You are never going to find your perfect productivity and organization app that has every single feature you’re looking for. And all that time us productivity junkies spend looking for that app, we could have spent just doing the things we were trying to get organized for. Instead of a single app, try this strategy with Google Drive, a platform with many powerful services to help you organize, improve, and dominate both your personal and professional life.
In this post, we are going to show you all the benefits of using Google Drive, provide step-by-step instructions on how to set up a customizable life-organization system, and leave links to templates for the Docs and Sheets I already have created to save you time. Once you have everything in place, you’ll start thinking of ideas and customization that will help you specifically.
With Google Drive, we can:
– Manage our schedule with Google Calendar integration
– Write and cross off a daily to-do list
– Keep a daily journal with Google Docs
– Stay on top of our fitness progress with Google Sheets
– Track our long and short term goals
– Monitor our finances with Google Sheets
– Brainstorm new ideas with Google Drawings
– Quickly jot down notes and ideas through the day
– Access any file at any time with the Google Drive mobile app
– Maintain our daily personal development progress
Step One: Create
Create a google drive account at drive.google.com. If you aren’t familiar with the service, Google Drive is a cloud-based file storage platform like Dropbox, a file creator tool like Microsoft Office, and a place where you can share and collaborate with other users. This powerful combination is extremely useful, and the fact that Google created so many other tools like email, a calendar, and contacts makes full integration a breeze.
After you’ve created a Google Drive account, enable offline editing. This allows you to still edit your documents and spreadsheets without internet access, and it will sync when you get back into wifi range. Finally, install the Google Drive desktop application. Now, you will have a Google Drive folder on your desktop you can drag your files into. If every file you save on your computer is also uploaded to your Google Drive account, you never have to worry about data loss.
Step Two: Organize
After you’ve become comfortable with the Google Drive ecosystem, organize your folders. Take some time to think about the strategy you use to keep your file system well oiled. And as long as you’re moving into a new system, get your digital home cleaned up by tossing old files.
Step Three: Build With Our Templates
After you’re happy with your foundation, it’s time to develop your perfect daily routine. This will be part of our dashboard folder, and will exclusively use Google Docs and Sheets so they can consistently be updated and viewable on any device at any time. As you know, we talk about constant mind, body, and lifestyle improvement as the key to a happy and fulfilled life. In this article, we will follow this process and create:
– A daily Kaizen (improvement in Japanese) spreadsheet
– A fitness tracking spreadsheet
– A project management and to-do list spreadsheet
– A finance and budgeting spreadsheet for monthly check-ins
– A long and short term goal setting document
– A daily gratitude journal for morning review
For each of these, I will explain the layout and purpose, as well as customization options. First, download the templates, and then scroll through the rest of this post to learn how to set up the perfect system. Ready? Download the entire package of spreadsheets and templates below. Once you have your templates copied and uploaded into your own drive, we’ll get started.
DOWNLOAD OUR GOOGLE DRIVE TEMPLATES TO MANAGE, IMPROVE, AND DOMINATE YOUR LIFE!
Daily Kaizen Spreadsheet
This is where it all fits together. Your Kaizen spreadsheet should contain a daily list of all the activities you want to do on a consistent basis. The best activities for Kaizen are ones that take a short amount of time, but add up to incredible results over long periods. This includes journaling, meditating, pushups, practicing an instrument, learning a language, and anything else that represents something you want to become an expert at.
In your Kaizen spreadsheet, it’s not necessarily about completing every task every day. It’s about being aware, doing your best, and tracking your progress. Mark an X in each cell at the end of the day with tasks you finished. In the template, make sure you edit the dates to fit the current time. The first column is locked in place, so you can easily scroll right as days progress or just hide past columns.
Fitness Tracking Spreadsheet
This one will vary based on your fitness goals. However, most fitness program have a set amount of exercises, and you will only reach your goals if you are making consistent progress. The best way to ensure progress is by keeping track of each day’s metrics. If you are working on a strength routine, this means weight, sets, and reps. If you have a cardio program, this is miles and time. The spreadsheet template we’ll link to is set up for a popular strength training program we’ve used in the past and some sample data, so it will take some customization on your end.
As you build your fitness spreadsheet, follow a similar template as the Kaizen. Dates and days across the top, exercises across the side. As a bonus, nutrition is also a huge part of fitness. Use the LoseIt iPhone application to track your daily calories and macronutrients. You can create a separate sheet and export your weekly nutritional information from LoseIt into Sheet format if you’d like.
Project Management and To-Do List Spreadsheet
We all have to keep track of multiple segments of our lives. There are hundreds of complex project management tools available, but sometimes there is nothing better than a small notebook and a spreadsheet. In this case, a to-do list can be as simple as a blank word document you update and delete each day.
As for project management, there are things that always come up you don’t have to get done this instant. It’s extremely important you don’t forget about those tasks too! This project management worksheet template is a very simple way to manage your time. There are columns above the top for each project, and you can combine both your personal and professional life.
