Wednesday, 15 March 2017

How I keep my blog organised and fit it in while working full-time

I am an extremely busy woman. I work full-time as a news reporter for a local paper, I'm finishing my journalism diploma, I edit, write and sort out everything including finances for vavaviolet, I write freelance pieces for magazines, see friends, family, and my boyfriend but still find the time to stay on top of everything and get shit done. 

I'm not one to brag, but my work ethic has always been very high and I have always enjoyed working. So much so that it can take over my life a little too much. But I am proud of that and I am very appreciative of how productive I am. However, finding a balance (so cliche) is majorly important. I only realised that after I lost friends and people close to me because I was investing all my time into work.

So, about a year ago I took a step back. I took a break from blogging and freelance work and spent more time with my friends and family while I figured out how I was going to fit everything in (while of course still working my full time job). I'm immensely stubborn so quitting something just wasn't an option for me. And I found the most impeccable way for me to carry on doing everything I love while also managing to fit it all into my schedule - so I thought I would share it with you guys in case any of you are in the dilemma that I was. 

This isn't a preachy 'do this and you'll be so organised and have the best blog ever' it is simply how I run things in my life which work for me. It may work for you, it may not, but I hope it inspires one person at least to get motivated.

Realising what needs to change 
I realised paper and pen was not for me. Controversial or what? But yes, writing everything down in hand in a diary and carrying it around in my bag just didn't work for me. I'm a perfectionist so crossing something out if something changed did my absolute head in and I just couldn't cope with how messy it ended up looking. Also carrying around a chunky notebook with planning pages in it for my blog, a calendar, plain pages for blog notes and more was just too heavy and took up too much space in my bag. 

Because I hated writing it down so much I ended up not planning at all and therefore I started to become unproductive and unmotivated. So I treated myself to the iPad Pro. Which although was a hefty £900 it has been worth every single damn penny. You can attach a keyboard to it so it is basically a laptop as well as an iPad. Bare in mind, you can use your phone for exactly what I'm going to show you - so don't panic at that price tag you can get these softwares on your phone for free.

My bible

My iPad and iPhone now literally control my life - to a degree. I do all of my planning on them, for blog posts, my full time job and freelance work. My calendar is on them, finances, and so much more as well. But the beauty is I always have one, if not both, on me at all times so I can be productive and get shit done whenever I like. 

How I organise my blog posts

My most used app is the 'Numbers' one (pictured above)

I use the Numbers app for three key things that keep my life organised and allow me to keep up with my hefty schedule and they are, for doing my finances, planning blog posts and for literally creating my schedule. On the app there are loads of templates for you to choose from including meal planners and invoice templates (great for bloggers or freelance journalists). 

The print screen above is how I plan my blog posts and to do this I just simply create a grid, which is so easy to do on the app. I post on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, so it is important to me that I have a post ready to go for these days. To make sure I never forget a day I put the date the post is going to be published on in the first column. 

The second column is for what category the blog post is. I do this so I can visually see how many sex and relationships, beauty, etc posts are going up during the month - it is also handy to make sure that I don't put up three fashion posts in a row and that way I can keep up a good mix on my blog. I know not all blogs have categories so you don't have to do that column or any columns you don't want to use but for me it just helps me visualise. 

In the third column I put the blog posts title - I have an exceptional memory so I don't bother writing a brief on what the post is but you could add an extra column called 'brief' and write a short brief on what the blog post is in there or notes such as 'buy photo props' or note down your monthly favourites in that section. But for me I just simply write the title of the post.

We all love emojis don't we? The fourth column (as you can see in the picture) is where I use emojis to symbolise what has been done. They are just so quick and easy to use and save a lot of time rather than writing out 'photos done'. I use the pen emoji to symbolise that I have written the post, the camera symbolises that I have assigned or taken pictures for that blog post and then I use the other two rarely. The beauty of this is that you can make up whatever key you wish. I can open the app up and in a blink of an eye see what I have to do, it just shows you so clearly what you need to write and what photos you need to take. I literally have never forgotten to do anything since I have used my little grid method. 

The fifth, sixth and seventh columns are all just tick box options. The fifth column I tick once I have finished working on the blog post and it is ready to be published - only at this point do I tick that box. I know if the box hasn't been ticked that it still needs working on. Then I tick the box in the sixth column once the post is actually live on the blog and I tick the box in the seventh column when I have shared the post on social media. This way I can keep a track on every single step and I can view it all in one place and make changes when ever I need to. 

Scheduling my life 

Like most people who don't blog full time to pay the bills I have a lot of other responsibilities that I need to make sure I stay on top of. It is so easy to just spend all my time blogging because I love it so much but I need to make sure that priorities come first. I use the schedule option on the Numbers app to plan my week (like the schedule above). Every Sunday evening I fill this in and I am pretty good at keeping to it. I'm not wasting paper by having to use 52 sheets every single year and if I need to change anything I can do it without crossing out bits and bobs. 

I also use my calendar on my devices as my only calender. I can view my calender where ever I am this way and add things in rapidly. 

Writing blog posts where ever I am

My secret to being able to keep up with my blog is that I can write blog posts where ever I am and at any time. I use the app Pages on my phone and iPad which is basically Word. I write them on the bus, at the bus stop, lunch breaks, while on the tube/train, anywhere! I get so much done all of the time.

Will you use any of these techniques? How do you stay organised? The organised freak in me would love to know!


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