I originally wrote this as part of my welcome email series for the Guestlist but as I kept throwing thoughts down, I realized it would better serve my readers here.
I wanted to share how I get my day done with you, coming from a technologically-inclined writing geek such as myself. I’m a big fan of Google products. I’ve tried a lot of different programs over the years but somehow Google comes up with products that are similar to and exceed them. What’s great is that these programs are all free (save for Grammarly).
Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Slides, Tasks, Keep… they help me run my sites like a pirate ship.
There’s lots of colorful cursing, heavy drinking, and I’m either lost in the Bermuda Triangle or being hijacked by the Davey Jones-like figures in my life.
Email program: Gmail
Web-based Gmail is my to-go program, but I also have the app on my smartphone to check emails on the fly. It’s the first thing I open when I get online.
It’s a fully-fledged workhorse for me.
I’m able to send and receive emails sent to my business email through it. That’s a godsend because I maintain several domains and I like to have matching emails.
Time management: Calendar
Calendar is the easiest thing in the world to use. Color coding calendars gives me LIFE.
I love setting it up with alerts to remind me to submit my work for literary journals and contests. I have the birthdays of my family and friends on a calendar. I like seeing how my day, week, and month are shaping up with the click of a button.
I tried to do it in a proper planner type deal but I change my plans constantly. A hardcopy planner would just be events crossed out left, right, and center. That would bug me!
Cloud backups: Drive
Drive is where the magic happens. Everything in my life that needs to be saved ends up here. I’ll need it again eventually. Call me a digital packrat!
I’ve got my works-in-progress stored here, copies of my thesis, the backup files for my sites, freebie PDFs from the gang of masterclasses that I’ve attended over the years, my school transcripts, the list of my allergic reactions… the works!
Any writer worth their weight should have multiple backups of their work. Even if it exists in the cloud, FIND a separate backup option. If you use the Backup & Sync from Google, you’re able to keep physical copies on your hard drive too.
Full disclosure: I do pay $19.99/yr for their 100 GB storage plan, which is an option for you if you find you have a lot of data that needs to be backed up. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Furthermore, the seamless integration of Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms makes my job doing what I do that much easier!
File creation: Docs
Not here, I can tell you that!
It’s so easy to make something in Slides and export to PDF. That’s how most of the content in the Repository is formatted. I can draw up a survey in Forms and boop! Send it off to collect responses. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
To-Do List: Tasks
I don’t know where I’d be without Tasks. I have so many ideas that branch off into other ideas and it’s hard to keep them all straight sometimes!
Remember, there’s a hamster wheel in my head.
It’s so easy to have a task and include all the branches in one easy, viewable place. This is mainly an app to use on your smartphone, but you can access it easily from Gmail. So useful!
Note Taking: Keep
My next secret weapon is Keep. EVERY single thought dump I’ve ever had goes there first. I get it all out of my head and sort through them later.
They make it super easy to export your note as a Doc to Drive to do what you wish.
Similar programs exist, like Evernote, but I couldn’t justify that price or sit through another day of constant harrassment to upgrade.
Writing assistant: Grammarly
It’s where I’m able to get most of my work done. This is insanely helpful because even with my eagle eyes, things slip through sometimes. I’m a human, not A.I.
Let me know in the comments what programs you use to manage your daily life. Maybe you’re using a physical planner; that’s cool too! I love to see how other people do it!
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