I think often times, we feel that we don’t even have the time to get organized let alone an hour or two to sit down and organize our to do list. However, it’s quite the contrary. Every time I brain dump my to do list, it makes it SO much easier to figure out what has to get done right now, and what I can get started on right away as opposed to what can wait for a week or two.
Plus, it allows me to remember everything I need to do without forgetting something important and then upsetting a client. It also stops me from taking far too much on my plate, and then getting overwhelmed with having a crazy, oh my goodness, I am NEVER going to get all of this done (ever) type of feeling.
Having a massive and mental to do list for too long is really bad for your health. That probably seems a bit silly to hear, however I know from first hand experience that being unorganized is detrimental to your blog or business and growth is next to impossible. When you decide to organize your to do list, you will find yourself feeling less stressed and a ton more productive.
Whether you battle to organize your to do list daily, weekly or monthly (yearly too, huh?) these five strategies will help you finally take back your time and set your blog or business up for steady growth. I even created a set of worksheets that will help you get started RIGHT NOW (no excuses).
Break down your tasks
HAVE TO DO
These are tasks that you have to get done (like, yesterday). Ones that you committed to awhile ago, your everyday tasks that are super essential for running your blog or business. This could be things like, sending our your regular newsletter. Getting that blog post out and scheduled, printing off your Etsy shipping lables. This also includes things that you have committed yourself to, such as that Guest Post you promised, or the free ebook you are working on (that you promised to subscribers and it’s not yet finished).
This also isn’t limited to much needed design changes on your blog or business site, adding new products to your shop, or anything else you feel is super important to the success and growth of your business. Think of these things as stuff that has to get done right away, no exceptions.
SOON TO DO
These are tasks that also need to get done, but ones that don’t demand your complete and immediate attention. This could be setting up a new client in your project management system by next week. Or, it could be emailing a blogger who you would like to collaborate with. Setting up a giveaway, installing and designing your new theme or finally working on getting your brand and website revamp in order.
These are items that can wait until after the more important tasks are done, and ones that you want to get completed within a matter of a few weeks.
WANT TO DO
Now, you may be thinking it’s strange to have a ‘want to do list’. However, when you are making goals for your blog or business it’s really important to plan for them! When you plan for things that you WANT to do, such as a new opt in freebie, a new ecourse, that ebook you have had on your mind for ages is actually puts you in the planning process. It allows you to realistically figure out how much time it will take, and when you can get started.
There is something about writing it down and getting it out of your head that motivates you that much more to turn it from thought to product! Once you get a scope of how much time your have to’s and soon to do’s take, you can (and should) make time for your want to do’s. This will avoid total and complete burn out by spending time working on tasks that aren’t necessarily your favorite but are important.
Scheduling time into your schedule to be creative keeps you pumped and refreshed!
Time Block your tasks
If there are tasks that you always do, you should know how long it takes you to complete each one. For example, if you have been blogging for a bit you know that writing a blog post from start to finish takes you 3 hours. Writing and scheduling your weekly newsletter could take 1 hour. Adding an affiliate banner to your sidebar and to a post or two, could take 15 minutes. Setting up a client in your project management system, perhaps 10 minutes.
Some projects are brand new to you, so you may not be sure how long to time them as. You can always over estimate your time by 15-30 minutes to give you a bit of padding for when you are not certain. Once you have all of your tasks down (by following step 1) you can add decide on how long you will have each day to work on those specific tasks, and then make a plan on how you will start getting them done (woo!).
Dedicate time each day to work on your list
If you know you have 2 hours per day to work on your to do’s, then you can choose to get one big task out of the way, two tasks that take an hour or 4 that take 30 minutes. This will help you when trying to decide what to do, and when it needs to be done. For me, there is nothing worse then having to start and stop something several times.
There is a super app called *Timecamp that you can use on your pc or smart phone OR integrate with a project management system like Asana or Todoist (keep reading, project management platforms are tip number four!) it’s free for one user, or just $6 per month if you have a team. It allows you to see how much time you and your team are spending on projects which will overall give you a more realistic idea of how much time you have in a day to get stuff done.
