A Small Thing That Can Make a Productive Difference

About two years ago, BK, a retired publisher who does more work in one day than most working publishers do in a week, shared one of his secrets with me. Wherever he goes, he carries in his pocket a very small pad of paper and a pencil. He uses these not only to jot down phone numbers and the like but also to record those fleeting good ideas — big and small — that seem to come when we are least prepared to make note of them.

You are watching your kid play soccer. The goalie makes a spectacular stop. It triggers an idea about how to get your secretary to keep people from interrupting you in the morning. It’s the kind of idea that would make your life a little better if you could just remember it.

Instead of a pad of paper, I use 3 x 5 index cards that I keep in a small leather case. And I take BK’s idea one step further. I not only have a blank card on which to jot down my random thoughts, I have four additional cards on which I list my yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

I review my cards each morning and consult them whenever I have a spare moment. And it really is helpful.

Why not try it and see what happens? I think you’ll be surprised by how much more “on top of things” you’ll be in just a few days.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]
  • That’s an old idea, there are whole websites on the subject, the Hipster PDA and the Moleskein groupies have been doing this for years.