Raise your hand if getting organized is on your New Year’s resolutions list year after year after year.
In 2016, let’s get it done.
Never stay up the night before a book release, finishing the book to review.
Never spend an entire Saturday afternoon cleaning out your crowded inbox.
Never forget which day of a blog tour you’re signed up for.
Never let your blog become more stressful than it is fun.
Here are a few tips for staying organized and stress-free in 2016.
1. Don’t let your inbox control you
Email has a way of taking over our lives so easily. There’s just so damn much of it. Newsletters, other bloggers, social media and blog notifications, ARC invites, tour sign-ups and info, personal email…
Email is a monster.
But don’t let it control you – get it under your thumb and make your inbox bow down to you. These are some of my favorite email tips:
- Create rules and filters: Using rules and filters based on searching the sender, subject, and email info lets you start cleaning up your inbox before you even see it. And they’re a basic enough feature that almost all email services have them. You can add labels, automatically mark something as read, or have it skip the inbox altogether and go straight to a folder. Some helpful labels to try: Blog Admin, Social Media, Tours, etc.
- Use email templates: Creating fill-in-the-blank, mad-lib style email templates can save you a lot of time for those things you say the same thing over and over again – “you won a giveaway,” “here’s my tour post,” “I reviewed your book,” etc. By automating the repetitive parts of the email, you can focus on being truly thoughtful and personal in the other parts of the message, without spending your whole day writing them.
- Turn on multiple inboxes: If you have Gmail, this is my favorite “hack” ever. You know all the old emails you keep in your inbox just because you still need them there as a reminder or “to do?” They don’t actually need to be there, just somewhere visible. So create multiple sections of your inbox for the reminders and to-dos to make finding new things easier.
2. Use a to-do list app
For as much as I talk about how much I love my paper planners, this one my surprise you. But while I write most things down, my main to-do list lives in Todoist.
So, why do I suggest a digital to-do list for your blog?
- Recurring tasks: Those pesky little admin tasks that can easily slip your mind are perfect for the recurring tasks in most task managers. Things like scheduling social media posts or double-checking for plugin updates every week, and updating your about page or cleaning up your tags & categories every few months.
- Access from anywhere: So many to-do items come from emails. If you’re checking your blog email anywhere from your phone, your to-do list should be everywhere, to.
- Set up automation: This is my absolute favorite part. You can hook a digital task manager into stuff like IFTTT and Zapier to save even more time. For example, if you have a Gmail label for ARCs you’ve signed up for, you can have them add “Review [book title]” to you task manager whenever a new message gets added to it. 🙂
3. Write. everything. down.
To-dos. To-don’ts. Due dates. Wish list projects. Reminders. Thoughts for your review on the book you just read.
Write down every fucking thing. Whether it’s on paper or digitally, put it down.
In a fun superlative contest at work, I got the “Elephant-Like Memory” award for being on top of the ball with commitments and helping others do the same. But I just write it all down – most of the time, the act of recording it helps me remember, and I don’t even need the note. But it’s there.
Want to say goodbye to trying to rush through an ARC to get your review posted by release day? Or forgetting to cross-post a review to Amazon? Keep track of it all. It doesn’t need to take long.
The more time you spend setting yourself up to stay organized – customizing your calendar, creating to-do lists, etc. – the more time you’ll save actually completing tasks, because you’ve already gotten started.
Want to start logging your book reviews? Download the Read & Review Book Planner!
4. Know your limits
You won’t be able to stay organized if you’re biting off more than you can chew. That’ll just lead to blogger burnout.
This includes things like how many books you decide to read or promos to post, but also the goals you set for yourself.
If you want to start a new series or weekly feature on your blog, but don’t have time to write one more post every week, don’t try it yet. Instead, think about how you could make time for that new idea by getting rid of things you’re less excited about.
And if you know it’s hard for you to read more than 3 books a month, don’t sign up for a 4th and a 5th. Don’t let the temptation of an extra ARC or two lead to a stressful month of late-night reading and rushing through reviews.
5. Batch your shit
Doing “a little bit here” and “a little bit there” is no way to get shit done.
- Check your email every time a new one comes in.
- Keep your blog or social media profiles open in a new tab, checking for new comments all day.
- Write and publish social media posts one at a time, all the time.
Instead of doing something for 5 minutes 7 days a week, just set aside half an hour on Sunday. Or something of that variety.
Batch your emails together. Schedule social media in bulk. Check NetGalley once a week and no more (this also helps with #4). Set recurring to-dos (#2) for moderating comments and replying to tweets.
How are you getting organized?
Have you set any goals or plans for your book blog next year? Share your organization plans in the comments. 🙂