216 My Top 3 Digital Organizational Tools

My Top 3 Digital Organizational Tools


Ever feel overwhelmed by your overflowing digital storage spaces? Join me in this episode as I unpack the world of digital organizational tools and reveal my top three favorites that have revolutionized my productivity. Juggling too many tools can be counterproductive, but I will guide you on how to centralize your data and make your life more streamlined.

Tune into this episode to learn about:

  • Streamlining Information Storage
  • Google Suite and Productivity Tools
  • Personal Workflow and Tool Integration

Plus, there's an early access Black Friday deal on the horizon, offering a free mini-course that will jumpstart your journey to organized bliss.


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Hey, hey, friends, I have a special something just for you, my podcast listeners this week. Now, today, I'm going to be sharing with you one of my organizational tools. I have three core tools that I use to store information digitally, and today I'm going to be really taking a deep dive into one of those to help you understand where it fits. Now I do want you to listen into the end, friends, because I have an early access Black Friday deal for you where you can actually get an entire little mini course that I have built for free. So make sure you listen to the end, because you are not going to want to miss out on that. Let's go ahead and jump in. Welcome to the WorkLife Harmony podcast.

I'm your host, Megan Sumrell. I'm the creator of the top program and top planner teaching all things time management, organization and productivity for women. I'm also a mom and wife and, just like you, I'm juggling, hashtag all the things while running multiple businesses and a family. Guess what? You don't have to feel constantly overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out. There is another way. When you have the right systems and tools to plan and manage your time, you can live a life of harmony. This is your show to learn from me and other amazing women how to master your time, planning an organization to skyrocket your productivity, so you can have work life harmony. If you're ready to stop feeling overwhelmed, this is the show for you, and if you're new here, I'd love to get you started with my work life harmony assessment. All you have to do is DM me on Instagram, at Megan Sumrell, with the word harmony and my team will send it right over. Hey there, welcome back to work life harmony.

So here on the podcast, we spent a lot of time talking about, you know, time management strategies, tips and tricks. I do a lot of heavy lifting around planning how do we plan and organize our time. Well, today I'm excited to talk to you a little bit more in depth about one of the tools that I use that actually is a massive time saver. So, when it comes to planning and managing our time, it's not necessarily just about what we're putting on our calendar, but how can we free up time? How can we free up overwhelmed chaos, chaos, disorganization, etc. In our lives so that we have more time for the things that we love?

Now, I am always an open book about my thoughts around being paperless versus not. I am not 100% paperless. I still use a paper planner the top planner and I still do have some documents that I keep in paper form. However, a lot of the information that I store, maintain, need to organize, need to reference, etc. I do keep stored electronically. So the tool that I'm going to talk to you guys about today is basically a suite of products in the Google suite, and I wanted to share this because I get asked a lot around what tools do I use, what apps do I use, etc.

So one of the things that I want to start off with is I think it's important for everyone to take a minute and really ask yourself how many Pieces of software apps, digital tools, et cetera do you use today to store information? Like, really think about that. Chances are with most of us. That number is constantly increasing as new apps and new technology is rolling out. It's so tempting to start to try all of this out, and what I find with a lot of people when we look at it is most people have 12 or more online places where they are storing different types of information. They might have one or two apps on their phone for note taking, or an app for their to-do list or an app where they are storing family information, and then another app for photos, and sometimes people have multiple apps for photos and then people will say, oh well, I have some stuff in OneDrive and I have some stuff in Google Drive, dropbox, onenote, evernote, et cetera, and it starts to get out of control, because then, when it's time for you to go find the information that you're looking for, it takes a really long time. So you're like man, where did I put that? So today I wanna share with you how I leverage Google Drive as really one of.

I have three main tools that I use to store information online, and Google Drive is one of them. I'll tell you what the other two are as we go. Now. My entire top framework top stands for time management, organization and productivity. Those are the three core pillars that I teach on Inside of that organization pillar, one of the main focuses there is centralizing how we need to start to centralize all the information, everything coming at us all day long, so that when we need to find stuff, it's easy to do so. For me, this is where Google fits in my suite of time management, organization and productivity tools.

So first, just quick understanding of what is Google when we say so many of us, when we say Google, we're thinking of it as a verb, right, like go Google, that Well, it's actually a company. So I'm talking about Google as a noun today. So Google is a company and they have a ton of products available. So, for instance, I know a lot of you are probably familiar with Google Calendar. Right, that is one of their products. Maybe you use Chrome as your how you browse the internet. That is another Google product. Well, the one I'm gonna be talking about today specifically is Google Drive, and then a couple other products kind of embedded inside of Google Drive.

