I've always understood how important it is to be organized. It's no wonder that now, as an adult, I've become the family organizer. I plan all of our family travel, holiday gatherings, birthday parties and everything else you can imagine. In addition to managing all of these family to-do's, I have my own world of potential crazy! I have project deadlines, client meetings, board meetings, and a number of other random things to keep track of. Keeping it together isn't completely easy, but I manage. Here are a few of my must have tools:
1. MY TRUSTY MOLESKIN NOTEBOOK Although, I will admit that I take joy in using all of my smart Apple products. I still prefer to take notes the old fashion way. Usually, I write notes and then transfer them to a device later. Seeing them twice helps me remember what I have going on. I also write down three or four MUST COMPLETE today items daily to help me feel like I'm staying on task. There's no better way to feel like I've got things under control, than crossing off a to-do.
2. ASANA ONLINE PROJECT MANAGEMENT APP After a day or two of what can seem like non-stop meetings, I wind up with a lot of things to do. Usually all of them are important and without seeing how they're related, I'm usually left wondering about how I'll get it all done. Enter Asana. I can unload all of the to-do's that I don't want to forget, organize them by project and then loop in other people who'll be working with me to get it all done. This way we're all connected and are aware of what's going on. We also have the ability to provide updates on our progress. I like to call this cool tool my mischief manager! Without it, things could be bad - REALLY BAD!
3. MICROSOFT EXCEL Sometimes a spreadsheet and some color-coding is all I need. When it doesn't need to be difficult, I'm perfectly fine with keeping things simple. I use excel for creating budgets, pre-scheduling posts for social media and keeping up with overall project deadlines. This is pretty much where I begin developing a strategy for big projects before I move the pieces into my project management tool.
4. HOURS APP When I started freelancing, I had no idea of how long it took me to do anything. When I worked in the corporate office time pretty much started at 8 and seemingly ended around 5 in theory - in reality I just left the office. There was still a barrage of emails, project alerts and texts, but what ever happened during office hours was what I got done. If it didn't all fit into those 8+ hours, I'd start again the next day. My freelance lifestyle is much different. It's super important for me to know how much time it takes me to complete my work so that I am paid accordingly. I also have to make sure that work I commit to can actually be completed on time. This app times my life and I love it. I've been steadily shaving off time to allow for a great workout everyday, too.
5. HOOTSUITE If you're even the tiniest bit active on multiple social platforms, you'll want to add this one to your list. I manage social media for myself and other organizations. Trying to manage those accounts individually for each organization could take hours. Hours that I really don't have to spare. So to maximize my time, I visit one place to schedule, track and manage my content. Working on social media is totally one of my favorite things to do. Managing it is even better now that It doesn't take me forever to do it!
What are some of your favorite tools to use?
Stephanie Powell is the founder of Hello Dreamers, speaker, consultant and graphic designer.