It should come as no surprise that I am a visual navigator. It's all good and well for me to stick an appointment in iCal but if I don't constantly reference the app and keep whipping my phone out I tend to ignore whatever is unseen. I set alarms but then again I go into meetings with my phone silenced and things tend to skate by without my noticing them. Like the urgent call that rings and rings as I walk oblivious past the jackhammer and churning cement trucks. But if you put stuff in front of me I act on it. I check things off my list! I get productive.
Right after the New Year I headed to an office supply store and finally bought myself a nifty and right sized white board. It sits on the wall 24 inches from the right side of my head, at eye level. Future jobs go on the white board. Daily "to-do" lists go on the white board and I get to dramatically erase them, line by line, as I crunch through the day. My productivity has soared this year. I'm not spending any more time working, if anything I spend less because I'm not spinning my wheels when I am in the office. And there is something really great about checking stuff off. It's a nice sense of closure.
The other side of the board is the standard cork tack target. I have my birthday card from Studio Dog, a small note with Ben's contact info on it, an invitation to an opening of Keith Carter's Ghostland show at the Stephen Clark Gallery (oops! that happened a week ago...) and a copy of a bid memo I need to do something about. There is also a 50 swim pass to any of the Austin Municipal Pools. Stuff tends to linger on the cork side and change hourly on the white board side.
This thing cost me maybe $25 and it's paid me back over and over again. As I end up the year I can honestly say that our incidence of "things falling through the cracks" has declined in a most pleasant way.
Since most of the VSL readers seem successful in their fields I am sure everybody but me already knew about this. I'm not suggesting the acquisition of a white board for anyone else (although it couldn't hurt) I'm just writing this because the cheap white board has been my best productivity tool investment of the year and I wanted to give credit where due.
If you have a better idea for day to day organization (that doesn't require continuously holding a smartphone in one hand) please don't hold back. I could probably become 50% more efficient in the next year which dovetails with my annual business plan. Simply stated my yearly business plan (since 1988) has been to work 10% less each year but make the same income year to year. Anything that helps with that is most welcome....