People tell me all the time that I’m “so organized” and that they wonder how I get so much accomplished. My secret is the legal pad system.

In the old days when I used to be stressed and obsessed, I carried around two planners and scheduled every moment of my day so that I could exercise the utmost efficiency. Nowadays I am more peaceful. I don’t schedule every moment of my day. In fact, my one organization tool–outside of the family wall calendar in the kitchen–is a pink legal pad.

Here’s how it works: First, I divide the legal pad into two column with a pencil and a straight edge. I label the left column, “To Do,” and the right column, “Notes.” Then I proceed to write down everything that I need to do. That goes in the left column, of course.

I check the list ever so often as the day unfolds. If it seems like the right time to take care of one of the items on the list, I do it and check it off. If it seems like I need to put off an item until tomorrow or next week, I put an “X” beside it and write it on the sheet underneath it. I’ll work on that list for a day or two–or maybe for a whole week–before writing a new list on a clean sheet. If I didn’t finish the list, no problem. I just write whatever didn’t get done on the next page, which is now the new list.

The right side of the pad is for making note of things that people tell me that I need to remember, or for writing down an interesting thought or a book title that someone recommended, or whatever else comes up.  Eventually, I put this information to use, but it’s nice to have a place to put it, so it doesn’t get lost.

It’s a gentler, easier way to approach my life’s work. No more frantic pressure to get everything done in one day. After all, the Bible says God took seven days to create the world, and I’ve heard that God’s days are like a thousand years!

And you know what? I think I get more done now at this peaceful pace with my legal pad in hand than when I hurried and worried with my detailed planners. There’s a saying that goes, “There’s more to life than increasing its speed.” I think I’m finally beginning to believe it!

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2 Comments on The Legal Pad System

  1. Kathy says:

    A notepad on your computer? Intriguing. I bet I would use a computer notepad, too, if I knew how to do it. I sure am looking forward to learning more about computers from you this summer!

  2. Ryan says:

    Interestingly enough, I do about the same thing, except I can never remember a real pad, so I use notepad on my computer since I’m always on it :)

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