One Super Cool Strategy to Unlock Your Productivity Potential

How organized are you?

I want to say I’m an organized person, and I tend to start with the best of intentions… but I quickly get frustrated with most agendas, planners, and styles of organizing projects.

I’ve tried and failed at a lot of different systems… and at the last mastermind retreat I attended, my coach introduced us to this super cool strategy for planning.  And it’s WORKING for me!


The photo above is a pic of my sticky note organizational boards.  I used my colors a little differently than the video shows, just adapated a bit to make it work better for my brain.

Here’s exactly how to set this system up for yourself:

If you can’t see the video above, click here to watch it on YouTube:

What do you think?  Isn’t that a fun method for keeping track of things?  I implemented it about three weeks ago and I’ve been SO much more on top of things since.

What are your favorite ways to stay organized?

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  1. Michelle,

    I must say the layout of your desk is awesome! A little too much pink for my taste..LOL
    Pink Phone, Pink Calculator, Pink Posties and Pink…ohh wait not shown..hehe.

    The board is great! Make it a game! One post-it jumps another cancels the previous. Roll the dice..9! Move nine spaces, pick a post in any adjacent side and perform that task. Now pick a card..ohh no..Do not Pass GO, Do not collect $49.00 and go back to your autoresponder and re-write the drip.

    Staying organized is so vital. I recommend a three ring binder for each and every project. Side tabs and plastic sheet protectors. Set it up just like a book complete with table of contents and listings of all important information including a chart that describes the flow of each campaign and what it connects to.

    The Board is a great visual of what to do next and in what step. As a techie, I use Ultra-Edit..same as note pad just a steroids. I set up my file structure and make lots of files. I push what graphic images that will be used in a separate folder. When the time comes to create a site, all my content is ready. copy and paste.


    1. Pink makes me smile. :)

      LOVE the game idea! Now that could be a blast!

      And thanks for sharing those tips–great strategies for staying on top of projects and keeping them all together.

    2. Charlie I would like to learn more about how you set up your project binder. I have so many things going on from business to non profits, as well as personal projects I am involved in. There is no one place where everything is contained and its a mess. Would love to hear more about this project binder you use.

  2. I had a tenant who once had a whole bedroom wall covered in post it notes – it wasn’t his project board, it was just how he wanted to decorate.

    I’m glad she mentioned what to do if you don’t have a blank wall to put these white boards on as my place is VERY small. Since I don’t have separate for an office, believe it or not, there isn’t one blank wall to display this on (well, not without taking down artwork and having my project board on display for any guests to see).

    This does seem like a very cool idea for tracking projects, especially when you have team members working on various elements at different times. Thanks for sharing! ~Debra
    Debra Jason recently posted… Do You Know the 5 Steps to Copywriting Success? Part 2My Profile

    1. Wow, what a unique decorating idea! :)

      I just used two big pieces of that thicker posterboard, I forget what it’s called. LOL But I can move it anywhere and it works great!

    2. You can also do the same type of thing in your Idea Notebook, Debra. Someone (it could have been Michelle) mentioned this to me. That way if you don’t get a project or something done at a particular time, you can just move the sticky note to the next page. Works great for your To Do Lists, as well!
      Amethyst Mahoney recently posted… 3 Tips to Build Your BusinessMy Profile

      1. Would love to take credit but I don’t think it was me. :) Smart idea though! I like that twist.

  3. Hi Michelle,

    I love the idea of sticky posts and I use the digital sticky posts that come with Microsoft; they work wonders for me. I only began color coding them recently. Thanks for sharing.
    Sharon recently posted… Hands Off Books ReviewMy Profile

    1. I use those on my desktop, too. Nice way to keep track of things. :)

    2. I had NO Idea I could change the color of those post it notes! You have no idea how excited I am in this very moment! Thanks for casually mentioning it! What fun! No more boring yellow on my desktop now!
      Loralee Hutton recently posted… vs WordPress.orgMy Profile

      1. Sometimes it’s those little things that really brighten the day. ;)

  4. Thank you for sharing! I am now going to brainstorm how I will set mines up. I just started my business so this would be a great way to launch a business with good habits in place already.

