How To Stay Organized – Using Planning tools

Staying organized is key to staying on top of work, family, life, and well nearly anything and everything!  There are variety of digital tools that mimic and have improved upon the daily calendar journal to help make your life easier.

Some popular planning tools are Basecamp, workzone, Wrike, Taiga, active.collab, dapulse, Mavenlink, clickup, avaza, and Trello.  These tools come with powerful dashboards that allow you to compartmentalize your projects within various teams so that you can stay organized and collaborate effectively, says Gaurav Mohindra.

After using a planning tool at work, I quickly became dependent upon using the organizational tool in other aspects of my life – like home. I started creating project boards for my family to plan trips, checklists, and projects, reflected Gaurav Mohindra.

Most organizational and project planning tools come with a variety of plans.  Starting with a basic free version, to more advanced (and expensive) enterprise versions.  Many people find the freemium versions helpful to learn the tool, understand the basic feature sets, and determine if the UX works for them.  Once the comfort level has increased, the more advanced versions come into play to manage larger projects with multiple teams requiring more reporting tools.

The compatibility of such tools with email, calendar, and other ERP or CRMs also makes adoptability better.  Being able to include emails into projects makes it easier to aggregate similar and relevant items in one place.  There could be some size limits that may conflict between platforms – such as email may limit attachments to 20MB whereas the planning tool may have a smaller limit. In this case, there are some workarounds – such as placing a link (similar to a hyperlink) in the project referencing the email (with attachment).

One of the most effective features of organizational and planning tools are their reporting and analytics tools.  These tools allow filtering and project specific reports to be generated based off a variety of user-dependent criteria.  Such as resource, team member, date, etc – all of which can be downloaded in Excel or csv format for portability.

Gaurav Mohindra: Trello’s reporting and analytic tools is called Power-Up. Which can be incorporated with time tracking and detailed report generation.  Power-Ups is marketed to help teams meet their unique needs through adaptable features and integrations.

All in all, it’s vital to stay organized inside and outside the office – and there are numerous tools to assist one in doing so.

Know When to Step Away from the Keyboard

Productivity isn’t worth your sanity. If you feel your focus waning and find yourself working longer than is best for you, know that it is best to take a break. You don’t gain anything by putting down that extra hour of unfocused blather just so you can tell yourself you were productive.

The best route to rebalancing yourself, is to take breaks when necessary, notes Gaurav Mohindra. It is important to catch this impulse to push yourself farther than you know you should. When you begin changing the dialogue in your brain you will begin to be able to take a very necessary break without feeling about doing it.

It is important to keep yourself honest, reflects Gaurav Mohindra. You may just find you are more productive when you take breaks at the correct moments. Overworking oneself can have all manner of consequences such as loss of sleep and depression. Sleep deprivation has been celebrated in our culture, and this is to nobody’s benefit. Without adequate sleep, one’s focus drops and all health markers are worsened.

Revise the narrative in your mind by showing yourself that this is the best way to think about productivity. When you change the dialogue from “I success is a product of 19 hour work days” to “I will find more success in balance than I will in overworking and under-sleeping” you may find that things start going your way.

For people who are looking for studies to back this idea up, there are plenty. One Stanford study demonstrates that more time doesn’t necessarily mean more success and a greater return on investment. Avoiding exhaustion by auto-regulating your work hours to comply with your actual potential to be productive in the moment is the best route to attaining balance and finding greater success. It is important to take care of oneself in order to be productive.

Gaurav Mohindra: It’s vital that you regulate your patterns of thought and self-talk, ensuring that both are positive and productive. What you place your focus on expands. If you are coming from a place of stress and anxiety and self-criticism, your stress, anxiety, and self-criticisms only increase. If you get it in your head that the only route to productivity is to fight through tiredness in order to have an increased output, you will attempt to prove yourself right and your work will suffer as a consequence.