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10 Reasons Paper is The Most Flexible Productivity Platform

10 Reasons Paper is The Most Flexible Productivity Platform

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    Lifehack’s theme for April is productivity without power. I don’t know about you but those words instantly bring one word to mind: paper. Whether it’s a Moleskine, index cards, a regular notebook or just loose-leaf, paper can be one of the most flexible tools in your arsenal. Let’s take a look at ten ways you can use paper yourself.

    Hipster PDA

    Here’s the thing you always know is going to be mentioned when an article’s title combines the words “paper” and “productivity” — it’s the classic Hipster PDA. Merlin Mann came up with the idea in 2004 when he got sick of carrying his Palm V around. Essentially, the “device” intends to replicate the organizational functions of a PDA without the electricity and is made from index cards.

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    Capturing Memory Leaks

    Often termed ubiquitous capture, there are a gazillion powered options for capturing ideas, forgotten tasks and other memory leaks in one of those “oh no!” moments. Nothing really does beat pen and paper, though — it won’t disappear when there’s no power or crash and freeze before you can hit the Ctrl+S. Paper is easily accessible and reliable. Unless, of course, you mix coffee, children and small spaces.

    Brain Dump

    In my mind, there’s something demanding about an empty word processor window, but something freeing about a blank sheet of paper. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I spend a heck of a lot of time working in word processors, but when I need to sweep my mind and get all the loose ends down the easiest, fastest, and most comprehensive way involves paper. I can empty my brain organically with lines and free association and all that literary-hippy stuff, rather than facing the cold, harsh linearity of the word processor.

    Task Lists

    I have always found that the most effective task lists for a one-day timeframe are paper-based. While I’ll use software to manage tasks in the greater scheme of things, my day’s plan of action is always mapped out on paper — at least those days where I’m reasonably effective are! You can read a bit more about my method of doing things here, and I strongly urge everyone to consider trialing this method. Task management software is so ubiquitous these days that many people don’t even give paper a week or two’s chance.

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    DIY Planner

    Here’s a resource that deserves a section of its own: DIY Planner. This website hosts a plethora of printables for all sorts of things — productivity, writing tools, psychology, and more. Unfortunately it can be a bit tough to separate the printables from the articles (not that there’s anything wrong with the articles, but sometimes you just want to get straight to the goodies). Despite that, it’s still worth a good look-through. Sure, you need a computer and a printer in the first place so it’s not exclusively powerless. Just make sure to stock up before the power grid explodes!

    Flash cards

    Every now and then we need to memorize things. Whether you’re learning some vocabulary in a new language or the lines in your presentation, sometimes the old-fashioned flash card method is the way to go. While there are apps for the computer and most phones that do this it can be simply more convenient to whip out a stack of cards in your wallet when you’re out and about. Why waste those idle moments?

    Idea Generation

    When my main income source was freelance writing, every couple of weeks I’d run dry on ideas. When you’re writing for more than fourteen hours a day it’s not hard to do at all. So I’d schedule a block of time every two weeks to sit down with a pen and one of those large drawing notebooks (like a Moleskine but with the wire binding) and brainstorm enough ideas to last a few weeks, and sometimes a month or two. I always kept the excess in an emergency reserve in case I came up dry two weeks later.

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    As I mentioned when I wrote about brain dumping, paper doesn’t have to be as linear as a word processor, so it’s that much easier to come up with more ideas on paper just by drawing lines and creating strange associations between ideas.

    Organize Contacts

    You could use an old-fashioned address book and put it by the phone. You could keep regular print-outs for everyone in your computer-based contact manager plus notes and client histories in a binder, since if your only backup of your digital address book was accidentally wiped you could be out of business.

    Or you could organize your contacts by throwing every business card you ever receive into a binder. Pretty cool, eh?

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    Organizing Your Family Life

    A whole lot of information flows through the family home. Important information from your doctor, permission slips to sign for the kid’s school, family events and birthdays to remember, the list goes on. Unclutterer offers an excellent paper-based idea to help you keep your home life as organized as your work life: the central home binder.

    A Funnel for Your Car

    We can’t finish this list without including one of the most common uses for paper that has persisted for decades.

    Well, not really — I’ve never heard of anyone doing this before, though I wouldn’t be surprised if I do end up trying one day since our car is so poorly stocked; Brett Kelly of Cranking Widgets brings us the index card funnel.

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    10 Best Time Management Books Recommended By Entrepreneurs

    10 Best Time Management Books Recommended By Entrepreneurs

    We all know that the most precious resource in life is time. Once lost, you can never rewind the clock. For entrepreneurs, this pressure is enhanced.

    Having an idea and a vision for a business requires courage. Launching that business in a world where many are satisfied with their comfort zones requires guts. Once you’ve launched the business, the goal is to be consistent.

    Success is directly related to consistency. Consistency is the direct result of how you manage your time.

    Here are 10 awesome time management books that have been recommended by successful entrepreneurs.

    1. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

    This is an awesome resource that jolts everything you’ve ever learned about the time needed to build a successful career. Personally, I was shell-shocked when I first heard of a “4-hour workweek.” At the time, I could hardly get through the typical 9-5.

    I read the book and my life has never been the same. I’ve managed to escape the rate race, work less hours, and live life to the fullest.

    Joel Bomgar, founder and CEO of Bomgar, had the following to say about the book:

    “The productivity principles and philosophy of productivity and effectiveness encompassed in [The 4-Hour Work Week] are powerful. I read it a few years back and it was one of the most life-transforming books I’ve ever read.”

      Get the book here!

