What would you do with 5 extra hours a week?
Find an extra hour every weekday by increasing your productivity.
Guess what? Now you have time to organize your finances! My suggestion is to use one of those extra hours for a money power hour.
Our lives are complex and technology contributes to decision fatigue. The last thing we want to do when we get home at night is work on our money. If we can be more productive, we can reverse that trend and accomplish more in less time (with less stress.)
You can make your money more productive, too.
— This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure here—
I don’t know about you but I used to waste a lot of time. My attention was constantly diverted to email or responding to a text. When I finally returned to my project, I often found myself in the “time sinkhole” of looking for my notes or the documents I needed.
While deep into my work, I’d get locked out of websites because I didn’t know my username and password. I wasted time and mental energy constantly resetting passwords.
Money fuels our goals so we want to get organized.
Imagine effortlessly tracking your spending every week (aka your budget) and finding money to pay off credit card debt, invest for retirement and grow your net worth to become financially independent.
I had to learn to be more productive. In order to work full time as a financial planner and write blogs while being a wife, mom of adult children, friend, flute player and have some fun now and then, I had to manage my time and multiple projects really well. In the past, I found myself putting work above family and my well being and that had to stop.
Once I became more productive with my time, I carved out time to enjoy my family, make time to exercise and to take better care of my financial life. While I am not perfect and often fall short, using some productivity strategies and tools have made my work and home life so much better.
Here are the seven apps or systems I use every day. With these tools, I estimate I save at least five hours a week by eliminating wasted time and increasing my focus for better outputs.
Organize your notes with Rocketbook paperless system
This a notebook for people who like to take notes on paper but want to be “paperless” with notes stored electronically for easy retrieval.
Since I am a kinesthetic learner, I like to write my notes to help set the information in my memory and then review them later. The problem is I don’t always have the notebook by my side so my notes are in a drawer. Well, that is until I got a Rocketbook Everlast notebook. (Affiliate link)
Here’s how the Rocketbook works: Write your notes on a page in this notebook, with the Pilot FriXion (erasable ink) pen. Using the Rocketbook app, scan the page with your phone, set your destination ( to your email, Dropbox, Evernote, etc.) and hit send.
The app will send the scan (Pdf or Jpg) of the page to your email or other destination. They’ll even attempt to transcribe from your handwriting in the email.
Now your handwritten “paper” notes are “paperless” and are stored electronically.
You are free now to wipe off the page with a damp microfiber cloth. Your page is sparkling clean and ready for another note. Pretty sweet.
Nancy’ Rocketbook Tip –
Don’t make the mistake I did by picking up the wrong pen! Oops. I used a regular ink pen so, of course, it won’t wipe off since it’s not erasable ink.
To get 10% off, use this link and the code: ForTheFuture (or on Amazon here.) Order extra Pilot FriXion erasable pens in black or different colors (the Rocketbook Everlast comes with one black pen.)
Manage your passwords with Keeper Security
This password management system creates complex passwords and helps you easily retrieve them to log into your websites. Easily accessing your passwords, reduces “decision fatigue” and mental frustration!
Before I used Keeper Security, I wasted a lot of time attempting to sign in to sites, getting locked out and having to reset my password. Of course, I immediately forgot the new password I just set!
With Keeper, I go there first, log into my site from inside the Keeper app or site, find the record I want to access, and the “Keeper Fill” system fills in my username and password for me. Boom. Easy peasy.
I only need to remember by Keeper Security password or use my fingerprint on my phone. This system has been a huge gamechanger for my husband and me. We are more secure since our passwords are complex.
We are less frustrated since they are easy to access. Our passwords are now extremely complex and unique for each website since they are easy to retrieve. (No more dog’s name or birthday passwords.)
Note – no data security system is foolproof. Read information on how Keeper keeps data secure – here.
Nancy’s Keeper Security Tip –
Since you can access Keeper Security by using a fingerprint on your phone, be sure to store your master password in Keeper. This way if you forget it, you can use your thumb on your phone to access the app and the master password.
Manage your projects with Trello
This website and app is an easy way to organize your projects. It’s like a virtual whiteboard with big sticky notes or 3 x 5 cards taped to it but without the huge whiteboard in your office or living room. Using Trello is is like laying out sticky notes with all the steps to your project.
A Trello board is a “list of lists.” You can use it for a “to do” list, a goal list, or manage a project like writing an article or keeping an editorial calendar (for bloggers.) When something on your list is done, just move the card over to “completed.”
How to use Trello to manage household projects. Your board name could be HOUSE and HOME. Your categories could be: To Do, Working on, and Completed. As you choose the project, you simply move that project card from To Do to Working On. Then write the supplies you need, the budget, a handyman’s contact information, etc. on the card.
