As September rounds the corner, things are picking up again and it’s more important than ever to develop a good routine. Plus, it’ll help you crack down on procrastination (check out this related post: tips on how to maintain consistency and motivation). In this post, I’ll help you create a killer routine and share my 3 top productivity tools that I think everyone should have!
**NOTE: The podcast episode and this article has some overlap, BUT I also share unique tips and content in each. If you want to really get set for back to school, feel free to read over this article and listen to the episode too!
Choosing a Planner Format: Digital or Physical?
I did try out a physical planner before, but to be honest, it was kind of heavy to lug around. But beyond that, it was also hard to remember everything in advance, as you had to flip through the pages. The system I used was keep a column in my daily section for my daily to do list, and another column with the things due or events going on that day.
It was nice, and worked, but it wasn’t the most effective. It was hard to keep track of things that were due, and hard to look ahead. That’s why I transitioned to digital apps and online calendars.
My main digital planners and tools:
Maximizing Google Calendar For Your Back To School Routine
I personally have the app downloaded on my phone, so it can give me notifications 5-10 minutes before an event. This keeps me on track and gives me a reminder to transition to my next task, so I can wrap my my current task at hand. Plus, it’s super easy to add new tasks and events.
I have all my events color coded, so it’s really easy to see everything visually.
Running a business is super time consuming so it’s more important than ever to have a good routine in place. Google Calendar is definitely one of my top productivity tools for that and really keeps everything together.
Adding Links in Your Calendar
One of the best parts of a digital calendar (especially in this covid age), is that you can add links to it! Because I have so many webinars, meetings, and calls to do, I take the meeting link directly from the email and paste it into the notes section of the calendar event.
When it comes time to join the digital meeting, I just have to open my calendar and then I can join right away!
Pro tip: Find Your Calendar Anywhere
Also, if you have your email open on desktop (or any other Google suite tool), on the right hand side, there’s a little sidebar with a Google Calendar icon. It’s super helpful to open up your daily schedule or attend an event right away!
Using the Reminder App
I use the reminder app (the standard one that comes on all Apple devices) exactly for reminders. So basically, small things that I just need a little notification for, but aren’t super strict to the point where I need it scheduled into my calendar. They’re mostly little tasks or things I need to do, like reply to an email.
To-do List Planner
Now I know I said I don’t use actual physical planners, but there is one thing that has been helpful for me, that’s not digital. I created a weekly planner which is re-useable, where I can disperse my to do list throughout the week. It makes your week much more effective, cuts down on procrastination, and is a great place to collect tasks (big or small).
“Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.”Charles Richards
The Pomodoro Technique For Utlimate Time Management
I have the Be Focused app (a pomodoro timer) on my laptop. It’s a great way to keep track of how long I spend on a certain task. For example, I use it to measure how long I spend on client projects.
What is the pomodoro technique?
In case you aren’t familiar with what the pomodoro technique is, it’s basically where you have a set number of work periods, at a certain duration. Then you alternate between work periods and little breaks.
Here’s an example overview of how it works:
- You set a work period of 1 hour. For that hour, you solely concentrate on one thing and work on that one thing.
- Once that hour is done, you can get a 15 minute break.
- Then you start another work period (working on the same project, or something else), and so on.
You can also set it so that you do 2 work periods and have a break, or something else. It’s customizable to what works for you, and there are many pomodoro timers out there. You can even find websites that have pomodoro timers. I just like having an app because it’s super easy to pull up, and it has a nice sound when the timer goes off.
It’s always great to do a little vision board-ing during big milestones in a year. By “big milestones”, I’m referring to the New Year, back to school, your birthday, etc. Those are great times to check in with your long-term vision, and also give yourself a little extra boost of motivation.
There is a caveat though: simply putting together some nice pictures isn’t going to cut it. The law of attraction works and all, but you aren’t going to achieve your goals just by enjoying some artsy fun time cutting up pictures of big mansions. I know, we wish, right?
Make sure you set your intentions and do the mindwork behind vision boards as well. Really sketch out your goals and create steps that will take you to accomplish them. As long as you have your vision in your radar and are actively working towards your goals, you’ll get there.
Vision Board Recommendations
I do have a vision board planner that I really like. It has stickers and cut-outs that are super aesthetic and align perfectly to what I’m looking for. So I know it’s a perfect fit for you ambitious creatives. 😉
The best part is that there are several pages, so you can regularly go in during those big milestones to create a new board. Often times, you’ll see some changes through the year in terms of your short term goals and mindset.
I also really like their bank of the universe cheques. For those of you who believe in manifesting money, this is definitely something you need to get!
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