But first of all, big thanks to Emily of Orange Beautiful Shop for letting me use her Get You Shi*t Together print as this post’s anchor image. And an bigger thanks to her for offering WS readers free shipping on any order with code: WHIPPED! It’s a great print to put on your desk, don’t you think? For $12, it’s an excellent daily reminder.
This post is wordy enough, so I’ll try to keep the intro short and sweet. As I mentioned, one of my resolutions this year is to simplify my life and to, basically, get my shit together. I’m tired of being too busy, but I still want to get as much work done as humanly possible while maintaining a social life and still having a blast. Am I reaching for the stars here?
But seriously, I can call a spade a spade; I know when I’ve taken on too much. Between my big girl job as a managing editor, this blog, my photography ambitions, freelancing, and, oh yeah, being a wife, friend and daughter, I know I have too many balls in the air. But giving up one or more of these roles is just not an option for me. Enter, strategy.
To this effect, I basically have three resolutions: work on my time management skills, network more efficiently and, of course, hit the gym to release stress and clear my head (oh, and cure cancer! seriously. read on).
So I found 10 tools tips and apps to help me work this business out. Here we go:
Task and Time Management:
I’m a hot mess when it comes to time management. (SQUIRREL!) But these tools are straight-up heaven sent.
1. Unroll.me: I’ve been using Unrollme for about a week now and Im beyond impressed. In fact, I’m already noticing significantly fewer unnecessary distractions in my inbox. I’m a little conflicted about this one, though. As one who relies heavily on email marketing, I’m reluctant to spread the word about Unroll.me, and maybe even a little hopeful it doesn’t catch on (at least not among my demographic!), but, truthfully, it’s amazing. And it’s smart! It groups emails together then let’s you decide which you want to keep in your roll up and which you want dropped straight into your inbox. For example, I set mine up to drop all shop and service provider emails into my daily roll up, but left my favorite newsletters, such as theSkimm (read on.. amazing), to hit my inbox in live-time. That way if I don’t check my roll for a day or two, I don’t miss any time-relevant goodies. And I actually get excited to get my morning Unroll.me email.
2. Follow Up Then: I don’t use Outlook at work anymore so follow up then has been a crazy gem. In one quick step you can basically set a reminder for yourself with regards to any email correspondence. If I email a potential partner and I want to remember to follow up in seven days, I can just forward said email to ’email@example.com’ and in seven days, I’ll get an email reminder. If while I’m at lunch my boss sends me an email that says ‘can you do this by EOB’, I can just forward that email to ’firstname.lastname@example.org’ and Ill get another email in 2 hours reminding me to take care of business. This is perfect for the ever-forgetful. Like moi.
3. Clear Task Management: All the tech world is gushing over Clear‘s beautiful to-do list design. It’s super easy to use and it’s right at your finger tips! A must check out, even if you think you love your current to-do management system.
4. Mind Meister: In general, Im a big fan of web charts (also known as spider charts or mind maps). Here’s why a web chart is exceptional: It helps you narrow down any idea or task to the most fundamental element. Down to every detail, no idea, emotion or to-do goes undocumented. Fabulous, FABULOUS brainstorming and idea organizational tool. Brillz. I know it’s a touch ‘old school’ but, as a writer, I still use web charts to help with brainstorming and idea organization–so MindMeister has been incredibly useful for me. And for added value, you can actually share your sets to collab. Awesome.
5. Stay Focused: Admittedly, I haven’t had the courage to download this one yet, but I need to!!!! With Stay Focused, you can set times during which your biggest time-wasting websites will be blocked. You can even set a “require challenge” so that when you try to access your settings, effectively jumping over your own hurdle, you will be challenged before it allows you to do so. It’s like the ‘credit card frozen in ice’ trick for the internet browsing obsessed…. Like moi. (want to know how much time you’re actually spending on any given website? Try Rescue Time. Another tool I’ve been too chicken to download but know it’s something I gotta do.)
6. theSkimm: I tend to spend my mornings browsing 4-5 different news platforms while swapping between mindless morning TV (The Today Show) and not-so-mindless morning TV (Morning Joe). While I’ve always appreciated the perspective I get from reading and watching so many different sources, I was unknowingly making my mornings a stressful mess. Can I not I save all those articles and OpEds for Sunday mornings and take my mornings down a notch? Yes. Enter theSkimm, a quick and easy newsletter packed with important poli and world news. The writers speak my speak and deliver the totally neutral and skimmsied version right to my inbox every morning. Pretty sweet. And they give their readers birthday shootouts! How cute?! Now my mornings can be scaled back to just me, Joe and Mika. Much less stressful. Be sure to sign up here!
Network more effectively
This includes going to more events (something I seriously slacked on in 2012), more effectively managing my social network platforms, making sure I always have business cards on me and making sure I efficiently manage my contact list. So, in addition to definitely ordering this card holder, here’s a few apps and platforms I plan to use the crap out of:
7. LinkedIn’s CardMunch: Take a picture of a business card and voila!, it’s stored for you along with contact info.
8. Hootsuite: If you don’t know what Hootsuite is, I’m not sure this post is for you. Call me a purist, but thus far I’ve really resisted scheduled tweets and Facebook posts. But I’m over it. If it’ll help me be more efficient in trying to grow a content site, I’m in.
9. IFTTT: HERE is how you can end the divorce between instagram and twitter! Hands down my favorite time-saving tool of all–if for no other reason than it being fun to say. Pronounced like ‘Gift’ without the G, an IFTTT is a trigger-action logic you can set up using multiple social platforms. Here’s an example: if I post a picture to Instagram, then post that picture + caption to twitter (…and yes, as a pic.twitter! YAY!). It basically helps cut out multi-step process that’s often required to “do social” “correctly” you know?
Hit the gym, fatty. And maybe cure cancer in the meantime.
Devoid of any motivating factors such as an event or a dress I bought one size too small, I have a tendency to slack when it comes to hitting the gym–apparently “my health” doesn’t cut it in terms of motivation. But someone else’s health? Maybe that’ll work! How about a favorite charity?
10. Donate to charity with every mile you walk, run or bike: There’s an app for that! For real!!! In case you haven’t heard of it, the app is called Charity Miles. You can choose to walk, run or bike and, when you do, anywhere from .10 to .25 will be donated to the partnering charity of your choice. Charities such as Autism Speaks, Wounded Warriors and Stand Up to Cancer are available, plus many more so… here’s hoping they let me dibby up my miles!
Bonus Find: Master of all things font.
Definitely a goal of mine for 2013 is to learn a ton more about design. I continue to be inspired by sites like I love Typography, Co.Design, MyFonts and, of course, design love fest is an endless supply of eye candy (LOVED the Blog Shop, btw). But one tool I found on MyFonts has totally blown my mind. It’s called What the Font. See a font you love and you’re dying to know what it is? You can simply upload a pic and MyFont’s What the Font will let you know!
Hope you all found that helpful!! Is there a particular tool you think you’ll use more than others?