The Audacity of White Sheeting … or how to use a blank sheet of white paper to solve problems and make your life better

You like that title don’t you? Sucked you in and got you to read this. Since you clicked on that catchy title, I’m going to share one of my secrets with you. After I tell you, you’re going to think, “that’s no secret” or “Andy is talking crazy again.” It’s...

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WhiteSheetsYou like that title don’t you? Sucked you in and got you to read this.

Since you clicked on that catchy title, I’m going to share one of my secrets with you. After I tell you, you’re going to think, “that’s no secret” or “Andy is talking crazy again.”

It’s not really a secret, but it might as well be because not enough people do what I’m about to tell you to do.

And it’s not as much a secret as it is a method I use to help me deal with people, problems and planning. It’s funny how things always sound better in threes and with the same letter for each of them.

So, here’s my advice. The next time you have a problem or know something is looming, go to your printer or your copier and pull out a standard 8.5 X 11-inch blank sheet of white paper. Next, you have to find a pen or whatever you like to write with. That’s the easy part.

Here’s where people get scared. You have to actually think and write down your thoughts and ideas. I know it’s going to hurt your head to do this, but try it. It will get easier the more you do this. I do it every week. I’ve got white sheets at home, in my office and probably in my car. It’s helped me so many times you wouldn’t believe it.

Guys, do this every morning for a week and let me know if you get positive results from it. Leave me comments at the bottom of this blog. I want to know if it helps.

Write down what you are going to do that day, write what you are not going to do that day and write down three people you need to be around that day and three people you will not waste your time on that day.

You can do this exercise for anything. I mean anything. I keep a stack of white sheets handy wherever I go because it’s my favorite kind of paper to take notes on. When I can’t find a white sheet, I yell at Chris Reavis because he knows to have some with him just in case I want one.

Maybe you want to quit your job? Write down how you are going to do that. You might want to write down what you are going to do to make money if you are considering leaving that job too.

Want to be more productive? Write down ways you can do that. You know you better than anybody else and if you are writing down what to do it means more than if I tell you to do something or a friend tells you to do something.

You can do this with anything, ANYTHING, in the world. You are really just brainstorming on paper, but “white sheeting” sounds cooler. The act of actually writing it down makes it more powerful and it forces your brain to think not somebody else’s.

So, here’s how you do the quit my job thing. Start with how many hours you work, how much you make an hour and what your expenses are. Look at the whole picture – good and bad. Do that and you’ve already got a white sheet going.

Do one on association. Write down three people that drain you or bring you down and explain how they do that. Write a note that says, “I will not meet, talk or email this person from now on!” You probably like this person, but they just don’t add value to what you are working toward. It’s OK to be their friend, just don’t waste your VALUABLE time on them.

Now, think about three people you absolutely need to be around. Write down why you need to be around them and figure out a way to make it happen. Are they worth a drive, a call or an email? If they are of high importance, you need to probably drive or fly to see them if they will meet with you.

Even if it takes money, time, effort, etc. you must get around these people because you think they will help you. That should be a high priority for you. Guys, it’s a strategic approach. Find ways to cross paths with people as much as possible if you need to be around them. Get all the one-on-one time you can if at all possible.

If they like sports, take them to a ballgame. If you can’t get face time, call them, write them, do whatever you can. Sometimes, it’s going to involve spending money – maybe a lot of money – to get around certain people.

Just doing an association white sheet can improve your performance and get you in the right mindset.

Do a white sheet on time wasters while you are at it. Teach yourself how to ignore certain phone calls that you shouldn’t take. Learn to disassociate from friends that aren’t helping you be the best person you can be. Find people that will help you reach your potential.

Keep doing white sheets. Get a three-ring binder of them going and put it where you can reference it all the time. You might even want to name it something like the audacity of white sheets! Be creative.

Few people know to do what I just told you about, so I’ve just given you a secret that has helped me too many times to even count. I’m serious.

It’s too simple to be good, right? Wrong!

IT WORKS!!! I do it every week and you should start doing it too.

63 comments
  1. Annette Braswell
    Annette Braswell
    March 5, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I agree, I buy lined ledgers by the case for this reason and I save them. My memory never serves me well so I’ve been in the habit for years of putting my ideas and thoughts down as soon as possible. I tried digitally recording them but “seeing” them is much more effective for me. I’ve not written down to the extent that you discuss here, but won’t hurt to expand my habit. Great idea to share Andy, keep those “secrets” coming…I love secrets!

