With 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management, double your productivity WITHOUT feeling so overworked and overwhelmed!
How can you get your brain to quiet down? How can you always remember your great ideas?
Sir Richard Branson. Arguably the most celebrated entrepreneur of our time. Founder of the Virgin Group, which now comprises over 400 companies, Branson is reportedly worth $4.8 billion.
When asked about items he takes wherever he goes, Branson singled out one item as being most important. In a May 5, 2006, interview, said:
It may sound ridiculous, but my most important is to always carry a little notebook in your back pocket. I think the number one thing that I take with me when I’m traveling is the notebook…I could never have built the Virgin Group into the size it is without those few bits of paper.
What type of notebook is the best?
There are different strokes for different folks:
- Many creative wannabes use Moleskine notebooks.
- Some Moleskine fans are switching to Ecosystem notebooks, including Michael Hyatt, because they use recycled paper, are made in the USA, and each page is perforated.
- For many years, I preferred the more expensive and unfortunately very nerdy Boorum & Pease Account Book.
- Author and entrepreneur James Altucher recommends waiter’s pads, which cost ten cents each.
Notice that nobody is recommending yellow legal pads or loose pieces of paper. They are just too easy to get lost in stacks or otherwise damaged. Notebooks are designed to last.
Take notes by hand, not on a laptop
Using paper-based bound notebooks for notes is better than taking notes on a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Pam Mueller and Daniel Oppenheimer, psychologists at Princeton University and the University of California, Los Angeles, did three different experiments with 327 undergraduates. In one study, students watched a TED talk, took notes, and then took a test on it 30 minutes later. While the laptop users and hand-writers scored the same on factual questions, the laptop users did worse on the conceptual questions.
One defense of laptop note-taking is that it enables you to take a more complete set of notes, which is helpful when you need to review the material at a later date.
My personal Notebook System
There are many different fancy Moleskine systems available–including people who cut out tabs or use fancy labeling systems. To me, the more complicated I make a paper notebook, the less likely I’ll use it. So I just keep it simple.
- Get yourself a brand new notebook. Doesn’t it feel great in your hands?
- Get yourself some pilot G2 gel pens. They’re cheap and a joy to write with.
- Tape your business card to the inside front cover so if you ever leave it behind in a conference room or airplane, a good Samaritan will get it back to you.
- Write the current date on the inside cover so you can quickly locate the notebook in the future.
- When you have filled your notebook, write the end date on the inside front cover.
- Put the book up on the shelf next to the previous journals.
- Every New Year’s Day, make it a new tradition to thumb through your old journals from the previous year.
How does this apply if you’re a(n)…
Entrepreneur: Would a notebook help you keep a record of all the commitments colleagues make during meetings?
Executive: Would a notebook help you record all that you accomplish throughout the year?
Freelancer: Would a notebook help you remember key client obligations?
Student: Would a notebook help you to capture key lecture notes?
Stay-at-home parent: Would a notebook help you to capture all the random to-do items that occur each day? Remember you can review and transfer them to your calendar at a later time.