Tag Archives: Organization

4 Awesome Productivity Journals

Here at AVA, we love the digital world! Our task management, communications and file storage is all online. While we do believe digital is the way to go, we recognize not everything has to be virtual. Goal-setting is a great example of something where paper might just be more motivating! While there are a multitude of apps to help you reach goals and become more productive, having a physical journal works better for a lot of people. So we’re here today to show you some productivity journals that are just plain awesome.

1 – SELF Journal

This journal is not for the faint of heart. With a double page spread for every day (includes space to block time and jot your top 3 to-dos, wins, and gratitude for the day), this journal makes sure you take this goal seriously! I’ve also heard rumors that with the purchase of the journal, you get access to the private motivational Facebook group BestSelf Alliance. This journal is also unique in that it is based on the 13-week planning method.

Learn more about the SELF Journal here.


2 – Day Designer 

This journal is a little more condensed than the SELF journal, with one day per page. It includes much of the same: time blocking, Top 3 To-Do, gratitude). Unlike the SELF journal, the Day Designer is dated, which may be a con for some. What it does have that the SELF doesn’t is a huge variety of colors and styles!


Learn more about the Day Designer here.


3 – Intelligence Change’s Productivity Planner

This planner from Intelligence Change is a nice combination of features from the first two planners we’ve mentioned. It has a one day per page layout, but is also undated.This planner has more of a focus on time tracking, and uses the Pomodoro technique. We like the inspirational quotes too!productivity-planner

Learn more about the Productivity Planner here.


4 – Freedom Journal

This journal is your daily guide for accomplishing a goal in 100 days. It has less space for time blocking and more for tackling the mental roadblocks to your goal. Each two page spread has morning planning on the right, and nightly review questions on the left. It also has quarterly reviews – and access to a private Facebook page as well!


Learn more about the Freedom Journal here.


Do you have a journal or planner you use to accomplish your goals? Or maybe it’s an app? Let us know in the comments below!

Manage Your Inbox with Boomerang

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Ariel Kostrna

I absolutely love helping people grow! One of the best ways I can do that is by sharing things that I've found helpful, in any area of life.
Ariel Kostrna
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For most of us, our inboxes are one of the first things we let fall by the wayside when we’re too busy. Then before we know it we can’t even find what we need in the chaos, we’re falling behind in responding, and we’re stressing ourselves out!

There are many useful tools and tips for managing your inbox, but I’d like to focus on one today that I’ve found extremely helpful: Boomerang for Gmail. What I love about Boomerang is that it’s completely free, simple, and helps keep my inbox a help to me, instead of a hindrance.

Boomerang has 3 ways that it makes emailing easier:

  1. Send later

This feature is as simple and wonderful as it sounds. You compose an email, then choose the date and time at which you want it sent.

  1. Boomerang if no response

This is great for when you need to hear back from someone. You can tell Boomerang to return the message to the top of your inbox on a certain date if the person hasn’t responded. I love the time-saving factor of this – no more manually trying to remember if you haven’t heard back!

  1. Boomerang for follow-up later

This is my personal favorite. If I get an email that’s important and I want to respond to it but can’t at that moment, I can Boomerang it for, say, 3 days away when I know I’ll be less busier. Then 3 days later the email pops up into the top of my inbox and I can take care of it. This is like a healthy form of procrastination (did I actually say that?) because we shouldn’t let our inbox rule us. If the email can wait until tomorrow, let it wait. And you won’t have to remember because Boomerang will remind you.


Like I said before, Boomerang is completely free, though it does limit the amount of times you can Boomerang messages. If you find yourself using your limit, they offer unlimited uses for $4.99/mo. Either way, we hope this tool saves you time and helps you manage your inbox like a champ!

5 Ways to Keep Your TO DO List Small

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Ariel Kostrna

I absolutely love helping people grow! One of the best ways I can do that is by sharing things that I've found helpful, in any area of life.
Ariel Kostrna
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Every day is another day that can add to your extensive list of TO-DOs and responsibilities. What if I told you, you could keep a shorter list of commitments in 5 simple, effective ways? Thank God someone is thinking of these things, right?!

YES – Notepad & PenIsolated

The Strategic “Yes”. Don’t just say NO when you’re overwhelmed. You want to be a team player, but let’s be reasonable. You can’t take more things on when you already have so much on your plate. Instead, opt for a strategic yes, when you’re with company who expects participation and “pitching in”. How do you do this? By reviewing agendas, your calendar, and your unique ability to do something quickly. Volunteer strategically, when there’s room in your calendar. When things on the agenda which are quick and easy tasks you are uniquely qualified to do and you know you can get them done quickly. Those awkward silences will feel less stressful when you’ve already decided when/where and for what you will be participating in. With a strategic yes plan, you will find that you’re feeling less and less overwhelmed all the time. And when that happens, you will be seen as the least likely person in the room for saying “No” do to being overwhelmed. Showing overwhelm does not instill confidence.

Check the Web. We often forget that a single task may be taken care of in multiple ways. So, why are you taking twice as long to do the same task others have completed in no time at all? Especially true for tasks that you know others are performing too, you can find a better way to get the work done through a little research. You may even find that someone has developed a program that will do the work for you. You’ll feel wonderful crossing the task off your list, for the last time.

Outsource. Whenever possible, get others to help you with your TO-DO list. You can maximize your time when you hand off the tasks that don’t require your specific attention. If you don’t know what those tasks are, why not ask a #VirtualAssistant to describe the types of tasks they handle for their clients? Ask your friends, family, and colleagues what they would outsource too. When you’re free to do what you do best, you’ll succeed in ways you never thought possible.

Purge Excessive Systems. Analyze and locate the systems and functions that act as a “back up” method, and wherever possible GET RID OF THEM. Understand, we’re not talking about data backups in case of a computer crash. We’re talking about doing the same task twice, in different locations. For example, if you’re tracking sales data in a spreadsheet and then going into Quickbooks or some other financial software to put the same information in…chances are your not using reporting functions or all the utilities #Quickbooks has to offer. Stop doing the same task twice, and learn the most sophisticated program in its entirety.

Get Uncomfortable. As you review your list of TO-DOs, ask yourself if you’ve overcommitted. If you feel that you have, contact select people you have commitments with and let them know. They may already have a solution that will help you through the process. Perhaps they’re able to extend a deadline, or ‘call in the cavalry’ to help you check the task off your list sooner. Be selective with whom you contact, choosing the tasks that have the least ROI (return on investment) whether it’s a financial return or a satisfaction return. There’s more satisfaction/financial return in the long run when you push yourself to get a little uncomfortable on occasion.

Need some administrative cavalry of your own? It’s so powerful having a team of professional administrators to help you out. Book a free consultation with me to learn more.