    Reply
  2. Ken Burns
    Ken Burns
    March 5, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    This technique is so awesome! Simple and effective. If you use it.

    Reply
  3. David O' Donnell
    David O' Donnell
    March 9, 2011 at 12:31 am

    I love this reminder Andy – this seems so easy to do. When did you start this positive habit and how long did it take you to discipline yourself to be consistent?

    Reply
  4. Holly & Jonathan Rogers
    Holly & Jonathan Rogers
    March 11, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    WOW. Andy. This is the ONLY way I am able to process my thoughts. Jonathan and I have been doing this as you suggested. (“Write down what you are going to do that day, write what you are not going to do that day and write down three people you need to be around that day and three people you will not waste your time on that day.”) I have even started my day off, writing in my blessing book, visually allowing myself to SEE all of the things in my life that are going well! Checking emails first thing in the morning killed me, and I REFUSE to ever do that again. Thank you for everything!!!

    Reply
  5. Steve Griffin
    Steve Griffin
    March 13, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    I grabbed a piece of white paper before I finished the article. Just putting everything on paper and looking at it made this mountain I’m climbing look a little smaller.

    Reply
  6. Fred Snyder
    Fred Snyder
    March 14, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Andy,

    Love the white sheeting idea. I’m looking forward to putting it to practice in my next scheduled ‘thinking time’ session.

    Also, What are the five or ten most important books for someone to read about success, leadership and personal growth. I can’t wait to hear from you on this topic.

    Prayers and blessings,

    Fred

    Reply
  7. Kyle Keator
    Kyle Keator
    March 15, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Andy,

    It is so simple and Engineer can do it. :). It is techniques like this from your teachings that I was able to leave my J.O.B. Thanks for all you do. I will continue to use this and my folder is called Stop Being Stupid and JUST Whitesheet.

    Kyle

    Reply
  8. Bill Kryder
    Bill Kryder
    March 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Recently saw an app for my android – it was a “white board” for my little 3×4 screen. You could not work with it unless you zoomed out to 1 item at a time, but then you would not see the big picture. I’ve got 2 white boards in my office – 1 for things todo and another for problem solving. As I get clarity on something I then put it in my Task section on Outlook. It doesn’t get all my problems done all the time, but it is better than anything else I have ever tried.

    The old saying “seeing is believing” maybe should be stated “seeing is everything”.

    Reply
  9. Lisa Koerner
    Lisa Koerner
    March 15, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks Andy, I am starting my white sheet now.

    Reply
  10. Linda Minnix
    Linda Minnix
    March 16, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I’m reading, “Thinking for a Change” by John Maxwell and white sheeting will be a great tool for implementing the exercises in the book. Thank you for all that you give, Andy!

    Reply
  11. Hugh Turner
    Hugh Turner
    March 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Since National Convention I began doing my NAA Journal.
    I am amazed at how much I can demand of the brain as I began the metamorphosis from just knowing to applying myself to the system already in place. This is something I am going to immediately apply- no more inventing the wheel.
    I am circulating this to our new recruits as well so they can get closer to Andy’s way of thinking.
    Thanks Andy for leading the way and showing how things can be done!!!!

    Reply
  12. Patrick Connors
    Patrick Connors
    March 17, 2011 at 1:28 am

    My favorite white-sheeting is drawing out my group. I carry one of those clear plastic sleeves–holds about 20 pieces of paper–with me wherever I go. I have my group drawing staring at me through one side of the sleeve, i have a few recent group drawings that folks have sent me in there, and I ALWAYS carry about 5 sheets of white paper.

    I *LOVE* to draw out my group when I’m out and about–say on an airplane, in a hotel lobby, at one of my kids’ games during warm-ups or halftime, etc. Nothing else gets me SO ALIVE like drawing out the group. Alex Abuyuan has taught me how the group drawing will “speak” to me…definitely a cheat sheet on the association part Andy wrote about–which people I NEED to spend more/no time with. And then I’m PUMPED UP to IMMEDIATELY start talking to the nearest person. (sometimes THEY approach ME about the drawing! FUN!)

    –Patrick Connors

    Reply
  13. Daniel Guadarrama
    Daniel Guadarrama
    March 17, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    I love the Idea!! The best Ideas I believe are found this way…. Mind Storming.
    One thing I do aswell is to place index cards in my back pocket “mini white sheets” this strategy has alowed me to capture toughts and ideas on the go. I also use an ap on my iphone, I can voice-record, take a pic, and type notes in the same page.

