Sunday, April 10, 2016

Goldilocks and the 3 Bears of Productivity

Everyone knows the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. Goldilocks eats, sits and sleeps through the bears' house seeking what is "just right".

As I attempt to stay organized with being a mom, wife, teacher, presenter, and coach, I feel as if I am Goldilocks. This planner is too big. That bullet journal system is too long. This app is too complex. From Pinterest to Amazon to Google, I've searched for just the right organizational system that meets the needs of my Type B (but many times Type A) personality.

Planners, bullet journals, and productivity apps... Oh my!

I like the idea of a planner, but not the actual item. I don't want one more thing to carry, and I guarantee I won't always have it with me. A paper-based planner is also less appealing since I use Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar for personal and professional purposes,  both of which are synched together. I don't want to run the risk of forgetting something because either the planner or the digital calendars were not up to date.  I have multiple calendars in Google: two for lesson plans  (one for each level of my classes), another for family, and another for my events and tasks. School events listed in Outlook appear on my Google Calendar. And all of my bazillion calendars are synched to my Android phone where I can quickly view events listed on the month-view widget.

Akin to scrapbooks, bullet journals are visually appealing and can be a robust way to track everything from appointments to daily water intake to long-term goals. I also like the idea of a bullet journal, but I know I do not have the time nor personal diligence to follow through with using it proficiently.  I did spend numerous hours on Pinterest pinning bullet journal resources, so if you are interested, feel free to check out my board:

I've been poking around on Google Play searching productivity apps, but nothing seems to fit my needs just right: I don't need a complex app, I like to write lists, and I want simple, but appealing visual design. I also need something that is platform agnostic since I own both Android and iOS devices, Chromebooks, and Windows and Mac computers. I also want something fast that when a thought pops in my head, I can quickly locate where that thought needs to go for reference later. Google Keep has been the closest I've come to "just right."

If you, dear reader, have any recommendations for productivity apps, please leave a comment on this post!

Google Keep keeps me (mostly) organized.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Google Keep for list writing, and while it fits most of my needs for organization, I am still tweaking my system.  I can create digital post-it notes and check-box lists in Google Keep. All notes can be tagged and color-coded. I can attach pictures and share notes with others. I can drag to reorder the notes and archive them as needed or even turn them into a Google Doc. If I think of something, I grab my phone and speak, type or draw a note in Google Keep.

I have two ongoing lists that I refer to everyday:

1. To Do
2. Grocery Shopping

My To-Do list is a running record of things that I should get done ASAP within the next few days. While I can prioritize by reordering the items, I can't categorize them individually. I could create separate lists by category, but I'm leery of having too many high-priority lists at the same time.

Grocery shopping is self explanatory.  I can't tell you how many times I wrote a list on paper only to forget it at home, or I forget to put numerous items on the list. I check and uncheck items on the master list as needed rather than deleting and retyping items. I also have this list shared with my husband in case he wants to add something--which he has yet to do digitally.

Organization can be a Bear.

Ultimately, the planner, journal, list or app itself won't make me more productive and organized. I must take action.  Productivity and effective organization can't just be a fairytale!

If you have a system or tips for organization that you'd like to share, please post a comment!


  1. I too adore the idea of a bullet journal but it is too much for this full time teacher and momma of two under two. Is there a way to organize a Google Keep list alphabetically?

  2. try Vender app, for easy managing leads and task at the same time..