Thursday, September 6, 2012

Donald Trump Changed My Life

If you're like me, a small business owner with many irons in the fire, you probably find that your day is constantly filled with interruptions. If I'm in my office, I receive between 100-200 emails a day and probably 20 phone calls, not to mention employee and customer interaction. So, my uninterrupted time at my desk comes a precious few minutes at a time. If I'm not careful, the day slips away and I have truly not managed to do a single productive thing.

Four years ago, my husband and I went to a Get Motivated Seminar. It was day filled with speakers about everything from selling skills to investments. There were some big name speakers, but I only really remember one. I learned something that day that has changed the way I organize my life and increased my productivity by leaps and bounds. Who was the life changing speaker? This guy.

Photo Courtesy of

George Ross, as you likely know, was on The Apprentice and is Donald Trump's right hand man. His presentation was on negotiation tactics, but he started with a quick tip. He said he learned this concept from Donald himself. If it was good enough for the Donald and George, it was good enough for me.

The gist of the idea revolves around a notebook. It can be any kind of notebook, but I am in love with Moleskine. They have many editions, but I prefer the simple, plain black with lines. When starting the first time, make it less about the notebook and more about the process. You'll figure out what you need to tweak the style of notebook you'll need. (I now have a perfect size - probably 4.5x8". It must fit in my purse, but be big enough to keep all of the information I need.)

Start on the second page and right side of your notebook and make your list. This can be a list of things to do this week or for the day specifically. I usually list everything I would do for the day if I had a perfectly quiet day with no interruptions. Then, go down through the tasks and number them starting with #1 being the first task you will conquer. Usually, I use tasks 1 and 2 to get myself going so they're usually easy and quick. Once I get started and knock a couple things off, I'm usually on a roll and the rest of the tasks go much faster. If you have to pause to take a call or talk with a customer, you'll be able to fall right back into your prioritized list.

Here's a photo of my list from the other day when I was at home. I know, it's on the left side of the page. But, it was one of many lists that day. I'm obsessed with scratching off items, so laundry is on there for each time I need to start a new load.

This part may not seem life changing and it's really not. The magic occurs on the left side of the page and the rest of the notebook. This is where you make notes from your day that would generally go on scrap paper, Post-Its or a cocktail napkin. This keeps everything in one nice, neat place and a great record of who you talk with, phone numbers, prices and part numbers, and much more. I take this book everywhere including sales training and seminars and keep all of my notes in this book. I now have four years worth of data that I have collected all organized by date.

Here's a shot of a work day. The chicken scratch on the left side is exactly what makes the concept work.

I also save the back 10-20 pages of the notebook for important information like user names, passwords, and anything else I want to track on a longer term list. I've done a lot with this section over the years including taking measurements when I was on a workout plan, tracking all of my real estate listings, tracking employees bonuses, and keeping a to-do list for when I become president of an organization in a few years.

This is more than a to-do list and it's more than a journal. Following this has truly changed my life and helps me stay on track and organized everyday. And, to think, it's all thanks to Donald Trump. If it works for the Donald, it will likely work for you too.

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