In Message #185, I recommended that you start to use index cards to keep track of the big and small ideas that come to you at random times throughout the day — ideas that could have a big impact on your life but are too easily forgotten if not written down. If you haven’t already done so, get a pack of index cards and a little vinyl or leather index-card holder that will fit easily into your pocket or purse. Keep it with you at all times.
When you get your next good idea, write it down. When you come across a fact that will help you sell an idea, record it. When you agree to do something, or meet someone, and you don’t have that clunky calendar with you, make a note of it on your index card. Every few days — or at the very least once a week — transfer your notes. Appointments go in your calendar. Names go in your address book or Rolodex. Ideas go in your idea folder.
When everything has been properly disposed of, give yourself a fresh index card. You can also use an index card as a cheat sheet when you attend formal business functions. Jot down full names and key facts (i.e., baby boy, Jason) for colleagues you are likely to run into. It can help you make a good impression. BK recommended this technique to me. (He uses a little pad.)
The week after I started using it, it saved me $28,000. (But that’s another story.) I’m sure this little tool will be enormously valuable to you. Imagine — you will no longer forget important names and dates. You will develop a reputation for being good at follow-through and youll never forget those great ideas that come to you briefly . . . and then are gone.[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.]