Which Debt Should You Pay Off First?

Should you start with the smallest balance or highest interest rate?

The best way to get out of debt is through focused intensity. Line up your debts and pick one. Throw everything you can at it until it’s paid off while making minimum payments on the rest. Repeat until you’re out of debt.

But here’s a question: in what order should you pay off your debts? Mathematically, you should start with the highest interest rate to minimize the amount of interest you pay. Behaviorally, you should start with the smallest balance to see some early success, build confidence, and build momentum. Emotionally, one of the debts may be more annoying than the others. Psychologically, paying off secured debts first might restore your sense of Safety faster.

Pragmatically, there may not be much of a difference. If you’re ready to get out of debt, you may be wondering which approach to take. Let’s take a look at paying off the smallest balance first and highest interest rate first (they’re the easiest to model) and put some numbers to them.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / Elnur

7 Simple Ways to Save Anything in Evernote

Capture your life from anywhere and get back to living.

A recipe for bacon-wrapped jalepeno poppers. An audio recording of your kids saying hello. The receipt from your trip to Costco. A comic strip that made you smile.

It’s a filing cabinet you actively reference. It’s an archive where you can safely store a copy of scanned documents. It’s an indispensable part of your digital planning system.

Evernote is great at archiving information. It indexes everything and even lets you search for text inside of images. There’s no cap on how much data your account can hold. That’s why hundreds of millions of people use Evernote for their digital brain.

Here are seven ways you can capture the stream of information coming at you and save it into Evernote.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / dzono

Why I Never Run Out of Toothpaste (but Should)

It’s not intentional. That’s part of the problem.

I have half a dozen tubes of toothpaste in my shaving kit. It’s not because I’m some sort of toothpaste connoisseur. The problem developed gradually.

I use the shaving kit when traveling. I don’t want to have a full-size tube in there; that would be too big. Instead, I use the little trial size tubes the dentist hands out on every visit. They’re small. Sometimes, when I’m checking the kit before a trip, they hide. So I throw another one in. Or I figure I’ve got to be getting close to finishing up the one that’s in there, so I throw another one in. Or I don’t like the specific variety that’s in there, but my wife does, so I leave that one for her to use and I add one for me that isn’t so ghastly.

As small as they are, they seem to never run out. They’re in their own separate pocket, and when I need toothpaste, I grab one. It’s a different one each time. A little here, a little there. I know I’m using toothpaste, but it seems like I never manage to actually finish one up before another one gets added.

If we aren’t careful, we can do the same thing with tasks, projects, and goals. If we work a little here and a little there, we’re never going to make the meaningful progress necessary to finish something before we need, have, or want to take on more.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / Konstantin Kulikov

Happy Independence Day!

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / nd3000

There’s no new post this week. I’m taking some time off to celebrate Independence Day. We’re very blessed to enjoy the freedoms we do: the freedom to worship, assemble, and speak; the freedom to learn and grow; the freedom to chart our own course and determine who we’re going to be.

So grab your favorite beverage, throw some burgers and dogs on the grill, and enjoy the fireworks. Grandma’s fine china is in the pantry.

How to Update your Daily Record on the Go Using Drafts

Use custom actions to make the complex routine.

Evernote is one-third of my digital planning system. I use OmniFocus to track what I need to do, Fantastical to track where I need to be, and Evernote to record a log of what I’ve done.

On both macOS and iOS, OmniFocus and Fantastical have ways to capture pretty quickly. You’re never more than a few taps, keystrokes, or spoken words away from creating a new task or meeting.

Updating your daily record in Evernote isn’t so easy. Evernote will let you quickly create a new note, but we need to be able to update an existing note. On macOS, I solved this problem a long time ago with an AppleScript that will find or create the right note and add a new entry. It made updating my daily record almost frictionless.

On iOS, the friction was still there. Making an entry on the go was so tedious that instead of recording what I had done right then when it happened, I’d try to remember it to do it when I got back to my Mac. You can guess how well that worked.

Fortunately, I just found a solution that makes updating your daily record on the go as simple as doing it at your desk. In fact, I’ll sometimes use my phone (okay, watch) to make an entry because it’s kind of fun.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / tiagozr

How to Capture Ideas Before They Disappear with Drafts

Writing it down shouldn’t require another idea

Think of the following paper-based workflow: you’re working at your desk when an idea comes to you. Maybe it’s something you need to do, someplace you need to be, a book you want to read, a new recipe you want to try this weekend, or a character trait you want to develop. Whatever it is, you don’t want to forget it, but now is not the right time for it.

You reach for a slip of paper from a small stack you keep next to your inbox tray on the corner of your desk. You write down the idea, put the slip in the inbox tray where you can process it later, and get back to work.

It’s textbook GTD. Your brain had an idea. Instead of trying to hold it there until it was time to act on it, you wrote it down to process it later. Mind like water.

It’s a clean and simple workflow. If you plan digitally, there’s an app for that! Meet Drafts, the unusual text editor for iOS from Agile Tortoise.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / kaseyj