    Thanks Andy, good stuff…This post has confirm my decision on buying a Huge white board. We’ll see what my wife thinks about a white board in our room…

    Reply
  14. Leanne Mabrey
    Leanne Mabrey
    March 17, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    This is very useful and helpful..I need to do one on all the areas that you talked about. You are so wise about things. My plan is to leave my job and be full-time with NAA in early April. I need to be around the right people more and away from the wrong people as well. I am going to take this “secret” and put it to good use….keep the great ideas coming. Thank you for all that you do.A

    Reply
  15. Braden Childers
    Braden Childers
    May 4, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    The second best time to plan a tree is today. Just did. White sheet on how to quit my job this year.

    Reply
  16. Isaaac Smith
    Isaaac Smith
    May 25, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Cool

    Reply
  17. Mark and Jenna Cook
    Mark and Jenna Cook
    June 26, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    I love this! Mark and I have been doing the white sheeting for a while, but not quite like yours, we are going to try it. We always welcome improvement 🙂 This is great!

    Reply
  18. Marge Clark
    Marge Clark
    July 14, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Thanks Andy! I will implement that strategy today. .

    Reply
  19. Cheryl Parsons
    Cheryl Parsons
    July 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Thanks Andy! I make to do lists but now in addition to this I will definately be white sheeting to help me be more successful in all aspects of my life.

    Reply
  20. Caleb Railey
    Caleb Railey
    September 23, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Andy! Do you realize that “The Audacity of White Sheeting” sounds like the next book on New York Times Best Sellers List! Here’s my thought, take all of the best White Sheets you have and compile them into a book that will help people work their way into your brain to become as successful of a Business man as you have! Just a White Sheet Idea for you!

    Thanks,
    Caleb

    Reply
  21. Jonathan Chambers
    Jonathan Chambers
    October 18, 2011 at 1:49 am

    Here is one white sheet for ya..I hope I get SOMEBODY fired up!!! My Desire, Goal, Intention, and #1 Priority is to bring myself, and the WHOLE TEAM to the highest levels of edification and potential this company has EVER seen!!! To make the biggest and greatest change to this world, your company, and everyone I come accross that ANYONE has EVER seen… To edify this world and to bring it to such a level of success NO ONE ever imagined possible…To bring a deep and greater Love and Compassion to all people to show them that this world IS and CAN be what ever WE make it!!! I Desire to do ALL of this FOR and in the Name of JESUS for all He has done for me!!! Thanks Andy for all you do..I give you the upmost respect and honor for all you do for everyone!!!

    Reply
  22. Jonathan Chambers
    Jonathan Chambers
    October 18, 2011 at 1:51 am

    P.S. See you at the top!!!

    Reply
  23. QUENTON STROUD
    QUENTON STROUD
    October 25, 2011 at 6:32 am

    BIG THANKS ANDY!!
    I am going to start using this White Sheeting tactic. I am sure that it will help me keep more things in order. My mind can go a mile-a-minute sometimes and this will definitely help me ORDER MY STEPS! Blessings ~Q!

    Reply
  24. Candace
    Candace
    January 7, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Thanks for the tip Andy! I started white sheeting by listing my work goals, personal goals, and financial goals. Always exciting to learn a new secret from you. Thanks again and I look forward to creating my organized white sheeting notebook.

    Reply
  25. Pam Parrish
    Pam Parrish
    January 9, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I Love my 3 ringer binder!I use it for my team drawings! I put the newest one on top each week and it will be fun to flip the pages and watch it grow. it sits on my desk while I am at NAA and then goes with me. The Cover say’s “Sell to Eat – Build to Live”

    Reply
  26. Kristin
    Kristin
    January 14, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I love this because it helps me to reflect more closely on what I need to do to progress in a positive direction. Such a simple concept, but it makes all the difference to see your thoughts/goals clearly laid out. Thanks!

    Reply
  27. Morgan
    Morgan
    January 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    Thanks For the Tips Andy ,I actually do this a bit through out the day ,it helps me keep things oraganized and also let me know were everyone is on my team !!!! Great Idea
    Thanks again

    Reply
  28. Amanda Marcott
    Amanda Marcott
    May 25, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    This is brilliant.

    I use a note book (my OCD hates the loose paper and no lines) and I will write notes on my notes. Like back in college – only this is for my brain! I ALSO noticed that when I begin, suddenly I’m drawing diagrams (like the the team building ones), documenting what we have to do to get to the next trip with you, and the analyzing side of building – like my goal of FasTracking 5 people a week, five new licensed agents a month, and writing down what it looks like now.

