Tag Archives: Productivity

4 Awesome Productivity Journals

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Ariel Kostrna

Virtual Assistant at AVA Virtual Assistance
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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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!

6 Ways to Master Your Morning

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Ariel Kostrna

Virtual Assistant at AVA Virtual Assistance
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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Your morning sets the tone for your entire day. If your morning is rushed and harried, your day will follow suit. If it’s planned out and smooth, your day will be as well. That’s why I think having some sort of morning routine is so important!

These are a few of my favorite ways to start the day. They’re simple things you can do to prepare yourself for a healthy, productive workday.

  1. Be Grateful. I’ll admit it’s so easy to wake up yelling at the alarm clock. But you will be amazed at the difference you’ll feel if you pick just one thing to express thankfulness for. A grateful attitude shifts the feeling of our entire day, which is why this is number one!
  2. Drink water. Don’t skip this one! 75% of Americans are dehydrated. (Yikes!) So before you do anything else grab the cup by your bedside and chug a whole glassful of the life-giving liquid.
  3. Do some gentle stretches. You probably don’t have time for a full-blown yoga session, but there are some easy stretches you can do from your bed that will help wake up your muscles. Here’s a a set of 5 gentle stretches.
  4. Make a to-do list. This is a great thing to do while you’re waiting for the coffee to brew. While you’re still calm and haven’t jumped into the day, write down your Top 3 important tasks. If you start work before you make a goal, you’ll be left feeling like you haven’t accomplished much.
  5. Meditate. Clearing your mind before the day has all sorts of positive benefits! It can be just 5 or 10 minutes. Try Calm’s free meditations. They have both guided and unguided sessions.
  6. Eat Breakfast. I know it’s going out of style, but nutritionists have confirmed it is healthier to eat a small, healthy breakfast. Yogurt and granola, eggs, a smoothie – give your body a little fuel to start the day.

Now some people will say, “Wow, how in the world would I have time for all this?” And to that I would say… maybe you need to consider getting up just 20 or 30 minutes earlier. Less rush in the morning always feels better. Check out this awesome podcast by The Productivity Show. It’s filled with tips for making it easier to wake up early (and still getting enough sleep). I found it very helpful!

Now it’s time for you to share.  What do you do to start your morning off on the right foot? Let me know in the comments!

Manage Your Inbox with Boomerang

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Ariel Kostrna

Virtual Assistant at AVA Virtual Assistance
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
Follow me
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!