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I’m someone who never seems to sit still and I always have my hands in a million and one projects. If I’m not working on one thing than I’m planning something else. Basically, I have a lot on my plate at any given time and most people in my life have come to know that this is just my state of being.

The most common question I get asked from people is how do I stay organized?

Sometimes, this cracks me up because I don’t always feel like I’m that as organized as I could be, especially those days when I feel like a hot mess with things piling up on top of each other. But really when it comes down to it, there is one constant that I’ve always relied on to keep me organized and that is my obsession love of writing to-do lists.

My husband often jokes with people that his wife likes to make lists of the lists she has to make. And while I can safely say that I’m not that level of committed, I can’t remember the last time I had a day that didn’t involve a list of some kind. I’m talking anything from groceries, website updates, workout plans, blog post ideas, packing lists. In my eyes, there is nothing too trivial or too involved that isn’t helped by creating a list. I even have multiple list making notepads around our house and at work. Just because you never know when or where the mood will strike!

In all seriousness though, keeping a to-do list really can be a huge game changer.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Boosts productivity 
  • Increases focus
  • Makes you feel more accomplished
  • Helps you stay organized
  • Gives you a visual of your day

Now of course it’s important to understand that the objectives on the to-do lists are there to keep you organized and not drive you insane and feel horrible about yourself if you don’t get them all checked off!  I have definitely fallen into that trap before and I promise it’s so not worth it.

I even have a list of my favorite list making tools.  

Trello

If I could kiss the first person who recommended Trello to me, I would. This has been a total god send and is literally the program that helped me relaunch my blog and build an entire website. Without Trello, i don’t even know where I would be in life. Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I think you picture. Currently I’m using the free version which makes me an even bigger fan because I get so much use out of it without paying anything. Seriously though, you can use it for so many things. Trello is a great project management tool that lets you create lists within lists- literally my dream. You can create cards to house your lists in and title everything individually, organizing them per your own needs. You can sync boards up with other people’s accounts and add comments and attachments, create checklists, add labels and due dates, and more. Learn more. 

What I use it for the most: I use Trello as a content calendar to plan and schedule my blog posts and email marketing campaigns and ideas. My husband and I share a One Crafty Miss board on Trello so we can keep up to date lists of tasks needed for the website while being on different computers. I’ll add tasks of things that need to be updated for example and he sees the update alert on his Trello and when it’s done he can move the card to “complete”. It has made workflow so much easier!

Evernote

I use the mobile app version only and I’ve had it on my iphone for over a year now. Evernote again is a project management tool and a very user friendly one at that. I would categorize Evernote as more of a fancy note taking app that let’s you sync across computers and mobile devices which is super helpful. You can create notes with headers and descriptions and format them a either a notebook or a list and attach things from icloud, photos or even a voice recording inside each note. It also has a search option where you can search for things inside your notes and a reminder feature where you can set up notifications. It’s definitely a go to on my phone and I use it pretty frequently.  Learn more.

What I use it for the most: Saving screen shots of inspiration from social media or a website while I’m on my phone and saving them into a list of ideas. I love the create list feature because it shows up like a checklist with little boxes to click off. Literally use it for grocery shopping every week and for strength workouts so I can have a plan in front of me at the gym and check things off as I workout. It’s also great for small tasks to stay organized and have them up in front of you quickly.

Notes

Seriously the most basic of all the apps out there. I think and everyone with a smart phone probably has used it at one time. I know there are much cooler apps out there but this one just fits like an old t-shirt you can’t get rid of. I still find myself using it every week for simple note taking and typically things I plan to use immediately and delete rather quickly. Plus I find Siri works well with Notes which is something that comes in very helpful if I want to jot something down while hands free. All you have to say is “Siri start a new note” and there you go. There are also security features through Apple you can use to lock notes and reminders features. Learn more.

What I use it for the most: Taking notes via Siri while listening to podcasts on my morning commute (don’t look at me like that!) and jotting down quick reminders from phone conversations with people. Most often if I’m running into a meeting I’ll add a few quick bullet points I need to remember on it and then delete when the meeting is over. I even use it to keep me focused when I go into Target and write down the things I’m actually going inside for. How often that actually works, I’d rather not say!

My friends over at Cloudwards have put together an awesome list of their favorite online note-taking apps if you are interested in learning about even more. Check it out here.

The Day Designer

Sure you can call it a planner but really it’s so much more. I’ve gone through many planners over my lifetime and typically find several things that I wish could be improved on. The Day Designer is genuinely my favorite planner I’ve ever used. They are marketed as “the strategic planner and daily agenda for living a well-designed life” and I think this is shines through in their product. I have the mini version in black dotty and use it every single day. What sets this planner a part for me is the way each day has it’s own page with a to-do list column, notes, schedule from 7am-7pm, daily gratitude section and additional areas at the top to list our specifics for the day like dinner and workout etc. If you’re a side hustler with another job,  I definitely think a planner like this could be a great resource for balancing everything.  Learn More.

What I use it for the most: Keeping track of my social calendar and business task for each day, week and month. I use the “today’s top three” to keep me laser focused on the time sensitive things I need to focus on each day. The “Daily Gratitude” section at the bottom of every page helps me to practice a little mindfulness and gratitude and gives me the opportunity to reflect on what made me happy that day.  I generally have my whole life’s tasks, appointments and agenda inside. (Scary because it’s not digital but I try to keep it safe at all times.)

If you’re looking to get a little more organized yourself and want to jump on the list making train, I’ve got you covered. Check out my free Let’s Do This To-Do list that you can download right here. It’s broken down into a few strategic sections to give you the space you need to organize your tasks and see what you’re ready to tackle. Just download it, print out as many as you’d like and get to work!

So there you have it, my secret weapon for staying organized. Lists, lists and more lists! Do you have a favorite way to stay organized and stay on track? Is there an app you love or a favorite planner? I’d love to know what it is. Leave me a comment below.

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