    1. Good idea. Saves a lot of time and energy to develop habits that work for you sooner. ;)

  5. I’ll have to try that. Right now I use my Google Calendar, synced to my phone, and a text file for my todo list (which is a mile long)

    1. Love Google calendar. I use that too and sync it everywhere. I found that putting things right in front of my nose like this helps a lot though, especially with the bigger projects that I don’t quite “schedule” in my calendar.

      1. I’m the kind that closes the file and forgets about it :D So this would make it a lot more clear, and put it in front of my nose where I can’t drop the stuff I forget about. There are lots of things that don’t work in a calendar.
        Linda Ursin recently posted… A Witch’s JacketMy Profile

        1. I’m the same way, Linda. It’s GOT to be in front of me. ;)

  6. The sticky notes may be a big hit for those who are visual. As mktgcopywriter mentioned, it’s probably a cool idea for team projects. I use Google Calendar. I also have a “habit list” for those things I do every day – or on a regular basis – but have a tendency to forget if I get too busy.

    Definitely puts some pizazz in being organized.

    Thanks for sharing
    Adalia John recently posted… There’s Something to Be Grateful for EverydayMy Profile

    1. I used my colors a little differently since I’m just me (I do have a VA and delegate some pieces to others depending on what I’m doing but they all work remotely). I used colors to indicate priority level and type of tasks. So I modified it some to work better for my particular business.

  7. Wow, that’s such a great idea! I’m the most disorganised person ever, so I’m going to try this and try get organised!!

    Visuals are great. It’s all in front of you so you can’t miss it!

    Thanks for sharing Michelle.

    Lil :)
    Lillian Leon recently posted… Warning: Blogging can be Hazardous to your Health!My Profile

    1. That’s why it’s working for me, Lillian. I’ve discovered I *need* that visual reminder or I quickly lose track of things. Have fun creating your board!

  8. I am not very organized, Michelle, LOL! I have things written down in pen on my agenda but if I get a great idea when I don’t have it on me, then I add notes in my iPhone. And so I end up with 2 places to work from, which is …hmm… not very efficient.
    When you get a chance, can you also post the link from YouTube because I could not get the video to load on Mac. Pretty please, it’s for a good cause, I want to learn to be more organized :)
    Delia recently posted… 9 blogging tips I learned from my kidsMy Profile

    1. Whoops! I usually remember to include that – – will edit to add. :)

      1. Yay, thanks for this!

  9. Got to go with all you people who say that visual ideas keep them motivated and acting on them. I totally agree. I think we all suffer from a similar problem: too many ideas to do at once, prioritizing what we want to do first or if it gets sidelined to remember to do it at a later date.

    Thanks for posting Michelle.
    Kaye Dennan recently posted… 5 Home Based Business Ideas For RetireesMy Profile

    1. It’s a challenge, isn’t it? I wouldn’t trade what I get to do for anything else, LOVE it, but it can be crazy. :)

  10. Michelle what a great idea, thanks so much for sharing. The color coding is such a great idea. Now I need to keep out of reach of my cats so they don’t mess it up! :o)
    Marilyn Schendel recently posted… Cruising & IntentionsMy Profile

    1. Luckily my cats have not yet noticed mine. My daughter, on the other hand, I had to share sticky notes with so she could create her own. :)

      I hope your cats play nicely with it. :)

  11. Nice article, thanks for the information.

    1. You’re welcome, and thanks for commenting.

  12. Hi Michelle,

    Can you explain a bit more about how you modified it to fit for a person working on their own. For instance, you have 12 columns – could you tell us your categories? And if used by priority, do you need to rewrite on a new color sticky note sometimes?

    I just can’t seem to find a system that works for me this looks promising.


