
Two reasons. First, I’m very analytical. I need, no I must, understand how what I do day to day relates to my goals, intentions, roles, and my life purpose. Everything integrates like a web. In my day timer I could see all side by side, my brain could make the connections and relationships. I could categorize things in any way I wanted; the PDAs constrained me into someone else’s way to manage life. The second reason is that I’m very tactile. Have you ever tried to read an e-book? Nothing like sitting with a book you can touch and smell… I wasn’t getting that from looking at a little screen. I could highlight, draw pictures, tape things, and be creative with my paper version. The result of this has been a million of sticky notes at home and work, lists of to-dos, documents in the computer at work and spreadsheets in the computer at home. A mess! No more!
Last night I went retro and bought a Franklin-Covey day timer. What’s the big deal, you ask? I’m in charge of research and implementation of all computers and mobility devices for my company. I’m in charge of reducing paper in my company. I roll-out new PDAs. But I had to return to paper. Last night I opened the box with crisp tabs called “mission,” “values,” “goals,” “tasks,” and I was smiling like a kid on Christmas day! Order and focus, here I go!
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