I love to highlight the friends, apps, tools, books, and habits that help me as a leader, a learner, and someone trying to be more balanced and mindful. For this week’s volume, I decided to do a round-up of the apps and resources that best help me stay organized and focused, especially in my job.
- Evernote – There is a not a day that goes by that I don’t open up Evernote on one of my many devices at home or at work. Not only do I record all classroom visits I make in Evernote files, but I keep a reflective journal, personal notes, blog ideas, and everything else imaginable here.
- Pocket – After my first post about all the blogs I had Flagged for Follow Up, I wrote a second post in which I declared that I was trying Pocket as my new online resource holder. That was 8 months ago and I can now confirm that Pocket is a useful tool. Whenever I am reading a blog, article, or other online resource, if I think I might want to share it or refer to it later, I add it to Pocket. Over the last few months, I’ve gotten better about tagging my saves with more purposeful tags, to be able to find them easily for future use. I create a weekly update to some staff members that includes many resources, and I often go back to Pocket to find relevant items to share.
- Inbox & Calendar – I continue to use a specific system to keep my inbox and calendar organized. At least once a week, I look ahead to future weeks to see what upcoming meetings or projects I need to prepare for. From there, I fill in open spaces on my calendar with time to complete the work necessary for said meetings. I will also draft messages to be sent later, such as reminders about my future site visits or follow-up notes about items due to me. Whenever I read an email, I take immediate action. I either: a) reply and then file or delete the message; b) flag the message for later research and response; c) file the message in an email folder since it was just an FYI to me; d) delete if I do not need to do anything. My flagged messages, to-do items, and calendar notes are color-coded to help me stay focused on various projects or timelines. All of this helps me feel focused, organized, able to response promptly to others, and to meet my deadlines.
- Google – I wrote about my love of Google Drive in Volume 6 of my Things I’m Loving Friday. I am still a Google fan, enjoying the use of Google docs to help teams communicate, google drive to share common work with teams of teachers or students, forms to create and maintain survey data, and everything else I discover!
- Feedly/ RSS Feeds – I am a notoriously fast reader, which means I always want more books, articles, and blogs available to read when I have the chance. I use both Feedly and RSS Feeds to maintain a long list of blogs I enjoy reading (not only about education-related topics, but also about health, wellness, and life in general!). What I love about these tools is the fact that I can open them up whenever I have a free moment, and read just one blog, or read all day (HA! I wish!). I have my Feedly linked to Pocket, so if I want to save a blog (with a good recipe or good instructional strategy), I can send it straight to Pocket with the appropriate tag.
What helps you stay organized?
What are you loving lately?