In those times when your mind is cluttered and it feels like a tangled web of wires or pipework, what do you turn to?
This is me on far too many occasions but over the years I’ve built up a library of resources - some tried and true, others new and relatively untested - that see me through the times of overwhelm.
In this episode, I share what I use to organize my short-term rental life and ask my business partners what their favorite resources are.
It was interesting to hear they weren’t all standard organizational tools, and what really struck home was how much we all felt spending time on our mental health and well-being was so important.
These are our favorite solutions:
Sleep, diet, and exercise (Mike)
Mike, as like many entrepreneurs, often overworks at the expense of himself. Over the last few months, he has pivoted his focus to prioritize his wellbeing and after years of prioritizing work, he is seeing the dramatic benefits of this change. His viewpoint is that if you start with a solid foundation of good sleep, a healthy diet, and daily exercise, if you get this triumvirate on point, organizing from a more conventional aspect will be easier.
Meditation with the Muse headband and app (Mike)
He is a great fan of the Muse device and app for meditation purposes. This isn’t an inexpensive option, but if you want some help and feedback on how well you are doing at meditation it’s really worthwhile
We use Asana in all our businesses to manage projects and although there’s been a learning curve, most of us are now on board with using it for getting our thoughts together and then organizing and chunking them down into manageable tasks.
Trello was Mike’s bonus suggestion since he doesn’t use it personally, but knows many colleagues who do. It’s an easy and appealing way to layout both personal and work tasks and collaborate with others on them. While I like Asana, it sometimes makes me feel way too grown-up, while Trello seems more fun!
Jason works for a number of different clients, as well as being fully involved with a Scout group, so needs to have his work strictly organized on different levels. He chooses Plutio for its ability to manage projects and tasks, track time, issue invoices, and create proposals. The platform also has a powerful CRM for collaboration and checking in with clients and co-workers.
This was back to looking after the ‘You’ in your business. Jason uses a Garmin Instinct model and likes the body monitoring aspect of it that will tell you when it’s time to catch up on sleep if you are beginning to flag during the day. It also has a long battery life.
When the time comes to focus on a job it can be tough to ignore the outside world, whether it’s a Facebook update, a telephone call, or a Slack message from a colleague. Even when you decide to concentrate, these things have a habit of sneaking in and before you know it, you are checking emails again. The Brain.fm app claims to remove distraction through a functional music technology that connects directly to neurons involved in concentration and focus. Whatever the science, it works for me too.
File Bird (Heather)
When we built our new website and transferred over 700 images to the new media folder, I figured it was time to get it organized. The File Bird plugin (from Envato) allows you to create multiple folders to organize all images and videos for your Word Press site. It makes selecting an image for a blog post or content piece so much easier. At $25 for a license, it’s worth every cent.
Don’t expect any bells and whistles with this nifty platform that works as an outliner for longer written pieces, a to-do list, and a note-taking app. I’ve been using it for planning out training courses and jotting down notes during online seminars and presentations. Workflowy is my go-to resource for when an idea strikes me and I need to brainstorm for a bit.
I like to leave the best to last…or nearly last as Jason scraped in with one more. I’ve had a license for Scrivener ($145) for years but only recently picked it back up again and have immersed myself in all its wonders. It’s a massively powerful piece of software to help writers of any type organize all their material, from ideas to notes to resources, all in one place. In fact, I am using it right now to organize my thoughts for these Show Notes. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is writing content for websites.
Jason snuck this one in at the end, and I’m glad he did. If you don’t have the free Grammarly extension installed, do it now! It will save embarrassment and confusion when you occasionally forget that comma or apostrophe. Ponder on whether the panda ‘eats shoots and leaves’ or ‘eats shoots, and leaves’, or even ‘eats, shoots, and leaves’ and you’ll get why punctuation is so important. As one Reddit commenter wrote:
“My three favorite things are eating my family and not using commas”
I rest my case.
Mike, Jason, and I had fun putting this list together but there was a good measure of serious thought as well. We often profess to be organized, but in order to have that organization reflected in our day-to-day work, there’s a bunch of technology in action.
I’d love to hear about your favorite personal and business organizational resources.
Let us know below in the comments section, then I can do a follow-up podcast with listeners' suggestions.