Hey Guys! I’ve struggled with productivity for years because everything in life is so distracting. Especially the internet. You know, the thing that brings so much joy and learning and usefulness to humanity can also be a huge distraction to us. And, I’ve never known a time without computers and the internet so I’m very good at getting distracted. (Yes, I am quite young, I have never known an age without the internet or cell phones or computers.)
Since graduating high school and starting a blog, I’ve had to learn what apps and websites help me achieve my goals. We live in an age where distractions pull us left and right. Our cellphones ding constantly with notifications from Social Media, Email, Texting, Phone Calls, our Calendars, etc… Contacting people has never been easier. Unfortunately, this leads to unimportant distractions plaguing us all day long.
Work With Your Brain Not Against It
If you spend any time getting to know me, I’ll probably bring up the idea ‘working with your brain, not against it.’ I’ve struggled for years with distractions, productivity, and mental health and coming up with this idea has literally changed my life.
Working with your brain means being emotionally self-aware, knowing what you can accomplish when you’re in different emotional states, and being okay with not accomplishing everything on your to-do list if you’re having a bad day. Over the years, I’ve learned little tricks to keep me productive even when I’m having a bad day.
Almost 2 years ago, I was watching various entrepreneurial videos on YouTube (Yes, I was a weird Teenager who loved watching entrepreneurial videos for fun) and I came across this video by Adam G Steele about Trello & Scrum. Not to be cliche, but my life hasn’t been the same since.
FYI, he starts talking about Trello and Scrum at 5:28 and ends at 13:49.
Trello is a free platform that was designed as team management software. But you can use it to manage and organize anything.
I use Trello to organize everything for Daring to Inspire.
This picture has all my Trello ‘Daring to Inspire Team’ boards.
I currently run Daring to Inspire alone. But if I had other people working with me, I could easily add them to my team and we would know at a glance who is doing what and what blog posts are in which stage of production etc…
Blog Post Ideas Board
On my blog post ideas board, I have 10 Lists. 8 of them have blog post ideas organized by topic, and then those topics are color coordinated.
The second to last list is my ‘Scheduled blog posts.’ I use that list to plan out my blog posts for months. I currently have every blog post planned through May 8, 2019. (Yes, this is a bit extreme but it makes writing blog posts a breeze.)
I love Trello because I can move cards around very easily and change my plans in seconds. With my cards color coordinated, I can see at a glance if I have 3 blog posts about SEO planned too close together. (That may or may not have happened when I initially set this board up…) Trello increases your productivity because everything is organized with colors, due dates, checklists, for each task all in one little card!
Blog Post Schedule Board
The lists are actually in one continuous line, not two rows, but I couldn’t fit them like that in one picture.
The individual lists are pretty self-explanatory. As I’m writing a blog post, I move the corresponding card through the lists. That way, I always know where my blog posts are and which state of production they’re in.
As you can see ‘Apps that make me more productive’ (the post you’re reading) is under the ‘Blog Posts Outlined on WordPress’ list. Because I’m still writing it.
I love this board because if I start writing a post but change my mind about the day I want to post it, I can change the date. And, in the future see where that post is in production without digging through my Google Docs, WordPress, Notebook, etc…
I Also Use Trello to Track Stuff
Trello is a great place ti brain dump for productivity because you can dump all your thoughts into cards then organize those cards in minutes.
Honestly, I could talk about Trello for hours. There’s so much you can do with this platform.
Use Your FREE Google Calendar to Boost Your Productivity Every Day!
Okay, I am a HUGE Google Fan. Some people are all Apple, I’m all Samsung and Google. Over the past 2 years, I’ve slowly fallen more and more in love with all the amazing products that Google has developed.
I use Google Calendar a lot more than most people. I don’t just use it to track my appointments, I also use it as my planner for the week. I literally plan out every minute from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. I do this through Time Blocking my schedule. Some people work great with just a to-do list but I need a little bit more help to actually get things done.
Without Google Calendar, I would be the most unproductive person on the planet.
To increase my productivity even more with Google Calendar, I use Google Keep and Google Tasks. Google has done a wonderful job integrating these into their calendar and email platforms.
I keep all my To-Do lists and other Lists here.
I currently have 5 Lists in here that I use regularly:
- Things to Research
- A running list of things I want to learn more about when I have time (duh, what else do you research, Heather.) I claim to be pretty organized but I have like 4 copies of the same list at all times in various places…
- Most are topics for future blog posts because I refuse to write about things that I don’t understand.