    Shelley Webb recently posted… Branding Gone Viral – My Favorite Marriage Equality ImagesMy Profile

    1. Sure!

      So my categories across the top are two colors — purple is for my own biz, and blue for a biz I’m CMO for.

      The ones for my own business are:
      education and training (mostly course I’ve purchased and not gone through yet)
      marketing and promotion
      products & workshops
      blogging (this needed it’s own separate category for me LOL)
      website & tech stuff
      cart & affiliate program (this is a huge problem right now so it got it’s own category while I fix it)
      client projects (short-term, small projects I need to wrap up)
      events and promotions (this is where all of my yellow notes are)

      Then the projects/tasks I broke down as:
      pink – urgent priority
      orange – less urgent
      green – directly generates $$
      yellow – commitment to someone else (affiliate or JV stuff mostly)

      For anything I am delegating or delegating part of, I just write VA or a note like that on the sticky note.

      And yes, I do switch colors sometimes on them, or categories.

      1. Great! Thanks!

        I can easily adapt this for use with the color system I learned from Sandra Martini and I, too, already have the white board and stickies.

        My daughter, an event planner, has her entire wall filled with stickies (where people will sit, which team they’re on, etc.) but didn’t think to adapt for a home biz.

        Shelley Webb recently posted… Are You Serving….or Performing?My Profile

  13. This is so helpful Michelle thank you so much for sharing. I am a scanner type and so I always have lots of projects and ideas that I want to get working on, but haven’t yet found the perfect system to keep track of all the disparate ideas.
    This looks good on the wall and looks as though it’s really versatile. I will have to try it! Thank you!
    Tasha recently posted… A little known path to positive relationshipsMy Profile

    1. Have fun with it, Tasha. I am really loving it so far and finding I’m getting more done and dropping less things accidentally.

  14. Wow! I already have the white board and colored sticky notes, just needed this info to help me put it all together! I’m totally a visual organizer. Out of sight is out of mind for me. Like you, I adapted the system for my own business. I will use it strictly for projects, not my daily to-do list.

    Nancy Camden recently posted… Protect Your BrandMy Profile

    1. Cool. Easier to take action when you’ve got everything you need to make it happen.

  15. It’s so important to use a system or a strategy that works for your personality and lifestyle. What often happens is that the time management/organization stuff that’s out there is created by people of one particular personality type . . . and it makes others pull their hair out :). That’s why the systems you’ve tried haven’t worked for you. It’s not that you failed at them . . . it’s that they weren’t suited for you. I’m glad you found one that works for you now! It’s cool because it’s an “outside-the-box” method. The colored stickies add a fun element to a system. It’s also flexible and able to be customized.

    Trello is an online version of the same thing. You can create categories with notes under it, move them around, edit them, etc. It works for a solopreneur or for a team project and it’s good for people who like this type of system, but prefer a digital version.

    Personally, I’m like Charlie with the binders for the different projects I have going on. I also like a giant calendar with color-coded stickies (or a day planner with colored pens) for my daily to-do stuff. My brain is very linear and having it go by days rather than categories is best for me and I have the category/project info all together in individual binders.
    Leanne Chesser recently posted… How to Improve Time Management With Three Simple QuestionsMy Profile

    1. That’s it exactly, Leanne. I just don’t process information the same way as many planner types. LOL

      I love the *idea* of digital planners and organizational tools but I’m terrible at using them. I forget to login. I know part of that is creating the habit and I’ve managed to do it with Google calendar (I have it synced to like every device I own–computers, phone, Kindle, ipod, etc).

      So this works great because it’s so visible anytime I’m at my desk and I think the tactile element helps me (I also love to cross things off lists).

      It’s so interesting how our brains are wired, isn’t it? I can’t do the linear thing, it completely frustrates me. I need to immerse intensely in things to get them done, too.

