Advertising
Advertising

The No-Hassle Quick Capture Tool for Tasks and Ideas

The No-Hassle Quick Capture Tool for Tasks and Ideas


    I am forgetful.

    My mother often told me I’d lose my head if it weren’t attached to my shoulders. As a result, I have come up with a variety of ways to remember things. But no matter what, I write it down first.

    If I don’t write it down, I won’t remember it. There is no way. This is not negotiable. If it’s not written down, it’s gone forever. I’ve lost more interesting ideas while driving because of this.

    Advertising

    But the key quick capture tool for me is…

    Post-It Notes

    Why Post-It notes? They come in all sizes, and they’re cheap. You can have as many (or as few) as you want. They come in fun colors. What’s not to love about that?

    Post-Its and Notebooks

    Advertising

    I keep a Field Notes notebook in my back pocket at all times. I have a set of five so I will always have one with me. Before I leave the house, I’ll toss one into my pocket if I don’t have one there already.

    In the front of each notebook, I have a small stack of Post-Its which becomes my portable workspace. I usually grab about a half dozen and stick them there for safe keeping.

    Why do you need Post-Its in a notebook?

    Advertising

    Notebooks are to keep. Post-Its are to share. In the course of my job, I often need to leave notes for people and having Post-Its handy is vital.

    I use them as a “scratch pad” where I can write down little things I want to see as soon as I open the notebook. I don’t want them hidden in some distant back page. Or if it’s something I don’t deem important enough to put in the notebook, it goes on a Post-It. It’s my own arbitrary rule — use it as you see fit.

    Hang them on things

    Advertising

    At work I have a little line of Post-Its across the bottom of my monitor. However, I stick them anywhere I might need them, such as:

    • The Steering Wheel: Whenever I need to remember something the moment I get into my car, I leave a note on the steering wheel. It can’t be missed.
    • The Front Door Knob: Is it vital I remember a package to mail or my lunch? If so, I leave a note on the door knob so I can’t walk out of it without seeing the note.
    • My Lanyard/Work Badge: Where I work, I have an ID badge that I must have on me at all times. I will often hang a Post-It to the back of my badge. Sometimes it’s the easiest place to stick it where I’ll remember it immediately when I get back to my desk. Bright colors are especially helpful for this.

    I even keep a larger Post-It pad on my desk with lines on it. This way I always have a notepad ready for any thought, phone message, or to-do item that pops into my head.

    My system of Post-Its and notebooks is all about reducing friction. I could keep all the notes in my phone or other digital system. However, the risk for distraction is far too high. My phone lets me hold the Internet in the palm of my hand, which is a death sentence for any idea I’m trying to hold in my head long enough to write down.

    Paper is a perfect quick capture tool. And as for pens, I never leave the house without one. One lives in my wallet and I always keep another in my front pocket.

    (Photo credit: Conceptual Photo of Mouse and Trap via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    How To Communicate With Irrational And Angry People Save Money: Upgrade Yourself Measure Twice, Cut Once: The Importance of Project Planning Change…The Only Constant Review – Lose It

    Trending in Productivity

    1 16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed 2 9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams 3 How to Break a Bad Habit and Retrain Your Brain 4 How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding) 5 10 Practical Ways to Drastically Improve Your Time Management Skills

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on October 16, 2018

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

    The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

    How about a unique spin on things?

    These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives.

    Learn from these highly successful people’s personal development skills, turn these skills into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

    1. Empty your mind

    It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

    Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

    Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

    Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

    How to Increase Brain Power, Boost Memory and Become 10X Smarter

    2. Keep certain days clear

    Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

    Advertising

    This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

    3. Prioritize your work

    Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

    Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

    Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    4. Chop up your time

    Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

    5. Have a thinking position

    Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

    What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

    6. Pick three to five things you must do that day

    To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

    Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

    Advertising

    7. Don’t try to do too much

    OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew.

    Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

    8. Have a daily action plan

    Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

    Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

    9. Do your most dreaded project first

    Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else.

    This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

    10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule”

    The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then.

    Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

    11. Have a place devoted to work

    If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

    But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

    Advertising

    Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

    Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

    12. Find your golden hour

    You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

    Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

    Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

    Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

    13. Pretend you’re on an airplane

    It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

    By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

    Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

    If you find yourself easily distracted and can’t focus, this method will help you overcome distractions.

    Advertising

    14. Never stop

    Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

    Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

    There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

    15. Be in tune with your body

    Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it.

    Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

    16. Try different methods

    Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

    It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

    Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Read Next