Even if you change up elements of your planning system, some things need to stay the same over time if you to ever make forward progress. Having everything on Google Drive (all my documents and spreadsheets) has been a game changer.

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Transcription of One Thing that Stays the Same

In a previous episode (Stick to One System or Don’t) I talked about how I keep going against all the advice of the all the gurus and don’t stick to just one planning system. It just doesn’t work for me.

But. there is one thing that I don’t change anymore, ever. And that is saying something!

Shockingly, it is something that I have been doing totally consistently for the last few years. I now create all my documents and spreadsheets in Google Drive. If I get something in another format, I convert it to a Google Drive format.

That means that I can refer to and access them from any tool that I’m using.
That’s one fabulous thing about Google Drive, it integrates easily with everything!
I resisted using Google Drive for a long time, but now that I’ve started using it regularly, it has been a game changer.

Google Drive makes it easy to find files using the little sliders in the search bar when using it on your computer browser.

I also use something I call “the single-document system”. This is a term I made up to refer to all the text relating to something being stored in a single document.

A couple of courses I have taken over the years, gave a wonderful lesson on creating a very organized hierarchy of files that contain all the information for (in the two cases I am referring to) building a course. There were folders for each module and files inside each folder for every lesson text, every script, every . .. You get the idea.

I set it up exactly as instructed.

It was a beautiful thing.



Until I tried to actually find anything or move anything around or modify things. Perhaps if I had been as familiar with Google Drive as I am now, it would have worked, but I doubt it.

While all those layers gave me confidence and a feeling of accomplishment and organization, even with the flexibility and ease of finding things on Google Drive, it did not work for me. At all.

So, I came up with something that does work for me: the single-document system! Yay!

What that essentially means is that I keep everything pertaining to something in one single document.
All of my podcast notes and scripts are in one file.
All of my regular emails for my email list are in a different single file.
All of the notes for a class I am creating are in a single file.
All the notes for a class I am taking are in a single file.
There are often supporting documents that are elsewhere (spreadsheets and other app specific files) but I have a little trick that helps with that . . . stay tuned.

This enables me to easily add notes as I think of them without having to figure out which file to open. I just open the file for that sort of thing and add the notes there.

It also enables me to easily link all those systems that I used to this one file.

Does this mean my Google Docs get long and unruly? Yes. It does.

But I find it far, far easier to manage one relatively long file then tens or hundreds of tiny files. At least for me.

Occasionally, once a year or so, I start a new file for continuing content (podcast notes like this one, regular emails, and so on).

What I do with the “old file”:
I rename the file to have the year that I created it and add the word “old” at the beginning. For example, at the end of the year, I will rename this file “2022 OLD Productivish”
Cut and paste any unused entries I still want to use to the new file I create
Once the new file is created, I add a link to the new file at the top to make it easy to navigate between them.
This way the old file contains only material that has already been published or scheduled and material I will probably never use .

I create a new file:
Give it the original name, for example “Productivish”
Add a link to the “old file”
Copy any unused entries that I still want to use from the old file into the new file.

As I am working on these files, I use emojis at the beginning of my subheadings to denote if the entry is ready to use (🔶), if it has been recorded or otherwise processed (✅) and if it has been scheduled or published (🗓️ ).

Regardless of which planning system I use, I know where these files are and they are easy to search. When possible, I include the URL of appropriate files in whatever system I use. Including my “reference library” that I will talk about in the next episode.

This allows me to cross reference everything easily and to find everything easily..
It sounds a little complex, but it’s really quite simple and it works for me.

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