Literally everyone on this planet has their own idea of what “together” looks like. Right? Maybe not, but I do. I’ve gone back and forth over the years figuring out how it really feels to be my best self and more importantly what tools my best self keeps in her (literal, physical) toolbox- different types of planners, list systems, reminders, internal arguments over digital vs. hard copy- you name it. All of that personal turmoil has resulted in this handy dandy system that keeps my brain palace from imploding. Trust me. We all benefit from this calmness.
Before I get to the actual tea, I have to admit a few things. I “messed up” a bunch figuring this out. Trial and error, blah blah blah but the real issue came from digging my heels in on a process that really wasn’t working for me because I wanted to make it work. I invested in it, so why not see through until the end, right? WRONG. HUGE no-no. There is a glaring difference between sticking it out and forcing a process because mama ego said “but this is what you wanted to do.” It ain’t gonna work.
The best thing I’ve ever granted myself the permission to do is acknowledge when something truly isn’t working and change it.
It’s 2019. We gotta be okay with being wrong sometimes.
I made a lot of decisions based on what works for other people without (1) checking whether those people were actually like me and (2) without having a list of what makes me feel accomplished- my “deal breakers,” if you will. So, before you start trying to get it together like me figure those things out. Anyway-
My Daily “Get It Together” Toolbox
- Passion Planner 📕
This planner and I have history. I mean it- this is the ex that I dumped because I wasn’t ready to commit, but came back (reluctantly- WHY LIE?) for seconds. The Passion Planner is THE journaler’s planner. If you like to set goals, want space to reflect on them each month, and small challenges to help guide your focus each month- this is a good start. The first time I bought it, I LOVED the concept, but wasn’t in a place to act on goals. I just wasn’t ready, and it was a little paralyzing to stare at these huge goals I had set for myself when they weren’t the goals that were the most helpful to me at the time. I had the wrong planner AND the wrong idea about goal-setting (more on that later). So, I threw it away. Actually, I think I set it on fire. I’m a monster. I know. But I’m back, and I love it! The layout is great, the brand is sustainable, and the size is perfect. They developed what they call a Passion Planner Pro, which is a hybrid between their compact and full size. It’s a midsize measuring in at 7×10. This was done in response to comments from customers saying that choosing a size was nearly paralyzing, which is obviously *not* the point. So, they simplified the process.
- Separate Emails 📧
You know the age old saying “don’t mix business with pleasure?” WELL…I buy into that phrase when my lil’ ol’ heart desires and email is one of them! I do a lot of stuff. I work with a nonprofit, I’m building a blog, I am also a human being that is separate of all of those things. When work offers me an email address, I TAKE IT. Because when I look at my personal inbox, I want to see emails about all of the frivolous things in my life that keep me sane. I can’t resist opening a work email during non-work hours, so I need to keep these things separate to micromanage myself. If looking at a big list of emails makes you feel anxious like me, consider this option!
- Notebook 📒
I keep a notebook on hand at all times (along with my planner). These babies go pretty much everywhere with me in the event that inspiration strikes or I need to take notes on something. Now, know what some of you may be thinking- “what about the notes app on your phone?” I use that, too! Writing is a better mechanism for me to actually remember things, though. Go in my notes app, and you’ll find a note from 2015 that I still haven’t opened. In 2018, I buckled and joined the #bujo gang (bullet journal). I loved having very loose guidelines for how I formatted each page. The freedom was lovely, and I can proudly say that it was the first notebook that I completed cover to cover!
- Pens 🖊
To go with my notebook, obviously. But I also have a favorite type of pen that I think is worth mentioning! Writing is a very important experience to me every single time I do it- regardless of what I’m writing. My grocery lists are spiritual, y’all. 🙌🏾 Also, if I’m bopping around town and need to write or sign something, I like for my hands to feel comfortable. I know that’s a little strange, but whatever. Anyway- my current favorite is the Papermate Inkjoy Gel 0.7 mm ink pen. They come in 14 different colors, and you can buy them individually at Office Depot. The ink is super opaque, dries quickly, and glides gorgeously! It also has a squishy comfort grips that comes in handy for folks who write long hand often. The only downside I experienced is that the ink skipped a bit at some point in my pen’s life, but stopped after a while. Mildly inconvenient, but forgivable because I keep several of each color on hand. I’m a monster, I K N O W.
- Asana 📋
When you tend to work with lots of teams, keeping your ish straight becomes your number one priority. Who got assigned what and when is it due? How do we keep our correspondence straight? This is your super profesh response to using facebook groups for work stuff. We’re over that phase, right? Because I’ve had enough. 😂 Asana is a task management program that has both desktop and app access. I use the free.99 version because I’m small-scale, but I’ve worked on teams that use the subscription too. It’s perfect for teams of all sizes. You can do anything from personal to-do lists to mapping out full campaign projects. Now, I’d like to note that I ONLY use this tool for teams. I work best using long hand, but on a team I am not the priority. So, this is me meeting in the middle and not sending to-do lists via snail mail.
- HP Smart App 🖨
I downloaded this app because I have an HP printer, BUT you don’t need an HP printer to reap the benefits. Specifically, the scan function is the absolute jam. If you need to scan things on the go to email, use this app. It’s free.99, you can scan high quality images or documents, and email them within minutes. Because let’s be honest- using an actual scanner can be a time suck. This app is availabe on both iTunes and Google Play!
Those are my basic b everyday tools that I like to carry around with me to get the job done. Leave me a comment with what tools are in your daily get it together toolbox?