5 Great Organizational Tools for Your Business and Life

I love being organized. Yes, I probably spend too much time on getting and staying organized, but I’m working on several projects at once, and writing a novel in between. Whew! I want to share with you some great organizational apps, for different parts of my writing business.

A note before I begin: I am not an affiliate of any of these apps; I don’t get any money from recommending them to you.

  1. Evernote I started out slowly with Evernote, but now I am a huge fan. I am constantly on the prowl on the web, finding tidbits of information for my work and also for my novels, about self-publishing, and about personal stuff.

When I first started with Evernote, I just captured things I didn’t want to get bogged down in trying to read and analyze and follow links in interesting articles. Now, as I begin working on self-publishing my novel, for example, I’m going back to find tidbits and compile and organize and read them.

I use Evernote to capture information on others in the writing world who I want to connect with, to capture some emails I want to refer to later, to capture quotes for my fiction writing, for here and just because I love quotes. Evernote also saves PDF files and I it has an audio input feature. I have the Pro version because it has almost unlimited storage.

When I’m traveling, I write notes and lists on Evernote because I have it on my iPad and iPhone, and it saves automatically and I can easily retrieve what I’ve written and convert it to

One caveat: I’ve found that Evernote acts a differently on different browsers, for some reason. I have to download Evernote Clipper every time Firefox does an update, and it gets a little wonky, but maybe that’s just me.

A timesaving tip: I learned that I don’t have to take the time to organize by notebook within Evernote. I just put all notes into my main notebook (All To Do), and I sometimes add tags. I can search by those tags, which also picks up the main words in the articles. So, for example, I can add an article on PicktoChart (for creating infographics) and I can later search on “graphics” and that clip, plus others, pops up.

  1. Calendar app/Google calendar. I’ve been using a calendar app (CalenGoo) for years, to sync my Google calendar between my MacBook, my iPhone, and my iPad. I use this Google calendar for both business and personal, finding it easier to have everything in one place. Google calendar has the ability to show or hide different calendars, and to share calendars. I’ve found it helpful to share my husband’s calendar, and the schedule for our trips. Having the calendar synced means I can schedule appointments on my iPhone and have them show up at my home computer. And when I’m traveling I use my iPad for everything. (As you can tell, I’m a big Mac fan, but that’s another article.)

I also use the Tasks feature in this app to remind myself about personal tasks. (I use Workflowy for business reminders – more about that below).brain dump

Lifehacker recommends Sunrise Calendar for iPhones. I tried it and liked it but I didn’t feel like taking the time to switch. You might feel differently. I don’t think it matters which calendar app you use, as long as you use it.

  1. Hootsuite. Hootsuite and other social media management tools helps you organize your postings. You can post to Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and other places, but not Pinterest. I like Hootsuite because I can set up multiple “streams” and see my own Facebook stream, for example, without going directly to Facebook.

A”Hootlet” ets me schedule directly from one of my posts. So, for this one, I can view it, click on the Hootlet, and get it scheduled quickly.

Hootsuite’s basic version is free, but limited. Recently I (reluctantly) upgraded to the Pro version so I could add LinkedIn and a few other features. It’s a great time saver if you have multiple places to schedule From and To.

  1. Editorial Calendar. The Useletter is a weekly digest of tips, mostly for bloggers, but for just about anyone. Amy discussed how she uses a Google Sheet set up to record all of her Useletter topics. I re-purposed her calendar to fit my own needs (a simple task if you know the basics of Excel spreadsheets), and I find it hugely helpful to help me remember what I have already discussed and what I plan to discuss, weeks in advance.

Here’s a screen shot so you can see what I’m talking about:

  1. Workflowy. Last, but certainly not least, is Workflowy (I hate the name!). It’s a way to, as they say, “organize your brain.” It simply puts your to do list in an organized outline format. I use it to organize personal and blogging and novel writing, everything from my grocery list to what to do next for my work. You can select and “star” certain pages, and then view them separately.

One great tip from Workflowy is to use # and @. For example, I use #now for tasks I must complete immediately, then view the #now starred page as my “home” page. The at-sign is for people I’m working with, like my book designer. I can star all pages connect to her and see what we need to talk about.

Adding them all together: I would like to have all of this in one place: information collection, social media management, appointment calendar, to-do list, and editorial calendar. Anyone out there know of something like this? For now, I’m happy to have these great time management tools.

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