Last Updated on 19 August 2017

Return with renewed energy and to be more productive than ever. THE key to productivity is an organized approach* to getting things done. I have recently discovered one of the simplest systems: The Action Method developed by Behance.

Their tagline says it all…

Make Ideas Happen

Behance breaks it down into three bite-sized chunks:

  • Action Steps – the things to do, to get things done,
  • Backburner Items – future action steps, or non-urgent things to remember, and
  • Reference Items.

Here is how Behance explains the Action Method:

ACTION STEPS are tasks that need to be completed.

BACKBURNERS are the brilliant ideas that you want to come back to later but are not yet actionable.

The outcome of every idea or interaction must be captured and transformed into action steps, backburner items, and reference items.

1) Capture Action Steps, Relentlessly

During a brainstorm, meeting, or on the run, ideas arrive in a flurry of other activity and can be lost unless they are captured and transformed into action steps. Action Steps are tasks to be completed. Each action step should start with a verb (i.e.: follow up with x, review y, meet with z).

2) Tend to Your Backburner

Keep a “backburner” to catch ideas that may someday require actions, or just to clear your mind of the little and non-urgent things. Preserve your creative energy and focus on action steps!

3) File Reference Items, Sparingly

REFERENCES are notes, links, files, sketches – any information related to a project that gives context to your Action Steps. Keep only the notes, articles, and sketches that you need. Avoid clutter.
Behance has developed a line of tools to help you be more organized.

DISCUSSIONS enable you to manage ongoing conversations across all of your projects with anyone that works with you. All relevant communications (shared documents, solutions to problems, feedback, decisions) are in one place.

EVENTS are the key occasions/meetings/milestones/etc toward which you (and your team) are working. Events can be used to coordinate deadlines for Action Steps.

Supporting Tools

Action Notebook

Their Action Notebook and Pad has space to capture action steps, backburner notes, space for notes and sketches, and a space to jot preparation and focus items so you can plan for meetings beforehand and be sure to address your focus items.

Behance isn’t only the purveyor of the Action Method and supporting tools, they also foster a network where creative professionals – yes, that including us marketers too – may share creative work, collaborate, exchange tips, and post jobs.

The notebook is spiral bound and the pad has tear-off sheets. Each has 50 pages. (Both fit within a three-ring notebook).

Behance Notebook

Action Pad Mini

Their Action Pad Mini, in addition to being a clean tool for capturing action steps, is also brilliantly designed to fit the medium-sized Moleskine Notebook (5″x7″). A perfect pairing.

Back Burner

Action Cards

3″ x 5″ cards for capturing ideas anytime.

Back Burner

Action Stickers

Each removable sticky-back action step can be peeled from the card and placed on magazine covers, drafts of projects, or in traditional notebooks. Action Stickers help bring your action steps to the surface, ultimately catching your attention.

Back Burner


If you don’t have a process – make or get one. The time you’ll invest in learning a system far outweighs the cost of forgotten ideas, as well as the time and frustration spent trying to recall stuff left to memory alone. If you do have a process, and it works well for you, keep it. No need to cut into your productivity by fiddling with what’s working for you.