Because you haven't slept in years, your iPhone is a stand-in for a functioning memory.

But you also miss a nice pen gliding over smooth, luxurious paper.

(I mean, I assume you do.)

I've waffled between my trusty Moleskine vs. my iPad/iPhone, feeling sad and a little ungrounded with meeting notes floating around rather than safely tucked inside my little black books.  Besides, research shows that you internalize something better when you write it vs. type it.

I think I may have found the perfect balance.  

I put meetings and appointments into my iPhone (duh).  Then, during meetings, I take notes in my Moleskine.  After meetings, I follow up with an email and/or a Google doc outline so all the vital stuff is now in the cloud where I can access it anytime, anywhere.  

For emails, I usually cover:

  • Key points that were agreed on (that way, people have the opportunity to see it in writing and say “Um, no, that’s not what I meant,” or “yes, let’s do this.”  It also protects you as decisions are made).

  • Deliverables that I’ve committed to, and/or a list of my deliverables and when they can expect them from me

  • Deliverables others have committed to

And, here is something that has greatly helped my productivity over the last few years:

Every day, before I start working*, I pull out a daily planning sheet and write down the three top things I want to accomplish that day.  I write down other things in a different area - because what mom only has three things to remember in a given day?  But I try to be as specific as possible, and pick the three biggies for that day only.  

Result: less overwhelm, more focus

Is your organizing nerd heart a-fluttering?  Awesome - try this: one day a week, write down a master list of everything you want to accomplish.  Loosely map it out over each working day of the week.  Then, use your weekly map as a reference when writing your daily goals.

I usually do my weekly planning (for the following week) on Friday afternoons.  At that point in time, it’s fresh in my mind what I’ve done, what still needs to be done, and any new things I’ll need to get cracking on after the weekend.

Result: not shuffling around in a daze on Monday morning, wondering what to do with myself (for real - that’s what I end up doing when I don’t plan).  

Really, you should try it!  And guess what?  I made you a mini-planner pack that you can download and use (it’s free).  It includes a daily planner, weekly planner, and year-long strategy planner, and you’ll find it in this month’s bundle in the member’s area of HWL.  This month’s bundle also has some cute and easy activities for your littles (also free).


Get productive.

Free planner for you, mama.

BTW: I first learned of this technique (part of it, anyway) from Ned Hallowell, in his interview on Marie TV.  Lots of productivity gold there - check it out!

*I may or may not binge on news as soon as the kids are gone.  This is not productive, and I'm trying to cut down.  As soon as I catch up with my girl Rachel.