More tools to help you busy witches slay your to-do lists!
As I mentioned in the first half of this article, I’m a lazy witch. More accurately, I’ve got a hefty to-do list (can you relate gals?) and my mind is always full of ideas for things I’d like to do, try, write about, sew, paint, you-name-it.
On the flip side, I’m my own boss and have been for many years. Ever notice how hard it can be to stay focused when you’re “working” at home? (Speaking of which, can you please chill for five minutes, Kitty Coven?! Sheesh!)
For these reasons (and because I love to learn and grow), I frequently experiment with ways to improve my process and get more, better work done in less time.
This is the second half of the list of tools I currently use most often to run my witchy business. (The first half of the list is here.) Note that these are productivity tools, not ritual or witchy tools. (That will be a different post.) But, as far as I’m concerned, turning my time into gold and feeling accomplished and powerful is pretty darned magical!
My 8 (Current) Favorite Business Productivity Tools, Part 2. (When I have new ones, I’ll share them!)
5.) Brain.fm: I don’t actually recall how I stumbled upon brain.fm, but I’m definitely glad I did. In an uncharacteristic move (for me), I signed up for a subscription after using it only a couple of times and I’ve been paying monthly for the service ever since. Full disclosure: I may have been biased because I both LOVE music (including trance) and have many years of experience as a hypnotherapist and student of the subconscious mind. I’d already seen how certain sounds could help people relax or how upbeat music would lift a down mood or keep an athlete going, so I knew it could work for concentration, too.
What is brain.fm? The site will tell you it’s “music as brain stimulation” created by “the most advanced AI music composer on the planet”. In other words, it’s music for your brain (and ears) that has been deliberately designed to alter your state. Currently, you have three options of music style or desired mental state: focus, meditate or sleep. (Personally, I’m hoping they experiment with “energizing” or “uplifting” in the near future.) You pick your channel, set the time-length, press the play arrow, and a variety of state-influencing music begins to play. If you don’t like the current sounds, hit “skip” and the music will change. The system learns what you like and what works for you by tracking your ratings and length of listens, so the selections eventually get more and more pleasing.
While I use the program mostly on my pc to help me concentrate when I’m writing, there is a phone app, too, which worked quite well when I tested it for a quick nap. Honestly, I credit “brain” with helping me to complete a whole lot of writing (listening to it right this second, as a matter of fact). Before I discovered it, the hardest thing about finishing a post (or, gasp!, an entire book!) was forcing myself to stay in the chair and get the words down. Since I added it to my process, I can sit for hours, concentrating easily and writing far more productively.
6.) Audio Everything: While we’re on the subject of audio for your brain, let’s talk about spoken word programs.
I like to multi-task. I especially like to multi-task when I’m doing something boring or tedious like washing lots of dishes or driving for hours. One of my favorite ways to distract myself from a boring chore, and learn something helpful at the same time, is to listen to audio programs.
Some of my favorites, such as “You Are A Badass At Making Money” and “Becoming, Doing and Being Magic”, came from Audible. Others, such as Cara Alwill’s “Style Your Mind”, are podcasts that I download via iTunes and then load onto my iPod. (Yes, I still have an iPod. Three of them, in fact!)
But—and this is where this tip gets good, so pay attention—I did not stop with the usual audio fare. Nope. I wanted to be able to listen to Everything I found helpful, including the videos in the various online classes I’ve taken and anything I’ve enjoyed on YouTube. So how did I accomplish that? I used a “video to mp3 converter”.
Since these are always changing, I’m not going to include a link for that here. Instead, just go to Google and search “convert video to mp3”. Usually, the first site to come up will work. Go to that site and, if it looks legit, enter the URL (website address) of the video you want to convert and save the mp3 to your computer. (If the video is already on your system and you don’t have a web address, there are free apps that will rip the audio from a video and save it in mp3 format. You can find those on Google, too.)
You can make this process as simple or as fancy as you’d like by renaming the mp3 file, adding an “album image”, editing the song and artist info and so on. That’s up to you. Ultimately, you just need to get the mp3 onto your iPod, phone or other mp3 player so you can listen to it on the go. (You can play it on your computer, too.) I add mine to my iPod so I can play it in my car, while I’m out walking, at the gym, or in the various docks I have around the house. Next time you’ve got to knock out a tedious job, use the time to up your game by listening to an inspiring or educational audio program.
7.) Use An Uplifting Scent: Okay, maybe some of these tips are a little more witchy than you’d find on some boring biz site. (Hooray for that, right?) If you’re not familiar with aromatherapy and would like to learn more, you can Google it. Here, I’ll just keep it short: find a scent that wakes you up, energizes and uplifts you, and helps you to concentrate. For me, it’s peppermint. Orange is also a good one.
Then find a delivery of that scent that works best for you. It might be to burn a little fragrance oil in a diffuser. Or to dab a drop behind your ears. (Always do a skin-patch test when you’re using a new fragrance product.) One of my favorite methods is to use a skin-safe room spray and spritz the air all around me. (Don’t drench your electronics!) This is a great mid-afternoon pick-me-up that works on your energy and your mood. I like to keep a bottle in my office and, in the summer months, I always have a small spray bottle in my purse, as well. (These are very refreshing in hot weather or on long road-trips!)
If you haven’t been mindfully using scent as a productivity and mood tool, I encourage you to give it a try.
8.) Caffeine and L-Theanine: I’m going to start this one by getting the obligatory disclaimer out of the way: I am not a doctor, so use this or any of my tips at your own risk. Mkay?
L-Theanine is a natural supplement, not a drug or addictive prescription. It is a compound of amino acids found primarily in Green Tea. Yes, Green Tea. This is surprising (to me, at least,) because L-Theanine is best known for its effectiveness at calming and reducing anxiety while simultaneously enhancing concentration. That’s right: it takes the edge off but won’t put you to sleep.
If, like me, you’re a bit (or a lot) of a caffeine junkie, you might try taking an L-Theanine capsule (or two) along with your morning cups of Joe. This works quite well for me and for thousands of others (if online reviews are to be believed). However, I say “try it”, because I have learned that everyone’s body chemistry-diet-lifestyle combination is unique. One person’s St. John’s Wort antidepressant is another’s hours-of-nausea (don’t ask how I know this).
For me, adding L-Theanine to my caffeine takes the anxiousness away from the buzz, without making me in any way sleepy or sluggish. In addition, I find the supplement gives me a bit of a happy high (almost like a shot of wheat grass, but less noticeable and longer lasting) and enhances my concentration, enabling me to get more done and enjoy doing it.
That’s my current productivity tool list. I hope you found it helpful. If you know a tool you think I should try, pop over to Instagram and tell me about it. ♥
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