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The Least Expensive Productivity Tool That Just Might Be The Best

by Amber De La Garza

Istock 528917900Where is your task list right this minute? If you’re like most real estate professionals, 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 documents, notebooks, and hopefully a digital task management system. 

You can reduce your stress and tame your task list simply by utilizing a productivity tool you can likely buy in your local dollar store. It’s not a fancy gadget or app, you can’t buy it from Apple, and Google didn’t invent it. It was actually invented in the 1800's so your great-great grandmother might have even used it. Any guesses? The least expensive productivity tool that just might be the best… drum roll please… is the steno pad.

It is nearly impossible to be productive if you don’t work from some sort of to-do list. The most important strategy to conquer your task list and reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed is to keep it in one, centralized location. The commonplace steno pad is that perfect location. A steno pad is the tool you can most easily use to stay 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. You can take it wherever you go to keep a running list of your ideas, thoughts, and to-do’s throughout the day when it’s not practical to access your digital task list.

While keeping a digital task list is important for numerous reasons, opening up your task management system is not always feasible. There will be times 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 go online. Use your handy steno pad instead to jot down notes as needed.

Completing a weekly review in which you can tie up loose ends, determine what was not completed, and properly schedule your following week is a great productivity strategy. Your weekly review is also the perfect time to look back through all of the notes on your steno pad - notes jotted down during phone conversations, meetings, conferences, podcasts, or during other times you wanted to retain valuable information. Process all the notes in your steno pad during your weekly review, 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 ripped out the pages, enabling you to start fresh each and every week.

You don’t have an infinite amount of time so stop wasting it! Stop rummaging through papers scattered across your desk and sticky notes stuck to your computer attempting to find a phone number, remember a task, or locate a random idea. Instead, stop by your local dollar store and purchase the least expensive productivity tool on the market. Using a steno pad as the single, centralized location for all of your written tasks and ideas will give you the peace of mind you need to be productive and help you take back control of your time.

Steno Pad Note Capturing Tips

  1. Use Shorthand. Abbreviations and symbols are your friends as long as you can remember what they mean and using shorthand saves a great deal of time.

  2. Write Legibly. If you’re writing something down, it’s probably important. Make sure you’ll be able to read your own writing later.

  3. Utilize Asterisks. If a note requires action, put an asterisk by it. It will be easier to extract those action items for your task list later.

Want more tips and strategies to improve your personal productivity? Download my free
Time Maximizers Cheat Sheet at www.TimeMaximizers.com.

About the Contributor

Delagarza CIRCLEAmber De La Garza is The Productivity Specialist! Amber is a sought-after coachtrainerspeakerwriter, and host of the Productivity Straight Talk podcast. She helps real estate professionals take consistent, massive, focused action in your business. Amber equips you with the specific techniques you need to master your mindset, expand your skill set, and build business systems so you can reduce your stress, increase your production, dominate the market, and make more time for what matters most. Amber also passionately shares her message with entrepreneurs all over the world as a contributor for The Huffington Post, Women's Council eNewsletter, Choices Magazine, and Las Vegas Agent Magazine.


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