An App that Will Kick Your Butt in Gear if Your New Year’s Resolution is Struggling

Take a moment to remember whatever it was you wanted to do this year, be it an official resolution, or just something you really wish you would start. Got it? How have you been doing with it? 

7 weeks toIf you are having trouble sticking to it daily, I found a great app that might help you. It’s called the 7 Weeks app, and it is the reason I eat breakfast every day. Based on the book The Power of Habit, this app works with the assumption that if you do something successfully for 7 weeks straight, it stops being a decision and starts being a habit. This will then make that goal no effort at all to accomplish.

The app itself is super simple. You just pick the thing you want to turn into a habit. Every day you check off whether you completed it or missed it. I like it because it gives me something to feel accomplished about every time I check it off on an external system (aka I get a dopamine rush). This keeps me coming back every day so I can get that same dopamine burst. Neurotransmitters are like drugs, y’all.

So, if you’re looking to work out every day, write daily, or just start eating a meal you’re supposed to, here’s what I suggest you do:

  1. Choose your goal.
  2. Turn it into a rule. (For example: “After I shower each night, I will write one page of anything I want.” OR “Every day at 6:30am I will work out for half an hour.”)
  3. Download the 7 Weeks app and set up your goal.
  4. Start being more awesome than ever!

PS: Don’t attempt to do too many habits at once; it will weaken your willpower. Start with one for now. 

Let me know how this works out if you decide to try it! Happy Productivity :)

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My Kick-Butt Christmas Shopping System

Firstly, I have to note, I started Christmas shopping in October, picking things up as I saw them. I refused to rush this year. BUT, my system will help even a last minute shopper to get organized.

My hub of operations is Trello. (I love Trello and use it for many aspects of my life.) This system is by my side all year, as gift ideas pop into my head. Don’t only think about Christmas/holiday/birthday shopping during the season of said event. Always keep your mind open to ideas! This makes it easier when a big date does come around, because you don’t have to scramble to have an idea last minute, because you probably already had one and wrote it down. Plus, this helps you pay more attention to those that you love, in a much less stressful environment.

Here are the steps to set up your own Gift Shopping System using Trello. You are probably going to develop this into a system that is more specific to your needs and preferences as you use it, but I think mine will help you get started.

    1. Create a board in Trello called “Gifts.”  I made this board green, because it’s a Christmas color, obviously.

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    2. Make the following card decks. (I don’t think they are called decks but that’s what I am calling them.) These are where you move the cards around (for cards, see next step) to help you see what tasks you need to do.
      • Future reference – this is where you store cards by default, so you can jot down ideas for each person throughout the year
      • Soon – if a holiday or birthday is coming up, move the cards of the people you need gifts for to this deck.
      • In Progress – This is for gifts that you have started working on but are not finished, particularly if you are a crafter like me.
      • Done – You have checked these off your list. You go, Glen Coco!
      • What’s Next – I use this to help me focus on a few at a time, during the Christmas season, so I don’t go nuts.

 

  1. best friend
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    Create cards for each person in your life. These are what you move between decks. Each card has many different functionalities.

    • Checklists – To make, to buy, what not to get, the aspects of one gift idea in particular…whatever you want!
    • Comments – Leave notes for yourself
    • Attachments – sometimes I just snap a picture of something in a store for future reference, instead of writing it down. Then I stick it in that person’s card
    • Labels – these are great for quickly understanding the status for each card when you glance at your board. Here’s how I use them:
      • Green – Gift is secured and in my possession
      • Yellow – Gift has been ordered but I am waiting on it to arrive
      • Pink – These people also have a birthday coming up around Christmas, so get them extra stuff now for their birthday.

And that’s it! This system has really helped me brainstorm and keep organized, especially around Christmas. More and more I realize that half of the stress we meet is because we are trying to remember everything we have to do. With this, I never am worried that I am forgetting someone or something.

Trello has many more abilities than the ones I talked about for this project. Check it out! No, they don’t pay me for this,  unfortunately. ;)

How do you stay organized during gift shopping? Do you have questions about my system? Comment below!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and have a organized day!

“Focus Saving” Apps I Love

Most of the time, the apps we fill our lives with either serve to make us do something new, or distract us from work. Lookin at you, Trivia Crack. But it occurred to me the other day as I was saving an article to my Pocket while at work, that some apps serve to keep us focused, if used right.

Here are a few I use that help me file away distractions for later.

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  • Pocket – the best thing ever. Simultaneously ruined and saved my life. As an app and a chrome extension, it allows me to save articles I come across online for later. It saves my focus because it eliminates the compulsion to read an article when I see it. I no longer have to sacrifice work time to read it, or sacrifice reading the article at all so I can keep working. Pocketed articles serve as the perfect subway reading on my way home.
    • Warning: I say it ruined my life because sometimes I start pocketing everything and then I am drowning in articles if I don’t make time to read them. So read the darn articles. I had to spring clean my Pocket the other day, no lie.
  • Note taking apps like Evernote, Trello, and Google Keep – I am actually writing this in Evernote right now to copy to my blog later. I use all these programs for different parts of my life/brain. They are great because they capture all those open loops in my head so I don’t have to use the brain space trying to remember a new idea I just had. I am constantly thinking up new things I want to do, and with these programs, I don’t have to worry I am going to lose the thought. I just write it down and then get back to work. 
  • Any.do – This is my personal task list of choice. (I use different ones for work.) It comes with a great feature – the Plan Your Day “moment.” Every morning (or whenever you set it to), it pops up on your phone and has you go through each task you had scheduled for the day. You get the option to keep, postpone, or delete each one. It’s great because it sets the tone for your day so you know what you need to get done. Any.do also comes with encouraging messages and rewards (coupons, etc) every once in a while when you plan your day or complete a task. Plus the simple interface design is lovely.
Those are just the apps I happen use to keep my crazy brain in check. They all serve to calm that worry of “crap will I remember this later?” I feel good knowing that all the things that might take my attention right now are already accounted for with a simple button click.

What do you use to save your focus?