30 November 2014

Keeping it all moving

As 2014 comes to a close, I am looking ahead to 2015 and the many ongoing projects I am a part of. This evaluation process made me realize that I am actively involved in writing for five blogs! That's quite a bit to keep track of, so I took the time to work out a system.

The first of the year is coming! The first of the year is coming! 

As we all start to realize that 2015 is just a few short weeks away, I took a good, hard look at my organizational process for the blogs that I am involved in. There are five, and combined with my other responsibilities, it's easy to lose track and lose time. Planning ahead, and keeping that plan within quick reach, is essential to my success. 

Although I do not normally write a lot of "how to organize" posts, I wanted all of this in writing somewhere, so here we are. A few simple proactive steps to get me set up for success. 

First, I use the Arc system from Staples to keep my paper things together. Yes, I use Evernote and ToDoist in my virtual life, but I still love to have things in front of me, in writing. With blogs, I use calendars. Simple, straight forward calendars. When I am working on a project that includes more people, I prefer to have a shared Google calendar in place, but I always, always, have it laid out on paper, too. There's something to be said about scratching off each post as it is finished... it's just satisfying. The Arc system is a disc style planner (like this one), and I L.O.V.E. my planner. There are other brands available, but I like the options that Staples offers, and at a reasonable price. I actually have two - one for my full time job at Findmypast and one for "everything else." 

One of the best investments I ever made was finding the specialized hole punch for the disc bound planner system (like this one). I grabbed it on clearance a while back, and I love that I can use it to add any old piece of paper I want to my planner; I do not have to purchase anything new or special. With that in mind, I went in search of some printables to help me move into 2015... 

For me, these needed to have two essential elements: clean, simple style, and the ability to customize the same template for each of the blogs I am a part of. Although I found some great examples on Pinterest, none of them quite met my needs (see my Discbound Planner board). I moved to Microsoft Word to see what options I had that might better accommodate what I had in my head, and I found the "Monthly and Weekly Planning Calendar." 

Template found on Word

This template was modified to meet my needs, and it will be an easy one to print and keep moving forward with throughout the year. With consistent use, I'll be on top of my blogging goals for the duration of 2015. The flexibility of the template will allow me to adapt to changing needs and "we've got to post this today" situations. After working to put all this together, I decided it was an hour well spent, and I'm already putting together content ideas for the first few months. 

For those who are interested, you can download my template here. See if it works for you. If not, find something else that does. If you can stick to a blogging calendar, you may just be surprised at your level of productivity on the blog; they are essential tools in keeping your site moving. 

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