If you hadn’t figured it out yet, I am a busy woman.
To top it off, I’ve been told that I can do in one hour what a normal person can do in 3.
Like I said… I’m really productive.
There’s a lot that goes into that. Like how when I sit down to do something I am focused. I know what I’m doing, and I just plain get it done.
Maybe I don’t really know what my 5 or 10 year goals are, but with every task, I have a goal. With each work session, I have a goal.
But I couldn’t do any of this without a few tools. Because an organized person without any tools just has piles of stuff around them.
And yet I can get a crazy amount of work done just on my phone.
So here’s lesson one in being organized… Use the right tools.
What are my top 4 tools to be organized and productive?
I love everything Google provides! …and for free!
I have a Gmail email address (three accounts actually, for different companies I work with that provide me an email), plus I get email from my @jackiemcg.com emails there too.
I also utilize Google Docs. And here’s a hint… you can file documents better than you can in a file cabinet. I may have a ton of folders, but I know where everything is because I just follow my organized trail deeper into the folders. Word Docs, Spreadsheets, Photos… it’s all there.
And let me tell you… Google Calendar is your friend. I’ve created multiple calendars, and shared a few with David. Like our family calendar. We can both put events on there so we know what’s coming up. I have a calendar for violin lessons, for freelance, and I can set it up to see holidays in the US, Australia and New Zealand. And add Spurs games now. Can’t miss those!
Google Hangouts is fantastic for communicating too. I can chat via text or face-to-face with clients around the world here, like Skype.
Oh, and did I mention there are Google apps for all of these on mobile? Everything is synced, and I can switch between all my accounts, easily upload files and pictures from my phone, email docs, everything.
So even if I’m on the go, I can take care of it.
Whatever task tracking/team management tool you use, well… just use one. You can keep track of your tasks, get email reminders, upload files, assign tasks to other team members…
Have this open while you work and plan your work time. You’ll get more done, no problem.
Oh, and when I finish a task, I get a fantastical creature leaping across my screen to congratulate me. So that’s one reason to choose Asana vs. another task management tool.
3. Notes App
Yes, just the simple notes app on my phone (which syncs to my computer) is incredibly useful.
Sometimes I have an idea I want to remember. Or I need to remember a new password to access an online training while I’m on the go.
Or I just want to make an easy list of what’s happening today + tasks to complete.
I like lists. And this helps keep me sane and complete my goals every day.
4. VIP folder In Mail
One thing we all forget is that notifications are distracting.
Whether the little red number activates your OCD or not (I’m not the only one, right?), getting notifications throws you off your groove.
I won’t tell you to turn off all notifications, but you do need to simplify. Turn off the little red number alerts. But maybe receive some notifications that you care about on your home screen of your phone but that’s it.
And what’s often the biggest distraction? An email.
I was looking up the average number of emails an adult gets in a day and am finding conflicting numbers. Most numbers are somewhere around 100 though.
Can you imagine? In 24 hours you get 100 emails. That’s about 2 emails an hour. And if they all happen while you’re awake…that’s more like 4-5 emails an hour. Who can get anything done when you’re that distracted?
So turn off the email notifications!
But you don’t have to turn off all of them… On Apple devices you can use the VIP Folder in your Mail app. So you turn off notifications to all your email folders except this one.
What you do next is add a few people to this VIP Folder. Those are the only people who, when they email you, you’ll get a notification.
I’ve determined 4 people that are important enough that I want to know when they email me, but they are also people who know my boundaries and will respect me for not dealing with something within the hour (or immediately).
All it does is help my sanity, which is pretty important considering that when this mom/wife/coworker is stressed out… everyone else (and my work) is affected too.
Alright, but what about if you’re here because you’re a fellow marketer or a fellow mom? I won’t go into much detail, but here’s a couple more tools just for you.
HoootSuite is such a time saver! It’s always a good idea to plan and schedule social media posts. It cuts your time at least in half and lets you actually concentrate on what you’re doing when writing, scheduling, and engaging on social media.
The WordPress Phone App helps me write blogs on the go. Have an idea? But you’re not at your computer? Get an outline in, capture an idea, or just start writing! I’ve written entire posts on my phone before that I edited and added a graphic later. This post was started on my phone in fact… and I didn’t have to worry about copy/pasting from anywhere or emailing myself (why would I add to my 100 emails/day??).
Ladies (or the guys who do the shopping!), find yourself a Grocery app. This is the Notes app, but for groceries, at a whole new level. I’ll be upstairs and realize I’ve run out of deodorant and the kids’ toothbrushes are falling apart and oh yeah, I need more tea because I’ve run out… It’s all on my app before running around to find my list (which I’ve forgotten three steps down the stairs).
What tools do you use to be more productive?