Purpose = Passion + Profession + Vocation + Mission

Do you want to live your life to the fullest? Take a look at this model and find the answers in these concepts.


  • Vocation: a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action
  • Profession: a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation
  • Passion: a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept
  • Mission: a pre-established and often self-imposed objective or purpose


Your purpose is at the intersection of these concepts:

That which you love

That which you can be paid for

That which you are good at

That which the world needs


Definitions are taken from the https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/

Harold Koebler


My 2020 Vision: Using the Note Habit


You have a vision for a better life today. You know you want a change but don’t know where to start or how to get there.

Most people can’t articulate their life vision, mission or even what they value. A small percentage of people will have that information organized and rehearsed in their brain. That’s just not how we live from day to day.

There is a direct correlation between writing something down and your ability to do something about it. Most people without a note taking system simply keep stuff in their heads and that’s like having a leaking bucket. A note habit ensures you collect, process and archive what is important to you.

The first habit you need to start is the note collection habit. I started this journey about five years ago and it’s completely changed how I think, believe and see my future. Notes are for everything that you experience in a day.

Be the Man with Two Brains

Only in movies can a man have two heads. I’m going to recommend that you have two brains.

The first brain is installed and you’re using it now very effectively by reading this post. The second brain requires only a writing instrument, some time and a habit formation.

The idea of a second brain is to use technology to offload the information that you receive every day and move it to a trusted place where you can benefit from it when needed.

“Your brain is great at recognition, but pretty terrible at recall. It outperforms the fastest supercomputers on the former, and is outdone by a 1980’s solar calculator on the latter.” -Tiago Forte

The five phases of GTD include
(1) capture what has our attention;
(2) clarify what each item means and what to do about it;
(3) organize the results, which presents the options we
(4) reflect on, which we then choose to
(5) engage with.

Getting Things Done – David Allen

Using pen and paper, digital notes or recorder, you can get information out of your head and effectively use the second brain for capture, recall and processing.

Try it today and get your second brain out of the movies and into your real life.



A true GTD app

I have been following the work of Franscico Saez and his software FacileThings 2. It’s always been a thoughtful and powerful app to be more productive.

Recently the mobile version features have caught up to the web app and become a really useful tool in my work and life.

A lot of popular apps make the claim to be GTD (David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology) but that is open to debate. One feature hardly makes software GTD. FacileThings has the complete methodology built in which is no small feat. The five phases include:

(1) capture what has our attention;
(2) clarify what each item means and what to do about it;
(3) organize the results, which presents the options we
(4) reflect on, which we then choose to
(5) engage with.

You won’t find apps with the 5 Phases except at FacileThings.

There is a free thirty day trial that you can try out the whole system (mobile versions included).

Let me know what you think!

The FacileThings blog is one reason to follow Fransisco. You can find it here: https://facilethings.com/blog

Whats Saving My Life Now

Here’s my shortlist of “What’s saving your life right now?”
1). Gmail- I’ve consolidated 7 different emails accounts into 2 and using Gmail to manage it all.

2). I have migrated from Apple iCloud to Microsoft cloud to Google cloud. I have to say that Google is the best experience of them all. Less work, less clutter and less hassle when you work in that ecosystem.

3). Newcomer “Amazing Martin” app – a literal swiss knife for tasks, projects and anything else you can throw at it. It’s really unique in the productivity space because you can turn on/off features you need or don’t use. The system has “strategies” that turn on helpful tools like pomodoro timers, labels, and just about anything you would want from a task/project management tool. It’s put my Todoist system to shame in just about every way. I’m on a free 30 day trial where I imported 450 items from Todoist into Amazing Martin. Check this out! https://www.amazingmarvin.com/

Year End Cleaning Up Notes

People love to create things but struggle with organizing and putting them away. I am in this camp.

Sunrise and Sunset

There are two important concepts in data management. The first one is the “sunrise” where information is created and becomes of value to people. The second concept is the “sunset” where data is organized and sorted, archived and deleted.

