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The 5 Tools That I Depend On
April 22, 2021

I haven’t written about productivity on this blog for a while but I recently switched from one specific organization tool to another and I’m nerding out about it pretty hard. Most of these are specific to writing but you could use most of them for general life organization or other projects.

1. Digital Planner

After about two years of being a Bullet Journalist, I noticed I was running out of pages in my Scribbles That Matter notebook. In an effort to save money and go paperless, I decided to give digital planning on the iPad a try. Ohhhhhhhh my gosh, I am in love.

With my Bullet Journal, I tended to make spreads and then forget about them because they weren’t visible. I designed my own planner to use in Goodnotes, including tabs that I would make use of. I love, love, love it. My iPad just sits on my desk and I just scribble stuff in whenever I need to with my Apple Pencil. And I can access it on my phone, search for text, back it up easily when I’m done with it, doodle in it if I want, cut and paste things, etc. Yeah. I’m a big fan. This is what the planner looks with an empty weekly spread.


2. Notion

I’ve been a die-hard Notion fan since 2019 and even wrote (with the permission of Notion Labs) a how-to ebook guide for newbie users. I find Notion is good for keeping track of projects and tasks that need additional space for notes, resources, links and data in order to complete them. In a way, Notion is my second brain. I’m excited that the app continues to grow its user base as it really is a fabulously flexible tool.

3. Scrivener

I blogged about Scrivener back in December. It’s a software for authors that continues to impress me with all of its different features and customizable options. I only wish I’d begun using it much earlier in my writing career.


4. Day One

I’ve always been the type of person who wanted to keep a daily journal in a beautiful notebook. What writer doesn’t LOVE a good notebook? And those ones with the faux leather covers? omg. Wonderful. But for me, that just wasn’t practical. I just couldn’t keep my journal updated on a daily basis until I started using Day One.

There’s a reason Day One tops every list of best journal apps available. My phone prompts me at my usual journaling time before I go to bed and I can throw any pictures and videos I take that day in the post. The weather for that day gets thrown in automatically. I like that you can make your own templates and I have mine set up to track my health, productivity level and focus, and what I’m grateful for on that specific day.


5. Logitech Combo Touch iPad Case


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This one isn’t a piece of software but it’s definitely worth mentioning here. I wrote most of The Spirited Mrs. Pringle on my Chromebook but when I switched to Scrivener, I bought a copy for my iMac and one for my iPad and quickly realized that typing on an iPad sucks real bad. I tried the Apple keyboard with it for a while but pairing it with the iPad was a pain in the butt. I have the iPad Air 3 so there’s no official Apple keyboard case for it. Thus, the Logitech Combo Touch entered my life.

This case means business. It adds a bit of heft to the device but I don’t carry it far so that doesn’t bother me much. The keyboard part pairs as soon as you snap it on—that’s right, you don’t need to keep the keyboard part on if you don’t want. Typing on the keyboard feels really nice and the touchpad works quite well. I’m really happy with it and I can’t wait to start working on it more often once I get rolling on my next novel.

(The only real downside of this keyboard is that it’s not sturdy enough to actually use right on your lap. So I got a kid’s food tray from my mother-in-law, took the legs off it and then covered it in a fun fabric. Et voila! A lap desk long enough for my iPad and lovely keyboard.)


What are your favorite writing tools?

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Jillianne Hamilton writes delightful historical fiction and historical romance featuring rebellious ladies and happy endings.

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The Hobby Shop on Barnaby Street - WWII historical romance
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praise for jillianne

Jillianne has done a fabulous job creating a loveable and down-to-earth heroine in Molly Miranda and followed through with a really strong plotline packed full of twists and turns.
Holly at Bookaholic Confessions
Hamilton handles the story with a deft touch, balancing action, laugh-out-loud zingers and romance with zippy pacing and a character you can really root for.
Author Kat Ross
I thought the author's sense of humor was so funny! I found myself giggling out loud.
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