Why I Carry Color Coded Index Cards Everywhere I Go

When I say that I believe in organizational systems, I walk the talk. In my bag, I carry a stack of colored index cards everywhere, ready to record things I want to remember and share with my readers, clients, family or friends. 

My system is: red is for quotes I have heard; yellow for work plans; white is for anything having to do with gratitude, giving back, or ideas I want to share with the students at Working Towards Change; blue is for writing tips I want to share with my Only 650 Words Essay Team; and green is for random things I want to research for the future.

Every month, I revisit my stack and do my own kind of Marie Kondo: I decide which are ready to share; which warrant more exploration; and which no longer inspire me. Recently during a review, I re-read a card I had labeled for a potential blog called “Two Things I Learned Today.” Well, I learn new things every day, so this was not actually the greatest title. In fact, upon reflection, only one of the two things I had jotted down is worth my time to write, and yours to read. It was a quick musing on “motivational science.”

I did decide to pivot my direction from my original intention (hmm, kind of like many of our student essay writers learn to do!). Instead of musing on the wonderful randomness of being curious (one of my favorite topics), I wanted to lean into the topic of motivation. It felt especially fitting at this time of summer as our Seniors are getting ready to dig in!

I chatted with a member of our team who shared with me this article about the difference between motivation and discipline. Now this is a topic I can write/talk about forever and as Adam Grant, one of my favorite thinkers, says, it got me to “rethink” my approach.

To sum it up, the article author, Allison Wojtowecz a fitness guru and stand up comedian says,

“Motivation only exists as a noun. But discipline has a verb form. In other words, discipline is something you do, and choose to do; motivation is a thing that can come and go, which you cannot choose to do or control.”

This got me thinking, I mean – rethinking – that perhaps some of the motivational sayings I send to my students to get them ready to get engaged or curious, to work on their resume or write their essays, may not be enough. Maybe what I need to do is also help them cultivate discipline. 

My students are already motivated to apply to college and get ahead on their applications before senior year starts. But are they disciplined? Some yes, some no. Yet even those who are, can still get overwhelmed with the process.  

That is where my team and I can help.  

We have several resources to keep students on track and a framework we call the Big Three to help them focus on reaching their goals. 

And for those who need a bit more, we offer in-person workshops and study-hall-style office hours for those students who simply need a place to go in order to stay on track.

And as for me, maybe I need a new color index card for great sayings about Discipline! 

Let’s get started