Do you have a dream of organizing your life this year?

My solution: the My Life Master Note

Does your desk have a mountain of papers on it? Are all waiting for decisions about where to store them, how to find them, what next actions to take? For over a decade I wrote articles about office efficiency and productivity. But I have a confession to make. Despite all my advice to others, I too had a paper mess in my office.

Finally, I went from a paper mess to paperless. Only an odd Post-it remains, always to the left of my keyboard. That single Post-it contains a jotting or two I took down on the phone or a sudden thought. I will do something with that little note within 24 hours. I want no mess to accumulate. I finally overcame my bad office habits and do not want to backslide.

Even after I went paperless, there were still bits of information I had stuck into Evernote or OneNote. It took too long to find things. Too many keystrokes in the search bar, then scanning lists of items that popped up. I had to come up with a way around the digital disorganization.

I had notebooks, notebook stacks, notes with good labels and tags. But still, it took too much time to call up what I wanted. And I wanted to organize everything so I could find it through a single note or page. I did not want a linear index that would have me scanning many note titles and hope I was clicking on the right one.

My solution: the My Life Master Note

In November 2016, I published a book on how to do this. Before it came out, I posted an article here. That article got several hundred more views than any of the 34 other articles I published on LinkedIn.

In my book, I show you step by step how to organize everything so you can find it in a few seconds with a few clicks, taps or keystrokes, on all your devices and platforms. You can do this with the free version of Evernote.

To learn more about this, get my bestselling book, The Master Note System: A New Way to Use Evernote to Organize Your LifeThis book comes with a free Resource Kit with many templates so you can instantly organize your life on a single page.

The days of opening my office door and confronting a huge pile of papers on the credenza are finally over. When I open my note programs (Evernote and OneNote) I can find what I need in seconds. I am free to work on more engaging projects, like writing a book on OneNote.

For more about The Master Note System, go to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Get the book and the free resource kit

Get organized in 2017: get the book now and then download the resource kit.

Do you have great ideas that pop into your head from time to time? Of course you do!

Find out how to preserve and grow your great ideas

We all get ideas from time to time, those “Eureka!” moments where you think, “what a great idea!” Some of you get them only once in a while, while others may get them many times each day.

What matters is preserving these ideas and putting them to use.

What if Gary Dahl, who came up with the idea of the pet rock while in a bar, had dismissed the idea as nonsensical, instead of developing it into a multi-million dollar product?

But not everything is about making money from an idea. There's a sense of satisfaction from developing an idea into a product or problem-solving technique. There's the joy of discovery and creation, bringing out the best in ourselves, reaching for that brass ring when we ride the carousel.

How can you record and develop your great ideas so they don't fade away like morning dreams?

You can record your great ideas on a Post-it, a cocktail napkin, a note in Evernote or OneNote, a mind map or whiteboard. What matters is to preserve the ideas, refer to them frequently, and see how you can develop them, so they're not just vapor trails in your mind.

I found the best way to do this is using a dedicated note-taking app like Evernote or OneNote. Brandon, a professional writer, dictates an Evernote note on his smartphone before the thought gets away. He adds a “great idea” tag and puts a checkbox at the top of the note.

Every few days, Brandon goes through his great idea notes and works on the unchecked ones. He links them to notes he has already set up. These notes relate to projects he is working on or would like to work on. Sometimes there's no project to assign the note to, so they get linked to the “My Great Ideas Master Note” at the top of this post.

Get the “Great Ideas Master Note”

You can get this “Great Ideas Master Note” as a word processing table and paste it into Evernote, OneNote, or any other system you use that has a rich text editor. If you get in the habit of reviewing your master note and re-inspiring yourself, your great idea can take flight. No matter how silly the idea may seem when you write it down, it is the source of more new ideas and new hopes. Remember the pet rock: The idea needed nurturing and development, but it all started with an idea while drinking with friends in a bar.

To get the “Great Ideas Master Note” and other tables you can use to organize your life, click here.

For more about The Master Note System, go to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Get the book and the free resource kit

Get organized in 2017: get the book now and then download the resource kit.

