How to keep track of all things
Today I want to share with you how to keep track of all the things that you have to do. I have two planners and several systems I use that help me keep track of all the things. I will share these systems with you to help you create a system and make sure that nothing falls between the cracks.
Four things to help you keep track of all things
There are four things that you can use to create your system to help you keep track of all things
- Digital calendar
- Task management system
- Filing system
- Paper Planner
I'll share how I use each one of those things.
Use a digital calendar to help keep track of all things
My calendar is Google calendar. The main purpose of using this calendar is to put appointments into it. Use it to block off time that you need to focus and when you don't want to be bothered.
This helps so much especially if you also use an electronic scheduling system where people can book appointments with you.
Having a digital calendar really helps you because it's available at all times. You typically carry your phone around everywhere, so you can access your calendar anytime. This helps when needing to create appointments when your out and about, or if you need to share your calendar with other people in your family or team.
It's really important that you have a place where you can put everything that's going on in your life. And that's what you can do in Google calendar.
Use a task manager to help you manage all things.
When I talk about task management, I am referring to where I put the list of all the stuff I have to do. Some things are recurring and others are one-time things. The task management system I use is Asana. Asana is digital.
You can start out using the free version of Asana. We used the free version for a very long time. We just recently upgraded to the paid version for two reasons: One, I wanted to use goals, which you could not use unless you had a paid version. And the other reason is that I really believe in supporting software companies.
Why using a task management system is so beneficial to help you keep track of all things
Using a task management system helps keep track of everything and it makes it easier to delegate tasks to other people.
Using a task management system that's electronic is best because you can have access to it through an app on your phone. This makes it easy for you to add anything to it.
You can create and add to your grocery list, create reminders like ordering something, call someone, or anything you need to get done.
You don't always have your paper planner with you, so having these tools be electronic makes it easier to write down things you need to get done when you are thinking of them.
Asana will also remind you to do your recurring task. That way you don't have to think about it.
Minimize the number of daily decisions you need to make
I'm reading a book called No Fail Habits by Michael Hyatt's team. And in the book, they say that the average person makes 35,000 decisions every single day. What I'm currently trying to do is minimize the number of decisions I make and the things I have to remember to do.
Having a task management system that tells you what you need to do, and reminds you of things coming up, is really helpful. That way you aren't filling up your brain with all the stuff you need to remember!
Use a filing system to help keep track of all things
So the third thing is having a filing system. I have a binder that I use. It's just a plain white binder that I put any materials I need to have access to quickly. For example, course materials for any courses I'm working on, or any guide book that I get every single month from different subscriptions.
If there's a course I'm working on, I will put that stuff in there. My binder is on my desk, so if I want to refer to it, I can.
One of the monthly groups I'm in is Jennifer Allwood's Inner Circle. It's a phenomenal group. Every single month you get a playbook that has social tips and prompts for the month. This playbook has helped me so much when having to do stories.
When you don't know what to do for social media, you can flip through it and pick out an idea. You also get four trainings a month. But anyway, I'm getting off track!
Back to my binder as a filing system to help keep track of all things
Back to my binder... I consider this part of my filing system, and I change it out every month.
Almost everything else goes into Evernote. Evernote is electronic, which means that you can access it anywhere. You can share things with other people and everything is searchable.
How to develop your filing system to help you keep track
When you're developing a filing system, make it highly searchable.
Try to keep your filing systems really simple. Even when creating your filing system for taxes. Create a folder for each year on your Google drive, and everything related to that year goes in there.
This helps minimize the amount of paper that you have.
What if you don't feel comfortable using an electronic filing system?
If you don't feel comfortable using an electronic filing system, I recommend that you have a folder for the year for your business receipts. Just put them all in that folder.
Anything that comes in via email you can print out or download it and just put it in your folder for the year.
You don't have to have a complicated filing system. If your filing system is too complicated, you get behind in your filing or you just don't do filing because you made it too complicated to keep up with.