      Hey if you’re ever up for guest posting, I’d love some on what works for other organizational styles since I’m sure some of my readers are thinking this one is not their cup of tea. ;)

      1. Yes, it’s fascinating to me how our brains are wired and how our personalities affect things. I’d love to guest post . . . I’ll work on some in that topic area and get in touch with you. Thanks for the opportunity :).
        Leanne Chesser recently posted… How to Improve Time Management With Three Simple QuestionsMy Profile

  16. Great video Michelle! I’m a post-it note fan myself so this was a really cool way to stay organized and not clutter your desk. I may have to convert some wall space to do this as I am visual also. I did like the idea of poster board that you mentioned earlier to so it’s easily moveable if you don’t have wall space. Definitely something to consider this weekend!
    Kristen Robinson recently posted… 3 More LinkedIn Secrets You Should KnowMy Profile

    1. Yes, that’s what I went with because I can easily move it around as needed. :)

      My challenge as a fellow post-it note fan is that I want to use my crazy ones like hearts and coffee cups… LOL Do you collect those, too, Kristen?

      1. I haven’t seen those Michelle! That would be great to help me keep my networking and follow-ups on track. Also, I did find some leftover poster board this weekend and am now going to implement this in my daily routine to get more done and be productive. Thanks for this Michelle!
        Kristen Robinson recently posted… 3 More LinkedIn Secrets You Should KnowMy Profile

  17. This is a cool idea. I bought a small bulletin board and colored index to use for plotting out a screen play I’m writing. Guess what? Screenplay is DONE and the board is still wrapped up new like I bought it a year ago – and I’m using the index cards as scratch paper LOL I can probably put the bulletin board to use as a project planner using the same method. My issue then will be… getting more cards when I run out :)

    Thanks for sharing!!!
    Gwen Tanner recently posted… Gonna Blog Again and a FREE Kindle Book for KidsMy Profile

    1. You’re all set, then. :) Doesn’t even require a trip to the office supply store!

      Didn’t realize you wrote screenplays, Gwen. Very cool.

  18. I’m a digital girl all the way. I use a combination of Gmail (connected to Outlook on my computer), Google Calendar, and Evernote to keep organized, with to help automate some of the more tedious/repetitive processes. I work full-time in an office (after 8 years of working from home!) in addition to trying to build my business ventures, and I’m never exactly in one place, so having cross-platform tools is essential to me. But I like this color-coded system, and might try to integrate it once I have my office finished (we recently moved, and so the house is still a work-in-progress!)
    Gwynne recently posted… Annual Easter Egg HuntMy Profile

    1. Moving is always a bit of an adventure, Gwynne. I hope the unpacking and settling in goes smoothly for you.

      Sounds like you’ve got a system that works really well for you. Awesome!

  19. I am also fond of using sticky notes to organize the things I should be doing and I do it by color coding according to importance.
    Connor Harley recently posted… What is Microenvironment in Marketing?My Profile

    1. Hi, Connor. I love the visual element of the colors, too.

  20. I love love love this idea! There is so much going on in my head and organizing has always been like a Kryptonite to me. This will work well for me personally and professionally. I can’t wait to share this with my 9 year old son as a way to teach him goal setting and achievement-not to mention organization. Thanks Michelle for continuing to help me save myself from excuses and ignorance.
    Kaye recently posted… How to Find a Real WomanMy Profile

    1. Hey Kaye, that’s a great idea! Those are such important skills to help children learn and the sooner they figure out a system that works for them, the better. :)

  21. I think I’m missing the planning aspect of this.

    To me, it just looks like a pretty and flexible way to display your project lists.

    Is there something else to it that I missed?

    (I’m not criticizing it; I’m just not sure that I got it.)
    Nadira Jamal recently posted… 6 Half-Truths About Improv and ChoreographyMy Profile

  22. Great ideas, Michelle! I have used a similar idea but this has helped me think of ways to utilize it even further! I love having color in my office and I, too, need to have things like this out in plain sight!

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