Tools to keep your business and life organised

 

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of making things easier.

Life with a little? Hello babywearing. Turning to your fridge and stove top at 8pm wishing they’d whisper dinner ideas at you? Hello meal planning.  You’re with me, right?

So, if you like to keep things easy to follow and execute, this list is for you!

I'm a big fan of making life a little easier and more simple.  Want to find out how I do that? Click through for all the tools, how I use them and how they make my life easier.

business

Dubsado

Since adding Dubsado to my list of apps I use on the daily, I would not be joking to say it hsa freed up a bunch of my time.

This is a client relationship platform that allows you to invoice, send legally binding contracts, proposals and the like to your clients. You can add leads, set up workflows that trigger certain emails and lead statuses after your defined actions have been completed. It’s pretty life changing if you’ve never used something like this before.

Being real, it was quite an investment of time to set up, import and create all my canned emails, set up contract, payment schedule and invoice templates for my packages, but in the end, super duper worth it.

How it makes my life easier

I no longer create invoices in InDesign (yes, I did this for years!), use multiple applications (like Adobe Sign for contracts, which I can only do after editing the InDesign template with client and project specific details, exporting as PDF, uploading to Adobe Sign, preparing the sign fields and then sending for signatures). Phew. If cutting out 1000 unncessary steps in any kind of workflow isn’t your thing, then neither is Dubsado.

Where you can get it

You can use this link to get 30% off your first month (which is only $25 anyways!). Worthwhile investment for any service based business!

This is an affiliate link which means that when you make a purchase using it, I receive credit towards my personal account, at no extra cost to you.

Asana

I’m pretty sure I’ve sung Asana’s praises here before, but this is my project management system that I use everyday.

As with Dubsado, it’s an investment of time to set yourself up in a way that will save you time going forward. Totally worth it.

I use it for keeping track of executive and operational tasks, setting up my marketing calendar, client projects and personal tasks too.

How it makes my life easier

No more scribbled notes lying everywhere with a thousand duplicated to-do’s that never get done. No more forgetting what exact tasks are required of you and when. No more kind-of-totally forgetting what you project process is.

You can set up templates for client projects, with specified tasks under category headings. Then when your lead in Dubsado is upgraded to a job, you simply copy the project, remove the template tag, assign the tasks out to yourself (and your client), add due dates and hey presto.

Recurring business and personal tasks (think website auditing, weekly business statistic tracking, renewing your vehicle license, annual vet appointments and pretty much anything else!), just set the due date, set the recurring period and it’ll pop up into the My Tasks panel a week before they’re due.

Where you can get it

You can sign up here and choose a paid or free plan. The paid option has more complex functions available, but the free plan is perfectly good for me.

Airtable

This is a new one I’ve just added to my suite of organisation apps and to be honest, I’m still playing around and figuring out how to be best integrate this into the everyday running of my business. But the verdict so far is it’s amazing!

So far, I’ve migrated my business statistics tracking spreadsheet here and the functionality for refining different views, hiding fields and group data is really amazing. Also has some crazy cool functions like Rollup, Linked fields, Lookup and some wild formula capabilities.

How it makes my life easier

Again, and as will be the case for any new tool you add to your arsenal, it takes time to set up, add meaningful data, templates and information and create a system that truly benefits you on the daily.

So far, I’ve created an actual business budget and removed the need to have a projected income spreadsheet separate from an income tracker. I also now have a comprehsive list of business expenses which I don’t think I ever took the time to do before. All on different tables within the same base, which are linked. Overall, I’m seriously impressed with this and can’t wait to see how else I can use this in my planning, profitability sums, and financial planning. (Ps, if you’re using this and have some tips, tricks or anything to share, let me know! I love learning.)

Where you can get it

You can sign up here. I’m still using my free trial of the Pro version but I reckon after that expires I’ll just move onto the free plan because I really like to keep my business expenses to a minimum and don’t, as yet, see the benefit of the paid plan over the free one for my own purposes.

g suite

I’m on the Basic G Suite plan, which provides for 30G storage on the Drive and my 1 custom email address. I’ve used this for so long, I can’t really imagine not having it but at the same time am struggling to come up with how this really makes my life easier. It’s just such a normal part of it now.

I share my client files on Google Drive, with a limited view-only 30-day access, which helps my clients understand they need to download the ZIP file and store it on their own cloud. This allows me to not run out of space (30G has been plenty).

I also use Google Docs and Sheets and don’t ever open any other text and spreadsheet apps like Pages or Numbers.

I also have never bought Microsoft Office for Mac, which comes with its own hefty fee. So there’s that benefit too.

I also store all the things I need access to when not at my desk and use it as a centralised location for all my blog posts, copy and business information documents, basic spreadsheets for marketing and project schedules for clients.

