I am excited to share these ideas with you. We’re talking about the five best productivity apps and hacks, through the lens of simplifying your life in 2023. I’m not a fan of doing less, just so you can do more.
My goal is to do less so that I have more peace and more space. I want to do less so I can be more present, more consistent, and more accountable. These productivity apps and hacks absolutely can and will make you more productive, but my hope is that you utilize them to simplify your life and then embrace the simplicity.
I have to admit that one of the hardest lessons for me to learn was that it is okay to be still. It’s okay to just be, to rest, and to have nothing on the calendar. It’s okay to not accomplish a ton in a single day. It is okay to simplify. So here are the habits, the apps, the hacks, and all the things that I am utilizing this year. I hope you will join me.
This will help:
👉 Anyone who wants to embrace more simplicity
👉 Combat distractions and increase productivity
👉 Those who want to implement better daily habits
In this episode:
2:15 Focusing on Daily Habits
8:11 Embracing Simplicity
10:40 Systems That Streamline
13:30 Distraction Blockers
17:13 Don’t Break Your Focus
20:19 This is YOUR Year!
1. Daily Habits
This year, instead of New Year’s resolutions and focusing on large goals, which is what I normally do, I’ve chosen to be focused more on daily habits. I believe our habits make us who we are. Our habits define our future. If we don’t like where we are right now, just look back at what our habits have been, negative or positive, and we can see the trends.
Over the past year, I have had a habit of drinking lemon water first thing in the morning. It’s just 16 ounces of water with one full lemon squeezed in. It’s on my nightstand and I drink it the second I wake up. It replenishes and helps me to rehydrate after the night. I also feel like it’s really helped my immune system, because that is a lot of vitamin C!
To help me with this habit and the other habits I want to implement this year, I’m utilizing an app called Habits of Health.
There are other ways to track too. The simplest way is with a pen and a piece of paper. And I’ll make it even easier for you! I have a habit tracker (free download) that you can print. That’s truly the easiest way, and it’s free!
2. Embracing Simplicity
The next thing is more of a hack, not an app: it’s embracing simplicity.
This is something that I really focused on in 2022, and it was powerful. I had to undo some habits and some mindset blocks around the idea that if I am holding still, then I am not useful, not good enough, and not productive. So last year I really worked on making things simpler for myself and for my family, and it has been so beautiful and empowering.
2022 was one of the calmest years I’ve ever had. It’s amazing how I would get in my own way by feeling like, “oh my gosh, I should be doing something.” But when I stopped and was still, it was so beautiful, and felt so good to be in that place.
3. FloDesk (Workflows as Internal Sequences)
Flodesk is an email system app. You don’t have to use FloDesk, I want you to use what works for you, but this one is amazing. The price, the esthetic, the price (oh, wait I already said that, but it’s worth repeating!) It’s an email software where you can build workflows or sequences that can save you so much time. I actually have an affiliate link that will give you 50% off, which is amazing.
Here’s an entire post about why I moved all my private coaching clients to FloDesk.
4. Distraction Blockers
My next hack is distraction blockers. What I mean is looking for ways to block the distractions that are trying to get in. We need to have these blocks around us to protect us so that we can be present, and feel the calmness instead of the chaos.
If we allow all these distractions in, they’re going to take over. So what can we do to combat all the things trying to get our attention? For starters, I do not allow notifications on my phone. Nothing, everything is turned off. So just take five minutes right now and set those notifications to off!
You really do not need Target to tell you that they have something they want you to buy. If I’m having an incredible conversation with my kids, I’m in a great thought process, or I’m in the middle of something important, and Target shows me that the McGee and Co. thing I was looking at is on sale, that is not the right time!
Switching your phone to focus mode, closing out email when you aren’t using it, and a new app I am trying out called Freedom, can all help with distractions. If we want to increase our productivity, we need to decrease the number of distractions that we allow in. Bottom line.
5. Pocket App
My last app for you to consider looking at, Pocket, offers a system for saving and coming back to something that you thought might be interesting. We are constantly seeing new things or having an idea pop into our head and the inclination is to stop what we’re doing and go right into it. The problem is, so often, we don’t go back to what we were doing originally. We don’t get things done because something more enticing, more shiny, more enjoyable, catches our attention. But we also don’t want to forget about that thing we saw, because it was really good.
