A cluttered desk will sap your productivity every time! Have what you need out and ready for action but keep it all contained and organized.
Your desk should be a place to give you focus not a place for you to lose it.
When you are sitting at your desk you better be prepared to capture those notes from that client that just called. Do you have a foolproof way of writing down that next action from that email you just received? How about that phone message, where does that go?
I’ve found I need to cover the following:
- Take notes – I need a place to jot down notes from a phone call or when doing some “project thinking”. I may have to go through these notes later for next actions that will get entered into my productivity app which is Nozbe.
- Focus list – I like have a focus list of projects that I’m working out right next to me and in my line of sight. It keeps me on track. Yes I will have to refer to my next actions in my productivity app Nozbe but this is a great general way to focus my day. I take 5 minutes to reflect and think about my day before I jump into my day and the product of that reflection is my focus list.
- Next Actions – I also need a place to write down single next actions. I still really like having one place that I can list this stuff out on. This way I don’t lose track of anything.
Here’s my capture setup at my desk:
- Take notes = Dot Grid Mini – I always need a small notebook handy to write down notes from a phone call or random great ideas. I like the 6″x8″ size, it’s just the right size to keep out on a desk. It doesn’t overtake valuable desk space and it’s big enough to take a decent amount of notes with. I personally like the wire bound books because they lay completely flat.
- Focus List = Action Runner– I leave this notepad out next to my Dot Grid Mini. On it I write down my 3 primary projects I plan to focus on today. After I do a review of my current projects list I write down the projects I plan to focus on today. This is a great visual of what’s important today. It gives me a way to prioritize my main projects to focus on today.
- Next Actions = Action Pad Mini and iPad – I leave the Action Pad Mini and my iPad next to my phone. I capture phone messages or one item actions on the Action Mini Pad or I open up my iPad and enter them right into Nozbe. If I write on the Action Pad Mini then I later process it into Nozbe.
These four tools take care of everything I need to capture during the day. They take up only a minimal amount of space on my desk and yet give me a lot of freedom to know I can capture what comes my way.
Here are some other ideas:
- Moleskine Classic Notebook – Large – A moleskine is standard issue for most! With that said I’ve used plenty of them in fact I still carry the Evernote Business Edition Moleskine. They are reasonably durable and decent quality paper. I do find that with the Moleskine certain pens can cause bleed through. I also don’t like the fact that the bound books don’t lay completely flat.
- Letter Sized Notepad – Any generic notepad will work to capture thoughts and notes from a phone call. One thing that I do like about a bound book and not a notepad is that you can go back and review your actual notes from a phone call or meeting since it’s kept in a nice bound package.
- Post It Notes – Most offices have Post It Notes in the supply cabinet. You can use it to write your focus list down for that day.
Brendon Burchard has a one page productivity planner that really influenced my setup – it’s worth downloading and trying it out.
Let’s talk more about this on Twitter.