This app is great for people who have multiple projects going at the same time (like writing blogs), visually showing your goals and keeping track of where you are in a task or project. I use the free version.
Nancy’s Trello Tip –
Refrain from creating too many boards at first. It’s easy to go overboard since set up is easy. Remember this is your workhorse. Keep it streamlined.
Get organized with Evernote
“Feel organized without the effort” is their motto.
Evernote is a simple place to store your notes, ideas, reminders, and links to web pages. Basically, it’s a great place to store information you want to retrieve quickly.
In Evernote, you can create ” notebooks ” to organize your information. For example, I have a notebook for such topics as research studies (for my writing,) high net worth investor resources (for my work as a financial planner) and productivity.
The “clip tool” enables you to click on the little icon (a green elephant) to instantly save the URL of the website you are reading. A drop-down menu appears and you can tell Evernote where to save the clip and what it is. For example, where to save such as productivity notebook and what to save such as an article or screenshot.
This saves time finding and retrieving information.
Nancy’s Evernote Tip –
Create a notebook called “Interesting Reads.” Use the clip tool to store an article or website you want to leisurely read later. This helps you get back to focusing on what you are doing knowing you have a central place to store what comes at you while working on a project.
Stay focused with the timer on your smartphone
While your phone can be a time wasting machine, used properly it can help you produce great things.
In order to do deep thoughtful work, you need to limit distractions. I use a simple time block system using a timer to enhance focus.
I set the timer app on my iPhone for 33 minutes and 33 seconds. You can easily use a kitchen timer especially if your phone is a distraction in and of itself. Something about the symmetry of 33:33 makes me smile.
I then work on one and only one thing until the timer goes off. Email is closed, my phone is facing down and on silent and everything I need for my project is in front of me.
After the timer goes off I stop and take a 5-minute stretch and water break. Then I do this again a few times depending on my time available for the project. This time blocking deep work system helps me complete better work and frees up time for me to do other things like work out and spend time with my finances.
Nancy’s iPhone Timer Time Block Tip –
During the time block, only work on the project at hand. No email – no phone calls – no anything else other than the project. If you are too easily distracted by your phone, use a kitchen timer instead.
I’ve found this to be extraordinarily helpful in creating high-quality work and having time for the other important things in my life, too.
Increase your creative output with Penzu Online Journal
Have you ever kept a journal? You may be surprised to hear, I’ve kept a journal since I was in fourth grade. I still keep one and use Penzu online journal every day specifically for my creativity “brain dump” and my gratitude journal.
I like Penzu because I can customize notebooks to capture my thoughts, and to record my gratitude journal. If you’ve read Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, she suggests that creative people wake up in the morning and hand write out three pages of what is on your mind.
Instead of writing on paper in a notebook or journal, I’ve used Penzu’s online journal for years. You can customize the notebooks, “paper” and covers. This gives the pages the look and feel of grabbing a special notebook for your writing when it’s a computer.
My two “go to” journals are my 750 words and my Gratitude journal. With the 750 words, this is “The Artist’s Way” style of writing where I wake up and while I am still a little groggy, I start to write. If I write something that I’ll use in a blog, I’ll move the draft to my Google Docs folder for my blog writing.
Nancy’s Penzu Journal tip –
Every morning I start my day with a three prompt paragraph of:
- 3 things I am grateful for
- 3 things I look forward to
- 3 things I will do today to get me closer to my goals.
This is from Mark Joyner’s productivity site – Simpleology. At night, I look back at what the good things that happened today and one thing I could do better. (I could do better at the nighttime routine as I often forget this step.)
Make your commute time productive
The app I use is called UTA which stands for the Utah Transit Authority. The reason this falls under productivity, is I try to take public transportation — the commuter bus — to work three days a week so I can use my time wisely.
Not only is this good for the environment, saves money on parking and wear and tear on my car, but the bus is super productive since I can work. In the morning, the passengers are quiet and everyone is working or listening to something on their headphones.
I figure I gain three ultra-productive hours a week by working during my commute.
Sometimes on the bus ride home when I am mentally spent, I throw in the towel and play the Bubble Explode game on my phone. But the mornings are golden.
Nancy’s Commuter Tip – Use your commute time productively!
No matter how you commute to work, use your time wisely. Listen to digital books on Audible or a podcast to make your commute into a University. Take public transportation as often as possible to save time, energy and money.
These are my top seven tools to help me be productive. Let me know which ones work for you.
What is your favorite productivity tool? Let us know in the comments below and share this post with a friend and on Pinterest!