Scheduling a reminder for myself, or asking my phone or Alexa to remind me to go back to that, can really help me. The Pocket app lets you save what you saw and come back to it later. How cool is that!?
There you go. My five best productivity apps and hacks to simplify your life in 2023.
- Daily habits
- Embrace simplicity
- Look for systems that streamline and do those repetitive tasks for me, like Flodesk
- Block distractions
- Look for systems to help me save and come back to the things that I’m excited about, but that are trying to break my focus
This is our year to truly balance the busyness, and to be able to let go of the chaos and embrace more calm.
Links you need:
Leah: I am excited to share these ideas with you because we’re talking about the five best productivity apps and hacks, but through the lens of simplifying your life in 2023, I’m not a fan of doing less, just so you can pack more in so that you can do more. I’m a fan of doing less so that we have more peace, more space.
[00:00:54] We can be more present, more consistent. More accountable. And so these productivity apps and hacks, yes, they absolutely can and will make you more productive, but my hope is that you utilize them to simplify your life and then embrace the simplicity. Enjoy that. Believe that you deserve it. And I have to say, Has been one of the hardest lessons personally for me to learn is that it is okay to be still.
[00:01:30] It is okay to just be, it’s okay to rest. It is okay to have nothing on the calendar. It is okay to not accomplish a ton on a day. It is okay. To simplify, to be still to rest. And yes, there are still the seasons and the moments of being productive, of getting it done, and I love those feelings, but I’m also giving myself permission.
[00:01:57] To simplify, not so that I can add more, but just so that I can have more space to breathe. So here are the habits, the apps, the hacks, the things that I am utilizing this year that I’m really excited about, and I hope you will join me. Okay. So the first one is that this year I am choosing to shift focuses and I have started.
[00:02:24] New Year’s resolutions instead of around large goals, which is what I normally do. I’ve actually focused around daily habits because I believe our habits make us who we are. Our habits define our future. If we don’t like where we are right now, just look back at what our habits have been, negative or positive, and we can see the trends.
[00:02:47] So I decided this year, okay, I want to in, in this vision of simplicity, I want to focus on daily habits. These are the things that I truly believe can help all the areas of my life. There are these little tiny noodle movers that when I do these things, I’m like, gosh, I feel like I have a better day. And when I don’t do these things, things feel a little more frantic, a little more frazzled, and that’s what we’re trying to replace, right?
[00:03:10] We’re trying to replace that franticness, that frazzled, that. Busyness that just, you sort of feel it in the, the top of your chest. It’s just this tightness that is always there. We wanna replace that with more stillness, more peace, more openness. So I’m focusing on my daily habits, and there’s three ways to do this.
[00:03:33] And with anything that you’re ever. Any productivity strategy, any system, any, anything. The best app or system or strategy is the one that works for you. There is not a singular best because it needs to work for you. It needs to be a great fit for what you are trying to accomplish. So I’m gonna share what I’m using.
[00:03:55] I’ll also share other ideas of how you could do it, and hopefully, you know, you’re willing to test more than one. If you try one and you’re like, I want this to work, but that system doesn’t seem to be moving me forward, then try a different one. So back to the habits and how I’m really focusing on my daily habits this year.
[00:04:13] And these habits could be anything. I mean, it could be making your bed, drinking your water, doing your workout, um, having family dinner, reading your scriptures, saying your prayers, getting your reading in meditation. It’s whatever you feel like, gosh. Better version of myself when I do these things. A few of mine that are maybe a little bit unique from, from the normal ones you would think of is, well, my lemon water.
[00:04:42] That’s my very first thing on my, uh, app that I do every single day is my lemon water. I’ve been doing it. For about a year and I really love it. So it’s just 16 ounces of water with one full lemon squeezed in. It’s on my nightstand. I drink it the second I wake up and it replenishes and helps me to rehydrate after the night.
[00:05:00] I also feel like it’s really helped, my immune system helped me to not get sick, cuz you know, that is a lot of vitamin C. Um, and I’ve just, I’ve enjoyed it. It’s something where I feel like I’m. The very first moment I wake up, I just feel like I’m like, yay. Me already doing good things for my health. And so even just for that effect alone, I really like doing it and I don’t wanna stop.
