On Monday, I submitted a 4,800-word feature for a city/regional magazine, 417 Home. But this wasn’t just a feature; it was the feature. This cover story article is the flagship, annual story of this publication every year. It was a massive project broken up into so many different parts:
- 4 home profiles (350 words each)
- 4 resource listings (150 words each)
- 3 Q&A pieces with builders (250 words each)
- 2 sidebars (300 words each)
- 50 captions (50-75 words each)
It was a massive undertaking; I had no idea what I was diving into when I took it on, but when I submitted it last Monday, I was overwhelmed with the scale of the project. How did I even get it all done in just three weeks, while working a full-time job?
Here’s how: I use three productivity apps that save my life on a daily basis and keep me on track. From freelance projects to my full-time job, these apps save my life every day.
About two months ago, I finally buckled down and wrote out a list of all the tasks I need to complete each week and month for my business and full-time job. I am required by certain contracts for my business to post X amount of pieces of content per platform each month for my clients, and I would keep forgetting to tweet from this account or post from that account each day.
So I broke up the 95 Facebook posts I’m required to post each month for every Checkmate Consulting client into weekly requirements for each client and then daily tasks. So for Client A, I post a Facebook post every Monday. That’s where Todoist comes in. Todoist is a visual To-Do list of my entire digital life, and tasks are scheduled to repeat on a set, editable schedule. Instead of trying to knock out huge amounts of content at once, this daily reminder that also syncs to my phone serves as a way for me to keep track of all my required postings all in one place.
I also use Todoist to schedule tasks for milestones on a specific project and reminders for my full-time job. From “edit the SPS homepage” to “tweet from Client X,” Todoist helps me stay on task.
My Google Calendar is my lifeline. It helps me plan weekends with my husband and also navigate deadlines. If I have an upcoming project due, I’ll skip that opportunity or ask for an extension before taking on a new project. But one feature of Google Calendar helps to coordinate it all: separate calendars within Google Calendar.
My husband has access to our #Revin calendar, where he’ll see what family and social events we’ve committed to before saying yes to a Saturday lunch with a co-worker. Or he’ll create an event on our calendar and I’ll get a notification of the calendar’s addition. I’ll also carve out weekends for certain projects so that Kevin knows I’m unavailable for anything fun (essential when it’s crunch time).
Plus, with just a couple of taps, I can isolate my full-time work calendar to view on its own, or I’ll overlap calendars to see what events are coming up next to know when I’ll have time to work ahead. Planning free weekends for meeting deadlines is essential when you’re juggling so much.
Hands-free communication with my husband and friends keeps me sane and balanced. The walky-talky style app also helps me to communicate when I’m on the go, while not neglecting relationships and social obligations. I can check it when I get a spare minute, but it gives me the ability to share some more extensive thoughts without the hassle of maintaining a long text conversation (who has time for that?).
Plus, it’s fun to get caught up at the end of a long day to hear what my girlfriends have been up to. I can’t wait to be able to do that more in person as I begin a well-deserved freelance hiatus.
What are your three must-have productivity apps?
Stay tuned for the big reveal of my big cover story in 417 Home this January.