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Happy Wednesday everyone!
Life has been kind of a whirlwind lately for me. About a month ago, we were featured in Every Day With Rachael Ray and it led to our highest sales month ever. It was exhilarating and crazy and totally overwhelming in so many aspects. It led to a lot of things – like working while we went on vacation, temporarily delaying some house projects, and really readjusting how we run the business. And while sales are ever so slowly starting to resume normal, it opened up a lot of opportunities for us which I’m beyond grateful for. However, it meant it was time for some serious organization with our business and personal lives to ensure we didn’t lose ourselves or our marriage in the business.
And while I definitely have not perfected my time management or organizational skills yet, I’ve gotten so much better at them so I thought I’d share my top five productivity tools with everyone today!
Todoist (Free & Paid) – I can’t speak to the free version of this because I jumped in and paid right away, but it has been worth every. single. penny! This app has saved my sanity when it comes to being busy. Whenever I get super busy, I get forgetful. And until I get all of my crazy long to-do list out of my head, I can barely function. This solves the problem! It’s easy to add tasks, awesome for reminders, great for recurring tasks, syncs crazy fast, gives you various options for tags and priorities and so much more. Plus it works on all of our Apple products and the web so I can access it from everywhere which is huge. When I’m actually organized, I use it in conjunction with a paper planner to really ensure that I keep up with life.
Evernote (Free & Paid) – I’ve had the free and paid version of Evernote and love both. I currently just use the free version and it’s perfect for my needs. My two most used notebooks in Evernote are Blog Post Ideas and Blog Posts. It’s really easy to write without distractions in Evernote so I love writing my posts there. Plus, having all of my blog post ideas in a notebook in the same app makes blog post writing much easier. I also love taking screen shots on our iPad of web articles, magazines articles that I read on Next Issue, or blog posts that inspire me and save them for later viewing in a notebook as well. There are a ton of features I don’t use in it so I’m just barely scratching the surface of it’s potential.
Inbox Pause (Free) – Are you a compulsive inbox refresher? I most definitely was (and sometimes still am.) This app is a life-saver for those that get a little too click-happy when it comes to waiting for new emails to arrive. It does pretty much exactly what it’s called – pauses the inbox. You click pause and all of your emails go to a hidden folder so you don’t have any reason to refresh your inbox ten times in sixty seconds. And then when you’re ready to view them, you just unpause the inbox and they automagically appear in your inbox. Works great to concentrate on answering emails and not getting bogged down in the new ones, too. Effortless, free, and great for your sanity and enjoying time away from the email abyss. Only for Gmail.
Concentrate (60 Hour Trial & Paid) – Apparently a common theme of mine is getting distracted so this is yet another tool that helps me focus. Concentrate is pretty much the only app you need for true distraction-free anything. Want to answer emails for an hour? Maybe write a blog post in the next two hours? Or even edit photos for the next half hour? Create an activity, customize your actions for this activity (i.e. block Twitter from opening so you don’t lose yourself in tweets, open Word or Evernote so you can write, quit specific apps like Calendar so you don’t get lost in your schedule, etc) and run the activity. The timer starts and every action lasts for however long the action is set for. SUPER easy to use and a great tool to get you to really focus on whatever task you’re working on and not get lost in the black hole of status updates and inbox refreshing. I believe this is only for Mac unfortunately.
DayMap (Lite Version & Paid) – DayMap is one of those apps that I’ve used for personal, business and blog use so it’s kind of the total package for me. I’ve used it for blog planning, household projects, business goals, and more. It’s like a one-stop shop to view your goals and/or projects in an organized, easy to navigate way. It’s kind of like project management (boooring) meets supercharged planner (awesome.) I don’t know how else to describe it because there really aren’t any other tools I’ve seen like this. I’ve only used the paid version of this and I think it’s also only for Mac, too.
what are your favorite productivity tools?