[00:05:22] So lemon water, um, no nasty seas. Nasty seas are criticism and complaining and I’m really, really been aware of how much I see that in the world and how. Much. It doesn’t help us. It hurts us. And so that’s something that I’ve made one of my daily habits, I’ve been talking to my kids a lot about it and, uh, in every, every area really that I can, because I just see how much better we are when we show compassion, kindness, empathy, understanding versus criticism, critique, or complaining.
[00:05:58] Um, then I have a lot of the regular ones, you know, my workout gratitude, three things a day, complimenting Taylor, that’s maybe one that’s a little bit more unique. So I want to make sure that I am telling him the great things that he does and how much I appreciate him. So one of my daily habits is giving Taylor a compliment.
[00:06:15] Family history. That’s definitely probably more of a unique. One for me, but I love family history, so I have an app that’s called Family Tree. It’s free, anyone can access it. And there are these tasks that come up. And so recently the 1950s census was just released. So there are so many tasks for me to do because I can connect these 1950 censuses to all of these family members that lived during that.
[00:06:43] And it’s really fun because sometimes I learn things about ’em, like, uh, their occupation or their eye color. Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize they’d had another, another baby. Um, it had just been hidden. I hadn’t seen it. And so I’ll do a couple of those tasks. If I only have time, one, one single task, it takes me a couple minutes.
[00:06:59] It’s what I do in lines. So when I’m. In a grocery store line or the u p s line or, or anything like that, or I’m waiting for one of the kids. A lot of times what I do is I open my family tree app and I just do a little bit of family history. So that’s a little bit of a weird one. I know I’m such a nerd, but that’s probably more of on the new unique side and I have some that are.
[00:07:20] That are family and that are personal. The majority are obviously like they’re personal daily habits that I wanna make. But um, I also have family prayer and family scripture study cause those are daily habits I want us to have as a family that I have, that I want to track. So I’m utilizing this app called Habit, and I will link to that in the show notes so that you can find it really easily.
[00:07:42] But there are other ways if you, the simplest way, I guess, is a ruler, a pen, and a piece of paper. Make a grid, put all your habits on your left column. Put all the days of the month and then put a check mark. Actually, I have an even simpler way because that’s gonna take some time to have to draw all that out.
[00:07:57] I do have a habit tracker for you in the show notes that you can just download and print. So that’s really the, the true easiest way. So that’ll be in the show notes for free for you if you are a paper and pen person and you love that. The next thing, so this is, this, I would say falls under a hack, not an app, but embracing simplicity.
[00:08:18] This is something that I really focused on in 2022, and it was powerful. I had to undo some habits and some mindset blocks around. If I am holding still, then I am not useful, then I am not. Good. Almost. That feels very traumatic, but I definitely have seen and found that a lot of things that I’ve held onto from when I was very, very little that.
[00:08:50] I am not good enough if I am not being super productive. So this last year I really, really worked on embracing simplicity, making things simpler for myself, for my family, and it has been so beautiful and so empowering. So two of maybe the, the. Uh, easiest places to talk about that is dinner. Instead of feeling like I need to be the one who makes all of the dinners.
[00:09:19] I’ve shared this before, but I’ve delegated it out. We each have a night and I’ve embraced a lot more of making these freezer meals that I freeze and. Then using them. It was very interesting to me how much of a block I had around using them. Like, oh, I should save them for an even busier night. And then I was like, no, I can just use ’em right now.
[00:09:37] So simplifying dinner in every capacity. Each of the kids has a night they cook. Taylor has a night. That’s takeout. Being very okay with fend for yourself nights and even having more of them. Just really simplifying. The process and not being so worked up over what I think the process should look like.
[00:10:00] The goal is family. The process can be as simple as I can make it, and really simplicity is beautiful. So just embracing simplicity, embracing stillness. 20 22 was one of the calmest years I feel like I’ve ever had. I had the most time with family. Just being present that I, I can remember. I mean, it was incredible and it was amazing how I would get stuck in these mind loops.
[00:10:31] I’d get in my own way of feeling like, oh my gosh, I should be doing something. And then I’m like, no, what I’m doing is great. Stop it. Just be still. The third one is a app, um, that I feel like is really powerful for all of my business people, and that is Flow Desk. So you don’t have to use Flow Desk again.
