The key to staying sane and successful as a blogger is being organized. As one of my favorite blogging gurus, Crystal of Crystal and Co. says, “Being deliberate creates results.” Being deliberate = being organized.
How I Organize My Blogging Life: Pen and Paper Tools
I use a combination of tools to stay organized as a blogger. Even though I love my electronics like my iPad mini, every single day, I look at my Daily Action Planner and my monthly editorial calendar. Both sit on my desk along with my laptop and extra display.
Editorial Calendar: The Ultimate Blog Planner
Last fall, I bought The Ultimate Blog Planner from Courtney of Click It Up a Notch. Over the past few years, I’ve used a few blog planners, always getting them spiral bound at Staples to make them easy to use. This time, I printed out Courtney’s planner and put the pages into a notebook. While the notebook is a bit more cumbersome, I love the ability to add pages to my notebook.
I set up the notebook with dividers for each month. First is the monthly calendar with space to write notes and goals. Since my editorial calendar is somewhat flexible due to real life, I write my post ideas on the calendar in pencil. Before each month, I sit down for about 15 to 20 minutes and write down topics. I also fill in my linky parties to make sure I don’t have too many posts getting published each day.
Behind the monthly calendar page, I keep a Things That Worked page from The Ultimate Blog Planner. This functions as a journal for me. I write down changes I make on my site, ad networks I join, opportunities I apply for, and changes I make in my ads on the site, plus anything else relevant.
Next, I have several Blog Post Idea pages from The Ultimate Blog Planner. After starting lists in various places, I settled on this method for a master list of blog ideas. It’s not perfect, but at least the ideas are on paper for my planning sessions.
At the back of my blogging notebook are the stat pages from The Ultimate Blog Planner. I admit to duplicating some of this content in my Google spreadsheet. I like have a paper version in case I don’t have access to the Google spreadsheet for whatever reason.
My Daily Action Planner serves multiple purposes – time sheet, reminders, to do list, appointments, monetization, and notes. I keep it on my desk and update it daily and weekly. Twice a year or so, I do a new version of the Daily Action Planner and have it copied and spiral bound at Staples. By the way, Mandi has set up her pdfs to be editable on her site.
I edited the Daily Action Planner from Life Your Way to have the following sections under Projects and Tasks.
- Current Project
- Reminders for my linky parties
- Scheduling: Ahalogy, Viral Tag, G+, Hootsuite, Facebook
- Commenting: Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, G+
- Future Projects
- future posts
- Ad Networks
- Guest Posting/Networking
- One line for each of the group tribes I’m part of
- Site Maintenance
Every week, I do a quick review of the upcoming week and add tasks to the Daily Action Planner. Some tasks are in my Nozbe electronic planner (more on that next week) and some are carried over from the previous week.