I don't know about you, but I've been known to lose sleep over well, pretty much anything. That's because at night, I belong to the very exclusive club of people who make lists in their heads. Freakin' kilometer long lists. About everything. From the reminder to buy toothpaste to plotting a client's editorial calendar, from revisiting the day's events to the where-do-I-want-to-be-in-5-years' goals and, and, and...
Introducing: Miss Moneypenny
So I need help. I need an assistant who is available day and night, who doesn't go on holiday and accompanies me everywhere, ready to listen, take notes, break them down into achievable projects and ultimately help me get more stuff done. Luckily for us all, there is such a wonderful assistant, and her name is Miss Moneypenny. She also happens to be a smartphone (uh, yes of course I named my smartphone, haven't you?). Chances are, you have one of those too. The key is to give her the tools to help your [no doubt] very demanding and [somewhat] unpredictable brain offload, and ultimately switch off for the night.
THIS IS HOW I TURNED MY SMARTPHONE INTO MY VERY OWN MISS MONEYPENNY
Evernote: Your Digital Brain Dump
I collect notebooks, and I strongly believe in the power of physically putting something down to paper (yes, with an actual pen). However, if that something needs to be located quickly at a much later stage, you've got yourself a headache (Alas! Life doesn't come with the "ctrl F" function yet). This is why I use Evernote as my digital brain dump. I basically record all my ideas, meeting notes, to-do lists, checklists, inventories and anything that floats around my brain, into Evernote. It is super easy to organise all your notes into digital notebooks, and stacks of notebooks. This way, you can find anything faster than you can say "Where the heck did I write this down?".
Investment: Evernote has a free version which is more than enough for most users. I recently upgraded to their Premium version as I am in the process of migrating my ENTIRE filing system to the cloud. But I'm a bit intense like that.
Trello: Your Project Management Bestie
The next step is to project manage the hell out of all these thoughts, so you actually get some action (and therefore value) out of them. And for this, Trello is basically my new best friend. It is ultra customisable and easy to use. You can customise boards to your different projects and drag things around as you progress. It's a very visual platform, which makes my creative heart flutter. This really helps me plan both my business and personal week and set realistic expectations of what will get done when. And realistic expectations = more done.
The downside is, Trello can be a little bit confusing to set up at first, if you haven't got a project management bone in your body (and hey, it's totally ok!). But if you're planning on using Trello for your business, there's a quick fix for that. The amazing (and I mean AMAAAAZING!) ladies at Think Creative Collective offer a Trello For Business online course, for a mere $29. Trust me, it's totally worth it.
Investment: I use the free version of Trello for all my life and business projects and haven't felt the need to upgrade to their paid version.
Todoist: Your daily Kick in the Booty
Alright, now that you've brain dumped everything and organised it neatly into beautiful little (or not so little) projects, it is time to break them down into individual tasks to get some stuff actually done. You could do that in Trello, but I, by far, prefer the Todoist interface and reminders. You can see all your tasks for the day, and the week at a glance, organise them into colour coded projects, and Tick. Them. Off. Boom. Once your tasks are scheduled in Todoist, you can completely forget about them and be reminded at just the right time. That, alone, got me more hours of shut eye.
Investment: again, this is a free app with the possibility to upgrade if you feel the need.
Google Drive: Your Documents' Warehouse
Now that you're organised and there aren't any ugly sticky notes in sight, you still need to actually do the work. One app that will make you life easier in terms of accessing your work from anywhere is Google Drive. Or Dropbox, or iCloud. Whatever floats your boat. I have a soft spot for anything Google because of the super nifty integration of all their different business tools. And because I have a gmail account, that's one less thing to log into. This makes your life so much easier if you work on multiple devices. Whatever your choice of cloud storage though, please ( pleeeeease!) leave that chunky hard drive of yours in a drawer for physical back-ups only.
Investment: Google Drive offers 15 GB of free storage, which can get you started, but depending on your usage, you may want to consider purchasing additional storage.
Now Switch. The Heck. Off.
So that's it! My little recipe of apps that turn my smartphone into my very own Miss Moneypenny and allow me to sleep better.
Try it for yourself and let me know how it goes. Even using a single one of these apps may help you declutter your mind and avoid lying awake at night trying to remember EVERYTHING. Once you know Miss Moneypenny's got all your crazy big ideas and the necessary life nitty gritty under control, you can actually switch off and sleep better. Disclaimer: that doesn't help at all with night-waking toddlers. But that will help you drift back much quicker after you've settled the troops.