Time for some good ‘ole productivity and technology guides, to simplify the mundane so you can get back to living. Picture your mind, body, life, and soul (MBLS) like a garden. It’s much easier to pull weeds each day than start a new garden all over again after neglecting it. That’s why it’s so important to stay organized. You can use a notes app like Notes, Google Keep, or any other quick app to manage and grow your own personal world.
STEP ONE: CATEGORIZE
Let’s get our ducks in a row. We have so much to keep track of these days that even this step can be overwhelming. Of course we are going to give you a template, but make sure to add in the things in your MBLS mix that are specific to you. Here are the things we are constantly managing, along with the cool names we use to make things a little less boring:
LOG (Daily Journal)
MAPS (Goals and Game Plans)
GROW (Things to Read, Watch, Learn)
GEAR (Assets and Belongings)
FLOWS (Created Rap Verses. Embarrassing)
NETWORK (People to Love and Connect)
SITES (Travel Goals, Mostly Campsites)
Cherry pick the ones that are most relevant to you, and add in your own. The most entertaining part of this process is picking the perfect emoji to brighten things up, so take your time there. But if you want to finish up this process in five minutes or less, just start with:
STEP TWO: DETAILS
Nothing really beats a physical, analog journal. But having a digital log you can hop into at any time is really helpful to slow down your day, analyze your feelings, and work through problems. This one is pretty easy, but one key to making this work well is to add in the next day at the top of the list, not the bottom. This prevents having to scroll down forever to write something new.
One time, you had a great idea that would have made you a bazillionaire. But you forgot it, didn’t you?! Me too. Most of my ideas end up costing me money instead… Every time a shower thought pops into your head, add it into your notes and forget about it until you are ready, all in under 10 seconds.
Here is where you can write out detailed Kaizen game plans for achieving your goals, or just long-term things you want to accomplish one day. These first few notes go in order, because many times you might journal out an idea, turn it into a goal, and create tasks from it.
Pretty self explanatory. When you are brushing your teeth in the morning and remember you need more toothpaste, throw it on the list of errands. You can also add in daily tasks here, like fitness training or reading.
Most of us have about 15 books we want to read at any one time. Add them onto a list, so you can slowly burn through them over the years. There are also many great documentaries or movies that can help you grow. This is a very customizable section where you can keep anything you consistently use to improve your health.
Here is a tricky one for those of you who aren’t out-of-your-mind minimalists. Personally, I am working on creating a list of every thing I own. Treat your home like a campsite or a headquarters: everything has a place and purpose. Keep track of these things so you know what needs to be replaced.
Because it’s just too time consuming to manually update your expenses on a note, you can add in financial goals, account balances at the end of each week, or a budget you are sticking to.
Dream work is real, and we will talk about this later. It is okay to be skeptical, but we have all had a dream or even a recurring dream that makes us go, “What the heck was that all about?” If you write these down the moment you have them and revisit them a few days later, it might be plain as day what your subconscious was trying to tell you.
Try adding not only just quotes of a few sentences, but copy-and-paste in paragraphs from articles or books that really inspire you. Write down your favorite quotes so you can repeat them later to the group and sound really smart. I’ve got ‘em all fooled.
(Let’s skip FLOWS and SITES, because you probably don’t spend your free time brainstorming raps or rating your campsites around the world. You could absolutely add in travel goals into your MAPS note instead.)
This one can take some serious time to set up, but the payoff to your health is worth it. Go through your family first, and write down every member you have, or should have, a personal connection with. Then, go through your friend and work groups throughout your life, and do the same.
A few times a week, scroll through this list and pick someone you haven’t talked to in a while. This is an automatic task for extroverts, but many introverts need the reminder to reach out. All it takes is a few texts to your network to open new doors and feel better about your social life.
STEP THREE: PULL WEEDS DAILY
Remember our garden analogy? You have to use and revise this system consistently in order for it to work. But once you customize it over time to your liking, it’s such a freeing feeling to see all the categories of your life in one place.
Plus, if you are working on something specific, open up a new note. Your project will be accessible on all your devices, and already in the system you use each day. Make sure you number your permanent notes, because then everything else goes to the bottom of the list for easier organization.
The iPhone Notes app has been releasing some new features like photos and drawings, but it is not trying to be a word processor. We’ve tried to use Google Docs for this process, but the opening and closing of the app and doc adds 10-15 seconds. We are patient, but the whole point of this process is to keep it near-effortless. Opening the Notes app and finding your note is lightning fast, so we gladly sacrifice features for ease of use.
If you want, we have a shared note with all of these categories pre-built that you can access by entering your email below. You will be sent a link that contains all of the above so you can copy and paste them into any app you use. Sorry if you are not on iOS and your emoji game is a bit different!
What other notes are you going to add into your own MBLS garden?