Do you waste time when traveling looking for where, what and when?

Try this travel Master Note

Do you rummage in your briefcase, back pack or purse looking for notes about where you are staying, flight information, and the like? Or try to look up stuff on your phone only to find the battery is dead or there's no internet connection?

The solution is a Master Note, where everything you need is on the note or linked to it. You can keep a copy of a single page with your gear, while you quickly look stuff up on your tablet or phone with a click or two.

The template for this note comes with the free Resource Kit you can download to get going instantly with Master Notes. Complete instructions for making this travel note are in Chapter 8 of my new book, The Master Note System: A New Way to Use Evernote to Organize Your Life.

You don't need to be an advanced user of Evernote to use Master Notes. By the end of Chapter 3, you'll be whizzing along with this app. And you can do all this in the free version. The book was written for beginners as well as ninjas.

You can get this free for one more day, till midnight on December 2, 2016. Why not take a few hours this weekend to get all your most important data into Master Notes? Then start the New Year with your whole life organized on a single page.

For more information on The Master Note System, go to http://masteryournotes.com/blog/. To learn more about making the travel note, go to http://masteryournotes.com/gallery/

So you made a note, but how do you find it later?

This post originally appeared in LinkedIn and is updated here

So you made a note, then what? The Evernote elephant may remember everything, but how can you?

Anyone can make notes, but after a while, even searching on words or tags or in notebooks, you get a long list of notes and waste time sorting through them looking for one item.

A way to keep all of this together is to use a master note such as the one hanging on the elephant graphic. Thanks to the ability to copy note links whether on the desktop or in your browser, you can put notes within notes and in tables in notes. This lets you quickly home in on the item you need to find.

In the image above, you see a note I'm using to keep track of my LinkedIn posts:

1. I start with a table within a note. Using the Evernote web clipper, I save my post to a notebook labeled “LinkedIn Posts.”
2. I copy the note link and paste it into the table along with the LinkedIn address. I attach the file I used for the image (works too to copy and paste the image from the browser).
3. I enter the date.
4. I have just started posting so I have not added any comments yet, but I can use this column for replies of substance or check boxes or other items.

This master note lets me keep track of what I wrote when, what images I used, and other data, all in the same note.

As I go along with what is for me a new process, I will no doubt tweak it and add reminders or other things that will link to my calendar or to Nozbe. I could add a “to do” or a “follow up” column.

The latest desktop version for Windows has extended the functionality of what you can do within the note. I would still like to see a format painter but maybe someday….

If you want to learn more about how I use Evernote, I discuss it at length in my new book, The Master Note System: A New Way to Use Evernote to Organize Your Life.

This book will be available 11/30/16. To sign up for more information, click here.

Can you create a virtual notebook in Evernote?

Yes! It can be done with this hack

Recently I described how to make virtual folder trees in Evernote. In my new book, The Master Note System: A New Way to Use Evernote to Organize Your Life, you’ll learn too how to use the Master Note concept of links in tables to make virtual notebooks in a single note.

Notebooks don’t have links, but you can create a “virtual notebook” in a note. Why would you want to? Well, you may have used up the allotted number of notebooks, or you don’t like using notebooks, or you want to collect notes from various notebooks in a single place. Or maybe like me, you find the search process tedious and time consuming.

You can copy the same note to various notebooks, but if you make changes, it won’t automatically update the other notes. If you use a virtual notebook, you’d have only one note that you can readily update.

Gil is a website designer. One of his projects requires he find the code from other projects and archived notes. He also must be linked to some websites and some shared documents on cloud drives. He has notes with color schemes, graphical snippets, and a photo gallery of stock images he is considering.

Rather than set up a notebook for this project, Gil created a virtual notebook in a single note. It’s a variation on the Master Notes in my book:

Gil could now link to everything he needed for the AeroDB project from this one note. He linked directly to his lightboxes, saving more time when he needed to find graphics he was considering. All the files were in a Dropbox folder he shared with the client’s contact people. One click and he’s there.

