12 Founders Reveal Their Favorite Tool to Keep Them Organized
Add these to your arsenal.
1. Appeal to your brain.
2. Make your schedule a priority.
3. Send notes to your future self.
4. Delegate to a team you trust.
5. Use your calendar to change your behavior.
6. Have access to your notes everywhere.
7. Sound the alarm.
8. Shut everything down.
9. Work the old-fashioned way.
10. Create a digital inspiration board.
11. Write down everything down.
12. Work with your hands.
There is no one right way to cut through the clutter and keep distractions at bay. It often takes time and trial and error to figure out the strategies that work best for you.
Whether it’s a unique app or a simple pen and paper, we asked 12 successful founders to share what tools they use to keep themselves on the right track.
Name: Brit Morin
Company: Brit + Co
Organizational tool: I’ve just started using an app called Brain.fm. The founders have studied the brain for years and figured out that certain sounds trigger different brain impulses -- some of which can aide in focus, sleep, and anxiety. It’s been fascinating to play the music while trying to get work done; it’s like an instant ability to focus in a way I’ve never experienced before.
Read more about Morin: This Founder Shares the Secret to How to Make Your Business Last
Name: Carrie Dorr
Company: Pure Barre
Organizational tool: Evernote I use for everything, Shazam for music. I use Think Dirty to find toxin-free products because I’m really into that. And Amazon Prime and Instacart too, I love that you can get things delivered during the hours that work for you. I don’t know what I would do without those five.
Read more about Dorr: This Founder Shares How to Tailor Your Schedule to Fit Your Brain
Name: Amber Venz
Organizational tool: I use my inbox as a to-do list. Whenever I'm out and I think of things that I need to do, I just send myself a quick email or just put in the subject line the thing I need to do, so that later I can just search by my own name to find it. I find I don't write them down it will get lost. The other thing is actually screenshots. If something makes me remember that I need to do something, or it gives me an idea. I'll just take a screenshot of it and email it to myself.
Read more about Venz: This Founder Shares the Mindset That Helps Her Stay On Track
Name: Bastian Lehmann
Organizational tool: I use Clear; it’s a to-do list app. I also send myself emails. But I’m not really good at organizing time, so it helps me have a chief of staff to work with and to get things done. My advice is to figure out what you’re strong at and what you’re not. Having a team that does that [fills in the gaps] has freed up a lot of my time to spend more time doing the things I love.
Read more about Lehmann: This Founder Shares the One Trait He Looks for in Every Hire
Name: Julia Hartz
Organizational tool: I live by my Google calendar; it’s a compass for navigating my days. Productivity starts with staying organized and calendaring my day enables me to create a structure that empowers me to get things done. It’s also crucial to block out time for yourself, so you’re not just stuck in meetings all day. Each week, I look back back at how I spend my time and re-evaluate if needed, so I also use it as a learning tool.
Read more about Hartz: The Day This Eventbrite Co-Founder Learned When to Speak Up
Name: David Bladow
Organizational tool: I use the Notes app. It syncs between all devices; it’s very simple. I make agendas and it's all there. The best tool is the one that you use, and for me, that’s my system.
Read more about Bladow: This Founder Has 3 Simple Tips to Achieve Maximum Productivity
Name: Randi Zuckerberg
Company: Zuckerberg Media
Organizational tool: It’s old school, but I set a lot of alarms during the day, like for when when I want to be done with something. Sometimes I follow them, sometimes I don’t, but it does bring mindfulness into my day.
Read more about Zuckerberg: Why Everyone Can Use Randi Zuckerberg's Number One Focus Tip
Name: Tim Chen
Organizational tool: The off button. I put my phone on nighttime mode, and I shut down everything when I'm working. I get highly distracted otherwise.
Read more about Chen: Nerdwallet's Founder Shares the Worst Advice He Ever Got
Name: Oliver Kharraz
Organizational tool:This may date me, but I still use pen and paper for priority projects and even developing new ideas. You have the choice to draw things or write things and sometimes one is more appropriate than the other. You can mix and match them in a way you can’t do on the computer yet
Read more about Kharraz: This Founder Says to Succeed You Need to Question Everything
Name: Daniella Yacobovsky
Organizational tool: In terms of getting work done, one app that we have started using across the organization is iCloud for photos. We are constantly sending different imagery back and forth and different things that inspire us.
Read more about Yacobovsky: This Co-Founder of BaubleBar's Secret for Inspiration? Always 'Keep Your Eyes Peeled.'
Name: Jenny Ripps
Company: Owl’s Brew
Organizational tool: I use the Notes app all the time. I treat it as a robust program; I sort of have hacked it in a way to work for me.
I'll use Notes during meetings and for recaps. I also have various notes that have to do with things that are personal or strategic.
On the flip side I use a project management system called Wrike. We use Slack for our inter-team communication, and we use Nutshell for CRM. We're pretty tech-oriented here, and we use these cloud-based systems all the "right ways." That's why I think my personal notes addiction is strange, because we tend to really use a lot of technology for the business so Notes is kind of an anomaly within that context.Read more about Ripps: The One Thing This Entrepreneur Does Each Day to Stay Productive
Name: Oren Frank
Organizational tool: I really like cooking and food, and I’m obsessed with a Japanese whetstone, which you use to sharpen knives. I don't need that sharp of a knife, and I put more time into it than is probably needed. I think it's highly therapeutic -- just doing something with my hands.
Read more about Frank: This CEO's Favorite Productivity Tips Are Surprisingly Simple