In order to continuously improve, one must employ the most efficient methods. In order to determine the inefficiencies in a method so that they can be resolved, one must have data. This requires you to track your activities from now on.
The following list could contain several alternatives for each category. Google, pick one and stick with it. I provide you with the option that I use.
Websites/Apps to Keep Track of Personal Information
- Books you have read or want to read — Goodreads
- Movies you have seen or want to see — IMDB
- Financial Expenditures & Budgets — ExpenseManager | Walnut (India)
- Money loaned / shared with friends — Splitwise
- Habit Chains — Habitica | 7 Weeks | HabitBull | Rewire
- Daily Schedule & Appointments — Google Calendar
- Shopping List — Google Keep
- To-Do List — Google Keep
- Contacts — Google Contacts
Next, create a spreadsheet on a cloud service (Google Sheets is recommended).
Label it Personal Information.
Create a new tab called ‘Family Members’
Add the following columns in it:
- Phone Number
- Shirt Size
- Pant Size
- Shoe Size
Create a new tab called “SO” (Significant Other):
Create a new sheet called “Self” and add the following information:
- Government ID numbers
- Bank Account and Debit Card numbers
- Medical Information
Create a new sheet / checklist for:
- Contacts – You would think in this age of Google and the Internet, you would be able to instantly find contact information. Yet, that is far from the reality. Always capture individual’s direct contact information when you encounter it. You never know when it will be valuable again in the future.
- Todos – Don’t forget that important, yet not urgent task. Add it to your todo list so that you won’t forget it, but can also keep concentrating on what you are doing now. Your todo list can remind you later.
- Solutions – When you solve a problem, save the steps and details in case you need to do it again down the road. I save solutions like this to Evernote in case I ever need them again.
- Big Ideas – Ever had one of those genius ideas… that you then forgot later? Those fleeting BIG ideas may never come again, catch them when they first cross your mind.
- Reading Material – Capture reading material for later. If you let every article, website, and tweet that comes your way distract you, you’ll never get your work done. Save them for future reading, during in-between times.
- Notes – This one may seem like a no-brainer. After all, isn’t that what notes are… information for later? Except, you would be amazed how many people don’t bother to take notes. Always take notes during important conversations and events.
- Shopping Items – Ever get back from the store just to realize that you forgot that one thing you thought of last week that you need? And then you head back to the store. Keep a running shopping list at all times so that you can easily capture shopping items when you think of them. I keep mine right inside my todo list in Wunderlist.
- Reference Information – These are pieces of information that are important but that you may not deal with on a regular basis. They can be simple things like sizes, product types, etc. Or they can be reference documents. Ensure you file them so you don’t have to dig for them later.
- Recipes – One of my oldest notes in Evernote (from 2008!) is my wife’s best margarita recipe. Capture your favorite recipes and never search for them again.
- Solutions to Problems – Save answers to problems so that you don’t have to solve them again.
- Business Documents – Business files, agreements, receipts, and more.
- Secrets – Yes, secrets. But, of course use Evernote’s encrypt feature.
- Quotes – Motivational quotes for future inspiration.
- Bookmarks – To things on the web that you want to be able find again.
- Checklists – Procedures, and recurring lists to ensure that you don’t miss an item or step.
- Travel Packlist – A checklist, used whenever you travel for personal or business.
- Meeting Agendas – Pre-planning for meetings.
- Meeting Notes – Action items and notes from meetings. You can set reminders for follow-up items if you choose.
- Family Notebook – Start an Evernote notebook that contains all of your family notes, from important docs to simple things like kids’ school information. You can share this notebook with your spouse.
- House Notebook – Another shareable notebook can contain all of the maintenance, receipts, and more for your house.
- Membership #s – Even have to search for that one loyalty program or hotel chain membership?
- Software licenses – Keep these in one place, so you don’t have to go “fishing” for them in old emails.
- Reference Docs – Documents that you may need on the go or for quick reference. Could be medical docs, or even lease info.