Gil used the same note for all his projects. He would copy this and use it for another project, just changing the label and a few links and tags. All the project notes for current projects were in one notebook. When he completed the project, he would add the link to the finished website at the top of the note, above the table. Then he would move the note to his archived projects notebook.

This virtual notebook template is included with the book as a free bonus, along with many other templates so you can use the Master Note System instantly.

You can get get this new book for free for a few days only. Sign up to receive the book description and more details on where to get the book: masteryournotes.com.

The Master Note System: A New Way to Use Evernote to Organize Your Life will be available 11/30/16 and free for three days. To find out more and how to get a free copy, go here.

Can you really organize your whole life on a single page?

Yes! Use the Master Note System

Learn a new way to organize your life on a single page by using the Master Note System with Evernote, a free program. This is a simple system where you put everything in Master Notes, one or two clicks away.

My new book, The Master Note System: A New Way to Use Evernote to Organize Your Life, is easy to read with real-life stories and numerous screenshots showing step by step how to organize everything to become more productive and efficient.

A high level executive at a Fortune 100 company said, “Makes for an easy and captivating read….I didn't even know that I was learning because the use of real life scenarios made for a compelling read.”

Entirely customizable, Master Notes work with any existing system, such as GTD. Free Master Note templates come with the book's bonus Resource Kit, if you want to use a variety of pre-made, tweakable tables.

You can get get this new book for free for a few days only. Just sign up here and you will be sent the book description and more details on where to get it: masteryournotes.com.

For an example of how this works, see my earlier post: So you made a note, but how do you find it later?

The Master Note System: A New Way to Use Evernote to Organize Your Life will be available 11/30/16 and free for three days. To find out more and how to get a free copy, go here.

 

Do you waste valuable time looking for important stuff?

Free up lost time with a new way to organize your life and work with the Master Note System for Evernote

Is this you?                                                                                                          

ch1-doug


Or is this you?

ch1-suzie

Meet Doug. He considered himself very organized. He had rows of Post-its neatly aligned on his desk and the edges of his monitor. After he had collected a bunch of these notes, he harvested them. He would write on a yellow pad the contents of each note with a coding system on what he should do first. Little codes in the margin indicated dates things were due, how urgent, who in the office needed it.

When Doug had the yellow pad list done, he would work through these notes, crossing them off as he went. When the page got messy looking, he would copy what was left over onto a new sheet on his yellow pad. He would add in the new Post-its that had accumulated on his desk and monitor.

Doug kept notes from phone calls on blue Post-its so he could distinguish them from the yellow notes. He wrote up the phone call notes on a white legal pad.

If Doug had to take a day off, no one knew what needed to be done because his coding system was peculiar to him and not in use office wide.

Every so often, a Post-it would fall off the monitor or the desk and get lost on the floor in the scuffle. One time the janitor was running a floor machine and the wind it created blew a whole bunch of notes off, and they got sucked up and disappeared.

There's a better way, and Suzie knew it. She ran a paperless office for a medical practice. She used Evernote as her central hub for the odds and ends that didn’t fit in the practice’s patient management program. “To do” notes had clear labels and tags that made sense to others in the office.

Reminders were set and calendared automatically. A “TC” tag distinguished Telephone Calls. Suzie could quickly assemble a daily list for each person she reported to. The list was in a shared notebook and printed out for the “old fogies” who liked paper.

Sometimes she would be handed a note or a Post-it from one of her doctors. She would use the Evernote camera on her cell phone to bring the note or Post-it into Evernote.

Suzie kept a table in a note labeled “To Do Today” that held all the little things that had to be done that day, with links to documents to be worked on or to other notes.

As she finished each task, she would delete the entry from the cell. She kept the “To Do Today” note open on her desktop and would add items to it as necessary. She set Evernote to sync every three minutes so nothing would get lost that wasn't in her present memory.

Free up lost time with a new way to organize your life and work with the Master Note System for Evernote.

In May I posted about the Master Note concept and my upcoming book (see “So you made a note, but how do you find it later?” and “Are you going nuts with notes?“). The Master Note System: A New Way to Use Evernote to Organize Your Life will be available 11/30/16 and free for three days. To find out more and how to get a free copy, go here.