Use a Project Management System
Luckily, there are fabulous project management systems that are really intuitive and completely free to work from. It all depends on your preference and what you need! I use a combination of two, though I am slowly migrating over to one platform to save my sanity (I was using four!).
For far too long I was relying on mental to do lists. With two blogs, a business and a whole bunch of clients I am fairly certain I was off my rocker. I was really stressed, and my client management really suffered. I always forgot things, until I was out and about and wasn’t a place where I could actually get it done.
One of my favorite bloggers and designers, Nesha, introduced me to Asana and I have never looked back. She even has a free course on how to get started using the platform, which teaches you all the basics and will help you get up and running in literally no time at all.
Asana. This is my favorite platform. It allows you to create unlimited projects on their free plan, and you can add tasks and sections to really organize what you need to get done. If you are a creative business, this is also a fabulous platform for working with clients and teams. Asana is also beautifully designed and really intuitive, plus super functional because you can upload files and attachments as well as keep track of conversations within each task.
Todoist. I often go here to brain dump when I have a big project I am working on and I can just literally type, enter, type enter. This is second best to actual pen and pad if you are a super visual person, and their pro plan does allow for file attachments. I have also had clients who found todoist really simple, so for small projects I tend to choose this for collaborations.
You can also look into Evernote or Trello if you find one of these two aren’t really your cup of tea. I have used both of these as well, and they are wonderful tools. I just find Asana a bit easier to use with clients and collaborations.
Get some help!
Hiring a virtual assistant may not be in your budget, however there is no harm in bartering services with a fabulous VA! I currently have two wonderfully talented women I work with, and bartering with them have been such an amazing asset to my business. Juci, who lives over at Code and Glitter, needed some help with branding. I was swamped with tedious admin tasks so when we met in a Facebook Group, we immediately clicked.
She is amazing with code and knows a lot of great techy stuff, so she is my go to when I need some help with something I just don’t have time for. We even bounce ideas off of each other and come up with great ways to collaborate to enhance both of our creative businesses and those of our clients!
Another amazing lady I work with is Karrie, who is super punctual and very driven. She helped me out a ton when I decided to rebrand my business and has done everything from moving and scheduling blog posts to creating new images from old posts to match my brand. She helps me stay organized, edits all of my materials and is SO organized it literally keeps me sane. She is also in the process of launching her own Virtual Assistant business at KarrieMarie, so it made sense to design an amazing brand for her while getting some much needed help in my own business. You can get in touch with her here while we are working on branding her site.
If you are currently swamped and feel that you have literally no time to get anything done, consider hiring (or bartering) for an assistant. Even if you aren’t making much from your blog or you feel your business hasn’t afforded you the opportunity to do so just yet, consider hiring someone to help get admin tasks out of the way a few times every other month. If you are planning a launch of a new product, service or course than hire out when you could use some support.
Getting the social media posts done, the blog posts and newsletters scheduled and the pinnable images created takes a ton of time. So imagine if you had some help with ALL of that, how much time would you have left over? Probably enough time to finally get that ecourse or ebook done and launched!
Keep an eye out in Facebook groups as well, as more times than not you can find amazing and talented Virtual Assistants who are willing to give discounts on their services in exchange for the experience and an honest testimonial. It’s all about networking!
So, what will you do?
I know, I know. You probably feel a bit overwhelmed right now and I get it. You have lots to do, or maybe you feel that you don’t really need a system in place right now. I can’t force you, though I can pretty much promise that organizing your to do’s, even as a blogger or small business, will make your life so much easier.
Getting setup will literally take no time at all. So go ahead. Download the free worksheets and relieve that brain of all those built of to do’s. Sign up for Asana, take charge of your time with *Timecamp. Literally, it’s a magical feeling when you have a system in place and no more stress!
So tell me, do you have a system in place? What’s your favorite tools to get organized and manage your projects and time?