How I Manage My Blog – Being Productive
Last week, I outlined the bare bones of how I manage my blog. A quick recap: first, I tried to find out what exactly I wanted to post (be it reviews, discussions, memes, or a mix thereof). Secondly, I tried to mold that image I had of what I wanted to post into a weekly schedule. Today I’ll talk about how I fill in that schedule, and how it helps me stay ahead and boost the total number of posts I create every week.
Filling all the squares
I don’t know about you, but I love the satisfaction it gives to cross off a task. This works with to do lists, but also my blogging schedule. It feels so good to see that I’m ahead, that I have posts scheduled to go up, and that I don’t have to do anything at the moment because I already accomplished so much. To get to this point, I make a visual reminder of how far ahead I am. Behold, the holy blogging schedule (click to make bigger).
If this looks familiar, that’s because I’ve been using the same format ever since December 2013 (proof). I keep using it because it’s perfect for what I want. I save the document with my month overviews in Dropbox, and edit it every time I blog. Let’s dive some more into how I use the calendar.
As I discussed last week, I have a weekly schedule of what I want to post. On Sundays, I always do The Sunday Post, so first thing I do for every month is adding Sunday Post on every Sunday. Next, I add tour dates (if I have any) so I don’t forget about them. Then, I fill in some fun post ideas I have for Wednesdays. For this month, I’ve been considering doing a vlog in which I sort my shelves, which I put on the 18th. I do the same for Irresponsible Cactus posts, which I post on Thursdays. Finally, I add reviews I want to post that month into their slots on Monday and Friday.
This is where it gets real fun. I have these periods in which I read A LOT. Instead of just dumping the lot onto my blogs, I write the reviews, and then write down that I’ve written the review. Which keeps adding up until you get something like this (click to make bigger).
Well, hello there, gorgeous. These are all the reviews I made, just waiting to be posted. When I fill in a review into a slot, I’ll mark that review as orange in its list, and write down the date of which it will be posted next to it. Orange in the monthly schedule means that I have written the review, but that the review post hasn’t been scheduled yet. Once it’s scheduled, I’ll make it green, as you can see with my review of Unhinged on the 27th. Full reviews get a slot of their own, mini reviews I keep collecting until I get a set of them that I can post together (so either a few books in a series, or books in the same genre). I love messing around with this schedule, moving reviews from slot to slot until I’m happy with how they’re spread. When I read a review book that’s due to be posted as soon as possible, I simply delete the original book I had planned for that slot, and make it black again in the list.
The best thing about working with my blog like this, is that I can always work on something I’m in the mood for. Feeling like writing some mini reviews? Great, I’ll add them to the list! Got a fantastic idea for a discussion post? Sure, let’s add it to the schedule. It works incredibly well with being a slightly moody person. Sometimes I just don’t feel like blogging at all – and I don’t have to. But the moments I do feel like blogging, I can easily make the most of it. I can work ahead as far as I feel like, because I already know what I can do to fill up my schedule. I don’t need to procrastinate, because I don’t blog for tomorrow. I’ll be working on posts for next month. And if I don’t feel like writing that one post, maybe I will feel like it next week.
When I sit down to do some blogging, I work goal-oriented, making as many green squares as I can. It’s highly rewarding to see that schedule of orange and red turn into green. It really doesn’t feel like a lot of work, because by the time I’m scheduling posts, I’ll have done most of the work. When you think about it, one simple post with mini reviews can take up to ten hours (reading three books of three hours each, writing the reviews, scheduling it), but because I’ll have read the books over the course of months, I barely notice how work intensive they are. I easily work on my blog ten to fifteen hours a week, but because I never have to stress out about deadlines, it doesn’t feel like a chore. I have enough reviews written for the entirity of March, so there is no pressure to read either. I can read whatever I want to, because what I read now will only influence what I review in mid-April. And it’s not like I can’t be spontaneous. Nothing is ever set in stone, and I can easily switch my posts around whenever I feel like it. All until this is how my schedule looks.
PS: All of the images in this post is how my schedules were looking at the time of writing, which was on the 20th of February. So by the time you’re reading this, they might look completely different!