Whether you are a new blogger or a small business owner staying organized, efficient, and on task can be a challenge. If you are like most bloggers and business owners there are constant distractions throughout your workday that pull your concentration away from the task at hand. Your work productivity can be severely compromised if you do not set in place effective organizational systems from the beginning.
Get Organized and Stay Organized as a Blogger
As work at home bloggers and business owners we need to make the most of our time. Time is truly money in the business world. Thankfully plenty of bloggers have gone before us so we don’t have to reinvent the organizational wheel. We need only to find the wheel that fits best for us.
In speaking with fellow bloggers and online small business owners the following 5 key steps have helped them stay organized and productive in their work from home space.
Set Office Hours
When you are ready to get serious about your blog or online business set office hours. Even if it is only part-time, it is very important that you designate specific work hours. Those that work outside of the home have office hours, the same should remain true for those that work at home. Something as simple as early morning, nap time, and evening hours will help establish a work routine thereby increasing productivity. If you are fortunate enough to be able to block out office hours during the typical workday then please do so. You have to find what works for you and your family’s schedule. When setting work hours commit to sticking to them, resist temptation to skip them instead opting for a non-business related activity. Avoid outside non-work related appointments during your set office hours. When you steer clear of the temptation to meet friends during your set office hours you will increase productivity, business profits, achieve your goals.
Dedicated work space
As you decide on your work hours you need to also prepare a dedicated work space. Productivity and organizational abilities increase exponentially when you have a specific place for all of your work related paperwork and other necessities. You will not need to shuffle papers and important business documents off of family areas when you have a specified area to work. A work area also allows for a clearer separation between personal and work time. When you are in your work zone it is time to work and focus. When you leave your desk area you have clocked out and are now on personal time. Making this distinction might sound trivial but it truly makes a huge difference in productivity and organization of your work related projects.
Online filing cabinets (Onenote, Evernote)
Blogging is largely an online industry. Bloggers write, research, create images, and network from their computers. Keeping track of your blog post ideas, images, inspiration, networking contact information, and other digital files is easier with an online filing system. Online filing cabinets such as Evernote, DropBox, and OneNote for Microsoft users work wonders for saving, organizing, and collecting everything you need to run your blogging or online business smoothly and efficiently. The beauty of these online filing cabinets is that you can access your filing system from any electronic device. Bookmarklets and the websites make working from a laptop or desktop easy while apps of the same name allow you to save additional notes, web links, and write blog posts from your smart phone or tablet. With the help of these systems there is truly no where you can not get work accomplished.
Now that you have designated your office hours, setup your workspace, and created your online filing cabinet system it is time to organize the various aspects of your blogging business. A blog planner will help you transform the scattered sheets of paper, sticky notes, and to-do lists into an organized and easy to find system. Utilizing a planner might not come naturally to you. Personally, using a planner is something I struggled with for the longest time. I am not a planner-type of person at all so I just assumed I didn’t need a paper planner for my blogging business. One day as I sat staring at a blank computer screen desperately trying to type out a coherent article my thoughts were scattered all over the place. I couldn’t for a sensical paragraph to save my life because I was not organized. I had not taken the time to write down my post thoughts and ideas nor did I have the proper resources to organize my article ideas.
My frustration and lack of productivity led me on a search for the perfect blog planner. A good blog planner includes all of the forms, trackers, and organizers that you need to not only get your writing organized but every other portion of blogging business as well. Are you tracking your mileage, business expenses, contacts, link parties, meeting notes, or any of the other vital components of running your online business effectively? A good blog planner will get you so organized that you will be able to transition seamlessly from writing to managing the business side of your blog.
As I mentioned, I was not a planner type of person at all until I found myself over my head and overwhelmed with writing and managing my business. I just couldn’t keep it all up in my any longer, I needed to write it down so I could remember it later and focus on the task at hand. After extensive searching and various recommendations by my blogging friends, I found the Blog Like a Pro Planner and have absolutely fallen in love. I purchased the master planner package and it has every form I could possibly need to write and manage my growing blog business.
Finally, mind maps are the last element you will need to get organized and focused on your blogging business. Much like spiderwebs, thought webs, or brainstorming exercises, mind maps are graphic organizers that help you organize you thoughts around a particular blog post. Mind maps are also great if you are planning a blog series or you want to write a variety of posts on a similar topic without repeating yourself.
Mind maps are also a great way to get around writers block. Using a graphic organizer you can brain dump your ideas, thoughts, and inspiration to get your writing back on track.
The Blog Like a Pro Planner I mentioned has a wide variety of highly useful mind maps including these free ones for HMM readers.
Behind every successful blogger and online business owner is a beautiful system of organization. If you are ready to be a professional in your chosen online business field then it is time to get organized. Set office hours, a designated work space, online and easily accessible filing systems, a planner, and mind maps will all help you achieve the business goals you have set for yourself and your company.