Complete Your Digital Planning System with Evernote

I started using a Franklin planner when I started junior high. Even when I got a Palm PDA, then an iPhone, I kept using paper for my planning. It wasn’t until the iPad arrived that I finally set that beloved binder aside. Despite the advantages of digital planning tools, a part of me still wants to dust off the binder and go back to paper-based planning.

I used a two-page-per-day format. On the left, you had your tasks and appointments for the day. On the right, blank space for notes. It was everything you needed to plan and execute your day.

When I got the iPad, I started looking for a digital version of that experience. It took me years to realize that to have a great digital planning system, I didn’t need to recreate the everything-in-one-place experience that the Franklin has. Instead of searching for one app that would store tasks, appointments, and notes, choose separate apps that do one thing well and play well with others.

For tasks, I use OmniFocus. I may have written about it once or twice. For appointments, the Calendar app built in to OS X and iOS. Earlier this year, I started systematically using Evernote for notes, and it’s complementing my digital planning very nicely. Here’s how you can use Evernote to complete your digital planning system.

Your plan for the day includes tasks, meetings, and notes.

Your plan for the day includes tasks, meetings, and notes. Photo ©2014 Colter Reed.

Don’t Fear Failure

Several years ago, I attended a live event with a motivational speaker. He had us write our goals, hopes, and dreams on one side of a 12″×12″ board. On the other side, we wrote our fears. Everything that was holding us back, keeping us from achieving everything we wanted. Every fear I could come up with came back to one common theme: the fear of failure.

Then it was time to punch through the board, karate-style. Like you see in movies.

Broken Board of Failure

Quit Sabotaging Your Productivity with a Cluttered Desktop

You would never let your desk get so cluttered with papers that you had no room to work. We instinctively recognize the negative effect that would have on our productivity. So we regularly take time to clean off our desks, put everything back where we got it from, and keep things organized.

But when was the last time your computer desktop was completely cleared off? How many files do you have there? How many would you have to open to identify?

Sitting down to work with a cluttered computer desktop can have just as negative an impact on your productivity. Here are nine tips for why you should keep your computer desktop clear and how to clean it up.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay/sebagee

Photo courtesy of Pixabay/sebagee

One Word for Committing to a Task without the Guilt

The best definition I’ve heard of character is “the ability to carry out a worthy decision after the emotion of making that decision has passed” (Hyrum W. Smith). It’s doing what you say you’re going to do.

When you put a task on your list, you’re making a commitment, either to yourself or to someone else, that you’re going to do something. I used to struggle with this, feeling that the only way a task could come off my list was by doing it. Otherwise, I was breaking the commitment.

If you’re like me, this can cause problems for your productivity. You want to write everything down so it can stop swimming around your head, but you don’t want to write anything down until you’re certain you want to commit to doing it.

Fortunately, there is a word that can help you escape from this trap, remember the commitments you’ve made, and enjoy life.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockPhoto/3sbworld

Photo courtesy of ©iStockPhoto/3sbworld

The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.

Vince Lombardi

The Power of Regular and Consistent Growth

Like most kids who get the chance at a quiet weekday mall, my sister and I were playing on the escalators. I made it to the top of the down escalator without any problems, but my sister—with shorter legs—was struggling. She got tired, stopped to rest, and started being carried back down.

“Keep moving!” I called down to her. ”If you need to rest, take the steps one at a time as they come. If you stop, you’ll just have further to climb. Don’t stop moving!”

She has always remembered that lesson and regularly applies it in the different roles in her life. There is no such thing as standing still. You’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. If you want to get better, it takes regular and consistent effort to improve yourself.

©iStockPhoto/pioneer111

Photo courtesy of ©iStockPhoto/pioneer111