In my journey of converting 5,000 Evernote notes to OneNote, I found that my sunset data was difficult to manage. I have notes in unrelated folders, poorly written titles, poorly written notes, pictures, audio and video in random places. Imagine all those folks who are using paper note solutions and then trying to recall past information without a card catalog system. This is why I am a digital note taker. Cleaning up all of these past notes has become a chore and it’s painful trying to find information.

Having a powerful search engine helps. A tagging system is also helpful but should be added at the time of the note’s creation.

Get Better at Sunsetting

If you want to avoid the pain of finding old information, try to do the following:

  • Manually convert notes from one system to the next where you can organize, clarify, archive and delete old data
  • Create a descriptive title to the note
  • Take the time to craft the note with as much detail as possible for the “future you” who will not have the space/time context to help understanding
  • Add tags to aid searching
  • Make sure the note has a date/time stamp.
  • Sunset the note so that it is either placed in a folder (storage) and archived or deleted. This gets rid of junk information.
  • Bonus tip: sync your notes on your phone/PC/Mac and tablet to a cloud solution like Microsoft OneNote.

Goodbye Evernote


I love Evernote and have been a paying customer since 2009. I’ve created over five thousand notes since then and have greatly benefited from using the service.

For some time I have been waiting for Evernote to release a native handwriting solution and they just can’t seem to make it a priority. While I know there are ways to do this with third party apps, I’m not interested. I want a single solution. That’s why Microsoft OneNote is my new friend.

Over the next few weeks I will complete the transition away from Evernote to Microsoft OneNote and share my experiences along the way.

Image credit: https://www.freeimages.com/photographer/ticci-32433

Dangerously Distracted!


In our always connected and busy world you will be pushed and pulled into many directions. Some things will be critical for you to handle now. Some things will just distract you. Some distractions can be deadly!

Webster defines distractions in three ways:

  • something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention,
  • something that amuses or entertains you so that you do not think about problems, work, etc.,
  • a state in which you are very annoyed or upset,

David Allen says “The degree to which your attention is being grabbed is the degree to which you are not free to place your attention where and how you want to.” There is a way to be less distracted throughout your day but it requires critical note taking skills and review habits!

The power of a note and its supporting elements (file folder, journal, Microsoft OneNote or app) is that you can think about something and then put it away. You can take action on it when you actually CAN do something about it. Leaving it “in your head” will guarantee it will distract you in the least convenient time. That’s like getting a phone call every time you don’t want one.

Who wants to live like that?



David Allen, http://gettingthingsdone.com/newsletters/archive/0909.html

Image Credit: https://www.freeimages.com/photographer/chidsey-43131

Speed Reading Is Dead

I really don’t understand the appeal of new apps like Blinkist and many courses on speed reading. Unless you’re a student who hasn’t read or understood a reading assignment, speed reading and summary books have little value.

Consider speed living. Everything you do is abbreviated: your work and fun are cut down to the main ideas and lasts only seconds. You have a nice outline of events but it has no detail or substance. No story.

A book is something that should be enjoyed, read slowly, understood and pondered (meditated on) because of the meaning you get from the author. There is life in the words that you miss if you hurry through it.

Consider this: someone will write your abbreviated life story for your funeral. Only your loved ones will know the whole story and the rich life beyond the eulogy summary.

Let’s slow down, read less but with more value. Choose the best books and stories then read for the entire experience.


I Miss The Slow Days

Remember them? It seems like forever when I had nothing to do and life was in total control. Then life happens…you graduate, get married and get the big job. Then have 2.3 children and the race for your time, attention and sanity becomes the new normal. How I wish I could time travel back to my youth.

A note has this superpower of time travel. It represents a part of your work, thoughts and the purpose of your life. A journal entry captures time and helps you journey back when you want to. It creates history and context for the time you lived.

I started my note taking journal in my forties and wish I had the discipline and foresight to have started earlier. With only my memories and captured pictures, they are an incomplete story. Start today with your commitment to journal and write notes so that you have a full account of all of your days. When you have the time you can open your notes, travel back in time and relive the moments.

Photo by Recal Media from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/architecture-big-ben-blur-building-372038/