I am an organizational freak. I once told a boss that if I could block out an entire day to organize the office I would be one hell of a happy employee.
I know that there are several others out there like me – that the mere thought of creating a spreadsheet makes them giddy inside and their entire to do list is comprised of color coded post-it notes.
I also know that there are many others who are totally clueless about how to organize the many aspects of their lives. I heeded your questions and created this ultimate guide of 50 (yes, 50!) templates, tools and apps to help you organize ever single aspect of your life – from your finances to your romantic relationships.
It took me two days to create this post and I enjoyed every second of it. (Don’t judge me.)
I hope you find these tools and useful as I have in my own life. If you have any other organizational tools that you just cannot live without feel free to share them in the comments.
And now, without further ado…
The Ultimate Guide to Organizing Your Life: 50 Templates, Tools, and Apps to Help You Rock at Life
- Asana Project Management - Since forming Team Fireball I needed something to help me delegate tasks as well as help my team (and myself) meet deadlines. This project management system is free for up to 15 team members and allows you to organize tasks by project, name and due date. This is quickly becoming a life saver for my business!
- Contactually - This tool makes it SUPER EASY to keep track of who you should be following up with. It connects to your Gmail as well as your social media accounts to create an extensive address book. It also tracks what actions have been taken for each contact. I use it to set reminders of what potential coaching clients I need to email after a promotional call. I also use it to reach out to new colleagues, send pitches, and contact media outlets for PR Opportunities. Contactually also sets up and saves templates and plugs in the name for you so you don’t have to spend time writing out emails. Another life saver right here!
- Help a Reporter Out (HARO) - Awesome database of media outlets looking for people to interview and feature. It also allows these outlets to find you (This is how the Forbes Campus to Careers columnist found me!). You can set this up to send you periodic emails of media outlets for different categories. You then reply to the query. Very cool tool!
- Google Docs - I can no longer exist without the help of Google Docs! From spreadsheets to jotting down ideas for new projects this is a mega tool of organization! Perfect for on the go updates of articles, lectures, etc. (Hey, creativity strikes when it strikes!) For instance, Kelly and I have a running document of blog posts that will be running on the blog. Tatiana and I use to keep track of all the back end stuff – like guest post submissions and time sheets. I also share documents with editors for pieces that will run on their websites.
- Referral Tracking Sheet – I have a Referral Program to encourage coaching clients to send others my way. For every successful referral (meaning they have paid) the referrer gets $50 off their next coaching package. This sheet helps me keep track of where clients are finding out about me, what actions have been taken, and who has earned themselves a referral discount.
- Wufoo - I used to use Google Docs to make surveys and application forms, and then I discovered Wufoo. For a minimal price you can create beautiful surveys for all of your business needs. They also email you as soon as someone has completed the form – which is nice for me because I would always forget to check Google.
- File Folders – I use colorful file folders for each of my clients. I use this to file away client notes, track payments, and file away any insights that they email me during our coaching relationship. Some people prefer to keep file notes on the computer, but A. I can’t type as fast as my clients talk and B. it makes a bigger impact on my brain if I write it down.
- Time Sheet Spreadsheet for Outsourcing and Contract Work: I recently brought on two people help me with this site and my business. (This in and of itself has been a major lesson for me). Tatiana sent me this organized time sheet that I LOVED. So simple, yet totally effective so we can track what’s getting done, how long it’s taking, and determine proper compensation. Also helps me cross check with my Tax Deductions Spreadsheet. (Note: Tatiana just reminded me that Carrie Smith from Careful Cents was the creator of this spread sheet. Brilliant!)
- MindNode (Mac): Aside from always have a million ideas running through my head at once, I’m also a visual kinda gal. I have to actually SEE the picture in order to get it. That’s why I was so happy to find MindNode and it’s ability to make beautifully organized MindMaps. Mindnode also makes it easy to share these maps with my team with the click of a button. It’s perfect for organizing any aspect of your life – from business projects to birthday parties.
