Blogging & Organization
Hey y'all!I've had a few questions lately about how I keep myself organized - with junior year, book clubs, lacrosse, and blogging, how do I keep it all separate and clean? I use a lot of different programs, and a messy-beyond-belief planner. I'm constantly checking different sources to make sure I'm on track. Without further ado, here are some of the ways I keep my blog organized.
Overall, I have a massive Lilly Pulitzer planner that I put almost everything in. For a while, I had a separate blog planner but eventually switched to Google Calendar because my monthly posting plans became rather mercurial. I'm a spreadsheets person, a planner person. It's funny because my twin sister is a very clean-cut organizer and I'm rather the opposite; yes, I am organized but in a messy, colorful way. She corresponds her highlighter to specific actions and events while I use it in my planner to make things pop out, for visual effect.I use the lined-space to write down my homework in every class, and I write large "keywords" across the top of the blank space. For example, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have lacrosse conditioning and I normally only have time for homework on those afternoons. Thus, I write "LAX/HW" on those days.On Mondays, I normally set up my to-do list for the rest of the week, so it would include mundane items like laundry, word count, etc,. That's when I decide what "small to-do items" go in my week: should I do blog work on Tuesday or Wednesday? Those get added to throughout the week depending on what I find out later.Wednesdays and Thursdays are normally the heaviest study days, and so I plan accordingly. I usually can't do any business on those days, and so most of what makes up my online identity - publishing, book clubs, blogging - goes on those days. I'm taking Latin II online so I tend to do that on the weekend as well. On weekends, I have work and so I use that space for a weekend to-do list. For example, I'd write print community service forms, look over editing project, and schedule for upcoming week. There are a few items I do every day. I check my email, update my social media with whatever I'm reading or announcements. I try to hit my word count every day.On my monthly pages, I write down all the tests/quizzes/due dates as well as major events on the side. I have lacrosse events highlighted in green and work in pink. Aside from that, I use whatever pens and colors that I have available.
My Google Tools
I use Google Calendar so often, not for my personal life but strictly for blogging. I work on two blogs - Words Like Silver and Lit Up Review - and sporadically post on my writing blog, so it takes a lot to manage them. Additionally, having them visually drawn up helps me plan. Should I put in more reviews? Do I have too many discussion posts? (Never!)One of my goals for the year was to get better about scheduling posts further in advance - that is, having more consistent posting based on a plan I'd draw up months in advance. It's partly due to the girls over at Lit Up Review that I was even able to whip my blog into shape that way. It's still a work in progress, but the calendar definitely helps.I have fallen more and more in love with Google Drive. It's so convenient. I have a slight addiction to spreadsheets, and so the easy organization and access of it is so appealing to me. It's easy to share with other bloggers, schoolmates, and other people I have to get things to. It's helpful for when I need to access something at school but can't email (thanks to the web filter) or don't have a flash drive. Additionally, being able to work on something with another person at the same time is invaluable.I had some blogger friends who made a wonderful 2015 releases spreadsheet - and saved me the trouble of making my own. Using Google Drive, I made a copy of it and annotate for a few things.-Books I'm going to request-Books I want to research more about-Books I have and need to read-Books I have read and need to reviewBottom line: spreadsheets are magnificent.
My Other Ideas
I'm always looking for new ways to be productive - new ways to keep myself doing more, being more, reading/writing/loving more. Needless to say, I have a few tools and ideas that I'm going to utilize around the new year and Christmastime.Victoria Schwab has a desk-calendar system where she uses colorful stickers to keep track of word count, classes, etc,. Instead of an events planner, like I have above, it's more of an accomplishment calendar. If she goes to the gym, she gets a gold star. If she writes 500 words, she gets a different color. I bought a 2015 desk-calendar for the same purpose, in the hopes that it will visually motivate me to work on different endeavors and decide what to prioritize on a given day.I'm planning on using the same system for the following categories: 500 words (MS), portfolio work, Florida Virtual School/extra studying, and blog posts written. Here's my rough draft. (If you see the legal pad peeking out from beneath my calendar, there's another hint for you: I'm a major legal pad person. And they make me freakishly productive.I've told my twin sister that I desperately, desperately want the planner I found online. It's a blog notepad planner, and it's the cutest thing ever. She's already ordered it as my Christmas present and I couldn't be happier!The shop description is for "passionate, creative people" and I definitely fit the bill. I like being organized, but I'm messily passionate about what I do. Heart and Arrow makes the most adorable planner and it fits my blogging process. It's clean, black-and-white, and scarily accurate.It goes day-by-day, with space to write what blog post will go up on whichever day. A little checklist at the bottom of the day has different tasks - write post, add images, proof & edit, and schedule. It's perfect for me because I can't use all the room in my calendar to schedule out the little things, but I often write a post at a different time than I format it. The checklist to the right of every day has different social media outlets with checkboxes by them: Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook. That's positively perfect for when I publicize various items.Finally, at the bottom, it has boxes with titles like "blogspiration" and additional tasks like "comment on other blogs". While I do wish it had the same checkboxes for the weekend, it shouldn't be too hard to figure out my weekly blog tasks using this one! And it's adorable. (Note: Heart & Arrow was in no way involved with this blog post; I just love 'em.)