    It’s organized chaos, because it’s no longer just in your mind, it’s something physical and black and white so you no longer just think, but DO!

    Thank you!

    Reply
  29. Dee Angel Jimenez
    Dee Angel Jimenez
    June 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    This is definitely something i supportf and have been doing this since I can remember. Never thought it was some method or tactic to being successful. Doesnt matter if its just a ripped piece of paper or back of reciept i try and write down all my thoughts down and it really helps me even if i only looked at that paper once daily. My memory holds that paper down like a saved word document.lol good going andy on sharing that.

    Reply
  30. Regina Munoz
    Regina Munoz
    October 4, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I totally do this just not with white paper…usually with whatever I can find at the time. Sometimes it is even an e-mail draft. And you are very right I am entirely more productive when I do it then when I try to function with mental notes.

    Thanks!
    Regina

    Reply
  31. Michelle Johns
    Michelle Johns
    December 16, 2017 at 6:31 am

    Thanks Andy for sharing your secret. I will try this method at once!! :)-MJ

    Reply
  32. Seprenia Joy Gue Spille
    Seprenia Joy Gue Spille
    January 23, 2018 at 4:01 am

    HI ANDY,
    I have never heard it called “White Sheeting” before but that name works for me! My life is in my notes! I write about all parts of my life. It really helps me to work out how I really see a situation and the best possible ways to solve a problem and reach my goal. I must admit that I use papers in lots of different colors just for fun. Your writing is very helpful.
    Seprenia Joy

    Reply
  33. Tad B Peterson
    Tad B Peterson
    February 7, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    I learned a similar exercise from Earl Nightingale. Spend one hour a day improving what you now do. Have I done that? Nope! I am committing to do white sheeting everday! Thank you Andy!

    Reply
  34. Theresa Benson
    Theresa Benson
    February 8, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    This has worked for me so many times. Thank you Andy for the reminder! I may add one other tidbit, use blue ink on
    solid white paper. It’s an energy thing.

    Reply
  35. Junior Corria
    Junior Corria
    February 9, 2018 at 10:44 am

    I LOVE this

    There are so many goals and problems that I’ve accomplished because I started with Whitesheeting

    This really Works
    Helps you focus on solutions NOT problems.

    Reply
  36. Cynthia
    Cynthia
    February 9, 2018 at 10:11 pm

    Thank you Andy,
    For bringing this back to my remembrance. I use to write things down a lot, to help me figure out what worked and what didn’t work for me. Somehow, I strayed away from this process. But, I am getting back to it.

    Reply
  37. JuanCarlos Diez
    JuanCarlos Diez
    February 12, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Thank you! Makes so much sense!
    I will start today!

    Reply
  38. Zach Ficenec
    Zach Ficenec
    February 12, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Listening to the TWC last week I took Andy’s suggestion and gave this a read.
    Excited to add this to my Monday routine, great way to start the work week!

    Reply
  39. Chandler Bules
    Chandler Bules
    February 12, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    This makes a lot of sense, it really helps making my “problems” seem so much easier to overcome when they are written out in front of me. Thanks Andy!

    Chandler Bules

    Reply
  40. Sarah Autmon
    Sarah Autmon
    February 14, 2018 at 12:50 am

    I wrote down my goals of motivation. I will create a white sheet. I finished the reading Inside the circle and now reading The 8 step to success. These books are awesome..I appreciate what you do, and my managers they rock.

    Reply
  41. Beverley
    Beverley
    February 22, 2018 at 7:15 am

    Thanks Andy
    I have always been writing in books now I am going to try the paper
    When I wrote on papers which I sometimes do I would throw the papers out
    I believe the White Sheeting is more effective
    Now I am going to keep them
    Thanks for sharing

    Reply
  42. Heidi
    Heidi
    February 22, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    Well, I am at that point to set goals and make a schedule. I think this will work! I have a good example of this for graphics. You CANNOT come up with a good layout to send in on the computer! There has to be a drawn out plan first, otherwise wheels spin and ideas come up in the meantime and it takes 2-3 or more attempts that will suck up time and risk a bad design! You have to know where you are headed before using the tools. I can do this!
    Any new insights on this since 2011?

    Reply
  43. Jerusha Gann
    Jerusha Gann
    March 5, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Never heard it called this before – but I have been doing this — write down 3 goals to do after my feet hit the ground – then at lunch write down 3 more
    I like keeping them in a Diary or Journal so that I can see how far I have come when I get knocked down!