- Plan Your Next Career Move (Jenny Blake) – Choosing your next career move can be a tad bit overwhelming. Whether you want to move up within the same company, want to make a lateral move, switch careers altogether, or start your own business, sometimes we need a little help seeing the bigger picture. This template can surely help you plan your next move with a nifty table and follow-up exercises.
- Professional Development Strategy (Jenny Blake)- I used this template to help me plan the next moves for my business. It’s also helpful if you want to stay in the traditional job hunt. It helps you get crystal clear about what you want, why you want it, and how o start creating an action plan to execute it.
- Job Interview One Sheeter (Jenny Blake) – If all the candidates I’ve interviewed would have used this sheet it would have made my time in recruiting a lot easier. Use this to come up with crystal clear answers to common job interview questions, come up with a strategy, and build up your confidence. So simple yet so brilliant!
- 7 Steps to Getting a Raise Worksheet – Use this worksheet to help you prepare for asking for a raise. Walk through why you want the raise, how to collect data, negotiating, and coming up with strategic proposals. (Note: You can also replace “raise” with anything you want or a tough conversation you need to have. Very versatile worksheet!)
- Nutshell - You can set up Nutshell to send you a daily summary of what’s going on with your social media accounts. Learn about new followers, who stopped following you, who has tweets and messages for you, and other popular social media updates.
- HootSuite – Schedule your social media updates and then forget about them!
- Google Calendar – I’m starting to use Google Calendar for all of my appointments, plus keeping track of my weekly goals, fitness, and other things. Huge life saver!
- Acuity Scheduling Software - A very affordable (and customizable) scheduling software so that my coaching clients can automatically schedule their sessions with me. Google Calendar syncs up with Acuity Scheduling so I know when clients have scheduled a session. By the same token Acuity blocks out any times that I have scheduled on Google Calendar, such as meetings or appointments, so that clients can’t schedule anything at that time. So much easier than emailing back and forth!
- Simple Appointment Tracking (Jenny Blake) – A simple spreadsheet to help you keep track of common appointments such as the doctor, the dentist, the accountant, etc. Also has a space for their phone numbers and your last appointment. Awesome little sheet to remind you of annual appointments!
- RescueTime – By installing RescuTime into your computer it helps you keep track of where you (or your team) are spending your time each day. Try it out – it may surprise you just how much time you spend on Facebook!
- Freshbooks – I use Freshbooks to send invoices to writing clients. It’s free for up to 3 clients and allows you to fully customize your invoice. If you prefer snail mail they’ll even mail it for you if you pay for the postage! Best part – if your clients pay via PayPal you’ll have less fees taken out than if you would have sent them an invoice directly through PayPal.
- PayPal - Since my coaching comes in packages PayPal allows me to make a cart for my clients. It also allows me to easily make new links for any client discounts. I can also seamlessly hook up my checking account to PayPal in order to transfer client payments. And of course, you really can’t beat PayPal’s security!
- Mint - While I am more of a spreadsheet girl when it comes to tracking my finances, I do actually LOVE Mint! I’ve been using it for some time in order to track and categorize my spending more than anything. And thanks to The Mint Manual I was able to really get into it and make it work for me! Bottom line: awesome free tool for the math impaired.
- Monthly Income Tracker Spreadsheet (Side Hustle Included!) – Since I did the full-time job plus side hustle thing for so long I had to come up with a way so I could see what was coming in from my regular job as well as anything on the side. I also learned that I needed a way to track the different income streams just from my online endeavors – coaching, ad sales, affiliates, oh my! So I created this spread sheet to help me see what was bringing in the most income, what I could drop, etc. I also added a Notes section to remind me of any invoices that need to be sent for my writing services. Combine this with Mint and you’ll have a clear picture of both your income and your spending habits.
- Tax Deduction Spreadsheet – Hey, I’m mostly self-employed now, which means I’m going to get creamed with taxes if I don’t run it like a tight ship. I will reiterate once again that I am a spreadsheet kinda girl, so nothing is easier to me than having a running spreadsheet that I update every time I have a business expense. I also keep a file folder full of receipts, PayPal statements, and credit card statements for reference. All I have to do come tax time is plug in the numbers and do a little cross checking
- The Mecca of Budget Templates - Budgets Are Sexy made it easy to find a budget template that works for you by collecting his favorites from the web. Whether you want a giant picture of your financial health or are looking for something more simple, this guy (and his fellow personal finance bloggers) have got you covered!
