I love lists so much, that I could easily make a very long list of why I love lists. In fact, I’ve already made that list. When I was 12.
Organization in general makes my freak flag fly.
While my friends were playing basketball during recess in middle school, I was on the sidelines organizing their binders and completing the lists in their student planners for them based on the classes we shared.
Do I realize now they were happily walking all over me, and weren’t great friends in the long run? Sure, but at least I had fun!
The highlight of my week is syncing up all my calendars and to-do lists for the week on Sunday nights. I kind of wish I were exaggerating.
And while my own brand of list loving is a special kind of crazy, it’ll do you some good to get on board with them. Listing out all of your blog activities to create systems and processes will help you save time, stay organized, and keep calm. And the easiest way to do that is with simple checklists.
(This post contains affiliate links to fuel that #oneclick habit 😉 )
What do you need checklists for?
Checklists help you document processes. By writing down each step and having a clear list of to-dos for different blogging tasks, there’s a lot less thinking involved. When you can run through your to-do list without stopping to double-check things for mistakes and missing parts, you save a lot of time.
I tend to have checklists for everything – it takes some work up front when you’re first writing something down, but it saves time and effort in the long run. I spend exactly 0 seconds per week trying to remember what to do next, if I’ve forgotten anything, and what I’ve done and what I haven’t.
Sometimes it feels like driving on autopilot.
But if you want to start off by creating one or two systems, here’s where you should start:
- Your repetitive tasks: if you’re only going to do something once, a checklist for it would spent most of its time being ignored. Don’t ignore a checklist – that makes it sad. Skip making it in the first place – they’re more helpful the more they’re used.
- Your easily forgotten tasks: if there’s a task where you’re always forgetting a certain step, create a documented process to make sure you’re getting to everything. This is how I ended up with a review checklist that included cross-posting my book reviews to Amazon – it was something that would consistently slip my mind.
- Your longer projects: if you have larger tasks, like writing a big weekly newsletter with sales and new releases, you might complete it in a few different parts. Using a checklist along the way makes it easy to keep track of individual steps of a project.
Checklist ideas for book blogging
A few different processes that book bloggers might want to create checklists for include:
- Book review checklist: everything that goes into book reviews, from reading the book to cross-posting your review and promoting it on social media. (You could also try the Read & Review Tracker for this)
- Weekly round-up checklist: if you publish a weekly round-up on your blog or via email, a checklist or template helps you stay consistent and never forget anything.
- Blog admin checklist: things like updating plugins, cleaning up your sidebar, and organizing tags and categories are really easy to procrastinate or forget about – this makes sure you don’t do either. (Download free blog maintenance checklists here)
- Giveaway checklist: when you run a giveaway, remember things like creating a graphic for social media, notifying the winner on time, and updating any social media posts to announce the giveaway has closed.
- Blog tour checklist: blog tour posts and promos have even more moving parts than your average blog posts, and the info is split between several emails from the host, making things hard to keep track of without a central list. (Check out the On-the-Ball Blog Tour Planner)
Tools to create book blogging checklists
Now, where do you keep these damned things? Where you create your checklist is almost as important as what’s actually on it. If you choose paper but frequently blog on the go and don’t take your notebook with you, that’s pointless. And if you choose an online tool so confusing you avoid using it, that doesn’t help you either.
The most important part of choosing a checklist tool is that it’s something your comfortable with using a lot.
As much as I love notebooks and stationery, checklists are one thing I keep completely digital. A lot of online productivity tools make checklists too easy to do it any other way. You can create a 10-item list in 2 seconds, instead of writing out the list on a new notebook page every time.
I suppose if I had a laminating machine to make reusable checklists from the great printables I find, it would be a different story. I really want a laminating machine.
Here are some of my favorite tools for creating blogging checklists:
I’m big on keeping things as native as possible. So if I can keep checklists for blogging in the same place where said blogging actually takes place, I’m a happy girl. My CoSchedule Editorial Calendar plan includes to-do lists, along with task templates to easily add long checklists to multiple posts.
Pretty much any book blogger who’s spoken to me online knows how I feel about Trello. And one of my favorite things is that while the default view of a Trello board is more of an overview, “turning over” each card can reveal a massive amount of info. This includes adding checklists and easily copying checklists from one card to another, so I have one card that I never delete or archive that holds all the checklists I’ll need to copy.
3. Process Street
Process Street awesome for checklists – I mean, ‘process’ is in the name, so you’re looking at a tool built exactly for what you’re doing. For all of the other great tools, checklists are one feature, not the main focus that’s tweaked and built to perfection. Create simple templates and run checklists based on them and add details – you can practically create checklists on checklists on checklists in this one.
4. Paper & printables
Apps are what I prefer for checklists, but they may not be yours. My entire bookshelf of notebooks proves (screams, really) that I know the appeal of keeping it analog. 😛 So if planning your progress on pen and paper (so many p’s! and hehe) works best for you, do your thing.
You may want to print something out that you don’t actually check items off of, just to keep as a reference. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a laminating machine and can use a dry erase marker with it. Or maybe you need to physically write out the list in a notebook or check items off of a printable. It’s all about what you need.
(Fun fact: I chose this pic of one of my planners because it’s from last year’s Winter Bloggiesta!)
So, what are you going to do this weekend to create processes for your blogging? Here are some options:
- Make a list of your most common blogging tasks – these are all things you can create checklists for.
- Take a look at different checklist tool options and decide which one you want to use.
- Start creating checklists based on your list of most common tasks.
- Download existing book blogging checklists to help you get started. There’s one in this post, and here’s an SEO checklist and a book blogging Trello board. There’s also this book review planner.
- Take a look at The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. It takes a look at why we need checklists and processes in the first place and shares stories about how they literally save lives.
Looking for more mini-challenges?
Once you’ve finished documenting all the things and need some more challenges to work on, try these:
- Grow your email list
- Save time on social media
- Create a blogging schedule
- Clean up your tags & categories
- Come up with future post ideas
- Write book reviews for rainy days
- Improve your blog posts’ SEO
What processes will you put down in writing? Share below and show us the actual checklists with a picture or screenshot, if you can. 🙂