- Screen shots – Screen shots of important things. These can be from you desktop or even your iPhone. Annotate them with Evernote’s Skitch app.
- Scanned Docs – While Evernote isn’t a key repository for scanned docs, you can store copies of certain scanned docs in Evernote so they are at your fingertips, even on the go.
- Whiteboard pics – Photos of white board notes from meetings. Often quicker and easier than writing it down.
- Moleskine pics – Even before Evernote partnered with Moleskine, I used to take photos of my important notes that were in my paper-based Moleskine system. Now it’s even easier for you to do the same.
- Tutorials – Instructions or teaching videos that demonstrate a skill that you want to learn in the future.
- Prescription info – Take photos of any prescription bottles so you can reference them on the go, or for easy refills.
- School Supplies List – List of school supplies needed by kids for the school year.
- Contractor Info – Save the contact info and jobs that contractors have done in case you want to use them again in the future.
- Proposal Draft – Notes and outline for business proposals.
- Infographic – A graphic of stats to save for future reference.
- Conference Agenda – Handouts and agenda for a conference you are attending.
- Product Information – Seller information for an item interested in.
- Gift List – List of gifts for upcoming holidays and birthdays. You can even set reminders right within Evernote.
- Hotel Notes – Information from a hotel, including the names of key personnel that were helpful.
- A Poem – A motivational poem or inspirational document you want to use to inspire you later.
- Sports Roster – Team list and contact information for you or your child’s team.
- Team-building Exercise – Directions for a team-building exercise that you’d like to utilized in the future.
- Ticketmaster Receipt – Receipt and tickets PDF for a future concert.
- Negotiation Notes – Facts and details from a business negotiation. These come in handy, when one party chooses to “mis-remember” certain numbers.
- Photos of Returned Equipment – Pictures of equipment, including serial #s, that you returned (such as to Comcast.) These were immensely valuable to me when 6 months later Comcast called and tried to say I was responsible for the missing equipment.
- Clothing Sizes – For anyone you shop for. Never have to ask again.
- Coaching Session Notes – Dated and specific notes from performance coaching sessions. Keep a log of on-going sessions when dealing with an individual performance issue.
- Discount Codes – Coupon codes that you may not be ready to use immediately, but may in the near future.
- Gate Codes – Physical access codes that you encounter but may not use regularly enough to remember.
- Conference Code Access #s – Dial-in numbers and leader PIN #s.
- Presentation Notes – Notes for an upcoming presentation you may be attending or leading.
- Webinar Notes – Keep Evernote open side-by-side when you are on web-call so that you can capture notes immediately.
- On-line Course Notes – Similarly, use Evernote to take notes during online training courses. You can usually drop screen shots right in-between typed bullets and notes.
- Customer Support Log – When you call customer support for a company, document the dates, times, and who you spoke with for future reference.
- Blog Posts – Save blog posts and writings from others that you want to be able to refer to, like this one!
- White Paper – A white paper for future reading. If you save it to your hard drive it will be lost. In Evernote, you can read it anywhere.
- Magazine Article – Clipping of magazine article.
- Frequent Flyer Info – Airline information and club #s.
- Recommended Services – Recommendations for local services from friends and neighbors.
- Comics – Clippings of some of your favorite funny and insightful comics.
- Interview Questions – Questions and answers for an upcoming interview.
- Phone Conversation Notes – Notes and details from phone conversations.
- Wine Notes – Photos of favorite bottles of wine that you liked while out to dinner. Just in case you want to buy a bottle as a gift.
- Points of Contact – Information about specific contacts at business or organizations. This is beyond address book information, and includes conversations and details.
- Favorite Meals – Favorite meals and links to recipes.
- Restaurant List – List of favorite local restaurants. This is very useful when everyone says, “I don’t know where I want to eat.”
- Pet information – Appointment history and vet info for family pets.
- Mini-Dossiers – Keep facts and details about friends and close business associates. It’s always a nice surprise when someone arrives to meet you (that you haven’t seen in some time) and you have already ordered their favorite drink.