- Superstars – I use Gmail Superstars to mark emails that absolutely 100% need an answer. I also use a different color to mark something I’d be interested in reading later on – such as a newsletter or an email from a college friend.
- Labels – I have labeled the bejesus out of my Gmail Account. I’ve got labels for everything – from my finances to this blog. It just helps me keep everything organized.
- Canned Responses – Sometimes I find myself sending the same email over and over again. At that point I make it a Canned Response which is essentially a template. This is a big time saver right here!
- Streak - I’d been looking for an easy to use affordable CRM to help me keep track of leads and closings. Little did I know that there was a free Gmail extension for that! Streak has become my new best friend as I use it to organize emails with all potential and current clients. It also integrates everything into a GORGEOUS spreadsheet you can see right in Gmail!
- HelloSign – Electronically sign documents right in your Gmail! Perfect for agreements, invoices, you name it! Saves you the time printing, scanning, and signing documents.
To Do Lists
- Todoist - I use Todoist for all of my personal to-do lists. That is to say shopping lists, setting up doctor appointments, mailing things, etc. It’s beautifully simple and easy to use – and it integrates with just about every tech tool you can think of!
- Gmail/Google Calendar Tasks – Since I use Google on a daily basis this is a good place for me to jot things down that I suddenly remember – especially if I’m at the office and don’t have my Todoist Chrome extension.
- Notebook/Moleskin Planner – Sometimes I just need to physically write things down – like if a blog post idea hits me out of the blue and I can’t write it at that very moment. Can’t go wrong with a Moleskin!
- My Days: Period and Ovulation Tracker (Android, iPhone)- Okay ladies, sometimes we get so damn busy we can barely remember when we’re supposed to menstruate until PMS hits us square in the ovaries, and of course by then it’s too late because you didn’t plan for the days when you’d be feeling like crap. Since reading Alisa Vitti’s WomanCode I’ve become slightly obsessed with my health as a woman and a major part of that happens to be our cycles (and subsequent sexual health and fertility). Use this app to keep track of your cycle (so you can plan workouts and food accordingly), know when you’re ovulating (for those of you who want to get pregnant or use NFP), and keep track of contraception, when you’ve had intercourse, gyno appointments, etc.
- Good Food Near You (Android, iPhone, Blackberry) – Perfect app to help you find healthy food when you’re on the go or on vacation. Simply put in your zip code and a list pops up with the healthiest options near you – including what to order from the menu! Takes the guest work out of healthy eating out!
- MyFitnessPal (Android, iPhone, Blackberry, iPad) – Keep track of workouts and calories with this nifty app you can use on a daily basis. I’m usually pretty good about what I eat but it’s nice to have a reminder.
- Fitness & Activity Tracker Spreadsheet (Jenny Blake) – I couldn’t make a better fitness spreadsheet even if I tried. Jenny Blake nailed it with this one! Use it to track all of your fitness and other activities by using a point system that a) allows you to see if you met your weekly goal and b) helps you see how many minutes you spent working out. Customize it with your personal workout preferences and goals. (For more awesome templates from Jenny Blake check out 8 Ways to Organize Your Life With Google Templates)
- iPractice by Yoga Journal (iPhone) - Yoga Journal created an app with sequences designed by a variety of teachers. All the sequences are designed for specific focuses – such as stress relief or core strength. Perfect app for the yoga enthusiast!
- Drinking Water (Android) – If you’re like me then you’re always saying you need to drink more water but end up forgetting throughout the day. This app not only helps you track how much water you’ve consumed, it also gently reminds you throughout the day. iPhone users check out Waterlogged.
- Pining Prevention Plan (Jenny Blake) – I love anyone who can take the complexities of human relationships and turn them into worksheets! Enter Jenny Blake’s Pining Prevention Plan – a worksheet designed to help you get over that person who’s just not that into you. Complete with exercises and mantras to help you move on to the better things life has in store for you!
