Planning Tools

This week, I thought i’d share my favorite go-to applications and planning tools that I use to help keep things more organized in what would otherwise be a chaotic work and home life. As i’ve previously mentioned, I work from home as a Graphic Designer, Website Designer and Marketing Specialist and that, coupled with looking after 2 kids, means I probably wouldn’t function without the following items:

 

EVERNOTE

Great for: note taking

This is a great tool for keeping all your notes / thoughts in one place. I use it to keep track of my ‘quick thoughts’ or track items i’m working on, but the possibilities are endless. The search functionality is great too, and you can share notes with friends / co-workers / clients.

TOP TIP: Download the app so that you can attach photos / images while on the go!

 

1PASSWORD

Great for: storing all your passwords

I personally hate creating new passwords, because you can guarantee the one you’ve been using since high school is now no longer accepted because they need 25 characters, 3 symbols, 4 uppercase letters and the last 4 digits of your bank account. Seriously. And since everyone has different requirements on what the password must be, you can guarantee i’m never going to remember it. This application keeps track of all my passwords, enters them by just 1 click of a button, can create those overly complex passwords for me (should I choose to do so), and it syncs up with all my devices. So when i’m jumping from Macbook to iMac, everything syncs up seamlessly and I never have an issue signing in again.

TOP TIP: Use it to store your credit cards too (they have a section for that). That way, when you’re online shopping from the couch, you don’t need to get up to find your credit card.

DROPBOX

Great for: organizing your files in one safe place

My files are valuable and contain years of photos, work and memories that I wouldn’t want to lose should our house get flooded, burnt down or collapse (I do live in an Earthquake state). I’m sure we can all relate with a hard-drive failing at some point in your life and being told your files are gone. Not only does Dropbox sync everything between all my computers, but it creates a safe environment so that my files are protected outside of my computer. It really is the future!

TOP TIP: Try and keep your files in clearly marked folders. I always name all my files with the date too, so that I know which one is the latest version and when it was last edited.

QUICKBOOKS

Great for: keeping track of finances / expenses

I really use this one for my design business, but it’s such a useful tool to help keep track of all my receipts, record expenses and calculate my taxes for me. It syncs up your bank accounts and lists each item purchased so that you can assign it accordingly to business / personal expenditures. It’s also a great tool to see how much you’re spending on food, travel costs, etc. Particularly useful if you’re trying to budget and work out where unnecessary costs are going.

TOP TIP: Try to log in once every couple of weeks to mark items as business / personal before you forget. It will stop you having to go through piles of receipts at the end of the tax period to work out what each item was.

ICAL

Great for: tracking appointments and meetings

As i’ve mentioned previously, the List It Planner is not to be confused with a calendar. It is an essential planning tool to help you organize, plan and co-ordinate your endless tasks and to-do lists. I like using an online tool for my calendar so that I can move events / meetings around should they get changed, and so that I have everything synced on my phone with reminders as I need them. It works perfectly, so having it on paper too just doesn’t seem necessary.

TOP TIP: Utilize this with your List It Planner to mark down those important ‘to-dos’. Have a credit card bill due on the 15th of the month? Make a note on your to-do list for the 13th to pay it. This will ensure it gets paid on time. For those really important items, I’ll set a calendar alert to remind me.

LIST IT PLANNER

Great for: keeping track of all your to-dos

Well, this one had to be in here! I use the List It Planner to gather all my tasks, to-do lists and to help organize my day / week. I quickly learnt that I can’t focus on one thing when i’m trying to remember everything else that I have ‘to-do’. It’s also impossible to take on more work without really knowing what I have to do already. In addition to the weekly overview and daily tasks, the other lists are great for keeping track of my shopping lists (grocery and regular shopping), birthday gift lists, holiday gift lists, vacation packing lists, important information, and everything else!

TOP TIP: Take it around with you so that it’s on-hand when you need to check an item off that to-do list, or when something pops up. It goes great in your handbag as well as looking great on your desk.

SLACK

Great for: communicating / liaising with others

This one’s particularly good if you work with lots of people and want to start a conversation where everything is tracked, noted and everyone can share images / files together in one group. I usually use it for clients when brainstorming, but you could totally use it for personal items too with family and friends. The interface is so easy to navigate through, too.

What does everyone else use for their go-to applications and planning tools? I’d love to know your top picks!