Don’t you hate it…

when you know you put a piece of information in the “Current” folder, but when you go to look on your hard disk, the folders are “Prospects,” “Clients,” and “Signed Up”? Wait, was it in Evernote? No, the notebooks are “Past,” “Present,” and “Future.” Oh, yeah! The “Current” folder is in your e-mail program!

Here’s a gift you can give yourself: structure all your storage using the same set of names and organization. Consistency makes it easier for you to file things away and far quicker to find them again!

Breathe in. Breathe out.

What was I thinking?

We store things so that we can refer back to them, preferably in context.

When we’re building an integrated business lifestyle, we want to create the same quality of experience that brings us joy across our personal and professional endeavors. Consider these as two wings of a lovely butterfly that work together to uplift the center (purpose).

Let’s design a structure that has a place for every kind of thing you do. Start with the roles you play, like wife, parent, business owner, friend, and so on. You probably wouldn’t name a folder “Wife,” but it can remind you to set up a place for things related to “Marriage.”

You’ll want to include placeholders for the things that motivate your actions—spiritual, health, travel, and learning. Also remember the fun stuff—hobbies, activities, shopping, and any other area for which you research and collect information.

When you get to your “Professional” wing, you can use the areas from the Circles of Success business plan.

Just Begin

There is no one right answer for this, so you can’t get it wrong. And as women, we know things continually evolve and change, so you can’t get it right forever, either. Just start with your own list of categories for each wing, and maybe one level below that for each area.

Some tools may have more levels; just keep them consistent where you use them.

Now take the time to get the tools you’re already using aligned to support you (you can set up the new ones as you go):

  • Evernote notebooks and tags
  • E-mail folders or labels
  • Hard disk folders and cloud folders
  • Action management projects
  • Contact categories or organizations
  • Quicken (finance) categories and tags or Quickbooks chart of accounts

I extracted a video clip from a talk I gave. See the presentation here:

Organize Data

Designing to Use Your Tools Elegantly

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