My Current Workflow Tools and What I use Them For

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been working on a workflow that works just right for my life. As an entrepreneur life gets really hectic at times and difficult to keep organized. But aside from being a business owner, life is so hectic in itself! I think I’ve found my system of keeping my personal and professional life as organized as possible, but it took a lot of trial and error to get here. No one told me that it took organization and time to actually be organized. Go figure!
 
 
First thing’s first – what is a workflow? Technically, workflow is defined as the sequence of industrial, administrative, or other processes through which a piece of work passes from initiation to completion. As an entrepreneur, creating a workflow is sometimes really overwhelming. You don’t know what works, you don’t know how to get started, and you don’t know what you need.
 
I downloaded a lot of apps over the years to try and test out different platforms. Tools like apps, notebooks, and planners are all a matter of preference. What might work for me might not work for you so it’s important to test things out, give it time, and then evaluate how it fits in with your needs. You’re not going to know within a day or a week whether something works for you. You’re going to need patience with each tool.
 
I didn’t realize how much investment it takes to get a productivity tool to work for you. I always just figured that once I download the app or open the planner it would just be “plug and play.” But I was so off base! It takes time to figure it out, make it work, and tweak it based on your needs. Because of the intense time investment I made in my current workflow I’m always hesitant to stray away from my current tools. It has taken me over 2 years to get it just right so if I do change something in my workflow, that must mean it was well worth it!
 
So here’s my current workflow and what I use each thing for. I’ll create a post on each tool so I can go more in depth in a separate post to share how I use these items. Stay tuned for those!
 
  1. iCal for time blocking, events, and meetings.
  2. Evernote for in depth weekly planning, writing blog posts, travel planning, long term projects, and note taking. If you’re interested in my initial set up you can watch my YouTube video here, but I actually need to update the vid. I made a few tweaks. Stay tuned for that! You can also see how I use it for travel planning here.
  3. Todoist for daily tasks and reminders. I have a YouTube video on my set up, you can view it here.
  4. Goodnotes for brain dumping, digital planner, and bible study.
  5. Trello for Blog Scheduling. Trello has been my most recent addition to the work flow. I posted about my current set up this past week, you can read it here
  6. Apple Mail for email. This one doesn’t need much explanation except for 2 things. One, I archive my inbox every week that way it’s at zero when the new work week starts. Having messages (read or unread) in my inbox has always given me anxiety. Two, if it’s an email that needs to be saved like a flight confirmation I’ll forward it to my Evernote inbox using my Evernote account email. This will send that email to my default notebook. Comes in really handy!
Yes, I use and open each app almost every day. Definitely every work day. Not only that but I have each app on my iPhone and iPad so I have it at my fingertips if I’m not in the office. First thing I do when I get into work is open up all my apps and plan my day. I’ll start with I’m thinking about doing a video on how I make it all work so if you’re interested in that let me know.
 
I know this may be a lot for some, but quite honestly it’s because each thing has its own function in my life. I’ve tried countless times to just use 1 app or just use a planner but I can’t make it work for what I need and want it to do. Hence, my 6 different apps lol!
 
If you have any apps or services that you suggest please share! I have this tendency to always want the best out there when it comes to productivity.
 
xoxo,

How I Use Trello for Blog Scheduling

I know I’m late to the game, but I started using Trello for my blog scheduling a few months ago. I’ve had an Trello account for years and used it for others things but I never really had to use a tool like Trello for my blog in the past because I’ve never really taken blogging seriously. We’re talking really seriously, until about a year ago. Since my blog was mostly for me, I just wrote when I wanted about what I wanted and I left it at that.
 
After my blogging challenge I decided that I wanted to continue to post 3 times a week for 2 reasons. I think the most obvious reason is because I want the few readers I have to have regular content that might benefit them. But the other reason is to challenge myself to find what I call “a jewel in the dirt” of the mundane everyday life. I know that being an entrepreneur means that there is a new challenge to face every day, which means there’s a new jewel out there for me to discover! There’s a new story to tell. During the 30 day challenge I realized that I have a lot to say about things I never thought I’d want to comment on or share. I started to find my voice and who I was talking to. It made me really passionate about being consistent with writing.
 
Having to be consistent in posting made me realize that I definitely needed a place where I figure out this whole behind the scenes blogging thing. My drafts on my blog website were piling up, I couldn’t keep track of the post ideas that I wanted to write about, and I was losing track of which posts were supposed to go live and when. That’s where Trello comes in. I’m constantly coming up with new blog ideas not just from every day life but from current events and other entrepreneurs and bloggers. Things get moved around in my blog schedule all the time depending on when I think it’s best to share certain posts. Most of the time I also start a draft of a post and then want to revisit it a couple times before it goes live. Trello helps me wrangle all these things and keeps it all in place.
 
