Episode 80 of The Informed Life podcast features a conversation with Madonnalisa Chan. Lisa is director of product management, taxonomy, and content services at Salesforce. I’ve known her for a long time and admire her work as a taxonomist, but this conversation doesn’t focus on her work. Instead, we discuss how she uses physical notes to manage her personal life.

We covered two ideas: how she builds note-taking stations throughout her home — including one at her desk — and a family vision board, a totemic artifact she, her husband, and her kids build to become more aware of their values and put them into action.

I was especially keen on this last artifact. This is how Lisa described it:

the exercise starts first with helping everyone identify what do we care about as a family? What are our values? How do we spend our time and prioritize what we do together — or separately — to make us better people, and a better family? Or better than what we were yesterday. And when my kids were little, it was easy to get stickers and magazines and cut out words and whatnot and actually put that together as a picture.

So, just imagine a poster size board. In the middle are the values that we care about as a family, and what our goals are as a family. So, anything from like, “spend more time together,” or “let’s go camping more,” or that kind of thing. And then there’s four quadrants outside of that center that represents each of the family members. And we each have our own personal goals and things we want to achieve, and our hopes and dreams for ourselves. And so, each of those four boxes would represent pictures and words that we care about or sentences.

Sounds like a worthwhile group activity. Check out our conversation for more.

A housekeeping note: I’ve moved the podcast to a new hosting provider as of this episode. Please let me know if you see anything weird with the show’s feed.

The Informed Life episode 80: Madonnalisa Chan on Notes for Living