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I create holistic, sustainable paper goods for socially-conscious changemakers.
Shop owner, online educator, and activist. Fan of hydration and organization.
There are a thousand options out there when it comes to productivity tools, but which ones actually work? Our brains all work differently which means we all have different preferences when it comes to how we organizee our days, but these are the five tools I’ve discovered that have completely changed my life.
Tell me if you’ve ever been this person: you hear someone talk about a shiny new task or project management tool and you become convinced that *this* is the secret tool you need to get your business in shape and start having $20K months. You sign up for the 7-day trial (which will soon become a $49 monthly subscription) and spend an entire day getting it set up and color-coded. Dang…it looks pretty.
But then you never. open. it. again. You realize that it doesn’t function the way your brain (or business) function and you feel overwhelmed whenever you think about it. Been there, done that (with like…literally every platform. Trello, Asana, Click-Up, AirTable — you name it).
None of them have ever gotten me to abandon Microsoft To-Do (previously called Wunderlist) which I have been using for at least the past 6-7 years.
I love it because it can be as simple or powerful as you need it to be, but it has an interface that is really intuitive. It takes everything you love about a simple to-do list and builds in the collaborative features you love about other platforms (assigning tasks to team members, setting deadlines, attaching files or notes to tasks). It feels really intuitive and has virtually no learning curve. If you can make a to-do list, you can rock the heck outta To-Do.
This is where all my big-picture planning takes place! I have lists for upcoming blog posts, podcast episodes, product launches, Instagram caption ideas, and so much more. I keep it open on my desktop throughout the day and also have the app on my phone so I can pop info or ideas onto it from anywhere.
Maybe using a timer gives you flashbacks to timed elementary school math tests (not my forté) but they’ve really been a game-changer for the way I work. Turns out that most of us focus best in chunks of 25-30 minutes followed by a short break.
I’ve found Pomofocus.io to be a great tool for timing my work sessions. I just open it up in a tab and away we go. I also love that it will let you create a quick task list of what you’re working on, and will track your progress or streaks.
Would be pretty silly if I didn’t mention the planning tool that I have use every single day for more than a decade to organize all aspects of both my work and wellness.
I’m a big believer that when we feel our best we can do our best work, and The Daily Page Planner ensures I prioritize simple things like hydration, eating delicious meals, getting up to move, a little daily self-care, as well as some gratitude, mindfulness, or journaling right alongside my work tasks. I truly feel so aligned and productive when I use this, but if I take a day off it’s no big deal — because the entire book is undated and flexible! (P.S. If you have an iPad be sure to check out The Daily Page Digital Planner, too!).
Any good business or productivity coach will urge you to create systems and templates. They’re two of the fastest ways to streamline your workflows and save yourself some time. If you find yourself constantly typing out the same things in email, chat, customer service messages, etc., try a browser extension like Permanent Clipboard! It allows you to organize and store snippets of text so you can quickly copy and paste them.
It might not sound like much — but it really does add up. Not only do you save time, but you save that mental energy, too.
I used to have a really hard time going into Target without buying a new notebook. They always had so many good ones and there’s just something about the promise of a crispy new notebook. Are ya with me?
But my life was forever changed when I got an iPad and Apple Pencil. I know this is a bit of a luxury item, but if you have an iPad and are not using an Apple Pencil (or compatible stylus) with it, you are missing out on the entire world of digital planning. And that’s a shame!
When we write things down our brains receive valuable motor feedback that helps us internalize the information. This is also true when you write on a digital tablet such as an iPad, but the other benefit is that you can erase, move things around, duplicate things, and have literally as many notepads as you want.
My favorite app for this is Goodnotes. I love using it to take notes, sketch out business plans, journaling, and so much more. I love using Goodnotes with my monthly planning page, which you can download for free here.
Do you plan to try out any of my favorite productivity tools? If you’ve found any life-changing tools of your own I’d love to hear about them in the comments section. Be sure to check out my free downloads page for more productivity resources.
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