Here’s a screenshot of how I set up my Trello account:
 
My Trello Workflow for Blog Scheduling
I have 4 active columns: 
  • The “Post Ideas” column is where I brain dump all of my ideas. I always put the posts in chronological order of due date. Ideas that haven’t been assigned to a date go at the bottom. I go through this column once a week to plan out posts and give each one a due date.
  • The “This Week” column is where I put all the posts I need to write in the current week. These might not be going live on my blog that week, these are going to be posts that I want to write drafts for, complete, and schedule for future posting.
  • The “Ready” column are posts that are complete and in the queue ready to be published onto my blog.
  • The “Published” column is my archive of posts that I’ve completed. I archive this column at the end of every month and start a new column which is why you see the current month in the title of the column.
I also have a 5th column which is my “On Hold” posts. They’re posts that I’d like to post some day but just don’t know where it fits in yet. They might be written posts, they might not, heck they might not even make it onto the blog. They’re just ideas that I don’t want to throw away that might fit into the post calendar some day.
 
This workflow seems to work for me so far. As time goes on I start to figure out what is more efficient for me but I’m liking this current set up. If you use another app or system for blog scheduling I’d love to hear it! I’m always interested in trying new workflows to see if it works for me.
 
xoxo,

Notability vs. Goodnotes Review

I thought I’d weigh in on 2 popular journaling apps. From what I know these are the top 2 annotation/journaling apps out there for the iPad at the moment. I wanted to give you a list of pros and cons of each and then weigh in on which one I prefer to use. But first, let’s talk about what I use these apps for so the pros and cons will make a bit of sense. 
 
I’ve been experimenting with my work flow for a few years now. I’ve tried using everything. From to do lists, notes, and calendar apps native to my iPhone to paper planners. I’ve tried carrying around a notebook. After much trial and error I’ve found that for me a combination of apps and a planner works best for me, but more on my workflow later. In April I tested out turning my bullet journal into a digital one and I’ve never looked back. Journaling apps like Notability and Goodnotes are great for taking your planner or bullet journal digital.
 
I have to admit that I felt like I was betraying the stationery world a little bit by taking my planner digital. Don’t get me wrong, I love paper. I mean love. But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I actually prefer my digital bullet journal to my paper planner!
 
When I first converted over to a digital planner I used Notability. I had purchased it in the past (it costs $5.99) so I decided to give it a try.
 
 
A few pros to Notability:
  • Great UI, easy to figure out.
  • Ease of writing. My penmanship doesn’t look butchered like it normally does on digital screens.
  • Pen options. I like that I can change the stroke of my pen and highlighter with a couple of taps.
  • Eraser tool. It’s a smart eraser so if I erase part of a shape or letter it’ll erase the whole thing.
  • Handwriting is searchable. I don’t use this feature, but I imagine a lot of people will find it useful.
  • Side-by-side notes. This is pretty cool, might play around with it to see if this will alleviate my need for a landscape mode. More to come on this feature.
 
A few cons to Notability: 
  • Ease of moving images. Every month I have a memories page in my planner and while it’s easy to add images into the notebook it’s really hard to move it. Maybe I just couldn’t figure it out lol!
  • Landscape mode. This was the biggest con for me. I like to use the app in landscape mode but the actual “paper” itself can’t be rotated to landscape. My planner templates that I designed are all in landscape mode so they feel a little small and have a lot of extra paper room at the bottom that I feel goes to waste. 
Notability’s cons were enough for me to try Goodnotes (it costs $7.99).
 
 
A few pros about Goodnotes:
  • Good UI, easy to figure out.
  • Smart drawing. Makes it easy to draw circles and straight lines.
  • Different papers. I like that I can add different paper types to 1 notebook. I can import a template, use grid paper, lined, or blank. I noticed in Notability it’s 1 type of paper for 1 notebook.
  • Landscape. Freakin. Mode. HECK YES! If I import a landscape page, it imports as landscape! Also, the papers that are available in Goodnotes are by default portrait but I can easily rotate the paper to landscape in a few taps.
  • Ease of importing templates from Procreate. I like that I can import files directly from Procreate and it’s formatted the way I intended it without much effort.
 
A few cons about Goodnotes:
  • For some reason I don’t like the pen UI on Goodnotes compared to Notability. I like that Notability has more colors to choose from, not just shades of the same color. I also like that the pen size is visual on Notability vs. a slider on Goodnotes. I guess that’s just a preference thing.
  • As a lefty, I notice that when I write in Goodnotes it’s kinda glitchy when I drag my hand toward the top left corner. It’s rare that it happens, not a deal breaker, but I use the app so much that I do notice it and it gets a little annoying.
  • Pricier than Notability. But only by $2.
 
After using both for quite some time my current fave is Goodnotes. The biggest deal breaker for me was the lack of landscape papers on Notability. I do have to try, though, the side my side notes feature in Notability to see if that’s a good alternative. I just couldn’t convince myself to be ok with portrait planner pages. If it weren’t for that I think i’d use Notability. So Notability, if you’re reading this get on that landscape mode!
 
xoxo,