      2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

      This is another fantastic resource that shifts your paradigm and mindset. This book taught me that income-generating assets usually provide healthier bottom-line results than even the best of traditional jobs. This might not always mean millions of dollars in your bank account, but it may give you that priceless time freedom.

      Dane Maxwell, founder of an incredible resource called The Foundation – a community of over 60,000 entrepreneurs – had this to say:

      “It all started when I read the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I’m not a typically really super intelligent guy so I really appreciated the simplistic way that Rich Dad, Poor Dad explained financial wealth. He talked about passive income and not exchanging time for money.”

        Get the book here!

        3. No B.S. Time Management For Entrepreneurs by Dan Kennedy

        Being an entrepreneur is tough. You’ve got to set some serious targets upfront. You might not achieve them all, but you have to gun for them.

        This book gives you three incredibly powerful tips and targets:

        • Self-discipline is the magic power that makes you unstoppable
        • Avoid the time vampires that want to suck you dry
        • As an entrepreneur, your time is worth $340 per hour

        It is impossible to start as $340-per-hour entrepreneur. But, it should certainly be your target as you grow.

        Paul Gallipeau, Digital Marketing entrepreneur, has this as one of his highly recommended reads.

          Get the book here!

          4. In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore

          We live in an unnecessarily fast-paced world. In Praise of Slowness advocates for the reversal of a fast-forward mentality and lifestyle. It entrenches a culture revolution against the notion that faster is always better.

          For any entrepreneur, this is a must-read.

          There are too many opportunities out there. There are opportunities within opportunities. In the midst of all these opportunities, you need to slow down and have a clearly defined vision that will help you avoid growing into a chaotic entrepreneur.

          This is a resource highly recommended by Joe Griffin, co-founder of iAcquire.

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            Get the book here!

            5. Priorities: Resources for Changing Lives by James C. Petty

            This book addresses time management from a spiritual perspective.

            I’m a huge advocate for the idea that less is more. I truly believe you can get more done by doing less.

            The success of this theory all lies in your ability to prioritize. Not everything that screams for your attention is important. You need to proactively ignore things that are not your most urgent priorities.

            With this resource, James C. Petty helps bring focus into frazzled lives. Using the “Assessing My Priorities” worksheet, he walks you through the process of organizing time under the categories of God, the people of God, and God’s work in the world.

            With sound biblical advice and practical applications, this booklet demonstrates ways in which you can reduce unnecessary stress, identify true priorities, and begin to get your overbooked schedule under control.

              Get the book here!

              6. On The Shortness Of Life by Seneca

              Recommended by Tim Ferriss, the incredible entrepreneur and author of The 4-Hour Work Week, this resource highlights that we have more than enough time to live our lives to the fullest.

              Unfortunately, we waste much of it.

              The book teaches how you can live a more fulfilled life by tweaking your perspective on time management.

                Get the book here!

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                7. Organize Yourself by Kate Kelly

                Shifting your paradigm and mindset is important. That’s the reason why most of these books are geared at changing the way you think about the relationship between time and entrepreneurship.

                This book is about shifting your thinking about execution. Before execution, you need a plan. You need to be organized.

                This book will help you get organized by providing you with essential rules for better time, money, space and paper management.

                It reveals a professional organizer’s proven techniques for streamlining daily life.

                It provides fast, effective methods for dealing with common clutter, along with helping you to overcome procrastination and other organizational ailments.

                  Get the book here!

                  8. Time Efficiency Makeover by Dorothy K. Breininger

                  We all are prone to procrastination at some point or other in our entrepreneurial journey. When things are not going quite according to how you planned, it is all too easy to get distracted.

                  This book will help you decide whether procrastination is a real problem or if you are experiencing other life challenges.

                  For true procrastinators, this book is filled with step-by-step guidelines on how to stop putting off those home and work projects, unpaid bills and neglected relationships. You will understand what is holding you back and how to keep focused and motivated on present and future events.

                  A must-read for anyone who wants to improve the efficiency and satisfaction of their lives.

                  Phil McGraw, an American television personality, author, psychologist, and the host of the television show Dr. Phil, highly recommends this resource and has the following to say:

                  “These guys really know how to get things set up to maximize your time. They absolutely can create time that seems to come from nowhere.”

                    Get the book here!

                    9. How Did I Get So Busy? by Burton Valorie

                    I was once a busy bee and quickly realized that being busy was not necessarily the most effective way to reach my destiny. As the editor at Run For Wealth, a Nike Run Club Coach, and an online marketer, I have to constantly have to find the true balance between business versus productivity.

                    I highly recommend this book because it’s a simple and effective way to rediscover your true priorities, shift out of overdrive, and reclaim your life and schedule.

                      Get the book here!

                      10. Aligned Thinking: Make Every Moment Count by Jim Steffen

                      Ultimately, we all want to live a fulfilled life. Having a great paradigm shift and being organized means nothing if you can’t make every moment count.

                      This book, written in the style of a simple fable, helps you to develop practical ways to focus on what’s important now and make the moment count.

                        Get the book here!

                        Conclusion

                        As an entrepreneur, you’ll come across many challenges. But, the biggest challenge will often be the issue of using your time effectively – especially early on in your entrepreneurial journey. This is the time when you’ll feel obliged to make everyone happy.

                        Time is a precious resource. For those who truly understand its value, it often seems like they are living in a cocoon.

                        You are not living in a cocoon. As an entrepreneur, you are in the minority, but it’s fine. I hope this list of resources will help you find comfort in the fact that being in the minority probably means you are well on your way to a fantastic and successful entrepreneurial journey.

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                        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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