In this season of my life, I often feel like I’m in constant GO! mode. I’m helping to manage a business, a household, a jam-packed family calendar, and a 3-year old… all while growing another human. (Surprise! Baby girl is due in February and I’m in full-on nesting mode.)
I’ve always been a fan of organizing and having solid systems for productivity, but now it’s an absolute necessity for maintaining my sanity. These are some products and systems that keep my days running (mostly) smoothly.
OBSESSIVELY PRODUCTIVE: AT WORK
BASECAMP: I sing the praises of this project management software to anyone who will listen. If you are a business owner and you’re not using Basecamp… why not?? Basecamp helps my partners and I communicate with each other without having a million emails to sort through, it helps us to stay organized with work tasks for various projects and clients, allows us to loop our clients in to organized discussion threads, and makes it so easy to refer back to an old conversation or project with such ease.
DROPBOX: another useful tool for running a business with partners who are in different locations, Dropbox is a great cloud storage service. One of my favorite features is that it allows you to restore old versions of files for 30 days — in case you accidentally saved over something you didn’t mean to or are faced with a corrupt file — or forever if you pay extra for the Packrat add-on (which I think is 100% worth it and has saved me on multiple occasions). It’s still imperative to have backups of important files elsewhere, but Dropbox has helped us to keep our business running productively day in and day out.
ONGOING EMAIL ORGANIZATION: keeping a low number of emails in my inbox is something that has become imperative to my workday productivity. I use Mac Mail and go through my inbox probably a few times a day to file away emails that have been responded to/addressed, and delete Basecamp notifications that have been read/addressed/responded to. Doing this constantly ensures that I’m not accidentally missing an important email or task, and it keeps me super productive. If I miss a day or two of organizing/deleting, I’m buried under emails that don’t need my attention, and I feel generally overwhelmed.
SIMPLIFIED PLANNER: Having a pretty planner certainly makes it more appealing to keep my workday organized. I have the weekly edition of Emily Ley’s Happy Stripe Simplified Planner (currently sold out, but there is also a daily edition), and it’s perfect for me. Each day has space for 7 tasks to check off, which prevents me from unrealistically piling too many to-dos on my plate. The cover is durable and holding up really well four months in… and of course, it’s happy and colorful, so it makes me want to use it!
LEUCHTTURM NOTEBOOK: I’ve always used Moleskine notebooks for taking notes and sketching, but I’m now a Leuchtturm convert. I have the Leuchtturm 1917 Notebook A5 hardcover with dotted grid, which is great for sketching and note-taking alike. I also love that the pages are numbered (in case you need to be able to easily refer back to something), it lies flat without having a spiral binding that gets in the way, and has a ribbon book mark for keeping track of your last marked up page.
PASSWORD REMINDER BOOK: I keep my Bob’s Your Uncle Open Sesame Password Reminder Book nearby at all times when I’m working, and it helps me avoid the inevitable frustration when I can’t remember a password. I prefer a hard copy since I feel like keeping a log of passwords on my computer is not secure; I’ve had this for years, and it is such a useful tool and time-saver. (As long as I remembered to write all of my passwords down in it!)
OBSESSIVELY PRODUCTIVE: AT HOME
MEAL PLANNING: Nick used to be the primary chef in our family; his job recently changed, though, meaning he no longer works from home and he gets home just when we’d like to be sitting down and eating, so meal planning and cooking now falls pretty exclusively on my shoulders. A few years ago this thought would have terrified me, but this year I’ve embraced it and, dare I say, I really enjoy meal planning and cooking now. Every Saturday morning, I plan out our dinners for the week, make a grocery list, and Nick & Graham head to the grocery store for everything we need. It has become a regular routine and having it all mapped out before a busy week begins means I’m not stressing about what to cook every night at 5:30. We also seem to waste a lot less food, and are definitely less tempted to eat out (with the exception of our standing pizza night on Wednesdays, which is the perfect mid-week cooking break for me).