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.

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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.