Join us live each week at www.productivity.academy/live and get your questions answered by submitting them at anytime right here: www.productivity.academy/questions. You can watch the video for the past episode recorded on August 2nd above, or you can review the transcript below.
In this episode we talked about:
- Which habit changed your life?
- What productivity tools do you prefer, and why?
- Which organizational and software tools do you use in your virtual office?.
To find recommended tools and other great resources, check out the Productivity Academy Resource Toolkit: https://productivity.academy/resources
Hey, everybody, this is Adam with the Productivity Academy and this is episode number 46 of the Live Q&As and if you’re joining us live, thank you very much for watching and I’ll be keeping an eye out for your questions. If you’re not joining live and you want to, you can click on the link below, if you’re watching this on YouTube or elsewhere after the fact.
Today we’re going to be talking about several questions. We got some good ones. Which habit has changed your life? What productivity tools do you prefer and why? That’s always a good question. Which organizational and software tools do you use in your virtual office?
Real quick, like I said, if you haven’t joined yet, you can just click on the link below. Come join the free Facebook group, and you do have to answer three questions. I want to make sure you actually want to be in the group with other people who are into organization, process, time management, organization, everything like that. Also, if you’re watching this on YouTube, you can just click subscribe and stay up to date for these live Q&As, as well as new app reviews and process videos and other things related to process management, all that stuff.
Let’s get into it. The first question today was what habit changed your life? I’m not going to lie. This one’s tough, because just to narrow it down to one habit, I think I will say that the one habit that has changed my life the most is … I’m going to wrap this in. Usually, I would just say the morning review. But I’m going to say the morning mindfulness, and I don’t mean that in a cheesy like, I’m just mindful of what I’m doing. No, being really aware of my day and being proactive about it.
For me, that takes form in a daily review. I sit down every day and I look at what I have already planned out. I look at what I need to do and I organize it. And that sounds really simple, but a lot of times, we either forget it in the busyness of the day or we try to do it and it loses … over time, we lose track, and so really doubling down on that one habit has really helped me. It made me better at managing my time. It’s made me more responsible. It’s made me forget less in the sense that I don’t miss meetings.
I check my schedule in the morning. I check it in the evening. I like being that person who’s not missing meetings, who’s not late to things, who’s not dropping the ball or letting things slip through the crack, because I do that morning review. I gather all my little post-it notes, and I look at Todoist and I grab emails that I need, and I organize it all, and I take the time to go through that, and it’s helping me become over time … I see this as a lifelong thing … but it helps me become the person that I want to be and helps me get the things done that I want to do, which, in the end, for me is what it’s about because that’s what works. It’s what gets me what I want in the selfish, a good way.
If I take care of the tasks I need to do to move this project forward, then I get paid, and that’s a good thing. If I don’t forget to buy a birthday present for somebody because I set a reminder and I wrote a card, that relationship is stronger and that’s what I want and that works well for me and the other person. I think that that’s one of the biggest habits that has really worked out well for me.
As I’m watching the screen, I’m seeing myself. And if you’ve ever wondered why is this guy a wearing a hat and talking about productivity, what’s going on? On the days I wear hats … I don’t know if you can see … yeah, there we go. I got some really good headphone hair going on. A lot of times on days I do these, I have meetings beforehand online, and so my headset creates this awesome dent on the top of my hair, and so I just wear a hat instead. Maybe I should just try to just go with it.
The second question for today is what productivity tools do you prefer and why? Okay, always a good question and always a fun one to talk about. Everybody loves their productivity tools. I am no different. My big ones are Todoist and gosh. The Best Self Journal. Frequently hold that up, but the Best Self Journal. Trello and Evernote and Google Docs and Focuster.
No. The things I mentioned are some of my favorite tools and again I like to repeat this. It comes down to making sure that the tool does the right job for you. Because just because it’s my tool or it’s used in my process flow, it needs to work in yours. I think it’s a good thing to get recommendations from people, but you need to know beforehand what you want it to do.
If someone’s starting from scratch, and they’re just like I’ve never had a to-do list or I’ve never used a calendar, it’s like okay, here’s the three things you need. Go get Google Calendar with your account, get a to-do app, use Todoist or something, and get a journal and you’re set from there. But moving past that, I think it’s really personal preference and you really need to identify the why and what the expected output is or outcome, and then go find the tool for that.
