Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

How I Stay Productive, or My Love Letter to Google

I wanted to share how I manage my day, coming from a technologically-inclined writing geek such as myself. I’m a big fan of Google products. I’ve tried a lot of different programs over the years but somehow Google comes up with products that are similar to and exceed them. What’s great is that these programs are all free (save for Grammarly).

I welcome our Google overlords.

Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Slides, Tasks, Keep… they help me run my sites like a pirate ship.

There’s lots of colorful cursing, heavy drinking, and I’m either lost in the Bermuda Triangle or being hijacked by the Davey Jones-like figures in my life. 

Email program: Gmail


Web-based Gmail is my to-go program, but I also have the app on my smartphone to check emails on the fly.

It’s the first thing I open when I get online.

It’s a fully-fledged workhorse for me.

I’m able to send and receive emails sent to my domain through it. That’s a godsend because I like the branding of it. I think it’s nice when you receive an email from Don’t you think?

Time management: Calendar

Calendar is the easiest thing in the world to use. Color coding calendars gives me LIFE.


I like seeing how my day, week, and month are shaping up with the click of a button.

I love setting it up with alerts to remind me to submit my work for literary journals and contests. I have the birthdays of my family and friends on a calendar.

I’ve downloaded calendars maintained by other people such as the Phases of the Moon, Pokemon Go, Universalis, and my local NaNoWriMo group.

I tried to do it in a proper planner type deal but I change my plans constantly. A hardcopy planner would just be events crossed out left, right, and center. That would bug me!

Cloud backups: Drive

Drive is where the magic happens. Everything in my life that needs to be saved ends up here. I’ll need it again eventually. Call me a digital packrat!


I’ve got my works-in-progress stored here, copies of my thesis, the backup files for my sites, freebie PDFs from the gang of masterclasses that I’ve attended over the years, my school transcripts, the list of my allergic reactions… the works!

Any writer worth their weight should have multiple backups of their work. Even if it exists in the cloud, FIND a separate backup option. If you use the Backup & Sync from Google, you’re able to keep physical copies on your hard drive too.

Full disclosure: I do pay $19.99/yr for their 100 GB storage plan, which is an option for you if you find you have a lot of data that needs to be backed up. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Furthermore, the seamless integration of Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms makes my job doing what I do that much easier!

File creation: Docs

Speaking of Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms, where would I be without the ability to format the hamster wheel of thoughts in my head into something useful for you?


Not here, I can tell you that!

It’s so easy to make something in Slides and export to PDF. That’s how most of the content in the Repository is formatted.

I can draw up a survey in Forms and boop! Send it off to collect responses. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

I write all of my stories in Google Docs. I keep everything separated by category so that it’s easy to refer to fast.

Plus, when I’m ready to submit a finished project to a contest, I can export the file in the contest sponsor’s preferred format (usually .docx or PDF).

To-Do List: Tasks

I don’t know where I’d be without Tasks.


I have so many ideas that branch off into other ideas and it’s hard to keep them all straight sometimes!

Remember, there’s a hamster wheel in my head.

It’s so easy to have a task and include all the branches in one easy, viewable place.

This is mainly an app to use on your smartphone, but you can access it easily from Gmail. So useful! 

Note Taking: Keep

My next secret weapon is Keep.


EVERY single thought dump I’ve ever had goes there first. I get it all out of my head and sort through them later.

They make it super easy to export your note as a Doc to Drive to do what you wish.

Similar programs exist, like Evernote, but I couldn’t justify that price or sit through another day of constant harrassment to upgrade. 

I love that you’re able to access it directly in your web-based Gmail. There is nothing easier to help organize my thoughts on the go.

Writing assistant: Grammarly

I use the professional version of Grammarly for grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes as well as sentence structure problems, misused words, typos, and all that good stuff.

Instant Grammar Check

This is insanely helpful because even with my eagle eyes, things slip through sometimes. I’m a human, not A.I.

It integrates seamlessly within Chrome to edit my docs too, which is something that they’ve been working on for ages but it recently came out of beta.

Chrome is my browser of choice simply because of the ease of use with the rest of the default Google apps. It’s where I’m able to get most of my work done. Being able to easily switch between programs is a godsend. Waiting for something to load (not naming names) eats into my productivity. Plus, it’s just downright annoying.

Let me know in the comments what programs you use to manage your daily life. Maybe you’re using a physical planner; that’s cool too! I love to see how other people do it!

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