I’m always so curious about other creatives’ processes and the tools they use to keep them feeling inspired and firing on all cylinders. While my list ebbs and flows depending on how I feel in the moment, I generally stick to some tried and true products to keep productivity at a maximum and stress at a minimum.
When I’m working on something that requires an intense amount of focus, like a big project or pitch, there’s nothing better than being able to tune-out the noise and get in the zone. For planning and working through projects, there are some tools that just make everything so much easier.
But first, a picture of White Ox Creative headquarters/mission control (maybe just a picture of my desk so I don’t have to clean my office LOL)—this is where it gets real. As Robin Sharma likes to call it, this is where I can form my “tight bubble of total focus” and tune out the outside to get to the stuff on the inside.
Now for the good stuff. Here’s a list and a few links to some of my favorite creative tools:
How I Manage, Organize and Conquer My Projects
AquaNotes. I’m sure there’s some science behind why this happens, but some of my best ideas strike when I’m in the shower and if I don’t have anything to write them down on, you better believe I won’t remember them.
I’ve always had trouble keeping track of great ideas, but AquaNotes are the solution I never knew I needed. In addition to making my shower more productive (and my ideas less slippery), these nifty AquaNotes also help me keep track of my goals as an entrepreneur. Since they stick to most surfaces, I can write my personal or business goals as they occur to me while I’m standing in the shower! I am, admittedly, trying to do less multitasking these days but this is one hack I will continue to use until I don’t have a bajillion tabs open in my brain all at once. So, I’ll be sending my money to AquaNotes until the day I die basically.
Check out their website—they have a ton of cool products including motivational posters for your shower and products for kids for bathtime fun!
Milanote. I have tried a LOT of project management tools over the years, and they have all had one thing in common— they’re never really entirely customizable and I’m always left with a ton of documents and files that I can’t organize in a way that makes sense.
The blank simplicity of Milanote is refreshing. When I need to get work done, I can just go to my Milanote dashboard and fill it with ideas, client mood boards, color chips, images and documents until it looks exactly the way I want it to, with virtually no limitations. It’s even easy to organize on the fly, as it syncs automatically with my computer, smartphone and tablet. When I have an idea for a client project, I can drop a note in the app and it’s there for me in a sidebar to organize when I get to my computer.
If you’re ready to spend less time tracking tasks and more time creating—give Milanote a try. They have easy template boards to get you up and running in no time!
How I Get Motivated and Stay In The Zone
White Noise Radio. We’re all experiencing a little more background noise these days (#wfh), making it nearly impossible to find and maintain focus. I enjoy working from home, but sometimes the combination of my dog’s tip-tapping on the laminate floors and my six year old’s constant energy can be mind-numbing. That’s why I LOVE to tune in to Pandora’s ‘White Noise Radio’—a sanity saver when I need to tune out the chaos and noise around me.
Caveday. As a serial multi-tasker (an area of self-improvement that I’m also blogging about soon), I’m constantly bouncing around between projects, trying to get a million things done at once. But, I’ve recently discovered something that’s (no joke) caused me to rethink my work process completely—Caveday. It’s essentially a deep focus work sprint over Zoom. For sessions of one or three hours, participants in the zoom call are encouraged to focus on avoiding distraction and monotasking to get through their tasks.
Have you heard of Parkinson’s Law? It’s the idea that your work will expand to fill the time allotted to complete it. This couldn’t be more true for me so when it comes to juggling client projects or completing admin tasks, it’s helpful to give myself a time block—or one hour in ‘The Cave’—to complete something. Caveday gives me the accountability and deep focus I need to power through certain tasks that I would normally dread doing (a.k.a. frogs) or just push to the side. It’s been a literal game-changer!
If this sounds like something you need—because let’s face it, who has THAT much focus on their own—I highly recommend giving it a whirl. I even have a nifty discount code to share that will get you one month of membership for only $1. Just follow this link and use code ‘1STMONTHONE’!
Podcasts. When I’m in the zone, doing things like administrative tasks (hey, bank recs) or editing a photo session, I find that listening to a podcast is just the right amount of distraction. I mean, I’m still working and getting stuff done, but it’s more fun than staring at my computer screen!
As I continue to analyze my workflows on my neverending quest to get things done faster and better, I’m always keeping an eye out for new tools that tickle my fancy. Lately, I’ve prioritized getting my entire business set up in HoneyBook to maximize workflows, automations, and to improve my client communications. I’ve also started to look into Zapier integrations to even further utilize automations and slowly take more and more off of my daily to-do list. It’s absolutely mind-boggling how many things a ‘zap’ can do!
Keep an ear to the ground for that blog to drop. In addition to my creative list, I have some reliable tools to recommend for just general business admin.
If you found this article helpful, leave me a comment or consider sharing it with your audience! As always, if I can be of help in your productivity journey, reach out. Let’s grab coffee!