- Break-Up Processing Template (Jenny Blake) – Confession time: I totally used this during my last break up. My prescription for a break-up? This templates plus constant forgiveness meditations a’la Gabby Bernstein. I love that Jenny helps you see the entire picture of this complex time – from the stuff you won’t miss about the other person to the lessons you learned about yourself.
- Ideal Partner Exercise - I just had to make my own template for this! It’s a combination of a tool one of my coaches gave me, exercises from other teachers, and my own stuff. Use this sheet to work through what you actually WANT in a relationship. Plus, find ways to start loving yourself more each and every day.
- Spirit Junkie Alarm App (iPhone) – Tired of waking up to a stressful blaring alarm clock? Always complaining that you don’t have time to meditate? Use this app to help you with both! The Spirit Junkie App uses peaceful sounds to wake you up gently while giving you a daily affirmation you can meditate on right when you wake up.
- ConZentrate: Om Meditation (iPhone, Android) – The perfect app to start meditationg! Set goals for yourself and stay motivated by unlocking different backgrounds and sounds. The benefits of this meditation are reduced stress and better concentration.
- Meditation Helper (Android) – This a nifty little app that not only serves as a meditation timer, it also logs your meditations so you can see how often you’re doing it. Great tool to give you a bigger picture and see if you’re on your way to daily practice.
- The FIRE Wheel - I recently did an exercise much like this with the Miami Spirit Junkies. It was very powerful to see what areas of my life I felt confident in and then where I needed some work. It also helped me see The Bigger Picture of where I wanted the areas of my life to go as well as creating actions to start making it happen. I loved the exercise so much that I decided to make my own version just for my clients – complete with follow up coaching questions! Rate the different areas of your life using the wheel, brainstorm ways on how to start improving your life now, and then create an attainable goal for yourself. Repeat as often as necessary.
- Are You Coachable? Quiz – This resource was given to me by my certification program to help potential clients (and myself) figure out whether or not they were ready to make a commitment to coaching. What I noticed is that this was also handy template that allows you to evaluate your current life situation, see where you want to go, and make the commitment to improving your life. Instead of being confined to the Yes/No format feel free to write all over it with whatever comes to mind (I know I did!).
- Fear Processing Worksheet – This is a favorite for my clients! Every time I ask them the powerful questions on this worksheet they are literally surprised at what comes up! If you’re willing to crack open and be honest with yourself, this exercise will help you get clear on your fears, give you a clear picture of where you have control (and where you don’t), and facilitates the creation of an action plan. Enjoy!
- Fear Finder Record - This my rendition of a table often used in the land of Cognitive Behavioral Theory. This theory pays close attention to what negative thoughts a person is having in efforts to transform them. It’s a nifty sheet that will help you start becoming really aware of what’s going on in your mind. Use it daily.
- FIRE Journal Prompts – Another favorite for my clients – especially my writer clients! These simple yet powerful journal prompts help them crack open, look at their lives as a witness rather than a player, cultivate gratitude, and hold them accountable for taking responsibility for themselves. Some of my favorite emails have been from clients who have sent me their answers to these prompts.
- The original Personal Development templates are all sneak previews to an Ebook I am currently developing. For more info on private coaching click here. To take advantage of a free half hour laser session with me click here.
- A huge thank you to Jenny Blake. First, for making me feel like I’m not alone with my spreadsheet obsession. Second, for creating so many beautiful templates to share with people. And third, (and many of you don’t know this), for inspiring me at the age of 22 to start this blog and take my life into my own hands. For more ways to stay organized check out Jenny’s lists here and here. You can also check out her book Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want.
- Photo Credit: mdxi (How I adore The Container Store!)
Free Call May 28th at 7PM:
- I will be hosting a free lecture and coaching call every quarter to give people a sneak peak of what FIRE coaching is all about. The first of these calls is scheduled for May 28th at 7PM and it will be all about becoming aware of what’s keeping you stuck. I will be using the same techniques I use with my private coaching clients so I encourage you to take advantage of the free coaching. For more info and to register click here.