Keep Your Busy DIY Mind on Track with These Super Effective Productivity Tools

DIY Memory Management

Perhaps the most essential tool for any ManMaker is your mind. However, if you’re like me, it can be really hard to keep your mind on track. That’s why I have to write everything down!

Although it may seem obvious all the materials you can use to make and keep notes, but I can’t help but be inspired by all the ways I see others manage their productivity. I thought I’d share a few things I use on a daily basis to keep my mind on track with my ideas, price lists, sketches, quotes and plans.

Analog Options

DIY notetaking


We’ll jump right in with the most common of them all. The almighty sketchbook! I love my large leather soft cover from Moleskine. Like most Moleskine fans, you can end up having a growing library year after a year. The best tip I can give about a sketchbook is to not compare your sketches to all the ones you see online. Some people make their books a beautiful canvas (not me) and some people just scribble all over it and don’t care if anyone ever sees it (totally me). Just embrace that this sketchbook is yours and scribble away!

DIY Memory management

Pocket Journals

I also like to keep a tiny sketchbook for trips to the store or out for idea meetings. I’m the worst at remembering things and tiny books like these really help me remember groceries, how many bolts I need and where the heck that new lumber mill was. you can get a small pack of these from Moleskine or pick up a few of the ever-popular Field Notes books.

dog grid notebook

Behance Dot Grid Books

One of my favorite notebooks I keep for drafting is the Behance Dot Grid notebook. Instead of your typical graph paper and ruled paper Behance has developed a fantastic set of notebooks with perforated paper printed with a grid of dots that you can use to assist you in drawing with better precision! They offer several sizes as well as other types of books to help manage your productivity. Check them out over at The Ghostly Store.


DIY Project managementOne of my favorite management apps if Wunderlist. In reality, it’s a simple list-making app, but it’s ease of use and delightful interface have made it a lifesaver for my absent mind. It’s where I keep all of my to-dos, blog ideas, guest lists for parties and the weekly grocery list. You can also share and collaborate lists with other users. You can get Wunderlist on your desktop, iPhone or Android.

Evernote and Google Drive

If saving paper is more up your alley EverNote or Google Drive are fantastic note-keeping companions. You can keep short and long form notes, to-do lists, attach photographs and documents and sync it across all your devices. 

DIY Project productivity


Sometimes, big ideas need more detail than several pages of cat-scratched mockups. Once you get the hang of it, SketchUp can really help you plan out exact dimensions of your next project even help you figure out exactly how much material you could need. It’s 3D rendering capabilities can help you plan out a project down to the very centimeter. I’ve started on a (pictured below) pair of side tables; next is the drawer layout. 

photoshop mockup


Photoshop is another great mockup and planning tool for placing your creations into real spaces. Got a new print that needs a custom frame but you just don’t know how big you want the frame to be or where it should be placed on your wall? You can use Photoshop to place your sketches into an iPhone pic of the actual wall you need. Not to mention, it’s kinda fun to see how real you can make it look. Too bad you can’t just print the entire project from your design!

Hopefully those have given you some great inspiration to get your ideas sketched on. It’s the first step to increasing productivity! What are some of your favorite ways to keep your thoughts together?