As you may know, I own a paper goods company, inkWELL Press. I love designing yearly planners, notepads, journals and more to use as productivity tools. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like or use technology for planning and prioritizing, too.
In fact, I love using both of these kinds of planning in conjunction with each other. They help me SO much at both work and home – with my coworkers and meetings, along with keeping my household organized. You can learn more about my personal planning system and how to create your own, if you need more ideas and tips.
I know many people spend a while hunting down their perfect planner or productivity system. Which is great, because you need to know what works best for you. But if you haven’t really considered what apps, websites and online tools you could be using, I want to help!
Today, I’m going over one of the most useful technology tools my team and I use: Google Drive.
In another blog post, I’ll give a few more suggestions and details about the apps that we currently use to keep our productivity systems in order. But really, Google Drive needs a post of its own! So let’s get started….
What is Google Drive For?
This is one we’ve been using in the studio at inkWELL Press for a while now… and I love it because we can share almost anything with our entire team.
Use Google Drive when you need to share:
- Word Documents
- Lists & more…
The key to using Google Drive is making sure all of your folders are organized the right way, and this goes for any online system. You don’t want to start things out disorganized. It’s a good idea to have a group meeting first and discuss how your team or family wants to organize your Google Drive folders.
For example, at work, we have all these shared folders. One is for Marketing, and that has our social media calendar, newsletter information, notes and resources and more marketing info in there. We also have a folder for my podcast, Productivity Paradox, one for product images and a few others.
The Google Drive Features You MUST Know About
- You can create a shared folder and any document within that folder is always automatically shared with those people. You don’t have to worry about who has access.
- Any document has a shareable link… so you can email that link to people for ease or for people who you just want to view the document, but not edit. You have those options for giving people a certain amount of access to a document that isn’t shared with the whole group.
- Keep track of all document revisions by going to File, and then See Revision History. This is great for when you need to see progress in a blog post or podcast show notes, for example. Or if you wanted to go back and keep an older version of the document, you can do that.
- Add comments to any part of the document. Whether it’s a paragraph, a word, or punctuation. Just highlight what you need to comment on and click that comment button at the top. Here, you can also tag people and assign it to them. They will be notified via email that you have a comment to them about the document.
- Use voice typing with Google Docs by opening your Chrome browser, going to Tools and choosing Voice Typing. Depending on what you’re working on, this could be your best option to save time and get all your thoughts down in your Google Doc.
Using Google Drive at Home
While most people think of using Google Drive in various ways at work, I want to make sure you also consider using this tool at home and in your personal life, too. Here are a few suggestions for ways you can begin using Google Drive, which my family and I use all the time!
- Plan vacations for family and/or friends. Next summer, we’re planning to go on vacation with my best friend and her family. We’re using a folder in Google Docs for suggestions on hotels (with pictures and links to websites), activities we can all do, restaurants to try out, and more.
- Create checklists for the family. While we use many of the checklists and downloads from inkWELL Press, sometimes we need to create a chart through Google Sheets for various events or special tasks that need to be completed for family projects. These work like Excel worksheets, and have formulas, so you can take the thinking out of it here, too.
- Meal plan and create drink menus. If you love to cook like I do, but aren’t always sure what the next meal will be, you might like this idea. You can save recipes, pictures of the meal and links back to the source. This document can be shared with your family or friends, and it’s really helpful for special occasions. If you’re meal planning for the holidays or a girl’s night, or other events, this is a fun way to collaborate, get ideas and then set plans.
- Make personal notes. Do you have a special, personal goal or project you’re working on or need to start working on? For example, writing a book would be a good one to have in Google docs. You can see your history, make comments to yourself (or for others if needed), make a list or spreadsheet, and use Voice Typing. You can keep this document private until you want to share it with someone else.
Your October Challenge!
Now that you’ve read about some Google Drive tips and tools, I want to tell you about my monthly challenge I’ve started for October. Join in by just following these quick steps and read more about it here!
- Introduce one new app to your organizing! Listen to episode 038 and choose your favorite app or tip I discussed and start using it in your daily or weekly planning for October. By the end of the month, assess how it’s helped you organize and collaborate.
- Begin to fill out the Gift List in your planner with holiday or birthday gift ideas. Hint: A great place to look if you need more ideas is on your friends’ or family’s Pinterest boards!
- Jump start your holiday meal planning for events and gatherings so that you’re able to carve our more time for YOU this season. Use your meal planner to keep your recipes organized… there’s even a seasonal food chart in there that can help you decide what dishes to cook!
I want to check back in with you at the end of the month to see how you’re doing with this October challenge. Tag me in your posts on social media and use the hashtag #IWPLove so I can follow along!
What’s most vital to making this work at home and in the office, is making sure that everyone is involved in keeping the system organized.
I give a few more details on episode 038: Technology Apps That Streamline Your Productivity Systems if you want to listen there before you get started with these Google Drive tools. I also go over other apps and technology tools that we use daily in the studio in that episode.
If you have any tips or ideas to add, I’d love to hear them! How do you use Google Docs in your life to be more productive, to collaborate and to stay organized? Which app will you be trying out and planning with this October? Comment below and share your thoughts with me!