Last week I wrote about the mindset of staying organized, managing your time, making time for the things you value most, and reaching your goals. This week let’s get into the tools I use for time management, goal setting and staying organized, and next week in the final piece of the series I’ll tie it all together.
Number one tool I use all day e’rrr day is google calendar. If you want to be more organized or are confused or at a loss about how to make more time for yourself and the things you value and you don’t have a calendar system, get one stat. It will create healthy boundaries around your time, plus take a lot of the decision fatigue out of your days, so you save your precious brain power for the important stuff. I love using the digital system because then it can sync with other peoples’ calendars, people can send me invites to meetings or appointments, and I can edit it from any of my devices; so it’s always available. Key here is using it religiously; for everything.
I know this may not be for everyone, but I schedule EVERYTHING. I schedule my morning meditation practice, my workouts, my coffee dates with friends, entering all my expenses into quickbooks, and even date nights with the hubs. It doesn’t sound sexy, but it works, and it’s the only way I manage to be relatively highly productive while also never feeling like I’m “too busy.”
Now, of course sometime life happens and my schedule doesn’t go as planned, but that is the exception; not the rule.
The next tool I use the most is trello. This is a relatively new tool for me (thanks to Cass of the The Wellness Rookie for encouraging me to try it out). I used to use google sheets in a very similar way to trello, but trello is for sure more aesthetically pleasing and fun to use.
Trello works as a project management software. One key to being able to take consistent action on big, hairy projects and goals, is breaking down the big stuff into small daily tasks. If you want to write a book, you gotta write the first paragraph and the the first chapter, so it’s easier for our brains to focus on the small achievable tasks. I like to take my big goals or projects and break them down in to 2 hour tasks.
Trello’s boards, lists, and cards enable you to organize and prioritize your projects in a fun, flexible and rewarding way. Trello also syncs on all your devices so you can also refer back to your projects no matter you are. Again, accessibility is key to actually using it. I also love that no matter when or where inspiration strikes I can always make notes in trello so that when I’m ready to sit down and work I have all my notes and ideas in one place. This is incredibly useful for staying organized, but still tapping into inspiration which isn’t something that comes on demand.
For example, let’s say you’re committed to starting a blog and building an online following. You’ve read that putting out consistent content is a big part of attracting readers and search engine optimization. So you decide that you will spend one hour writing a blog post every Tuesday at 10am. You’ve got all sorts of ideas! But then Tuesday at 10am rolls around your mind is totally blank. Nothing seems exciting to write about. Now, if you had been keeping a list of topics every time inspiration struck you could look over that list and start writing away, Trello is a place to keep all the to-do lists and organize tasks.
We can’t talk about organization and time management without talking about how to arm yourself against the onslaught of distractions that is our daily life. You cannot be focused, responsible with your time, and intentional if you don’t have some sort of policy around email, texting, social media, etc.
Screen time is a feature available on all iPhones. This feature allows you to set time limits for certain applications. So, for example, I set a 30 min time limit for facebook and instagram so once my 30 min is up for the day the app itself is blocked off. Stay focused works the same way for websites on your browser. You can get similar programs for android phones as well.
These are the main “tools” I use for intentional time management and organization.
Next week I’ll be back with Part 3: How I Stay Organized | Life Design.