Buzz words such as productivity and goal setting bombard our professional lives on a daily basis. As gappers we have numerous deadlines, projects, and initiatives that we are constantly prioritizing throughout the week. It can be a challenge to stay organized with so many competing priorities, meetings and/or directs. If your professional life is disorganized and not sparking joy, then allow me to introduce to you several tools that may put the spark back into your work life. I have to note that this blog is in no way sponsored by any of the companies I mention. However, they have been useful tools that have helped me stay organized both personally and professionally, allowing me to stay true to one of gap intelligence’s values of professionalism. If I’m doing A+ work, there’s no time to be a jerk if I’m well-organized.
I was introduced to Evernote by my direct manager and have been thankful ever since. I use Evernote to keep track of my 1-1 notes, stand up notes, and ideas that I have not yet researched or pursued. The best part of this tool is the ability to search for specific topics or keywords in all your notes. Can you do that with your pen and paper notebook? I don’t think so. I can’t count how many times I’ve scoured through my paper notebook unable to find that one important note from that meeting two weeks ago that I wrote down among all my other important notes. You catch my drift. The search function alone makes this a gold standard in your arsenal of organizational tools. Another great feature is the ability to organize your notes into notebooks and tagging them with keywords for searchable reference. #iknowwheremynotesareat
It might be my high C tendencies (I’m referring to the DiSC assessment by the way and the C stands for conscientious), but I have always enjoyed making to-do lists because it satisfies my task-oriented ways. There’s nothing more thrilling than crossing off an item on your to-do list or climbing a mountain, but I digress. With the use of my smartphone, I use the ColorNote app to jot down notes and to-do lists on the go. Think of it as your eco-friendly sticky note. With this app, I can set reminders and alerts for important tasks that I may forget. This app comes in handy when I don’t have a pen and paper and need an auditory reminder (aka alarm). Since I normally have my smartphone nearby, it’s easier for me to access in a hurry when a prevailing thought occurs on-the-go. This happens more frequently as I look at the more than a dozen notes that I currently have in my app.
3. Online Calendar
Whether you use Outlook or Gmail for your calendar needs, there are simple ways to help you stay organized throughout the work week. Now I don’t use my calendar to look busy (I am busy and productive…), but I do use my calendar to carefully plan out how I use my time daily. Time blocking on my work calendar has been an incredibly valuable tool for me to set aside necessary time for certain tasks. This is particularly helpful for productivity as it allows you to focus on one task at a time. Personally, if I don’t carve out the time to exercise, work on that project or prepare my notes for my meetings, I probably wouldn’t get it done stress-free. There’s nothing worse than feeling stressed, frazzled, and unprepared for a meeting or missing a deadline. Planning out my day or even my week using time blocking takes the stress out of knowing what to do next.
4. 3Ps: Paper, Pen, and Planner
Call me old-fashioned, but having a pen and paper in hand has helped me commit more ideas and tasks to memory than anything else. Sometimes technology can fail you and going back to the basics of just physically writing something down can help trigger creative and innovative ideas. The aforementioned apps such as Evernote and ColorNote are great, but in all honestly I use all three for very different purposes in my work life. Additionally, I use a paper planner called Commit30 in much the same way as my online calendar but with less task blocking. My planner helps me stay organized by allowing me to reflect on the events of the day and again, plan for the rest of the week.
Yes, you read that correctly. I said exercise. Exercising can help you stay organized by allowing your body and mind the necessary break it needs. Sip that gallon of water and get away from your desk. Taking time away from your tasks can help you mentally and physically prepare for whatever is next. You’ll come back renewed, refreshed and ready to tackle your to-do list. Thankfully, at gap intelligence we have wellness options such as practicing yoga, fitting in a HIIT session at the gym, cycling or simply just walking around beautiful Liberty Station.
As a gapper, manager, caregiver, and fallible human, I need to stay organized to support those who rely on me whether it’s my family, my manager, my colleagues or my directs. Hopefully, some of these tools will help you organize your personal and professional life so you can spend more time reading and perusing all our fabulous data!
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