[00:10:53] It’s about what works for you. I’ll put a link and I actually have a link. It’s an affiliate. It’ll give you 50% off, which is. Amazing. So I’ll put that in the show notes. But the way that I suggest, and the reason that I would include an email software is because you can build workflows or sequences and these can save you so much time.
[00:11:15] So I helped several private clients this year set up these sequences for onboarding, offboarding, new customer experience. So essentially what we’re talking about is, let’s say you have a new client and you have all this information you need to share with them different. Things to educate them on to get them going on.
[00:11:40] You can set up a workflow, a drip of these emails that are going to just send out periodically. So let’s say I have a product and I’m going to send that product to a customer. I can have an entire drip where the first one initiates and says, great news, your order is on its way. And then three days. I, there’s an email that’s gonna automatically send out, I don’t have to think about a thing, and it’s gonna be like, your order should be here.
[00:12:06] I can’t wait to hear what you think of it. And then a few days later, here’s a video on how to use this product. We wanted to make it as easy as possible. And then a few days later, what did you think? We’d love to hear, click, reply, leave us a review. And then a few days later, did you know we also have, so you can create these incredible sequences, these incredible workflows that do the heavy lifting for you.
[00:12:27] If I have a new customer coming, , I could create all these emails that prepare them or off boarding them as we’re finishing a project. There’s just so many ways to use these sequences that simplify your life, but keep you consistent so you look really consistent for the customer because you keep showing up.
[00:12:46] You keep dropping into their inbox, you’re giving them the information they need and helping them feel taken care of, but it’s not actually you. You sit down and you do it once, and then you just drop them in at the right time. So that is something that, as far as productivity, simplifying your life, oh, I am such a fan for anyone who has a business.
[00:13:07] Think about areas where you’re giving the same information over and over, and how can you build that as a sequence. So the most obvious are, I already said these ones, but onboarding, offboarding, new customer, even a new employee, um, after you’ve given them a f, uh, a free gift or, or a sample. So like a nurture sequence that then leads them into becoming a customer.
[00:13:30] Okay, so after that one, we’re going back to this is, this is one for everybody and these are destruction blockers in January. We went to Disneyland, so full year ago we went to Disneyland and while we were there, Taylor had to take a business call. And so he is like, Hey, you guys go. I’m going to try to tuck myself away somewhere in Disneyland where I can hear and.
[00:13:57] and get on this call and take care of, take care of this call that, that I need to do. I don’t know if there is a harder place to stay focused. I mean, that is like distraction central. I mean, you are just inundated with all of the amazing senses that are just, you know, being woken up and made alive, and he’s trying to get on a call and be focused on business.
[00:14:24] Not an easy task. I feel like our lives are very often the same thing. It’s like we’re trying to do, uh, be focused on a meeting in the middle of Disneyland, so, Looking for ways to block the distractions that are trying to get in. They’re trying to get at you, and we need to have these blocks around us that protect us so that we can be present, so that we can feel the calmness instead of the chaos.
[00:14:59] If we allow all those in, they’re, they’re going to take over. And so there are a lot of different options. I. Do not allow pretty much any notifications. At all on my phone, nothing, everything is turned off. So just taking five minutes and going through your settings and being like, okay, notifications off, off, off, off.
[00:15:22] You do not need Target to tell you that they have something they want you to buy. You do not need a lot of these notifications that are interrupting you from something that is better. I’m always thinking about good, better, best, where. I put my energy, that is the very, very best. And if I’m having an incredible conversation with my kids or, or I’ve got a great thought process, I’m in the middle of something and Target is trying to show me that the McGee and Co thing I was looking at is on sale.
[00:15:53] That is not the right time, and so distractions turned off. So that’s one of the very, very simple ways to do it. When you aren’t using your. Have it off, turn it off. Don’t allow it to just be on in the background. Switching your phone to focus mode so that you can’t be distracted by notifications or tests, right?
[00:16:13] Like all of these things are simple ways to block the distractions. And then there are also apps like Freedom. That’s one I’m gonna be trying this year, and I’ll have it linked in the show notes, of course. And. . If we want to increase our productivity, we need to decrease the amount of distractions that we allow in.
