If there’s one question I’ve been getting over and over and over again for the last two years or so is “but!!! FADWA!!! How do you manage to stay on op of blogging on top of everything else?” and let me tell you, it’s called Anxiety. Well, that and having a Virgo mother but, details. On a more serious note, a huge part of the reason behind me being so organized and on top of everything really is anxiety, I can’t really rest if it’s nagging at the back of my brain, so I HAD to find a way to visualize everything I have to do and actually…you know…do it. In this post I will share EVERYTHING I use to maximize my productivity in the hopes that some of it works for you as well.
A little less than a year ago, I made a similar post where I detailed in two part how I stay on top of reading and blogging. And although some of it still applies (re: my love and use of spreadsheets), most of it has changed DRASTICALLY. And the most important difference is that I stopped using a bullet journal, which was too time consuming for me, and digitalized almost all of it.
I know a lot of people who love BuJo so if that works for you, by all means, keep it!! But I just found that for me it was too much of a hassle and I stopped keeping it up to date. Plus having everything in digital form is WAY more accessible for me because I can have everything on my phone and it’s just a lot faster to update.
These are the loves of my life. I’ve been using mostly the same system for almost as long as I’ve been blogging and it’s been working wonderfully well. I have three separate spreadsheets, one is for reading and two are for blogging:
My blogging schedule
This is the one thing that stayed the same for three years. I’ve never changed it and use it to have an overview of all the posts I need to get done. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I have a set type of posts for every day I post, Wednesday is the only day that tends to vary, so with the spreadsheet layout and the color coded system, I can easily figure out how many of each type of posts I need to do and gauge the number of hours (yes, hours) each will take me, so I know what days I’ll have enough time to actually write them and how much time to allocate to them.
- The highlighted ones are the ones that went up.
- Different colors I use: Blue for reviews, yellow for discussion posts, purple for #DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss posts, red for wrap-ups, green for book tags or book lists, orange for monthly features and pink for random things.
- Different statues I use: Drafted – Scheduled – Read/Reading when it’s a book review.
- Also,,, sneek peak of this week’s posts hehe.
My reading tracker
This is also something I’ve been using for a while but I completely redid it for 2019, it’s mostly the same, I still track all book related info but I detailed the diversity square and added the cross-posting square because otherwise I lose track of what I shared to goodreads and what I didn’t.
- Explaining everything about this will take forever, you can find my FULL spreadsheet here, which, once you check it out, is pretty self-explanatory.
- I also use it to track series that I’m reading because otherwise they slip my mind and go unread 5ever.
- I also decided to make a TEMPLATE this time around for those of you who want to use it. Just make sure to make a copy before using it so the original template can be available for others to use.
I won’t share this one because 1/ it’s of no interest to y’all, it’s very specific to my blog and 2/ it has other people’s info, as well as their post ideas. But what it basically is, is a way for me to keep track of what each person wants to talk about, whether I’ve contacted them or not, when to expect their posts and whether I’ve received a draft, the whole post, or nothing at all. I legit wouldn’t be able to keep up with this feature if not for this system.
THIS IS MY 2019 DISCOVERY AND COUP DE COEUR!!! (idk if there’s an english translation for that phrase oops). This is the app that truly replaced my bullet journal because it’s just that all-encompassing and intuitive. You might have heard me talk about it in my 2019 goals post, but to reiterate, it’s both a website and a phone app that allows you to create boards for anything and everything you might want to track in list form, they’re completely customisable and you can also link your boards to different apps. I have many boards, but only two that may be of interest to you:
My Blogging Calendar
This might sound redundant because I already have a spreadsheet for this but where I use the spreadsheet as an overview, I use this board to break down my spreadsheet, and have a much more in depth view of my blogging. That as well as the fact that I use it beyond just my monthly schedule. Which is a lifesaver, because before this year I used to forget about some posts until almost due date and then I had to scramble to do them haha, now I have a lot more peace of mind and blogging doesn’t stress me out nearly as much. I’m gonna walk you through every list of mine but some of them are blacked out because uhh, I’m not putting my ideas on the internet before I even get to use them.
- List 1 – This Month: The posts for the on-going month that I still need to schedule.
- List 2 – Scheduled: The posts for the on-going months that are done and ready for posting.
