Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Mission Impossible: Organization

Staying organized - - ha!

I spent years teaching school, and my lesson plans were an organizational masterpiece. No, really they were. But it was like after I retired that the ability hadn’t carried over into making writing plans. Of course, I didn’t start doing that right away. Rather, I started organizing my household for the first time in years (a) because it was high time and (b) I was possessed with a driving need to be able to put my hands on what I wanted when I wanted it without having to mount a search. After years of single parenthood and full-time employment, the time had come. My nest was empty, and I was—hallelujah!--r-e-t-i-r-e-d!

So now it’s time to move on - - yes!

I wrote my first three published novels while providing (unplanned!) care three days a week for my first grandchild. Grabbing thirty minutes here while she entertained herself and maybe an hour while she napped got the job done, but then I came face to face with the next hurdle: marketing and promotion. Blogging and social media, new concepts to my aging brain, reared their ugly hydra-head. Clearly, like my closets and garage and (more or less) my filing cabinet, I needed a plan to arrange things and keep them at hand.

No overnight solutions - - grrrr!

I won’t tell you the first plan of attack worked. Nor the second nor even the third. But eventually I got things boiled down to two—only two—notebooks. This is how it shakes out:

Notebook One

  • School calendar—ten years later I still pick up TWO grandchildren from school two days a week and also provide refuge on holidays.
  • Personal calendar—a cheapo from Dollar Tree, ripped from its vinyl cover and three-hole punched keeps track of appointments and extra times I’m needed as the ‘sitter’. It’s a must.
  • Brain Dump—several pages on which I chart short and long-term projects—i.e.major/minor projects, marketing, freelance, personal business, travel, and holidays among others.
  • First tab: daily to-do arranged by week
  • Second tab: typed list of projects by season, not necessarily writing-related
  • Third tab: writing/marketing related information—lists, articles (keep these cleaned out!)
  • Fourth tab: Columnar pad sheets on which I do my budgeting/banking business

Notebook Two

  • First Tab: Information relating to current work in progress and articles to be read (again, keep these cleaned out!)
  • Second Tab: Blog Calendar—another cheapo from the Dollar Tree on which I schedule by month the general idea of each blog. You can make this as detailed as you wish (or don’t wish), but I find being able to turn to this calendar each week and have an overall view of my blog goals is very helpful.
  • Third Tab: (1) Blog-related information. I print out the monthly calendars for Bizarre and Unique Holidays where you’ll find a wealth of ideas/information to turn on the light in an otherwise dark mind when you’ve run out of your own ideas. (2) A running list, copied and pasted from my blog dashboard, of all the blogs I’ve written and the dates they ran. Re-purposing/rewriting blogs is another terrific resource—just don’t do it the same year!
  • Fourth Tab: Basic marketing information I want to have at hand plus templates for charts, graphs, etc. to help me get even MORE organized (someday)

So how does it work out?

About as well as you are motivated to make it work. Two notebooks are about all I want to juggle. I don’t want to be searching online for basic information, nor do I want to be rummaging through my file cabinet half a dozen times a day! Your notebook(s) won’t look like mine, but that’s the beauty of it—a visit to Dollar Tree, a couple of three-ring notebooks and a hole-punch, several sets of dividers, and the copier which is standard with most printers today, and you’re in business!
I’d love to know how you stay organized—and if you’d like to guest blog about your brilliant strategies, contact me judyatjudynicklesdot com!

Friday: How I keep all my book(s) info organized in a Sales Copy folder on my desktop

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