Ever try to cook a meal in a messy kitchen? None of your utensils are where they should be, and you barely have any room to do anything. And if you don’t have a reliable timer, you’re likely to burn something.
That’s kind of what it’s like blogging without a decent system of organization. Since bloggers are often their own boss, it’s important for them to stay on top of their game and keep their work in a state of order. But with a creative (and often chaotic) process like blogging, that can be a challenge.
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Here are 5 simple things bloggers can do to stay organized.
1. Establish “Office Hours” for Yourself
When you work from home and set your own schedule, getting motivated to actually work can be difficult. Setting aside a specific block of time for work is a good way to establish balance with the rest of your life. You’ll be more productive while you’re working, and you’ll feel less guilty and more able to recharge when you’re not working.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to create an 8 hour work day for yourself like a conventional job. Splitting up your day into a set of intervals specifically for work might be a better fit, depending on what fits best with your schedule.
2. Create a Productive Environment
One of the perks of blogging is that you can do it anywhere, even lying in bed in your pajamas. But for many people, it’s difficult to get work done in that sort of environment—and that can lead to missing deadlines.
Consider creating a specific workspace for yourself. A home office is most convenient for organization, especially if you have some sort of filing system in place. If you’re a digital nomad and that’s not possible, you could also pick out your favorite coffee shop and think of that as your workspace. Having a designated “work area” helps keep you on task and compartmentalize your work life with your personal life.
It’s nice being able to wear sweatpants every day, but there’s a reason they say “dress for the job you want.” The way you dress affects your overall mindset, so if you want to be more organized, wearing a more formal and neat outfit might help with that.
3. Create an Editorial Calendar
If you do nothing else, you’re definitely going to want to establish an editorial calendar for yourself. This is a schedule of all the upcoming content in your queue and when you plan to publish it. It should also include any additional content with an established publish date, such as newsletters or social media posts and promotions.
It’s easy enough to set up a calendar in Google Docs, but you may also want to consider creating a hard copy version. Not only is this easy to refer to when you don’t have immediate access to the Internet, it’s also handy if you want to present your upcoming content to a potential partner in a clean, professional way. Plus, some people just prefer to work with a pen and paper more than a digital file.
4. Use a Tabbed Binder
Once you become self-employed, your taxes suddenly get a lot more complicated. You’ll have to start paying quarterly estimated taxes, tracking income and expenses, and adding up your deductions. That means a whole lot of paperwork, and it’s easy for things to get mixed up or lost.
A tabbed 3-ring binder is an excellent way to keep your various documents in order, sorted into labeled sections. You might split it up into “income,” “expenses,” and whatever types of other deductions are most relevant to you. Since you’ll likely need to refer to previous tax years too, you’ll probably want multiple binders.
5. Keep a Notepad Handy
Anyone who works in a creative field knows that coming up with ideas is one of the hardest parts. It’s difficult enough keeping your own thoughts and imagination organized, but one thing that helps is keeping a notepad nearby so you can jot down ideas. These don’t need to be fully formed outlines; sometimes a simple phrase or even a single word can inspire a highly engaging post.
Depending on what type of subject matter you blog about, you might seek out inspiration in different ways. If you’re mostly a visual thinker, you might prefer to work with a sketch pad or mood board. Whatever brainstorming method you choose, make sure you have the materials on hand to make a record of your ideas.
Blogging is a field that allows us a lot of freedom, but for many of us, it’s easy to fall into bad habits. If you can stay vigilant about your organization, your content will end up a lot better for it.
Do you have tips or techniques for staying organized as a blogger? Share them In the comments!