organized

Part 2: How I Stay Organized | The Tools

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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.

The tools I use to make sure I’m not spending lots of time just scrolling or replying to emails are called “screen time” on my phone and “stay focused” on the computer.

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.

Part 1: How I Stay Organized | The Mindset

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I’ve been getting asked a lot lately about how I manage my time, stay organized, stay focused, and how I’ve created this lifestyle I have today which is location flexible, financially abundant, and completely by my own design. So I’ve been thinking about how to write this blog post in a way that is practical, helpful and concise, but of course.. I always have to start out with mindset.

Yes, I have a proclivity towards organization. My mind likes flow charts, lists, frameworks, and systems. I LOVE efficiency. I live to create systems that work for me and for others. It really does light me up. So don’t worry.. I’ll be getting into the nitty gritty in parts 2 and 3 over the next two weeks, but to start out I’ve got to lay some groundwork, which may not be as sexy, or as immediately gratifying, but is overwhelmingly important. 

The longer I have my business (revolutionary lifestyle has been in existence now for almost 5 years!), the more confidence and assuredness I have in my value and the more I respect the work I do. The more confident and respectful I am towards myself, the more I can focus and value the effort I put into to projects, clients, partnerships, etc. And this is huge. Having respect for your time, your effort and your value; will get you further than any organizational system ever will. So if you don’t respect your own value, your own time, your own service, start there.

There are so many people who want to change their lives. They want to help people, change the world, have location flexibility, have more time, and donate to all their humanitarian passion projects. That is wonderful. I truly believe everyone in the world can have exactly what they want; if they put their mind to it and take inspired action.

But..the fact of the matter is you will always have to do things you don’t want to do when going for goals that are outside where you currently are. If you want to live a location flexible life and you don’t currently have location flexibility, you are going to have to change some things. If you want to eat intuitively; you’ll have to change they way you eat. This seems obvious, but people miss this fact all the time.

Nothing changes unless you do. 

You absolutely have to put yourself out there if want to change your life significantly or create new habits or build some sort of income stream that you don’t already have. It’s going to be uncomfortable and awkward. You’ll absolutely fail at some things. You will absolutely have to expand what you think is possible. We hear and read these things, but then when we actually experience the growing pains of expansion; we feel like a failure, and quit.


But the difference between people that I see succeed and people I see struggling (and when I have taken on both of those roles myself) is that the people who succeed are completely willing to do the things they don’t want to do right now, to get to the place they want to be later. The people who succeed are actually excited about changing and the work involved. 


Let me say this clearly…this isn’t about sacrifice. I don’t believe we ever have to sacrifice in a conventional sense; we’ve got WAY too much of that going on. No one wants to be a martyr and it ain’t a great way to live. But it does mean looking long and hard at how much we want the things we want and deciding clearly and consciously what we are willing to do to get it. Tradeoff is a better word. Are you willing to trade in some comfort now to be more expanded later?

I am. Hell yes, I am. What is the point of life, if not this? 

My past self (the self that didn’t own a business or have a location flexible lifestyle) didn’t particularly like putting myself out there. She had a huge fear of rejection and was overwhelming skeptical and untrusting as a defense mechanism, to the point of cynicism (not a particularly good quality when you’re trying to build a business out of nothing). However, my current self (who has owned multiple profitable businesses and lives a completely location flexible lifestyle), loves sharing and being vulnerable and honest and sincere, and trusts people and sees that trustworthiness reflected back to me in my daily interactions with people.

So what allowed me to go from that past self to my current self? 

  1. A conscious decision to change the way I see the world, because in the world I was living in back then wasn’t one where twenty-somethings designed their lives.

  2. I started changing what I did with my time. I spent time writing, reading, and learning. I stopped spending time drinking alcohol, complaining about the world, and partying. 

  3. I found people who had lives like the one I wanted and I took their advice, almost blindly. (I DID NOT take the advice of people who did not have lives like I wanted.. important to note.. if your parents aren’t living a life of design, they’re not going to give you good advice on how to create one.) Podcasts, coaches, mentors, I absorbed as much as I could, and I took their advice and acted on it.

This is the mindset of change. This always has to be the first part to being focused, organized, and managing your time well, because without it, you don’t know why you’re focusing, organizing yourself, or managing your time. 

So figure out what the trade offs are and what you’re willing to trade in for the goal you want to achieve or the lifestyle you want. 

Looking forward to continuing this exploration of time management, organization and focus next week with Part 2: How I Stay Organized | The Tools.