- 2018 Christmas Presents
- Where I’m going to track present ideas I want to get for people and presents I’ve already bought. At least, that’s the idea, I’ll have to check back on December 26, and see how I did.
- Keywords to Research
- Ooh look, more researching, are we really surprised?
- This Week To-Do
- The tasks I want to accomplish during the current week. I refer to this list when I’m planning out my week in my Google Calendar.
- Next Week To-Do
- I could also call this my ‘future to do list.’ Here I braindump stuff I need to do in the near future.
- I plan out my ‘This Week To-Do’ list with this list.
What do you use to organize your To-Do Lists to increase your productivity?
Google Keep is my favorite note keeping app. I use it to store random notes and blog post outlines and any other random notes. love that I can pin specific notes at the top of Google Keep.
I Currently Have 5 Notes Pinned There:
- 2019 BuJo pages
- Spreads I want to try out in my Bullet Journal Next year.
- A collection of quotes I love and want to write on index cards to tape above my desk.
- Google Calendar Color Code
- The Google calendar colors make organizing things simple. But, I’m amazing at forgetting what things mean/are used for if I don’t use them regularly. Therefore, I have a list of colors I use and what I use them for.
- Things to Buy
- This literally just has ‘new pens’ on it right now. I’m not a big spender.
- 2019 Daring to Inspire Goals
- One day I guess I decided to start brainstorming the stuff I want to accomplish in 2019 in here.
- No joke, I have ‘2019 Goals’ in like 5 different lists because I think about things in the randomest places.
Spotify for Productivity
Growing up in a loud family means distractions are always present. Throughout the years, I’ve learned that listening to music while working increases my productivity because I’m focused which helps me get things done in a timely
manner. A couple of years ago, one of my siblings introduced me to Spotify and I fell in love.
Rock music has always been my love. No matter what I’m doing, 9 times out of 10 I’m listening to Rock music while I do it.
What type of music do you love?
I Love Spotify Because:
- It’s free or pretty cheap – I have the premium version because ads are of the Devil
- It has podcasts
- Seriously, if you don’t listen to podcasts, what are you doing with your life? Trust me, they will change your life and boost your productivity.
- A Few of my favorite podcasts are:
- What are your favorite podcasts?
- I can make unlimited playlists that match my mood
- They have hundreds of playlists that I can listen to to find new artists
- I can use it with my laptop and phone
- I can download infinite songs to my laptop and phone
Do you use Spotify to listen to music? If you do, what are your favorite features of it? If you don’t, what do you use to listen to music?
I find it interesting how much my phone’s simple clock app can boost my productivity. I love the timer feature for everything from cooking Thanksgiving dinner to doing HIIT workouts.
I’m also an avid user of my clock app alarm. Over the years, I’ve tried various timer apps and alarms, but I always go back to my phone’s standard clock app, it’s simple and perfect for everything. Life Hack: Don’t set your alarm to an annoying sound, use a song that you kind of like instead. But, don’t use your favorite song because you will come to hate the song. (Sorry On Top of the World by Imagine Dragons)
Early Bird Alarm
For a while, the early bird alarm app was life-changing. Hands down, my favorite feature is the one-minute snooze option. Most alarm apps only let you set the snooze down to 5 minutes. But over the years, I’ve learned that 5 minutes in between snoozes is enough to fall back asleep. Having that constant beeping of the alarm helps me get out of bed without falling back asleep which increases my overall productivity for the day.
You can even connect this app to your Google calendar, then it will display that day’s appointments on your lock screen.
It logs how many times you snoozed the alarm and when you dismissed it. The app also has an option to make you solve math problems or take a picture to turn off the alarm.
You can even have the app speak the time to remind you to get out of bed.
This alarm takes waking up to a whole other level. It’s perfect for people like me who struggle to wake up, get up and be productive.
Lately, I haven’t been using the app as much because my phone has a ‘Maximum Power Saving Mode’ that I love using at night. But, it limits the number of apps I can access and this one isn’t accessible there. I’m sad about that because it cured my snooze habit. But, now I’m snoozing too much again. I need to use this app more…
I literally can’t write anything without a thesaurus. Every day when I’m writing a blog post, editing, writing social media descriptions, or working on my novel, I’m using thesaurus.com to improve my writing. Okay, maybe this website isn’t a normal thing you would use to be productive. But trust me, this website will save you so much time when you’re writing.
Those are all my favorite apps and websites I use to be productive!
Do you use any of these apps? Do you have other apps that boost your productivity? Share your favorites in the comments below, I’m always looking for help with productivity!
Soli Deo Gloria,