[00:16:30] That’s just the bottom line. So that’s definitely a way to increase our productivity and simplify because we’re not being inundated with all of these new thoughts. You know, we talk about how our attention span is worse than a goldfish now, and so much of that is the accessibility is being available and having all of these things buying for us all the time.
[00:16:53] And we can strengthen our intention span by working on our focus. And distractions are trying to hinder our focus. I mean, the very act of an alert is, oh, hey, you might be doing something else, but we think this is better. So we’re gonna pop in and it breaks our focus. ,
[00:17:13] And then my last app for you to consider looking at and seeing if this could help you become more productive and simplify your life is a system for saving and coming back to, because we are constantly seeing these new things. We are constantly getting excited, having the idea pop in our head and the.
[00:17:33] Inclination is to stop what we’re doing and go right into the next thing. But the problem is so often we don’t go back to the thing we were doing. We don’t get the things we need to do done because something more enticing, more shiny, more enjoyable, catches our attention. But we also don’t wanna forget about that thing cuz we’re like, oh, but it was really good.
[00:17:53] I don’t wanna forget about that. So do you have a system for saving and coming back to, there are a lot of ways that we can do that. Simple, you know, you just take a screenshot and then remember to come back to it. One of my biggest things is I’ll. Grab the link. A lot of times it’s a, a website, an article, something that I’m like, oh, I wanna, I wanna watch that, I wanna read that and I wanna come back to it so I have notes where I can pop in, where I want it to, what I want it to be, and then I’ll schedule in to look at that note and the name of it, because a lot of times, The fear is that you’re gonna forget and there is a really high chance you are going to forget to come back to it.
[00:18:27] So by scheduling in a reminder to myself or asking my phone, or Alexa to remind me to go back to that, then that can really help me. But there are also apps for this. So there’s an app that I’m gonna be trying this year called Pocket, which I will link to. A app for saving and coming back to. So there are also those kind of options.
[00:18:51] So when we’re talking about and looking at, okay, how do we become more productive in 2023 so that we can simplify our lives? These are my areas where I’m focusing number one, daily habits. Number two, continuing to embrace simplicity. Number three, looking for systems that streamline and make those repetitive tasks done for me, like flow desk Number four, blocking distractions.
[00:19:25] Really honoring and protect. , my focus, my time, and my presence. And then the last one is looking for systems. To help me save and come back to the things that I’m excited about, but that are trying to break my focus. So there you go. Those are my five best productivity apps and hacks to simplify your life in 2023.
[00:19:50] Are you going to try one? Are you going to give one of these a chance? Remember, I’ll have all of these apps linked in the show notes. Which you can get to by going to 27 dot Balancing busy podcast.com. Or if you are somewhere where you can find links to my website, you’ll find it there. And I also will have the free download for the Principal Habit tracker if you love to write things and you wanna just make it really, really simple for yourself.
[00:20:19] This is our year to truly balance the busyness, to be able to let go of the chaos and embrace more calm. To not have your mascot be this frazzled ball of craziness, but instead to feel more fulfilled. , how can you do that? What are the daily habits? What are the ways you can simplify? How can you honor your time more?
[00:20:48] How can you protect your focus and. Block the distractions and just have more joy, presence, and happiness this year. I am so excited for this year for the podcast to really focus on balancing busy in all the areas of your life. I’ve been doing so much planning and I’ve got some really, really exciting episodes coming up to look for how we simp.
[00:21:16] Those key areas of our life, and I’m thinking honestly about me personally. So if you relate to, okay, how do I simplify in the kitchen? How do I simplify? with laundry. How do I simplify with my home? How do I simplify with my finances? How do I simplify in my relationships and and nurture those better? How do I simplify in my business?
[00:21:37] I’m so excited to look at all of these areas to help us balance the busyness more. It is going to be an incredible year for you. I can feel it. You deserve. Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you have not, I would love if you would take just one moment and leave a five star review with a singular sentence.
[00:22:00] You can keep it simple about why you enjoy this podcast and why you believe others should listen as well.
[00:22:06] Okay. That is a wrap. Thank you again for listening, or if you’re watching this on YouTube watching, I’m so grateful to have you here. That is a wrap.Hide Transcript