Much of my life has been surrendered to organized chaos — cash left in my pants pocket, paper stuffed in a drawer, dishes on the counter, dates and appointments swimming somewhere in my mind. Some say that this enables creativity. This is because when things are haphazardly strewn together, connections are made between unrelated things, enabling creativity to prosper.
Einstein once said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?”
The problem with a messy desk or a messy life is that most everything still gets done, most everything misplaced is eventually found. But, for me, my own inability to keep track of things occasionally caused damage. I was nearly sued because I could not find the title to a car that I sold. I missed a conference call with my job that I was counted on to attend. And there were a thousand other small mishaps of disorganization.
I had to be better.
As a creative spirit I still embrace relative messiness. The books I choose to read are wide-ranging. The people I interact with span all walks of life. And the passions I pursue change every few years.
But I have made strides getting most everything else in its place. The chaos has been tamed. Now, ideas get recorded and clouded, money gets tracked and analyzed, reminders keep me one step ahead of appointments and responsibilities.
It all started with these 10 tools.
No one ever taught me how to manage money. With Mint my budgets, bills, and credit reports are organized in one place, allowing me to make sense of my financial life.
I can see the big picture all the way down to the smallest detail. Mint makes it easy to track what’s coming in, what’s going out, and where my money can be maximized.
Imagine a paperless home. No more bills, no more mail, and no more documents stuffed into a drawer, waiting to be sorted later.
When my wife and I purchased this scanner, we eliminated seven pounds of paper from our kitchen. We believe that it is the best value out there. We stack up to 10 pages into the feeder and scan directly to Evernote or Google Docs. Now, what’s worth saving gets scanned. We keep digital copies of our documents and the paper.
Everything that I scan goes directly into Evernote Premium stores. It just about anything in the cloud so we always has everything.
Aside from scanning, I use Evernote Premium to clip articles from the web. create lists, documents, and notebooks, I can access notes when I’m offline, and sync across phones and computers.
When it comes to keeping our family organized, nothing works better than Google calendar synched across all our devices.
We color code individual users, set reminder notifications, and stay on top of your responsibilities.
I read lots of books. There was a time when I could barely remember the titles of those books, let alone any important information from them. Then I created a thought catalogue. Now I have a record of every important idea and quote from every book I read. Here’s my process that was influenced by the master, Ryan Holiday:
- I flag important passages with Post-Its
- When I am done with a book I go back and record the quotes and ideas on index cards.
- Each index card gets a topic in the upper corner. Each topic gets organized alphabetically in the storage box.
6. Hipster PDA
When my son says to me, “Daddy, put your phone away,” I know it is time to create a Hipster PDA and take my brainstorming and note taking offline.
Here’s what I do:
- get a bunch of 3″x5″ file cards ( here is 300 for about $5)
- clip them together with a binder clip
- there is no step 3
Want some tips?
- Consider picking up some different kinds of cards—different colors, lined and unlined.
- Personally, I like the really small binder clips and a stack of 20 or fewer cards; experiment for the combination that suits you
- Try using a single different-colored card as a visual separator between used and fresh cards in your stack (helps you from accidentally giving someone an old, written-on note)
7. DYMO Label Maker
This is our fast, simple label maker that we used to put everything in its place, with its proper identification to make it easy to return and easy to find. We have used it to create labels for toy bins, binder tabs, shelf space, and tool storage. .The DYMO produces 6 font sizes, 8 text styles and more than 200 symbols make it easy to create high-quality labels for all your organization needs.
“The place we live should be for the person we are becoming now – not for the person we have been in the past.”
“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.”
This book, more than anything, helped me see how attached I was to the junk I was hoarding and how easy it would be to get rid of it. Buy it now. Trust me.
9. Fitbit Wristband — As a former college athlete, sustaining my health is important to me. I may not be able to dunk like I could in college, but with a Fitbit on my wrist, I can see my heart rate during workouts to get accurate calorie burns and reach my target workout intensity. Aside from my workouts, I use my Fitbit to track my steps and check my sleep quality to organize and assess my well being.
As important as an organized home is an organized mind. In meditation, I can let go of everything. I give myself over to that powerful source that creates everything. I take a little bath in it. The Mindfulness App helps me to reduce stress and increase focus. Scientific research proves that regular practice for 20 minutes a day brings inner peace and stress relief.
GET THE WISDOM THAT MATTERS MOST