Where is your task list right now? If you’re like most of my clients starting out, the answer is a tough one because your task list is scattered across an assortment of sticky notes, random pieces of paper, emails, the backs of worksheets, notebooks, and maybe a digital task management system. If you’ve fallen into the risky habit of writing down notes, tasks, and ideas on anything that resembles paper whenever and wherever you are, your productivity suffers. Task lists that are scattered, disorganized, easily lost, and random can make you feel the same and incapable of being productive. Can you relate? It is hard to focus when your tasks are literally all over the place. You don’t need that chaos in your life.

Reduce your stress and tame your last list by utilizing the best productivity tool in use today. It isn’t a fancy gadget or app. And guess what? Surprisingly, you can’t buy it from Apple, Google didn’t invent it, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It was actually invented in the 1800s and your local dollar store might even carry it. Any guesses? The number one best productivity tool to keep you organized, productive, and efficient, whether in 1886 or 2016, is the steno pad.

In this modern day era, it is nearly impossible to be productive if you do not work from a task list. There are five strategies to conquer your task list and reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed. The most important is to keep your task list in one, centralized location. The mundane steno pad is that perfect location. A steno pad is the one little tool you can most easily use to keep yourself organized whether on the road traveling, with a client, at a meeting, or in your office. It fits effortlessly in your purse or briefcase, is easily replaceable, and ultimately affordable. Take it with you wherever you go to keep a running list of your ideas, thoughts, and to-do’s all day.

Keeping a digital task is important for numerous reasons but opening up your task management system is not always feasible. There will be plenty of times when you’ll be speaking over the phone with a client, in a meeting, or in the middle of a project, and it will be inconvenient to access your digital task list. Use your handy steno pad instead to jot down your notes.

Completing a weekly review at the end of each week in which you can tie up loose ends, determine what was not completed, and properly schedule the following week is a productivity strategy I highly recommend. Your weekly review is the perfect time to look back through all of the notes on your steno pad. The notes may be ones you took while on the phone with a vendor, client, or prospect, jotted down during a meeting, or wrote during other times in which it would have been inconvenient to open your digital task management system. Process all of the notes in your your steno pad; completing quick tasks and creating digital tasks as you go. Your steno pad should be blank once you’ve processed all of your notes for the week and you should rip out the pages, enabling you to start fresh every single week.

Your time is valuable. Stop wasting it rummaging through notebooks in your briefcase, sticky notes scattered across your desk, and random pieces of paper; attempting to find phone numbers or old notes, grab an action item, or locate a random thought or idea. Change your scattered course by utilizing the #1 productivity tool that won’t break your bank.

Using a steno as the one, centralized location for all of your tasks and ideas will give you the peace of mind you need to be productive and take back control of your life.

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