How and Where To Store Your Treasure….And Find It Quickly

029 LiftStore

There are many kinds of treasure. And when treasure is mentioned, most immediately think of money. But when it comes to getting more Lift in your life the real currency is knowledge (and wisdom, but that is separate topic).

However, the real value today isn’t who has knowledge or information; Google has made that irrelevant. Perhaps you’ve been reminded of that fact by receiving a LMGTFY reply when you asked someone a question (someone letting you know you could have “just Googled it” instead of asking them to!). It seems we have time-warped through the information age and into an age of knowledge curation: having the right information for the right need at the right time.

In order to get the information you need to Lift yourself and others, you have to have a trusted Information Storage and Retrieval System (ISRS). And your own head doesn’t count; there is simply too much to keep and organize. Even if you could keep it in your head, couldn’t share as well.

The first time I realized I needed an ISRS was in 1983 during physical therapy school. My solution to overflowing notebooks was a single card-board box of manilla folders arranged alphabetically.  Over the years my ISRS has undergone various revisions integrates technology. In fact, my biggest single revision was the day I left my Texas State University faculty and purged my professional files. I ended up dumping 4 long file-cabinets of hard-copy articles related to healthcare topics and did a “first-come-first serve” give away of my physical therapy texts to the students. I then conducted a similar purge on all my home files. It took me 2 full days but it was time well spent. I now have a lot more space, improved ability to retrieve information and more importantly, a much clearer head.

While my own ISRS is now and will always be a work in progress, here is the approach and tools that are working well for me now:

  • Hard-copy Filing: I keep it general for filing hard copy stuff at home (A – Z). David Allen’s classic “Getting Things Done” book addresses the topic simply and well. Following my recent professional hard-copy purge, any new professional coaching related content is scanned and filed as soft-copy.
  • Soft files: I manage my productivity documents here (i.e Word, PDF copies). For my home related items the same general A – Z, broad category system is sufficient (ie. Kids/Rachael; Kids/Rebecca, etc.). However, I also have a more specific, numbered category system for my professional related content and use no-cost cloud based bibliographical management systems like Mendelay and Zotero for my reference materials. With the exception of music and books, I still manage my media files (mostly images and video) manually. While media files can also be auto-managed in an iTunes like fashion by a number of programs, I just haven’t been willing to give up control yet nor invest the time to make the switch.
  • Back-up: DropBox gives me a “2’fer” in knowing that a) my content can immediately be replaced in case of local disaster and b) I can easily share and be shared with. It and similar cloud-based programs virtually eliminate what used to be time-sucking but essential tasks associated with file back-up, syncing and sharing.
  • “Stuff”: I like collecting interesting articles, quotes, having an easy way to store receipts, “notes to self” and being able to selectively share. Evernote is my program of choice. Not only is Evernote the best place for capturing, storing and easily retrieving “stuff” …including voice memos, clipped web articles and more…but the search function is extremely powerful. In addition, it integrates with scanners in a way that really minimizes the resistance to going paperless. Did I mention it syncs across computers and devices? This is a powerful tool you really can’t afford to be without (its free). Whether a new or experienced user, check out Michael Hyatt Evernote posts and Evernote Essentials to quickly take your Evernote skills to the next level.
  • Scripture and Quotes: I memorize a quote and Scripture passage each week and two programs have helped me be much more consistent. For me, Evernote works best for quotes and the ScriptureTyper app is the best tool I have found for Scripture memory. ScriptureTyper has too many learning features to list here, but this app enables you take as superficial or as deep a dive as you want

To round the list out, I simply use Google Contacts for my address book. I have found that Evernote’s business card scanning feature is first-class so I quickly scan those into it with my phone and then chunk the card. Finally, I order very few hard copy books these days. Kindle or the Kindle app give purchasing, space and weight advantages that have made e-books my preferred medium of choice….in most cases.

In a knowledge economy you can’t afford to be without a personal ISRS of some kind and expect to get the Lift you need, even if you are an organization phobic.

So the question is, if you don’t have a personal ISRS, when are you going to get one? Where do you need to start? If you do have one, how’s it working for you? What have you found to be most helpful and what do you need to change?

I’d love to hear your ideas.

“Lift”…What It Is, What It Does and Why You Need It! (part 1)

When I was a young boy growing up, we moved all over the world. My dad was in the Air Force and stationed overseas in Taiwan and Norway for several tours, which meant a LOT of air travel . The most vivid memory I have of those times of extended travel…besides how JP4 (jet fuel) smells…is watching the large airliners gathering speed down the runway and then miraculously lifting into the air, going higher and higher until out of sight. It always amazed me and frankly, still does. How can something so big and heavy go so fast and so high so quickly? It seemed like magic back then, but as I later learned, it was due to the principle of “Lift”.

025 Plane

The aeronautical principle of Lift is observed when a fluid or air flowing past the surface of a body (ie. the wing of an aircraft) creates a force, or resistance. Air passes over the wing and exerts a perpendicular as well as parallel force. With proper shape, the former creates a Lift force which raises the plane in the air, and the latter a Drag force which can keep it grounded. How much lift is created depends both on the shape of the wing as well as the speed of the air passing over it. Same oncoming force, dramatically different effect depending on the shape of the wing.

025 Wing

As a young man, I would often look at successful people (in the truest sense the word) and be amazed. How could anyone attain such incredible heights of stature and personal and/or professional accomplishment? Some having done it in a very short period of time no less. I knew I wanted to grow and succeed, but at the time didn’t even know how to go about it. Over the years I’ve learned from my own experience as well as that of others is that to grow exponentially, you have to leverage “Lift”, although a different type.

In Life, the principle of “Lift” (or lack thereof) occurs as we constantly encounter forces and resistance in our day to day. We can’t always determine the type of force and resistance we encounter, but we CAN choose how we respond and adapt to it. Our response affects who we are and how we are shaped going forward, which in turn provides more (or less) lift. Fortunately, we do have the opportunity to selectively choose some of the forces we are exposed to so that we can intentionally shape ourselves into who we want to become: These forces are primarily the people and other influences we allow into our lives.

If we are selective with the people and influences we allow to pass over and impact us, we can experience Lift that takes us higher, farther and faster….much like wind passing over a wing; we gather airspeed and optimally shape ourselves to get maximum Lift in our lives and businesses. So much so that it can seem incomprehensible to others, much like it did to me so many years ago and often still does.

How do we get Lift and minimize drag in our life? By choosing our relationships wisely and intentionally. It has been said that at any given time the average of the top five people we spend the most time with (virtually or otherwise).

025 Lift Mentor

Who are these people in your life? have you intentionally chosen them to fill that role, and are they helping provide the Lift in your life so you can become who you want to be and get where you want to go? If so, make sure you provide them with Lift as well. If not, what needs to change?