Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Book Bloggers Staying Organized

How do you stay organized as a book blogger?  Do you use specific tools, paper calendars, notebooks, or fly by the seat of your pants?  My personal favorite tools include a combination of hard copy weekly calendar, Google Calendar, and Evernote.  Let's take a quick look at how I use each one of these . . .
  • Weekly Calendar:  Yes, I use a hard copy weekly calendar to keep track of my posts for my personal book blog!  Using only pencil, I write in what posts I have scheduled, what I hope to get scheduled, and map out all blogging and book related tasks to better plan accordingly.  And, of course, I only use pencil so that I can adjust easily when life gets in the way.
  • Google Calendar:  Since I assist with multiple book-related blogs, the shared calendar feature (complete with color coordination) can be so helpful in scheduling posts and communicating with my fellow teammates.  In addition, I also keep track of blogging events along with my family events to get the bigger picture of what is coming my way and organize my time accordingly.
  • Evernote:  This is my new favorite app!  If you have not checked it out, be sure to check out the website to see all the possibilities.  I use the free version, but sync it among my phone, personal computer, and laptop for easy access at all times.  I keep track of which reviews need to be written here, notes or ideas that come to me while out running errands, along with my own personal lists (i.e., things to do, groceries, etc.).  
With these three tools, I feel like I am quite organized!  But, I am also finding that I can always improve, so I put out a call to my fellow bloggers to find out what tools they use to stay organized, both for planning and with their time.  Here is what a couple of them had to say . . . 


I've tried several different tools in an effort to keep my blogging organized, but nothing has stuck like ToDoist. It's available on almost any platform or device you can imagine and has tons of features, many of which I haven't even scratched the surface of. Though I have the Android apps downloaded on my phone and Nook HD+, the main way I use ToDoist is through the Chrome Extension, which adds a little pop out icon to the top of my browser. I absolutely love the easy access of having my tasks right where I'm always working.

ToDoist works by having you set up larger projects, which are then filled by individual tasks. So, I set my projects as upcoming months and then work on filling in my monthly blogging tasks during that time period. Once a task is complete, you check it off and it disappears (though you can still find it, and awesome productivity statistics, in the web version). ToDoist also lets you tag your tasks into separate categories, which show up under the name. So, I'll set up a monthly project well before the month begins, which you can see in the October photo, just to remind me when books are being published during that month. Then, as I read those books and set up a date to review them by, I change the pub tag to review.

The nice thing about ToDoist is that it's really easy to customize. You can make the projects and tasks whatever you want, there are no rules - so it's just about playing around and figuring out what works for you!

Tanya of Mom's Small Victories

I recently read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and developed a planner of my own from a template he suggested. I adapted it for my various roles as mom (aka chef, housekeeper, educator, accountant and taxi service), wife, individual and blogger and it's color coded! Using this planner template, I create daily and weekly goals for each of my roles as well as input the Cozi appointments and commitments for the upcoming week. While much of my time is dedicated to my family, I am sure to dedicate goals and time to writing specific blog posts and networking on social media. I plan my schedule on Saturday for the following week and even copy links to recipes in the planner so it's easier for me to find them when I am ready to cook and then include them in a Small Victory Sunday post.


I print one copy to hang in the kitchen so I can stay focused on my daily tasks and check off my goals as I go along. The electronic version is maintained in Google docs so that both my husband and I can access it. If I don't accomplish a goal in the current week, it's easy enough to copy and paste the goal into the following week's planner. When it's time to work on my blog, I already have thought out what I will be writing about, it's a just matter of getting it done!

Aside from the planner in Google Docs, I also use the Cozi app and online calendar to schedule all my family's appointment. It is color coded as well and my blog has it's own color too, it's like a part of the family. I love that Cozi is accessible online and on our Android phones and that all family members can add and see appointments in the calendar. I can set reminders that are sent to everyone's email and phone when an appointment involves them. For my blog, I add the scheduled events, twitter chats and other reminders of deadlines I need to meet in the family calendar, reminders are sent to my blog's email and I can even assign a To Do list to my blog to keep a comprehensive list of my blog post ideas. The combination of my Google Docs planner and Cozi really helps ensure that I incorporate time for my blog into my busy life.

(Tanya recently shared more information on this topic, complete with a link to a blank template, over on her own site.)

Thank you to Shannon and Tanya for sharing their organizational widsom!

What tools do you use to stay organized and manage your time?  What are your best blog organizational and management tips?

14 comments :

  1. I blog using WordPress, and it has a great plug-in called Editorial Calendar. It allows you to see a month at a glance, drag and drop posts onto different dates, quick-edit right from the calendar, easily see drafts that are not finished, etc. I love it!

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    1. Carrie ... That sounds like a great resource! I don't use WordPress though, so I can't check it out! :(

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    2. Wow! I use Wordpress.org and have not seen this! Are you on Wordpress.com or .org because this sounds great!

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    3. Catherine - No, I have self-hosted Wordpress, so I'm not sure if it's available on Wordpress.com or not.

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    4. Carrie, you are amazing! I can't wait to check out the plugin!!!

      -Rebecca @ Love at First Book

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  2. Thanks Tif for sharing these great tips. I'm a big fan of Evernote as well! There are so many great tools. I'll have to check out Shannon's ToDoList also.

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    1. Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories ... I feel like I am only skimming the surface of Evernote too! I think I could use it for so much more once I play around with it more! And, thank YOU for sharing as well!! :)

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  3. I use Todoist for my to do lists, but hadn't thought of organizing my blog list by month like Shannon does -- really brilliant idea!

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    1. Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) ... I really love to hear how people use different apps/tools because we can all put a different spin on it!

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    2. I think I first heard about ToDoist from you, Kim!

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  4. I'm an old pen and paper girl, but I just might give ToDoist a try. Just need to schedule myself some time....

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    1. 52booksorbust ... That is exactly why I still use my weekly planner too! I love the help of technology, but nothing beats my good ol' pencil and planner! :)

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  5. Right now I exclusively use google calendar and it's just not working for me, so I'm excited to try out some of the tools mentioned in this post :)

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    1. DoingDewey ... Keep us posted on what you find and use!!

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