I read a short article titled “15 Square Inches to Success” in The Memphis Daily News. It was written by speaker and columnist Chris Crouch. The 15 square inches that Crouch is talking about is the simple 3-by-5 index card.
He was talking about a goal he established of losing a few pounds in 2012. To help him, he employed what he calls a simple If-Then strategy. Rather than declaring that you (or I) plan to change some behavior, and then quickly forgetting about the plan, Crouch suggests that we identify a particular triggering event, the “If” part of the strategy. Then, he advocates developing a predetermined response to the triggering event, which is the “Then” part of the strategy.
Basically, using an index card I set up a very simple If-Then strategy to help me move toward a healthier lifestyle. In my case, if I want to eat something not in agreement with my plan (the triggering event), then I pull out the index card and read the benefits of losing weight (the predetermined response). So far, I find the think-about-food-but-read-the-index-card-instead strategy to be extremely effective.
Sounds simple, but it works. We are what we think, and if we think about a predetermined goal sufficiently, our minds will work toward achieving that goal. There is cognitive theory science behind all this, but it is amazing what repetition of a goal, or keeping it in front of you, can do.
Then, there is the simple fact that a 3-by-5 index card will fit in almost any pocket and is readily available for making notes. I am on a flight this morning and have already jotted four items of follow-up from my reading that I will transfer to my planner shortly.
As Chris Crouch says, using the 3-by-5 index card is one of the most powerful productivity tools around. Try it. You might like it. Sounds simple, but it works.