So what is Google Drive? The simplest way to think about it, I like to think about it as my file cabinet floating in the sky. So it is a place in the cloud, in the internet, where you can store data. So this could be files, it could be a document, it could be a PDF, you could even store images out there. Any file type can be stored in your own personal Google Drive. Just as years ago, before we had all this technology, we would take all sorts of things and put them into a file cabinet. It wasn't always necessarily pieces of paper. Sometimes it was little painted things or name tags, that kind of stuff. So think of Google Drive as a place to store stuff where it's not physically on your computer, meaning if your computer blew up tomorrow, or your tablet or your phone. All of that information is still available for you in the internet, and you can go to any other new device that's connected to the internet, log into your specific account on Google and have access to all of your information. Now, along with Google Drive, some other parts embedded in there that can be really helpful are different file types that you can create. That are other Google products.

So you may have heard someone talk about Google Sheets or Google Docs. There's even presentations. There's Google Forms. There's all sorts of stuff Think of this akin to, if you're a Microsoft Word, microsoft Excel, powerpoint. Well, google has their own products that act very similarly to that Microsoft tool set. So that's where a Google Doc is like a Microsoft Word document. A Google Sheet is similar to a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

Now, what's really cool with Google Drive is inside of your account, you can just store files. I could take a PDF or any document. I could even take a Microsoft Word document. Someone sends me and I can upload it and store it in my Google Drive, but I can also, from right inside my Google Drive, create a Google Doc or a Google Sheet so that it's living right there as well. Now, the benefit of using something like Google Sheets, google Docs, is this Now, let me know if this has ever happened to you. Maybe you've been working on a document, whatever the type is a Word document or a spreadsheet type document and you want to share it with someone to get their feedback. So you email it to them as an attachment. They open the attachment, they make edits, they send it back to you and now you're opening it, and it's this back and forth.

Years ago, when my husband and I were, we always do our budgeting on a spreadsheet. It was always like wait, who has the latest one? Which one did you update? It was very challenging for us to stay on the same page. Well, when we transferred that into a Google Sheet, there's no more mailing documents back and forth. Now we both have access to the same sheet because we've granted each other access, and so anytime we're making updates, the other person instantly sees those. So I really love that feature of being able to use a Google Doc or a Google Sheet when there's information I want to share with other people and want to have real-time access.

So now I'm giving you a lot of examples about Google Drive, just because that's what I use. If you are already 100% a Microsoft user, then by all means and you're already using, I think it's OneNote, onedrive continue doing that, depending upon what your core operating system is on your technology or whatever you're already using, they all almost have the same feature functionality. So this is where, again, I always tell people don't start using a new product just because someone else recommends it. If you already have something in your suite of tools that is serving that purpose for you, then just lean in and learn about that. I've been on Google Drive for years. I am a Mac user, so it makes sense for me to be able to use that product instead of using a Microsoft product.
Now why do I like Google Drive? Well, for one, you get a pretty good amount of storage for free. If you start storing tons of information, you can purchase more storage, but I'm talking a dollar a month kind of thing. So this is not a massive investment. It's incredibly secure. So, all of the information.

This is where a lot of people get nervous. They're like oh, if I put it out there, everyone's going to have access to it. Absolutely not. You have full control over deciding who gets access to what, and you can do it down at the individual file level. I love that. It's highly accessible, meaning I can be at my computer, but then if I were on a trip and didn't bring my computer with me, I could grab my husband's computer or my daughter's computer and I could log into my personal account from any device to access whatever I need to. It also means if you have multiple devices maybe you have a computer, a tablet and a phone well, you could log in from any of those and be able to access anything that you have stored in your drive.

Now, another thing that I love is just the safety of knowing that stuff is. I've never lost information out there. People get really uncomfortable if they're new to this and they're like but how do I know that it's not just going to get lost? I've been on Google Drive for over 15 years now. I've never lost a thing. They invest in that. Now, that said, I still think it's always a good idea once a year to back up your stuff onto a physical hard drive. It's always a good idea to have extra backups. Have I done that every year from my Google Drive? Honestly, no, I have not. That's how much I trust it. The other thing that I love about it is the search ability. My goodness, sometimes I have a lot of different folders in there to organize all my information. Sometimes I'm like which folder did I put that in? You can just go in and the search ability across it makes it incredibly powerful.

Now, I did mention at the beginning of this that, when it comes to storing information, I have three core online tools that I use. I'm going to tell you what the other two are and how they work together. Again, google for me, is an online way to store files, documents, pdfs that I need to save, etc. Now, google does have a product that allows you to like, if you're an Android phone user, where all the photos that you take are going to back up into that the Google Photos. Now, I am an iPhone user, so I use iPhoto because it's what comes embedded in my phone for photos. Again, I separate technology there. I use Google for all of my files, except for my photos. I use iPhoto for that because I am an Apple user, so that was the easiest thing for me to use. Then the third tool so I've got, I use the Google Drive, along with Google Docs, google Sheets, etc. I use iPhoto for my photos. Then the third tool that I use is my online project management software.

