The Index Card

Big Red Car here. Warming up a bit but it isn’t 60F yet and that means it’s winter time, y’all.

So The Boss gets a call from a brilliant CEO who asks an odd question.

He says: “Boss, you write about a lot of interesting stuff but I need some guidance on how to get more stuff done every day. I need a damn organizational trick that can make me more productive. Can you help me, Boss?”

The Boss rejects the notion of Adderall. Very close call but nonetheless, no Adderrall.

So The Boss says: “Brilliant CEO, have you tried the lowly index card? Have you tried it?”

The brilliant CEO says: “Do tell, Boss, what are you talking about?”

How do you eat an elephant?

How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time. [Haha, Big Red Car, really? One freakin’ bite at a time? That’s all you got?]

Take complex issues and break them down into “beats” — individual thoughts, inspirations which can then be reassembled into larger orderly thoughts and eventually into a plan.

Here is how The Boss breaks out a complex writing chore he is undertaking. Notice a couple of things. He has his individual “beats” on 3 x 5 index cards and then he summarizes them on 5 x 8 cards — his own homegrown system since he discovered index cards. It works for him.

Lay out your beats and then organize them further. Break down complex chores into beats and then chew carefully as you eat them one bite at a time. You can do it and it will work for you.

Moleskine notebooks

One other thing, notice the Moleskine notebooks with the elastic straps? Carry one with you at all times with a 0.5mm extra fine tip pen and constantly write notes to yourself. Be a notetaking fool and then review the notes from time to time.

Organize your notebooks in a way that you can find exactly what you want whenever you need it.

In this picture, you can see the notebooks The Boss uses to follow the exploits of each of his active CEO coaching clients. Certain ones are black, blue and red. You don’t want to have a red one, trust me on this.

The Boss likes to get an email setting the agenda before a nice long Skype call. Before he joins that call, he reviews his notes from last time and the emailed agenda. Then the brilliant CEO and The Boss have a very productive sixty to ninety minute call.

You can also see he has a nice supply of index cards. The eagle on the upper shelf is a talisman from the company culture of a company he ran once upon a time in his CEOing days. [The pig box is where he hides his folding money, don’t tell anyone. Haha, Big Red Car going to be in the garage for the entire winter if he doesn’t shut up.]

So, there you have it. Break complex chores into “beats” and then consolidate them and then knock the chore out of the park. You can do it.

How do you eat an elephant? One index card at a time. Burp!

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a Big Red Car.