But why I like these tools, if I had to narrow it down, the Best Self Journal, again I talked earlier about how one of the most important habits that’s helped changed my life is the morning review and being more mindful about what I’m doing with my day, and that is something that really helped. I literally made my own journals. I don’t think I have an old one around here, but I’ve used so many different journals, and none of them are bad.
I just took ideas from them or I saw one that I liked better, had a better layout, and over time, and finally I just made my own. I wrote it up in Word Doc and printed it out, did all that. Put it into one of those leather Midori journals and then I came across the Best Self Journal. It was recommended to me by a business partner. I checked it out and I love it. And I’m sure maybe over time, there’ll be something better, but right now that’s the best one for me and that’s why I like it.
The same could be said of the other tools I use. It’s best for me, because they work into my framework, being that I have my morning review. I need a calendar to help me manage my time, and I need something electronic to keep track of tasks and things that are in my head, and that’s a lot of what I use Todoist for because it’s one of the fastest apps I’ve found to get stuff out of my mind, where Evernote, you can use it for many things, but I found it to be a little bit slower. Either it’s more clicks, more taps. It’s great for me for reference, but for really quick stuff, I want to just dump it out of my brain quick, and that’s why I use Todoist a lot.
And then there are several other tools which I think … I’ll merge this into the last question here which is which organizational and software tools do you use in your virtual office? Well, I was just talking about the Best Self Journal, but that’s not really … well, it’s a tool. I’m going to say that that’s a good one. It’s a personal one. I use Todoist and Evernote, and for projects I think that this is a more important one. Excuse me.
For group-type projects, you need to have something that’s obviously able to be shared and presents some sort of group view or management. And so I have two things that I’m using. One of them is monday, formerly dapulse, and I use that with my assistant, and it’s really nice for setting up projects and for assigning tasks. I can write out a nice description. Can set a due date and a lot of these columns are customizable, so I could even put a due date with an expected time of completion. I could put span of days on it and you could then look at kind of like a Gantt chart of like hey, how does all this fit together? You can put checkboxes inside the comments. Anyways, very powerful. May not be what you need, but I’ve found that to be a great tool so far.
And then the other one is Trello. Trello is kind of the old standby, and I’d say old in a good way. It’s time-tested. It could be used for almost anything. I know a lot of people will use that for their to-do list. I myself don’t prefer it for that, but it’s another tool where you can make it work for just about any situation. Trello I use a lot with [inaudible 00:08:32] and for assigning really linear tasks, where I can create checklists and have people go down. And I really like that you can … I know there’s a power-up inside of Trello where you can have recurring cards, and so you can make a card once and have it repeat itself, basically make a copy. And that’s handy.
Or you can use something like Zapier, where you define the card in Zapier. You can build a checklist, do all the stuff and have that recur or have something else trigger it which is really nice. An example of this would be like we need a webinar setup. Somebody fills out a form and says what business is it for? What’s it about? Who’s the main speaker? What’s their email? Is there any images? What’s the benefits? What’s this, that, the other thing? All of that gets translated into a spreadsheet. Zapier takes that and makes a Trello card, assigns it to the right board, and then there’s a Slack notification to the person who’s putting the webinar together. And then there’s some more stuff obviously after that as they finish up the tasks.
Those are super powerful. I think that having these project management-type apps is probably one of the most powerful things, whether it’s Trello, monday, Asana, Boot Camp, whatever you want to use, and then powering that up, I think, with automation behind it, like Zapier, where when you do certain things or you hand things off that people get notifications, things like that. That’s really powerful and it skips that part where someone has to think what do I do next or who am I supposed to tell? No, you just let’s say you’re in Trello, you just click, drag it to I’m done with my part, and then from there, the magic happens. Someone’s notified. They start working on it and the project or the task ends up getting done without having to worry about things slipping through the cracks.
A good question. I think that that is it for today. Good questions. And I guess that’s it. Thank you very much for watching. If you haven’t yet and you’re watching this on YouTube, please click the subscribe button, stay up to date. And also down below, you can find the link to join us in the Facebook group or you can view this live and ask questions live. Thanks for watching and I’ll talk to you next week.