Many years ago, I spent some time with a family with 18 home-schooled children. It was a delightful experience, and I loved learning how they incorporated the children's education into their daily lives. Cooking became math. Dinner table discussion became political science. Going to visit a friend became geography.

Years later, I was thrilled to cross paths with the mother of the children who told me what a difference I had made in their lives. I couldn't imagine what she meant until she said, "We all use index cards everywhere!"

I learned about the value of index cards from working with Chris Crouch, author of “Getting Organized: Improving Focus, Organization, and Productivity.”

Productive Power Index Card

If you have spent any time around me, you've probably seen me with a small leather case divided into three sections. It's a holder for index cards. I can't imagine life without it! One section is for my business cards I want to share, the second section for blank index cards, and the third for index cards I need to process and business cards I collect. Here's how it works:

Whenever I have an idea, and my computer or Planner Pad® is not accessible, I pull out an index card. Here's the most critical part: Only ONE IDEA per card! Then I put that card in the outer pocket to process when I have access to my Magic 6™. (If you don't know what that is, go to our network and search on "The Magic 6™"!)

So, you may wonder, "Why one idea per card? That seems wasteful!" (By the way, an index card is less expensive than a Post-It Note!) If you put only one action on each index card, it's easy to process: put it in your Swiftfile™, give it to your spouse, child, or colleague to do, or enter the information into your CRM or another appropriate computer program you use such as Trello or One Note.

Are you like many of our clients whose desks and offices have piles of "to-do" lists? Some of the items on the list are complete. (You may be one of those people who sometimes put something on the list you've already done – just so you can cross it off!) However, what about all the things you haven't done? Do you copy them over? No time for that now, so on the pile they go!

You know how at Productive Environment Institute we love SYSTEMs (Saving You Space Time Energy Money)™! An index card is a valuable component for many systems you can use to accomplish your work and enjoy your life!

Do you have SYSTEMs in place to help you to accomplish your work and enjoy your life? If you don't, but would like to incorporate some, we can help. Start by getting your Productive Environment Score™ today at and schedule your FREE Office Transformation Gameplan™ session with us.

Author's Bio: 

In 1978, Barbara took out a $7 ad in a New York City newspaper to advertise her professional organizer business. For 20 years, she focused her business on organizing paper and physical clutter for home offices and organizations. Then the Internet Age came about, and she utilized her principles and expertise to help clients with digital clutter.

Over the past 40+ years Barbara has helped 1000's of companies, and became an icon and top expert in the industry. She has been featured on national media platforms such as Good Morning America, The Today Show and CNN Nightly News. She has also been showcased in publications including USA Today, New York Times, Fast Company, Reader’s Digest, Real Simple and Guideposts.

Barbara and her team teach business owners a 9-step system to go from overwhelmed to optimized. Step 1 is a free Assessment that can be found at