As I was moving through my career I was often amazed at how calm most senior executives seemed when I was engaging them in conversation. Knowing their responsibilities and the enormous amount of information coming at them, how could they possibly be serene?

How did they do it? Is that their nature? Can you learn it?

One of my favourite mentors, Chris Lynch (see his valedictory address here) had what can only be described as a ridiculous ability to get things done, yet every time I spoke with him, I got the impression that I was the only person in the world, and that what I had to say was the only thing that mattered.

How many times have you said, I need to get organized and more focused?

Do you work-to-live or live-to-work? I think that work/life balance is hogwash. What is needed is an “organized life” that doesn’t differentiate between these 2 roles because it is ALL life.

In reality, as Stephen Covey (7 Habits of highly Effective People) suggests, you have many roles in your life: homemaker, daughter, mother, executive vice president, community leader, soccer mom and the list goes on.

What I’m suggesting here is that you need to be organized TO get more focused!

The biggest challenge is finding a framework or system that works for you.

As many of my mentors have done, I would like to share with you what works for me. This isn’t a product endorsement, its just a system of organizing to Get Things Done. Earlier this year I was in crisis in that my copious notes that are stored in the cloud were going to disappear, my original task manager “ToDo Matrix” looked like it was end of support and I had too many paper based notebooks around. I outlined the pieces of the puzzle that would be important to me.

Once I have researched something, it always irks me not to have simple and quick access to that research. In addition, I am a huge fan of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Getting Things Done by David Allen and now Inbox Zero by Merlin Mann. In addition, I have dozens of hand written notebooks where I can’t find that great idea.  Most important of all, everything had to be backed up automatically and accessible on any device. The results of my search are below. A quick note, you really have to be a Getting Things Done disciple for your system to really take advantage of these tools.

Here is what I have in hardware:

Old Windows PC (mostly for the hard work like creating presentations, planning & design)
Old Macbook inherited from my daughter (for iTunes)
iPad Air (note taking and pretty much everything – this is my favourite device)
Adonit Jot Pro stylus (for hand written notes on the iPad)
iPhone 5 (calls & taking pictures & checking in on FourSquare)
Jawbone Era bluetooth headset (for talking to Google, Siri and also humans while in the car or my hands are tied up)

My apps:

Google+ (captures & stores all of my pictures, backs them up to the cloud and accessible by any hardware)
iTunes (organizes all my music & podcasts that I generally used for education)
Shazam (find & buy that song you are hearing)
Evernote (One of my favourites, books to read, movies to watch, grocery list, philosophies for The Stilwater Group, storing business cards – integrated with LinkedIn & more)
Evernote Screen Clipper add-in for Chrome browser (quickly add website content to my reference notes and create Actions)
Notability (for all of my hand written notes on the iPad, no more handwritten notebooks)
IQTELL (without a doubt, my favourite app which integrates Calendar,  4 email accounts for Inbox Zero, Getting Things Done, 7 Habits for Highly Effective People and Evernote)
IQTELL EZ Bar add-in for Chrome browser (quickly add Actions when browsing the web)
HootSuite (posting to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ simultaneously)
BASE CRM (prospect and opportunity tracking for The Stilwater Group)
Wave Accounting (free cloud base accounting integrated multiple businesses and personal finance)
Google Apps for Business (for email & everything else)
Google Drive (Cloud storage for all of the documents I create and receive)
Dropbox (Cloud storage for all of the documents I create and receive)
Calendars 5 on the iPhone & iPad

I can open the Notability notes that I have handwritten in Evernote and apply tags so that I can find the notes later. Evernote is seamlessly integrated into IQTELL so that it will automatically create Projects, Actions and References.

What do you use? Please share your thoughts as the system can always be improved!