PLAIN.TXT

I use plain text .TXT files my my primary productivity tool. I use these files to manage my todo list, as a journaling tool and to track project status's. Plain text is an incredibly simple format that is truly cross-platform. It works on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. What's more is every OS comes with a plain text editor built in for free. Plain text files are also highly flexible and you can tweak them to your individual needs without having to look for yet another piece of software. Plain text files are also very simple which means there is nothing to learn and nothing to go wrong.


# TODO.TXT
My first plain text file is my todo list, or TODO.TXT. TODO.TXT has 2 sections - "BIG 3" and "TODO." As I go through the day I jot down anything I need to remember to do, be it an action item from a meeting, something I remembered to follow up on or whatever. If I get an action item in an email that will take longer than 2 minutes to complete I add it to the TODO section. (If it takes less than 2 minutes, I'll do it straight away. It's important to have all your action items in one place so you can prioritize the big picture and also so you don't forget to look in one of the 25 places your action items might come from. The "BIG 3" section is at the top of the TODO.TXT file. The first thing I do every morning before I start work is pick my big 3 tasks to get down by the end of the day. A todo list of 325 items is overwhelming to look at all day, a list of 3 items is much more achievable. Focus on completing these 3 items first thing, before your day gets away from you. By doing this (a) you make sure that the most important things actually get done and (b) at the end of the day you can see you actually did accomplish something.

Here is a sample TODO.TXT file:
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TODO.TXT

# BIG 3
1. Send tax into to accountant
2. Call Chamber of Commerce for membership packet
3. Call XYZ corp about upcoming speech

# TODO
Find new web host
Outsource site billing
Set up interview with Michael Jordan
Wipe old computer
Put old computer on eBay
Arrange lunch with Shaquille O'Neal
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# PROJECTS.TXT
My PROJECTS.TXT file to keep track of the status of projects. Small tasks belong in TODO.TXT and PROJECTS.TXT allows me to see the big picture of long term projects.

Here is a sample PROJECTS.TXT file:
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PROJECTS.TXT
**Virtualization**
% In process
[ ] Chase Dell for quote
[ ] Reach out to HP for quote
! Needs to be completed by July 31st

**DLP**
% Delayed
[ ] Write up SCARF for Ryan
! Another salesperson lost their laptop

**WIN7 upgrade**
% Not started
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# JOURNAL.TXT
My JOURNAL.TXT is a Bullet Journal. These are a versatile tool that can be used as a quick and dirty way to capture information and is not intended for consumption by anyone other than the author. They should only take a couple of minutes a day to complete. The idea of Bullet Journaling is supported by mental health professionals too. They have been described as a toothbrush for the mind. Bullet Journals can also be personalized.

I use my own Bullet Journal to track:
- Intentions.
- Emotions.
- Gratitude.

To keep it quick and easy I use shortcuts to designate each category. @ is for intentions, ) is emotions and + is gratitude. 

"@" - Intention
I use this to set my implementation intention for the day. “When… then…” This can be my current habit or it can be deciding ahead of time how I want to behave in a given situation. People who set implementation intentions are 2 - 3 times more likely to follow through.

")" - Emotion
I use this to work on my emotional intelligence by noting how I feel. I choose from the 4 basic emotions of happiness, sadness, fear and anger. I also add why I felt this way if appropriate. By becoming aware of my emotions I can then work on managing them which builds my EQ. EQ is one of the biggest predictors of success.

"+" - Gratitude
I use this to note one thing I am grateful for each day. It must be different every day. People who practice gratitude on a daily basis have been shown to be measurably more happy.


Here is an example of my JOURNAL.TXT:

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10/30
@ When I finish lunch then I go for a walk.
) I felt happy today because I got a lot done at work.
+ I am grateful we have the means to buy good food.
* Got snow tires put on.

10/31
@ When I finish lunch then I go for a walk.
) I felt angry today because I couldn’t buy the computers I needed.
+ I am grateful Luke can take swim lessons.

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# NOTES.TXT

The notes file is for writing down meeting notes, drafting messages and documents and using as a scratchpad. I create a new NOTES.TXT for every month. EG "2019-MAY-190501-BM" for May 2019. 


# Markdown
I write my plain text notes using Markdown formatting. [Markdown](https://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/) is a lightweight markup language with plain text formatting syntax. Its design allows it to be converted to many output formats. This way my notes are in a simple format but if I need to share them in rich text it is very easy to do so.

Here is the basic Markdown formatting:
# Heading
**bold**
_italic_
* Bullet
- - - Line
[URL](www.address.com)


# File naming convention
My standard file naming convention is Topic-Contents-Initials-Date.txt

**Topic**
Project name, software application, process etc. By sorting alphabetically you can group all related files together.
E.G. "Virtualization"

**Contents**
Short but descriptive explanation of what is in the file. Assume senility. Use Caps instead of spaces as the delimiter. Limit to 25 characters so you can read the whole filename on screen. Assume the file will be moved to a different folder so dont rely on containing folders for context.
E.G. "CreatingNewVMs"

**Initials**
Add the authors initials so you know who wrote it
E.G. "BM"

**Date**
Append date in ISO 8601 format (YYMMDD) for old versions