- a person, especially a celebrity, with several professions or skills.
Like so many others, I am a multi-hyphenate. I have my career with a financial software company where I support other professionals; my business and online store, Quest Creative Company, where I design apparel and products intended to motivate, inspire, and empower; this blog, where I share life lessons and tools in the form of blog posts and poetry; and soon, I’ll be releasing my first book on Amazon. I’m not the most organized, my focus has been on having comfortable workspaces, tools, and programs for creating so that I actually have something to organize. Below I’ve listed my top ten tools that I use to help get everything done.
- Microsoft Surface
I use a Microsoft Surface for work. I loved the slim, lightweight design. My previous laptop was extremely bulky and slow so when it was time to purchase a new laptop, the Surface seemed like the best option. I wasn’t ready for the Macbook price tag and the Microsoft Surface had great reviews. The great battery life and slim design have made it the perfect tool for working from anywhere.
My Microsoft Surface has a great design, battery life, and it’s lightweight so it is perfect for working from anywhere. When I’m working on a project that requires intense focus or multiple applications, I prefer to work in my office with my two additional monitors. The monitors are a must-have when I am locked in on a project because I can transition between apps seamlessly.
- Laptop stand
When I’m in my office working at my desk, I put my laptop on a laptop stand so that I can utilize all three monitors. I use a USB connected mouse and keyboard set. When I’m not in my office, the laptop stand allows me to work from a standing position to give me a break from sitting or being stuck in my office. I get a lot of inspiration in my kitchen. I often work standing at the counter, drinking coffee or tea from Chicly Brewed Tea Company (https://chiclybrewed.com/). If you are looking for a portable laptop stand option, a freelance friend of mine swears by this one.
- Lap desk
For those late nights when I want to have a relaxed workspace, I use my lap desk. When it comes to writing, I’m old school and prefer writing initial drafts by hand. My lap desk gives me a solid surface to work from.
Asana is a work management platform designed to help you organize, track, and manage work. I use the free version for tracking ideas and keeping notes on progress of ongoing projects. For projects that include a team, I’m able to break projects into tasks and assign responsibility using the “Boards”. Having the option to use the desktop or app version of Asana makes it easily accessible and increases my chances of using it to stay organized on projects.
- Google Calendar and Drive
Since I have several calendars and Gmail accounts, I’m able to subscribe to all of the calendars and see all items at once across devices. I also use Google Drive for keeping up with documents, spreadsheets and other items within each project/email. Asana has an integration with Google Calendar and Drive that allows me to attach documents to the projects that I have created within Asana. I use this for attaching outlines and concept ideas to different projects that I’m working on or that are in the brainstorming phase. Google Docs is also extremely helpful when I am editing.
I can’t remember when I learned about Canva but about a year ago, I switched to Canva Pro and it has been a game changer. I use Canva for cover art, logo and book designs, and social media post creation and scheduling. I have also used Canva for my apparel designs. If you are trying to keep your creative business budget friendly, Canva is a great resource.
Tools for Stress Management
- Release and Reset Brain Dump Journal
This is the first journal that I published. It is a guided journal designed to give you a space to brain dump. You use the journal twice daily to release the thoughts of the day, but can use it as many times as you see fit, as long as there is space. I use the journal to brain dump as soon as I wake up and right before bed. It gives me a place to release my thoughts and concerns, as well as organize my thoughts. I’ve learned that a lot of my stress and anxiety comes from having too much on my mind. I have a therapist, friends and family, but sometimes, I don’t want to share what’s on my mind. This journal has been the solution that I needed. At the end of the week, I evaluate my main stressors and decide what changes I want to make to have a better week. I’m then able to go forward with organized thoughts and a plan of action.
For YEARS I have been saying that I would never get a Keurig because I can just use a coffee maker. Plus, I mostly drink tea. I buckled and purchased a Keurig about two months ago and I am so glad that I did. As I’ve said, I’m not the most organized so there are workdays where I’m running late for work…and I work from home. On those days, I don’t have time to make coffee. I need something quick. My Keurig has been the answer. I pop in a K-cup and press the button and voila, liquid joy is flowing into my cup. Coffee has become a source of joy that I look forward to on especially busy days. When I am feeling like I have too much to do and I’m stressed about getting it done, coffee is the answer. Amazon has been having sales on Keurigs off and on for the last few months so grab yours during their next sale.
Have you heard of getting into a “flow state” or “the zone”? Studies have shown that you can program your mind to get into a productive, focused, state of flow by listening to certain music or creating rituals. My ritual is putting on my headphones. I usually listen to music through bluetooth speakers so when I put my earbuds in or headphones on, my brain knows that it is time to work. Currently, I’m using Skullcandy Ink’d earbuds, SESH wireless, and RIFF on ear headphones. I love Skullcandy’s but I’m actually in the market for noise canceling earbuds or headphones. Which headphones or earbuds do you use?
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s the top ten must haves in my workspace, productivity and stress management. What tools do you use in these areas? As I am increasing my skills and the usage of my skills, I know that I will have to become more organized. Other than Asana and Google, I don’t currently have any tools that I use for optimizing organization but I would like to. Do you have any tips, tricks, or tools that you use to stay organized?