If your existing filing system is too complicated, just simplify it, and make it so it's searchable. The chance of you keeping up with filing things is more likely to happen.
Use a paper planner to help keep track of all things
Number four is using a paper planner. Over the years I've used lots of different planners. Currently, I'm using the Full Focus Planner by Michael Hyatt and Company.
The reason I like this planner is that it does what I need it to do right now for where I am in my life. Other planners I've used and loved at different states of my life are Brendon Burchard's High-Performance Planner, and the Passion Planner.
Full Focus Planner
The reason I like the Full Focus Planner is because it helps me keep track of my goals. This planner is a quarterly planner and you have to look at your goals every single quarter when you move from planner to planner.
Every single week you'll do a weekly review where it will ask you how you did on your goals last week. And what your goals are for the upcoming week. This planner will make you go back and look at your quarterly goals to make sure that you're making progress on them. And so if you are wanting to move your goals ahead, this is the perfect planner for that.
- The Passion Planner works really well if you are trying to start work on some goals and dreams.
- The High-Performance Planner is really good when you know what you want to do. You have a plan in place and you're trying to figure out every day what you need to do.
How I use my planner
How I use my planner right now is when I get to my desk every single morning, I look at my Google calendar for the day. I put my schedule for the day into the planner, because of my calendar changes. Things get canceled and things get moved. Clients make or reset appointments.
And then I look at the rest of my time blocks and go look in Asana at what's pressing today. What is the most important thing I need to do today?
I then look at my weekly goals and see how I'm going to be able to make progress on any of those today. I also put down any other little tasks I need to get done. When I'm done writing down my tasks for the day, I close Asana and my calendar. During the day I just work from my planner.
One of the reasons I work out of my planner is because the more tabs I have open, and the more things I have blinking or have to go to, the more distracted I get. Using my planner helps me stay focused on what I need to do.
During the day, my goal is not to make sure that everything is being captured during the day. My goal is to get stuff done.
Write things down in your planner
If I get a really good idea that I want to do, I write it in my planner. I write every task I need to get done for the day in my planner.
At the end of the day, I give myself some time to get things done. But some of the tasks will not get done by the end of the day. So what doesn't get done by the end of the day, I will put it in Asana for the next day.
How you can use these four things to help you keep track of all things
- Check your calendar first thing in the morning when you sit down to work.
- Add your calendar schedule to your planner
- Review your goals for the week and check your task management system
- Decide what tasks you will focus on for the day and write those down in your planner
- Shut down your task management system and your digital calendar. Keep your focus by minimizing the number of tabs you have open.
- As you are working throughout the day and you remember something, write it down in your planner or on the task management app on your phone
- When the workday is over make sure that anything that does not get done is put into your task management system for the next day. That way you won't forget about it. You can delegate some of those things if needed.
- The next day you will review your calendar and planner. You will look at your tasks, including the ones you didn't get done the day before, and determine what is the most important thing you need to do for the day.
- Create a filing system that is simple to use and searchable, or figure out how to simplify your complex filing system
Now you are able to keep track of all things!
So that is how I keep track of all of the things. What I found in this system is that when I do this, things don't get dropped or lost. Things are easy to find and things go really smoothly.
This is my system and it may not work for you, but I wanted to give you an idea of how you could mix electronic and paper together.
Tips on how to develop your system to help keep track of all things
When you're developing your system to keep track of all the things, it is critically important for you to think about what you are worried about the most. What are the things that keep you up at night?
Your brain needs you to develop a system where it knows that everything is getting captured so you don't wake up in the middle of the night saying, "I've got to remember to do this!"
So whatever system you develop, just make sure that there are no holes. Because the second you have to say, "Oh, I have to remember to write that down," the whole system falls apart. So just put everything in your task management system and then you don't have to think about it anymore.
Let me know what you think of the system. If you have any questions you can ask them in the Small Biz Mama Facebook group. We're always happy to help!
I'd love to know how are you using digital and paper together? What planner are you using? How are you keeping track of all the things and what are some things that you struggle with keeping track of? Leave me a comment below.