The method that changed my life

I got into productivity because truth be told, I wasn’t that great at it.

I struggled to follow through on my ideas and I’d bounce around between them without bringing anything to completion. I needed to figure out a solution! One of the answers I found was shockingly simple.

Here it is: I write things down. That’s really it in a nutshell.  
I can dive deeper into the why and the way I write things down, but you can skip all of that if you’d like and just commit to writing things down in your own way. I promise you’ll see some results.

However, if you want to follow my method then I’ll explain it as thoroughly as I can.

In the past, I’d only write things down when my stress levels were at a boiling point. I’d finally had enough of it and would buckle down and make a list.  
Usually, I’d complete all my tasks by the end of the day but I wouldn’t repeat the habit again the next day. If you commit to keeping a list all the time it becomes a system in which you can rely on even when you slip up and forget to take care of one of your tasks.

You don’t forget what it was because it’s right there on the list.

I do this with calendar appointments and other important meetings as well as for new ideas in my business, household chores and things for my kids. This keeps my mind clear so I can focus on what’s in front of me without worrying about losing anything new and exciting my mind may generate.

When I started using this method regularly, it changed my life. I wouldn’t shut up about it!


Online or paper – whatever works for you

I personally find it’s better to write things down on paper, so I typically carry a Moleskin journal in my pocket when I go out.  
If I’m talking to someone I’d rather pull that out that my phone if I want to take notes. I do use my phone for notes as well, however. I like to use QuickDraft.

These notes can be everything from statistics, a quote or a quick shopping list.

This is just how I get data into my system. I also love to journal and for that I use Evernote. I prompt myself with certain questions and I like to record what I was up to on that particular day.

I also use OmniFocus as my to-do list manager and the two apps work well together.

All the things I might do, someday, maybe

OmniFocus is also where I keep my “Someday, Maybe” list of cool projects and ideas that I love to think about, but don’t have to time or capacity to take on properly in the here and now.

A big someday, maybe project for me is to finally learn Spanish. I just don’t have the time to focus on it right now, but everytime I come across a great resource for language learning I save it in my file.

With OmniFocus you can keep a list hidden so you’re not tempted by it every day. There are tons of options out there and I encourage you to try out several until you find a system that works for you.

Action Steps

  1. Start writing everything down: your thoughts, notes and to-do list.
  2. Use online apps like Evernote or OmniFocus or on paper with a Moleskin notebook or similar.
  3. Create a system where you take time to organize your notes into larger files.
  4. Have a list of things you’d like to accomplish someday in the future and gather resources that’ll help you when the time is right.


Result You Will Achieve

Keep your stress-level down, and never lose a good idea or important notes ever again by writing everything down and organizing your thoughts into a customizable system.

Mentor: Zachary Sexton

Technical Efficiency Coach at Buckets Productivity. Zachary Sexton have been reading, writing, experimenting, speaking on the topic for the last years.

This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.