Hello everyone! Thanks for stopping by. My topic for today is something that for me has been and will probably continue to be a work in progress. I’m talking about organization. If you’re at all like me then you’ve probably struggled at one time or another (or might still be struggling) to keep all your ducks in a row. Below I’ll share a few of the methods that work well for me. I’d love to hear what you use to organize your blog world in the comment section below and be sure to ask any questions you are having too. Let’s get started.
MY FAVORITE TIP for organizing potential post content + saving crediting links:
For far too long the method I used to save post content involved thousands of folders on my desktop…many of which would become so buried by other folders that I’d lose them until it was too late to use the content in them. All this changed with one free online site: Wishpot. While technically a site for creating gift giving/receiving wish lists, its ability to create lists, add tags, etc. makes it the ideal tool for busy bloggers.
Here’s a little video I put together to show the simple process I use to save content and links via Wishpot. Note: There are a few times in the video where there is an odd static noise – sorry about that.
The best part about wishpot for me is the visual element. It is incredibly handy to have a thumbnail image to view while trying to put posts together, and the fact that I can also add tags to help me organize my picks by subject is invaluable. I also like to recommend Wishpot to friends and bloggers because it is free – which means anyone can use it!
Other methods of organization take the more standard route and are probably things that you currently use or have tried in the past. A few that I use on a regular basis are:
- Weekly Planner – used to organize advertising info and post schedules.
- Spiral-bound notebook – used to jot down ideas, doodles, or pre-write post content (specifically for these Better Blogging posts).
- Google calendars – occasionally used to keep track of scheduling (I’ve kind of fazed this one out recently).
You might also consider:
Downloading an App for your phone or iPod that is designed to keep you organized. I have one called Chores for my iPod and use it to keep track of thoughts and ideas that I have when I’m away from my computer as well as create checklists for tasks I need to complete or want to complete over a long-term time frame. I also use the calendar setting on my iPod quite regularly…so if you have one at your disposal, then these two methods can be a great way to stay on top of things.
These are the specific methods I use to keep myself organized. The next phase with any organization plan involves putting it all together in a system that works for you and with your available time.
One of the questions I’ve received on more than one occasion (and is something I’ve struggled with over the years) is: How do I stay on top of blog comments, emails and submissions?
Again the answer to this will vary for each individual. For me what works best is scheduling a portion of each day that is devoted specifically to correspondence. I’m not perfect at staying on top of things by any means, but when I keep myself to a set schedule I find that I can actually manage my inbox instead of fear it. I highly recommend picking a time of day that allows you as much uninterrupted time as possible. For me this is generally the evening. None of us have infinite time or patience for correspondence, so experiment around with the time you can devote to the task until you find the amount that works for you.
Remember that you are just one person and unless you have superhuman powers (please send some my way if you do) you can’t possibly reply to every comment, email, submission you receive every day. As your blog becomes more successful correspondence will only become more challenging, so setting yourself to an impossible standard of perfection will ultimately just cause frustration and stress in your life. I recommend establishing a system for yourself that loosely categorizes your correspondence tasks by importance/urgency. Tackle these items first during the time you’ve scheduled. If you find that you have time remaining, take on the second and third tier correspondence tasks. Again you will be the best judge of which items need immediate attention or not. Trust yourself and know that you are doing the best you can.
MY FAVORITE TIP for staying on top of emails:
Canned responses (available through Gmail accounts). I know it sounds horrible and impersonal (and seems like one of those things that I probably shouldn’t be telling the world), but once you start using canned responses you will see how easy they are to customize to each individual email. I have a long list of responses that I’ve written that address the main topics for which I receive emails (advertising inquiries, product submissions, blogging advice, etc). After inserting the canned response that fits the email I’ve received I can then begin to add the customizations I want. The content ends up being exactly what I would have written out anyhow…and ultimately saves a huge amount of time.
I hope you will find some of these tips to be helpful. Next week I’ll be addressing the topic of blogging etiquette. If you have any questions or comments on the subject I’d love to hear them. See you then. xo Ez