Now, again, I use this from a business standpoint. The information that lives in my project management software, which I personally use ClickUp. I love it. I highly recommend it for business owners. This is where we store all of the tasks and things that myself and my entire team is working on. Clickup is where we go to say okay, who's doing what and when. And then Google Drive is where we can store any documents or files, and I use it both personally and for the business. And what this means is inside of my project management software. If I have a document that I've created that now I need to pass on to somebody else inside of ClickUp, I can just put the link to that document right there so they can instantly go and access it. So those two tools can talk to each other. And then again, my own photo storage organization etc. Is iPhoto. So that's it. I'm not using 10 other apps. I don't have lists stored in different places. I really just use those.

Now, in other episodes I have referenced Trello. I'm going to bring that up because I know some of you can be like hang on, megan, you talk about Trello, I know you use it. Trello is kind of under the same umbrella as ClickUp and the only reason that I use both is because I teach and train and Trello a lot and so I like to keep up to date with the features and functionality. I used to just use Trello, google Drive and iPhoto, but we outgrew, the business outgrew Trello, and so that's why, from the business perspective, I made that switch over to ClickUp. But again, I don't recommend that people use multiple project management tools. I do it for a very specific reason. Now, if you have, you know you hear about Google Drive. You might even have a Google account and you're like, yeah, I use Google Calendar, but I've been unclear on where to get started and all of that.

I recently, inside of my top community, did a little introduction to Google and Google Drive and people loved it, because if it's something you haven't really stepped into, it can feel very daunting. I remember years ago back in the court when I was still working corporate over 15 years ago, the first time a coworker was really pushing for us to start using Google Documents and I was very uncomfortable. I'm like I don't know about that. I don't know about that. And I was uncomfortable because I didn't understand it. So finally I sat down with him. I'm like, okay, give me the land. And once I understood it, one, I was like, oh, this is so easy to use. And then, two, I gained confidence and the ability to know where this fit and how to go about it. So if you've been interested in really getting a handle around Google, I've got great news for you. So, because the feedback of me kind of giving people the intro to Google, I called it Google 101, it led me to create a mini course called Google For Top.

Again, top stands for Time Management, Organization and Productivity. Now, as a podcast listener, you get early access to something really, really cool At the time you're listening to this. When this podcast airs, we haven't quite hit the big hubbub of Black Friday, small Business Saturday, cyber Monday, et cetera. It's coming and during that window I am going to be offering an incredible opportunity where anybody that places any purchase inside of my top planner store. Now, if you're watching the video.

Here I'm holding up the color planner that I use. I have an entire suite of planning tools and guys. We even have printables now. So we've got binders, we've got bookmarks, we've got paper inserts, we've got printable inserts, et cetera. Any purchase that is made in the top planner store between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I am gifting you my Google For Top program for free. This is brand new.

We are going to be rolling it out the Tuesday after Cyber Monday, which means on that Tuesday when you wake up, you will have access to the entire Google For Top and inside of this program I teach you just even how to get started how do you create a Google account, et cetera. I do an overview on how to use folders inside of Google Drive. I give you some basics on Google Docs, Google Sheets, sharing, accessibility, a little bit of calendar training and search training, and it is step-by-step. So if you are interested in really getting a handle on how to use Google in your suite of organizational tools, I encourage you. Again, for my podcast listeners, we are opening this up early for you, which means starting today all the way through Cyber Monday at midnight, if you make a purchase inside of the top planner store. You will be granted access to Google For Top on that Tuesday, so I would encourage you to head over to www.thetopplaner.com.

If you're already a top planner user, it's a great time to stock up on your inserts or grab a second binder. I use two because I put the weekly pages that I'm not currently using inside of one binder to keep them all nice, protected and safe, and then I work in the other. Also, sometimes I like to change out my color binder seasonally. Also, maybe there's somebody on your gift list for the upcoming holiday season that you want to gift the top planner for. Or if you're digital, we actually have a digital top planner available as well. So happy early bonus to all of you, and I'm excited to get that Google For Top product in your hands. Have a great week.

Getting on top of all things time management, organization and productivity doesn't have to stop just because this episode is over. If you want one tap access to all of my training and current top podcasts, go to the App Store or Google Play and download the Pink Bee app. It's one word the Pink Bee. It is jam-packed with simple yet powerful tips and strategies to get you out of overwhelm and into harmony. And if you have a question you want me to cover on a future episode, go to iTunes and ask your question in the podcast review section. And while you're there, don't forget to leave a five-star review.

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