Three by five

Above is the most important thing on my desk. A pile of 3×5 index cards from Staples.

I’ve paid tons of dough for tremendous productivity apps. I know how to get them to do the thing and import the whozit and color the doohickey red when the thingamabob meets my Fidget Criteria.

It’s really awesome and satisfies my need to fill every idle moment with some sort of work spasm. But that’s not what I want to do.

I want to write on paper with a pen.

On my desk is this stack of 3×5 index cards. I’ve also got several pencils in a plastic cup festooned with construction paper, buttons, feathers and an irresponsible amount of Elmer’s glue around the words, “I’m as lucky as can be, for the world’s best dad belongs to me.”

That kid cried a lot when I took it from her on the bus.

When “stuff” comes in, I grab a card, write down the briefest synopsis, toss it into a plastic inbox and resume what I was doing. Everything goes onto an index card, like requests from my wife, thoughts that pop into my head, ideas to try out and so on. At the end of the day, I take one card at a time out of the box, decide what its message is [1. Actionable, reference material or trash.], act accordingly and then throw it away.

The interruption is minor and the processing is simple (one card and, subsequently, one thought at a time), orderly and effective. From there, I can place actions into the fancy software [2. But while we’re being honest, they usually end up on one of David Seah’s Printable CEO forms, which I cannot and will not work without. That’s a future post.], but it starts with an index card. Give it a try.