I also have a Personal folder to house my personal finance and budgeting info, bank statements, medical aid tax certificates and medical invoices.

Also, inspiration organised into every imaginable folder, such as art, business, design, home, IG, marketing and website. So when I see something inspirational, I take a screenshot and save it to my Drive under the appropriate folder, helping keep my desktop super clean and tidy.

How it makes my life easier

Just having a centralised location to store all the things really helps in pretty much every way. Also handy for sharing files on the go (which I can do on my phone, so I don’t have to have direct access to a file that someone needs and then email it to them). I suppose the easiest part of it was I that I signed up for this service through Squarespace which was seamless so didn’t have to insert billing information twice.

Where you can get it

You can sign up here, choosing 1 of their 3 available plans. Or if you have a Squarespace website/account you can do it from the setting panel.

wave apps

This is my bookkeeping and accounting software that I recently switched to from SageOne. I find it seriously easy to use and navigate and it’s totally free! I know, there are some privacy and concern issues with free software like this, and you may perhaps be extra cautious since it’s syncs your transactions from your bank account. But, with it’s thousands of complaint-free users, I am not too concerned. This and I have nothing to hide in any of the information I have shared with them.

How it makes my life easier

Not only does this software work with South African bank accounts (this is fairly rare) and that means I can set it up in my bank currency, which is not the same as the currency as I charge and get paid in. Now, Dubsado doesn’t do multiple currency, which is mostly fine because 90% of my invoices are sent in US Dollars. However, in the event I had a local South Africa client I had to go in to ID and rock that invoice old-school. Ugh. So this takes that frustration and time-suck of the equation. I can also add my accountant as a collaborator in the same way I would on a paid app and generate reports that show all the things you really want to see in your accounting software.

Where you can get it

You can sign up here, and set yourself up with your synced bank accounts, custom expenses fields and get a hold of those numbers that frighten you so much!

social media

plann that

I am not going to profess to have my Instagram under control because no matter how organised your life is, life happens.

But, when things go uncharacteristically accordingly to plan, it’s usually because I’ve taken the time to schedule all my posts on Plann. Please understand I didn’t not say curate or write, I just said schedule, which is what I use this tool for. I use other tools for those parts of the process.

How it makes my life easier

If you are using social media for business and marketing (yes, you are!) then having a sort of schedule is kind of necessary in order to actually do anything here. Otherwise, you might open it, sit watching Stories run over for a couple of hours and then realise it’s actually Tuesday and you need to get actual pay-the-bills work done. Also, the paid option allows you to store sets of hashtags and then copy and paste them into the caption section, removing the need to manually type each one in (I don’t care too much about algorithm rules, as you can see).

Where you can get it

You can use this link to direct you to the listing on the App store. There is a free trial of the paid version to see whether it would benefit you enough to pay a monthly subscription.

indesign

I use InDesign to curate my IG feed. You really need no ID skill to do this but I’m also not going to suggest you purchase on Creative Cloud subscription just for this purpose.

How it makes my life easier

It’s easy for me because I always have this app open and I can use it with my eyes closed (which would be silly because I’m curating a set of visuals, but you know what I mean).

notes

Yeah, I am that person that writes everything on their computer - even Whatsapp messages when I’m at my desk. I really, really dislike typing on my phone. It’s small and annoying and often you can see the bigger picture of what you’re actually typing.

Rant over.

So I use Notes to type up my captions, which has real time syncing with my phone. From there I copy and paste into Plann.

How it makes my life easier

Sounds perhaps a bit complex, but for me it’s the quickest method I’ve come up with for bulk writing, curating and scheduling.

life

anylist

I love a good list as much as you do, but there comes a time when pen and paper just aren’t robust (and share-able) enough. In walked AnyList! I have a running list of things we need to buy for Finley, for the house and a grocery shopping list and Richard has access to them, which saves on phone calls and general frustration.

How it makes my life easier

It has a meal planning calendar! Where you can add recipes with ingredients and photos and oh my gosh this changed my life. After you select the recipe you want to include on the calendar, you add all the ingredients to your list and they’re categorised so you don’t have to walk back and forth from isle 1 to 25 numerous times.

Where you can get it

You can get a link to their listing on the App store here. Full disclosure, I paid for mine to have all the meal planning and sharing functionality. But if you don’t need to use it to store recipes and plan your week out with food, then just go ahead and use the free verison. Bonus (and because I don’t like typing on my phone) it comes with a supplementary desktop app!


And that wraps it up. Those are tools and apps I use every day to keep my personal and business lives organised (because, let’s be real, they often spill over into each other).

Do you use and love any of these already? Let me know in the comments or let’s have a conversation about it here!