Last updated on March 6th, 2019
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Getting organized sounds like a huge undertaking. But with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be!
We all go through unproductive seasons in life, and that isn’t always a bad thing. But if you find that you just can’t seem to get to a place where you’re groovin’ and movin’ (up) then perhaps this can help you.
This productivity ecosystem, as I like to call it, has four organizational tools working together to make sure all aspects of your life move as one unit. Nothing is perpetually neglected because other things take priority because you “don’t have time,” and nothing gets lost in life’s messy shuffle either.
I employ the best that technology has to offer, and I also keep it simple with a notebook and pen. It helps me maintain focus and limit distractions. Overall, a pretty awesome system if you ask me!
Learn how to set it up to work for you in your life!
The Apps & Products I Use
Google Calendar // My digital calendar of choice. I prefer this one over Apple Calendar because it contains more customization options. Plus, it easily integrates with my digital storage system, as you will see.
Google Keep // Google’s no-frills note-taking app, just the way I like it. Much easier than “frilly” note-taking apps, *cough*Evernote*cough* to just open up the app and jot down a quick thought.
Google Drive // Google’s native cloud storage which I use for organizing and storing projects I am currently working on.
A spiral notebook // My Bullet Journal, of sorts. Part planner, part list organizer, and part daily journal.
This is how the system works
Each product covers a certain aspect of my life organization. I think of these as levels, moving from the super broad goals associated with Level 1, all the way down to the detail-oriented Level 4. (I hope that makes sense.)
TIME-STRUCTURING WITH GOOGLE CALENDAR
Google Calendar is where I lay out how my time will be spent during the upcoming weeks and months. Blocking off time in advance for things that are important to you will ensure you are never “too busy” as the days roll by.
I enter set events and times that aren’t as flexible. I know everything is negotiable, but these typically include events or tasks that involve other people I need to coordinate with. Once these are inputted, I can see all the time I have left to myself. What to do? Let me tell you, if I don’t explicitly schedule work time and self-care time during these free hours, then nothing gets done. It’s crazy!
*I have a more detailed post on how I organize my Google Calendar in the works. Stay tuned!
BRAIN-DUMPING WITH GOOGLE KEEP
Google Keep is, IMHO, one of the hidden gems of the internet. The interface is so basic and simple that there is no way to get distracted with unnecessary formatting or deep organization. *cough*Evernote*cough*
It’s basically just digital sticky notes, nothing more and nothing less. I keep the app on my phone and a shortcut in my computer dock, so a fresh note is never more than a click away.
This is where I jot down anything that comes to mind quickly and painlessly. Content ideas, things I need to buy, an email I need to send, a book I want to read, whatever. There is no organization whatsoever in here. It’s purely a place to corral all of my ideas so they don’t slip away from me.
*Rant: Am I taking digs at Evernote? Yeah. It’s not all that. In fact, it’s just too much. Time spent managing your productivity system is not being productive. It’s quite the opposite.
MANAGING PROJECTS WITH GOOGLE DRIVE
Whereas Google Keep is my on-the-go brain dumping solution, Google Drive is my deep organization and storage. This is where I take tidbits that likely originated in Google Keep and file them into Projects. “Project” implying that I have both a reason and a plan for keeping that information on my radar.
I set up a folder for each ongoing project I have. I can see everything I have going on at a glance. If ever a project starts fading from my mind, I am always reminded of it because nothing is buried. (Within each folder, I organize using more folders, documents, and spreadsheets, but that’s besides the point.) The idea is having a place where you can conveniently see everything that requires your attention on a regular basis, and keep related documents together in one place.
When I open my Google drive, I see three folders: BLOG, INSTAGRAM, and ETSY. It may seem vague, but I find it easy to concentrate on what needs doing right now when everything when the whole picture seems so simple. I tell myself, “It’s just three things, how hard can it be? Handle it.” And I do.
STAYING ON TASK WITH BULLET JOURNALING
With all that planning and organizing out of the way, it’s time to get to work. You know what is the most distracting thing ever when you are trying to get stuff done? Technology.
I keep my digital calendar and notes closed while I work, and instead I work off of a handwritten to-do list in my Bullet Journal. Perhaps I can’t even call this a Bullet Journal. It is decorated simply with a set of highlighters and some really primitive hand lettering skills, but the perfect-for-me monthly and weekly spreads keep me focused on the present. Seeing the actionable tasks broken down each day encourages me to take the small steps necessary toward my bigger goals.
Nothing feels better than checking a completed task off of a good ol’ fashioned to-do list, am I right?
Want to know more about how I Bullet Journal? Don’t worry, I’ve got a post coming up all about that too. I’ll talk more about how I use each section to better my business & personal productivity and overall well-being!
How this system came to be
I was really gung-ho about using just one planning method for EVERYTHING.
I tried using only the Bullet Journal method, but couldn’t stand flipping through all the different spreads to input my notes in precisely the right place. Not to mention the lack of portability and difficulties with basic rescheduling. Just looking at the maze of crossed out lines and arrows made me feel like my life was even more of a mess than it really was.
Then I tried using only the digital calendar method. It’s great for rescheduling, we know that, but it became cumbersome inputting and checking off every to-do. And in case you haven’t tried it, plugging your daily journal into the notes section of an event is weird and un-relaxing.
I needed to figure out a way to use multiple products together in a cohesive and streamlined way. All of the benefits of each product, none of the drawbacks, and no confusing overlapping in functionality.
Why this system works
Each part of the system is intentional. It is there for a specific purpose. And it is the best in the business at what it does.
Together, these four products cover all my bases. Everything I need to keep track of has a place. I have no excuse not to remember something or accomplish a task because it is right there in front of me.
Knowing this is a safety net of sorts. I know I can depend on my system to keep me in check, so I can spend less chasing down tasks and rounding up to-do’s, and more time actually creating. Less brainpower used trying to keep everything straight equals more brainpower available to devote to what really matters.
That’s all for today!
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Till next time ♥︎
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FTC- Not sponsored by any brands mentioned. I purchase all products myself. All opinions are my own. Some links may be affiliated.