- List 3 – Blogging Ideas: This is my brain dump of all post ideas, the one I choose from when I’m planning my month. I have three types of labels: Red – Solid outline in mind. Orange – Needs some brushing up. Yellow – Vague idea.
- List 4 – #DiverseBookBloggersDiscuss: This is where I put the posts that won’t be included in the ongoing month but that are underway: Blue – Drafted (by the guest poster). Purple – Received. Green – Scheduled.
- List 5 – Tags and Awards: This is to keep track of the things I was tagged in but haven’t gotten around to doing yet.
- List 6 – To review: The books that I finished and need to review.
- List 7– Reviewed: Where I move the books from list 6 once I schedule the review and before it goes up.
This is also helpful because I can also add posting dates to posts that don’t come out in the on-going month but that are pretty much set in stone and I Should Not Forget About. Once the month rolls around, I just move the different posts from their previous lists to This Month and TADA, I have it all in one tiny column.
I have this linked to a Calendar so whenever I want an overview and to see how everything looks and if everything is scheduled right, I just wip that out and can see immediately if a post is put -by mistake- on a day where it doesn’t belong.
I am the type of person who’s going to purchase an ebook she’s been dying to read when it’s on sale but won’t read it for months (or years) because I just forgot I had it. I’m also the type of person who doesn’t separate her physical unread books from the read ones so I don’t have a visual of how big my TBR is so THAT is when this board comes in handy:
- List 1 – Monthly TBR: The books I’m planning to read in the current month.
- List 2 – Read: Those from my monthly TBR I already red.
- List 3 – Arcs to read.
- List 4 – Physical TBR.
- List 5 – eBook TBR.
As you can see I don’t track my Arcs on a spreadsheet anymore because this is way easier and faster and I can sort them in a way that I know which I have to read ASAP and which can still wait.
I also have A LOT of labels in this board. Most of them are for genres so I won’t walk you through them since they’re arbitrary but three of them are for my level of excitement about the book: Light blue – Very excited. Purple: Excited. Pink: Meh.
This is a little gem of an app that I use for, you guessed it, habit tracking. Since I do most my blogging and blog-hopping in the week end, I don’t track those. I only track three things on this app: working out, studying German, and the only blog related thing is posting on bookstagram. This is very handy because you can set which days you want your habit tracking to apply to and it send you reminders in case you forget (which I do. A lot.)
This is pretty much the only part of my organization that isn’t digital and only use it for my to-do lists. I have a Kate Spade one but honestly, any planner with weekly (or daily) layouts would do. I have two types of to do lists.
- Monthly to-do list: These are things I want to do during the month but am pretty flexible on and can do at any point in the month. So depending on which days have a lighter load are the ones that I’m going to be putting these things in.
- Daily to-do lists: These are things I’m going to do on a daily basis and they help me to visualize what days I have to get a lot done and have to maximize my time and the days that are more chill and I have more time to do things I need to get done.
My daily to-do lists are a mash-up of work, studying, blogging, working out, chores, etc… and they help me focus my energy, not get overwhelmed and freeze from anxiety and also not forget anything. I think that this is what made the biggest different in my day to day life: I find myself procrastinating less and doing more, since I have a plan to follow for the day and items to check off a list. I don’t find myself getting as scatter-brained anymore.
If you’e curious as to how I do my blogging, I detailed it in this post here that my friend cw put together but the gist of it is that I do the BULK (meaning 90%) of my blogging, during my off days (which for now, happen to be the week-end) so post writing and scheduling on Saturday, blog-hopping and replying to comments on Sunday. If we’re being real though, there’s also almost always some left over scheduling to be done on Sunday.
One thing that works in my favor (or maybe not?) is that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to sit still doing nothing so if i’m not working, i’m studying. If I’m not studying, I’m at the gym. If I’m not at the gym, I’m doing chores. If I’m not doing chores, I’m blogging. And if I’m doing none of that then I’m reading. I mainly read at night when I’m in bed or on my lunch break. Probably not the healthiest since I tend to exhaust myself but OH WELL.
So there’s honestly no secret recipe to blogging, all it boils down to is maximizing your time and being efficient and smart with the few hours you have. Even if only a couple hours a week, no one says you need to post every day, or even every week. You can post whenever you have time and/or feel like it.
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That’s it until next time.
Do you use any apps and/or websites, tips and tricks to stay on top of your blogging and reading?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.