30 days to reaching your potential day two: buy a decent notebook

Yesterday we cleared a nice new workspace and today we are going to get one of the major tools in place for improving our results in life: the all powerful notebook.

The notebook is one of the most efficient tools that all entrepreneurs and successful executives seem to still use despite modern technology advances. Buying a notebook that is going to be both durable and made of a fine quality is important. You want to be able to capture your thoughts and ideas while showing to yourself that they are valuable.

How much do you value yourself and your ideas?

Have you ever had an idea that you thought was worth millions? I know I have. But what did you do with that idea? Did you write it down? If so, where? I used to write my ideas on loose sheets of paper or in cheap notebooks and most of those ideas are no longer with me. Why? There are two reasons:

  1. I did not really value my own thoughts
  2. I did not keep the notebooks.
Buying cheap is not a good option for success. I remember years ago buying 30 pens in a packet to ensure I always had one that worked. The reality was however that most of them didn't work and the ones that did were painful to use. Nowadays I have two nicer pens and just buy refills when one runs out. It actually saves me money while allowing me to have a quality item I won't lose. This works with notebooks too. I used to buy several a year, now I buy only one or two. Although the cost is higher, they are a better quality and do not tend to get thrown out or misplaced.

The other benefit with better quality notebooks is the value associated with them. I am less likely to lose or dispose of a more expensive notebook due to the cost. It also makes me feel like my ideas are valuable. Can you image the looks you get when you try and present a business idea to someone that has been jotted down on a loose piece of scrunched up paper? If it seems that you don't value your ideas, then why would someone else?

The action for today is to go and buy a decent quality notebook. Whether you get a little pocket sized one or an A5 size is up to you depending on your needs. The next thing to do is figure out how you will set it out. I personally find that the more complex the system, the less likely it is you will use it. The system I use is:
  1. Leave a blank page at the front (Contact details page not included) to write down your goals and objectives (covered in day three)
  2. Leave two-three pages for an index at the start
  3. Number every second page
  4. Leave a blank two-three pages at the back for writing down recommended reading, videos, etc.
  5. If you are a contractor, leave about 15 pages to document your hours down either at the front or the back. Trying to track hours throughout the notebook is a little too difficult
  6. Leave the rest of the pages for taking notes. Jot down the topics in the index at the start and group via page numbers. They don't have to be in order but rather they have to point you to related material.
Whether you use this system or not is up to you.

  1. Buy a decent quality notebook.
  2. Set up your notebook to a style that will suit you for use.

30 days to reaching your potential day one: clearing your desk

photo courtesy of joelesler

There are a number of little things that an individual can do to help them to reach their potential. Having thought about this concept I have come up with a list of things that an individual can do to begin living a better life and have decided to create a 30 day guide around it.

When we reach our potential we begin to feel more fulfilled, more satisfied in our results and more content with our lives. However, to start on our journey to self improvement we need to begin by clearing some space to begin our operations.

Today you are going to begin the 30 days to reaching your potential by clearing your desk. You will need to have some space to work for the next four weeks and having a clear space is important to do this.

If you don't currently have a desk or home office, find something that will suit as an alternative. You can use the lounge room and coffee table, a dining room table, etc. The main thing is this: The desk needs to be clean.

Having a clear desk gives you a place where you can have a clean slate. You do not want to be working in a stressful environment and feeling extra tension because of the mess around you. Figure out where you will use as a desk and make sure the tabletop is spotless. Eliminate everything; no paper, no desktop computer (laptop is acceptable if it gets put away), in/out boxes, no to do lists, etc. The goal is to have nothing on your work station.

If your desk has drawers (either real or makeshift) then go through them and ruthlessly eliminate everything you do not use. Keep a few pens and maybe a calculator, but try and eliminate as much paper and other material as possible. The goal is not to have more stuff taking up your thoughts, but rather to focus only on one task at a time, so that you manage to get more completed. With less stress (visually and mentally) you will have the ability to focus and to get more done.

A person's desk also says a lot about their character. For example: If you see a desk covered in stuff, do you think the person is organised and efficient, or messy and stressed? Your perception may be inaccurate, but you still make assumptions nonetheless. What would someone say about you if they saw your desk?

  1. Eliminate everything from on top of your desk.
  2. Go through the draws and reduce as much as possible.
  3. If you have time, consider reviewing any filing cabinets and eliminating old papers.
  4. If you have the money, but a little rubbish bin for your office to help keep it tidy.