    Reply
  44. Trina Williams
    Trina Williams
    March 7, 2018 at 12:49 am

    Thank you, I was more productive and grounded when I was writing things down… I don’t know how long it has been since I stopped doing it, but thanks for Awakening what used to move me…Again.. I’m totally in….

    Reply
  45. Manuel Estrada
    Manuel Estrada
    March 15, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Thanks in more ways then one!

    Reply
  46. Tenika Gray
    Tenika Gray
    April 26, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    I read your article…you got me curious. Giggling ???? I love dares. I followed all your steps, and started my own amazing:Build an habit for 10 days called “The Audacity of White Sheeting” to solve problems and make my life better. Haha thanks..it took me an hour. But I know I’ll get better every day doing this. Change heart and mind. I actually feel great. I sometimes need a visual of how to move towards greatness; not be afraid, doubtful, or fearful of my uncertainty. Thank you for this knowledge, and assisting me with new experience to get ahead.

    Reply
  47. Samantha Mason
    Samantha Mason
    May 22, 2018 at 10:48 am

    I dont necessarily sit down and write anything specific (x goals or pros and cons), but I definitely like paper. Whenever I feel like there’s too much going on I use that paper to get organized. Take down names, times and numbers or bring out highlighters for my calendar to get a visual of what I’m doing. It’s also helpful for other members in the house to take a look at your schedule so there’s no confusion. I’ve always been a very good prioritized and have few bad influences to distract me… perhaps its because of the “white sheeting” and I didn’t even know it!

    Reply
  48. Denise Durham
    Denise Durham
    August 12, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    I cant wait to try this, great idea!

    Reply
  49. Anthony Nguyen
    Anthony Nguyen
    November 23, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    After reading the suggestions a second time, I realized this is something I would like to try. I know the most successful I have been at times in my life was when I was thoughtful with my time, money, and resources. My to do list.

    thnx andy.

    Reply
  50. Breeds Smith
    Breeds Smith
    December 5, 2018 at 3:13 am

    I love to write in a journey. This is a new approach. I will definitely do it. Especially if it will help me succeed.

    Reply
  51. Evelyn G Dominguez
    Evelyn G Dominguez
    December 10, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Thank you Andy, yes I will implement it, I do keep my daily agenda for years, so easy for me to implement this excellent idea for my new projects.

    Reply
  52. Betty Armstrong
    Betty Armstrong
    December 23, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    Thank you, I will start adding this to my agenda daily!

    Reply
  53. Terry Curtin
    Terry Curtin
    December 24, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    I write down how accomplishing them will make me feel. How will not succeeding make me feel. Tony Robbins says we do more to avoid pain. He right. So I attach feelings.

    Reply
  54. Brenda Smith
    Brenda Smith
    January 3, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    I wrote a white sheet about not being affraid to make dials and appointments. I made dials, two appointments, and I will be submitting one application. I love white sheeting.

    Reply
  55. Sharon
    Sharon
    January 13, 2019 at 7:55 pm

    Yes thinking things out then writing it down works…I have found it to be helpful in the past! Will start to implement as a daily and or weekly practice.
    Thanks,
    Andy

    Reply
  56. Stephenia Graham
    Stephenia Graham
    January 15, 2019 at 12:13 am

    I love this! I will buy some white sheets. Buy a 3 ring binder, and a hold puncher. I am fired up!!!!!!

    Reply
  57. Cheryl Dalessandro
    Cheryl Dalessandro
    January 21, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    I’m excited to give this a try! Thank you Andy

    Reply
  58. Sara Cuellar
    Sara Cuellar
    February 24, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    This looks fun! I just asked my significant other to pick up bright sticky notes on his way home.

    Reply
  59. Mattie
    Mattie
    March 13, 2019 at 10:04 pm

    I like writing , that the way I study in school, and it was a part of my job, I have been retired for some time now and I have to get out of my old habits of being to relax and get more active, I will write my daily thought and what I need to do to get productive on white sheet of paper, thank you Andy.

    Reply
  60. Johnny Osborn
    Johnny Osborn
    April 5, 2019 at 9:42 am

    AWESOME!

    Reply
  61. Jeffrey Carman
    Jeffrey Carman
    June 15, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    It is True if you write something down you tend to remember and associate with it more than just thinking about it in your head. That’s why when I collect petitions for people seeking to run for a public-elective office, if you can get them to sign a petition for a candidate, its almost a sure way to get a vote if other candidates do not do the same thing.

    Reply
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