Step 4: Organize It All
You’re going to need a system for tracking everything. I use OneNote to track my projects and day-to day information. I use Outlook to gather all of my emails, track all of my appointments, and track tasks that have to-do dates. I use a bullet journal to track items that come to me while out and about, to put together my day’s work-from list, and to journal my thoughts and reflections about my progress on various projects and goals. Here’s how it works.
There are many tabs and notebook section groups in the above OneNote notebook. You could use Evernote as well to do this setup, I just prefer OneNote because I’m used to the Microsoft Interface, and I like to create tables and illustrations. I don’t know if Evernote can do that now.
I start off my notebook with my “Inbox.” This is where I collect everything while I’m at the computer. Emails that I need to refer to for some reason or another, ideas, things I’m waiting for (on the dates that I delegate or start waiting for the item), etc. As I mentioned before, once I’ve processed a date, and once everything I was waiting for has come back, I delete the date. I also track what I accomplished each day. If it’s something that will go in an accountability and update post, and I’ve deleted everything else from that page, I move it to my career section on the proper page for that post’s notes.
Next, I have the “calendar” tab. This tab is actually more of a “tickler” file system. If there’s something that I will need to act on in, say, November, I put it in here, on a page titled “November.” Then, when I’m working on my calendar in Outlook, if it’s still something relevant that is an appointment or event, it can make its way onto the calendar. If it’s a task, it can make it onmy November list of tasks. This helps to keep my Outlook task list from getting cluttered with things from the future. That’s important when there are a lot of action items. I get overwhelmed when there’s too much going on visually!
Third comes my current goals list. Each of my areas of life gets its own page of goals. I’ve hyperlinked my goals to the notebook section that has the projects relating to that goal. That way, if I’m wanting to make sure I’m working on my social goals, I can look at the page, remind myself of what they were, and then click on the relevant project that I need to act on. For my career goals, I have these divided out into each of my different career projects, and then under each project, I’ve listed my goals. For family goals, I’ve divided my goals out by the person my goals relate to.
Next is the tab that keeps track of all of my tasks that aren’t related to specific projects. I have pages there divided out into goal-related one time tasks, goal-related repeating tasks, and non-goal related tasks. Things like “unload the van” go here.
I then keep lists. Wish lists, gift lists, reading lists, movie lists, restaurants to eat at lists, etc.
Next is the section of stuff I need to read and review. That Internet article I wanted to devote more time to goes in here. I also have a page here to track books I’ve checked out from the library and their due dates.
The someday-maybe tab is just that. Things I want to keep hold of (like future business ideas or book ideas or vacation ideas) but that I’m not ready to act on…yet.
I then have a tab for common pages I need to use in OneNote so that I don’t have to type out the same thing every time I start a project or create a new page.
Finally, I have the “Current Projects” section group and the “Reference” section group. Both are broken down by area of life. Things I’m working on go into the current projects group that matches the area of life the project is related to. I break my projects down into milestones and then into the next action. I flag the next action so that it appears in Outlook. Once I complete a next action, I check the OneNote page to see what the follow-up action needs to be.
Reference items are just that. Notes I might need to refer back to, project breakdowns from earlier projects, time sheets from previous projects, articles or links to articles I want to refer back to.