iCal for time blocking, events, and meetings.
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.
Todoist for daily tasks and reminders. I have a YouTube video on my set up, you can view it here.
Goodnotes for brain dumping, digital planner, and bible study.
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.
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!
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.
This year I went all in on my productivity. A big goal of mine this year was to get more organized and to get my good friend and assistant, Katie, on the same page. The ability to have the information at my fingertips, available on multiple devices, and available to her was the main reason why I needed to invest in my productivity. I wanted these apps to help us work smarter!
There are 4 main things that keep me and productive and organized – my planner, iCal, Evernote, and Todoist. So let’s go over it in order.
This year I utilized the Happy Planner system and really loved it! I learned a lot about how I need both analog and digital elements to work together to keep my life in order. After using the system for about a year I found my groove with it and figured out how to make it work with everything else in my productivity system. I’ll be sharing my new Happy Planner set up soon so make sure you stay tuned for that! 🙂
The next thing I use to keep myself organized is iCal. iCal is key to keep me on track of my day because I get side tracked really really quickly. As an entrepreneur, I can get pulled in a million different directions at once so I utilize iCal’s notifications feature to notify me when I need to stop what I’m doing and move on to the next thing. I also utilize the travel time feature because I’m notoriously late almost all the time! Yikes, it’s embarrassing to admit! So I input the addresses into my meetings and events so I’ll get a notification when I need to leave to minimize my tardiness. It helps a lot!
Finally, the last 2 items that I’ve implemented into my workflow that has changed.everything.
For long term goals, like yearly or quarterly goals, I use Evernote. If you’ve watched my Evernote videos you’ll see that I mainly use it for long term goals, traveling, anything that needs more of a journaling set up. Take notes? Evernote. Need to create a timeline? Evernote. Have a list of articles I want to read on my down time? Evernote. Planning events? Evernote. It took me a while to get into Evernote because it was so versatile I didn’t even know where to start. If you’ve seen my YouTube tutorial on how I set up my Evernote this was my starting point. I’ve kind of tweaked it just a little bit since then and I’ll be making a follow up video soon so you can see my set up for 2018. Stay tuned for that too!
A few things I’ve learned while using Evernote non-stop this year is:
- The notebook set up I used in my Youtube video worked really well for me
- The Inbox set up I used changed the game. Thanks to the other fellow Evernote users for the inspiration!
- Creating templates in Evernote was a pain at first, but made my life so much easier in the long run
Finally, Todoist is what I decided to use for my short term goals. Trust me guys, I’ve tried almost all of them. But Todoist is by far the best task manager for me. In the video below, I share with you on how I set up my Todoist account.
A couple things I’ve learned this past year about Todoist:
- If you categorize your tasks as soon as I input them instead of using the inbox feature I can keep things much more organized.
- Keyboard short cuts saved my life
- Utilize that recurring task feature, trust!
- The today view is my best friend
I’ve given myself a year with the system above and my productivity has increased 10x over! There is still more that can be done and there are still ways I can improve my system (if only these apps could read my mind! ok, that would be overboard and way too scary!) but all-in-all I can safely say that this year has been my most productive ever and that’s thanks to the system I invested in.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these apps aren’t going to change your life overnight. It’s almost like cleaning out your closet – things will get a lot worse before they get better. But sit tight and ride out the storm because when the clouds clear and you have everything in place you’ll do a happy dance!
Work smarter, not harder.