3 Simple Online Tools to Organize and Streamline Your Life and Your Business too!
When I was young, my mom bought me this book called Little Miss Scatterbrain from the Mr. Men and Little Miss book series. It meant that her mind was all over the place, she was unorganized, and super forgetful. I loved reading that book because I thought it was so funny how this cute little pint-sized lady would do the weirdest things. Maybe it was her weirdness I embraced. The book didn’t challenge you to be more organized or less forgetful, it just gave you a fun and delightful way of looking at yourself through the lens of a book as to what your forgetfulness looked like to others. Funny then, not so funny now that I’m all grown up with children.
Do I ever feel like a scatterbrain? Absolutely. Have you ever felt like a scatterbrain? It happens to the best of us. As a busy mom, wife, ministry leader, and blogger, being organized can sometimes feel like a distant reality, but it's actually a necessity to keep the chaos at bay and live intentionally. Even when we try to be very organized, somehow chaos sneaks its little head in your day to throw something off kilter.
Here’s the good news, there are a gazillion tools to managing your scatterbrain-ness and living a more organized life. I also think that the more you use these tools, the less disorganized you’ll be. I would confess that I am no longer a scatterbrain and not disorganized, especially now that I have two small pint-sized children tugging at me and saying mommy every 10 seconds. Organization is a necessity in my life and it’s something I want to instill in my children as well.
Before I really started to take advantage of online tools, my life before was not very organized.
- Write everything down
- Plan a week ahead
- Allocate time for want-to-do’s and must-do’s
- Kept everything in my head
- Didn’t plan ahead
- Didn’t manage my time
Today I'm sharing with you 3 online tools that can help you organize your life and business too! What I love about all of these tools is that they are ubiquitous, easy to use, and can be integrated.
1 | Evernote
Aaahhh I already hear the angels singing to this one. I wrote this blog post in Evernote. Evernote is a powerhouse when it comes to taking notes, organizing documents, creating templates, organizing projects, inserting attachments, clippings. You name it. I have the free plan right now and intend to upgrade to the plus plan very soon. I use Evernote to primarily organize my blog, courses, and important documents.
There are two main parts to Evernote - notes and notebooks. (I wish this existed when I was in college). Notes is where I draft up all my blog post and I keep them organized in my Blog notebook.
The notebook icon represents the main notebook which is my Blog notebook. My main notebook is broken out with sub-notebooks. I work out of my Draft notebook and when my post is published, I move it over to the published notebook.
I also use Evernote to file and organize other documents that I will need to reference to more than once and any paid courses that I’ve downloaded gets placed there too.
2 | Trello
I Love. Love. Love. Trello. It is like project management meets Pinterest. For me Trello is a visual planners dream come true. I use this tool to organize A LOT of my life and blog. It keeps me organized, on track, and focused on my tasks. It also prevents overwhelm which I’m always keeping in check. Trello keeps my checklist organized without needing to create a fancy Excel spreadsheet. I actually stopped using my paper planner as much since I’ve started using Trello. I’ll explain why in a later post.
How I organize my Weekly To-Do’s
I created a board titled Weekly To-Do’s. This helps me keep track of the small tasks that I need to do throughout the week like items I need to get for my kids, small personal tasks, and ministry tasks. I created a list for each day of the week and a “Week of" list. Each daily list has a Personal, Blog & Business, and Done section. A card is added under the Personal or Blog & Business and then moved to the Done section when the task is complete or it’s moved to another day if I didn’t complete it for the assigned day. I also keep a general tasks list for repeatable tasks and I copy card to the day I plan to work on that task.
I love everything about Trello. One of my favorite features of Trello is the checklist cause I'm that kind of girl. Having a checklist helps you break the task down into small actionable steps. For example, if I have to create a project International Day project for my son about New Zealand weather (which we recently did), my checklist would 1) include research New Zealand weather 2) select 3 main points to present 3) create the presentation in PowerPoint 4) go to craft store and purchase presentation items 5) put presentation together 6) rehearse the presentation.
Checklists are super important for me especially when I have to do my grocery shopping. No more carrying around pen and paper. I also keep track of my meal plan and groceries list in Trello.
How I use my Trello checklist
3 | Google Calendar
While there are many calendar management systems out there, Google calendar works best for me right now. You can set up multiple calendars and view everything on one calendar or on separate calendars. The reasons I use it is because I can access it from my computer at work, it’s readily available on my phone, it’s sharable, and free. I use Google Calendar to track anything with a hard deadline.
These 3 tools have created more focus and organization in my life which ultimately impacts my productivity. Depending on what obligations you have you may not need all three or need something more sophisticated.
So you’ve had a look into my life and how I stay organized as a full-time working mother, Pastor’s wife, and blogger. To get you started on your journey to converting your chaos to calm, I've created two Trello templates for you.
CREATE YOUR OWN TRELLO BOARD
What online tools do you use stay organized and focus? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.