Across the side are the labels immediate, to-do, and parking lot. Each time a new task comes into your life, place it in parking lot. When it becomes relevant to you in the near future, move it to to-do. When it is on your list for right now, move it to immediate (and then write it down in your notebook.) This simple process is great for anyone. When the email comes in for the meeting next week, write down “prepare for meeting” in the parking lot. A few days before the meeting, move it to to-do. The day of, move it to immediate and prepare your materials.
For finances, you absolutely have to be using a more complex tool that syncs with your account, like Mint.com. With Mint, you can set budgets, organize your expenses, and it updates each time you spend. However, at the end of the month, it’s incredibly useful to fill in a finance spreadsheet so you can easily see long-term trends.
At the end of the month, you can go to the “trends” section of Mint, and it will show you your monthly spend for each category like food, entertainment, home, shopping, and more. Simply copy and paste this information into your finance spreadsheet at the end of the month, and see if there is anything you can improve upon. This 10 minute activity can save you a ton of money in the long run.
Depending on your financial situation, you may need to have a much more robust system than this. If you are a single individual with no children, a few recurring payments, and a set income, this is perfect for you. As with all the others, this is our layout. Adjust your expenses and categories for your perfect fit.
Goal Setting Document
We all know the power of goals. There are hundreds of books on why, how, and when to set them. We don’t have time to discuss that here. Only know that every individual needs to consistently be creating and reviewing powerful personal and professional goals. If you have taken any business courses, you may be familiar with SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Without all those fancy words, SMART goals mean that you know exactly what you are reaching for and how to make sure you’ve reached it. For example:
A Dumb Goal: Lose weight.
A SMART Goal: Lose 15 Pounds by January 1st, 20xx.
This document will take you through a process of setting a vision, goals, and action steps for your life. It’s only two pages long, and starts with a few big questions. You’ll need to brainstorm your vision, mission, and strategy. These sound like business terms, but everyone should have them personally as well. Don’t sweat this too much. Your vision, mission, and strategy is going to change constantly. Just write down what is in your heart, and move on to goal setting.
In the goal setting section, you’ll be writing down multiple SMART goals for both the long term and the short term. Spend a solid hour on this activity. Everything is going to start coming together once you reach the 3-month and 1-month segments. That’s when you’ll have a very clear idea about what you need to do next to reach your long-term success. As a side note, you might want to run through this exercise before creating your Kaizen spreadsheet. You might find some daily action steps that come out of this process that will fit perfectly there.
In this template, we have created a few extremely simple examples and instructions. Remember, this is not only a professional activity. You should run through this sheet for all aspects of your life. It works for fitness, knowledge, networking, and more. Once you’ve completed this exercise, print it out and hang it up. Keep it in your Dashboard. Review it constantly.
The Daily Gratitude Journal
Never underestimate the power of daily gratitude and daily journaling. Each morning, spend just 10-15 minutes writing down your thoughts. Try and fill up just one page. This is a non-judgmental activity. Don’t worry about going back and correcting your thoughts, and don’t worry about having nothing to say. Just write. Write about your work, your self-talk, your relationships, your family, your dog, and anything else under the sun. There is peace from just moving things out of your head and onto paper. Soon, you’ll be surprised at the insights you come up with.
The most important part of this process is daily gratitude and review. In the included template, we have left in a paragraph you should fill out first thing every morning. It includes what you’re thankful for, what you need to do to make today great, and daily affirmations to tell yourself. At the end of the day, come back to this document and fill out the second paragraph, which goes over what you can do to make tomorrow better, and good things that happened that day. If you do nothing else with this, fill out those two paragraphs each day. The next morning, insert a page break at the top (so you are writing from the first page each day, and the archives are below) and copy and paste the gratitude sections.
The Master Parking Lot
An empty mind is an organized mind. As soon as you have an idea that crosses your path, make sure you have a place for it. This is where a parking lot spreadsheet comes in handy. By utilizing the Google Sheets mobile application, you can easily enter in shopping lists, songs to download, places to visit, and new business ideas in a systematized way. Change the headers according to your lifestyle and interests. This one is pretty simple, but have a template anyway.
Personal Contacts Spreadsheet
People are the only thing that matter. When you start to build a powerful network around you, it can be easy to lose track of those who matter the most. A personal contact spreadsheet is the perfect way to reference a list of family members around Christmas time, brainstorm for a past business connection to refer to a new friend, or quickly write down the information of someone you just met and a quick note so you can connect at a later date. Manage your network like any other part of your life, and it will grow.
Step Four: Access
Once you have all of your documents prepared and customized, move them all into a Dashboard folder. That link to your dashboard folder should be your home page, a bookmark, a shortcut on your desktop, a favorite icon on your iPhone screen, and wherever else you need consistent access to your day.
Congratulations! You’ve set up a Google Drive system to dominate your personal and professional life. Now comes the best part, which is using it daily to change your world for the better.
Leave a comment: What are some other things you might want to manage in Google Drive?