Part of being successful is being organized enough to get things done. I’ve begun learning how to do this by incorporating a few things into my personal and business routines. First, I have a regular chore day. For me, it is Monday. It’s my first day off from the Inn each week after working 40 hours in 4 days, and I don’t schedule much for that day because I worked 16 hours every Sunday and need a bit of a break.
I do most of my cleaning on Mondays. Not that it’s much. Right now, until I find a bigger place that I like, I’m renting a room. On Monday’s I do a load of laundry, vacuum, do dishes, straighten up, clean the bathroom, and dust my desk. The whole process takes less than an hour, giving extra time for drying clothes. If there is more than one person in your household, chore charts will be helpful. (Chores really do teach children how to be responsible, as well as other important lessons.) But if you’re alone, a simple checklist will do. I’m at the point where I am so used to my schedule that I don’t even need a checklist, unless something needs to be added to my routine.
I also try to write for a couple of hours each Monday, and I do maybe 20 minutes of promotional stuff. Other than that, I’m relaxing the rest of the day – unless it is nice enough outside to take a walk. Then my day is made.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays are full of projects I wont bring to work with me my long weekend at the Inn. This is anything that I need my laptop for and things that will take too long to concentrate on at work. I also write a few hours each of these days.
Then I’m at the Inn. I have blog posts and promotional stuff to do, edits to do, and graphics to make. I also have newsletters I write. All of this gets done during my downtime at work. Winters provide me more downtime than our busy season, so I do get a fair amount of my own stuff done at my ‘day job’.
How am I getting things done so quickly?
Because I have a good idea what I am doing each day. And I’ve set in place a few practices that are really helping me. For example:
- I’ve come up with processes for a few of the things I don’t do often, typed them up, and filed them in an easy to find location. By always having these on hand, I save time figuring out how to do something that I haven’t done in months. This can save me anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes on things, making far less work for me in the long run.
- I am currently creating a folder on my laptop for each of my writing projects, past, present, and future. Each folder will contain all versions of the manuscript, the ebook cover, and all other graphics including social media stuff. This will make it easy for me to find everything when I need it, saving me time.
- Maybe the single most important (and time saving) thing I have done is come up with a general promotional plan for both my fiction and nonfiction books. I keep the master for each in Google Docs, so I can easily print one off when a new book is going to be published. Right now, these plans are 13 pages long. I’m always tweaking them, getting rid of things I find do not work and outdated items, and adding fresh ideas. Because everything I have to do to publish and promote a book is on these pages, I no longer have to think too much about it. I have a step-by-step plan that works pretty darn well.
- I’m creating Social Media graphics for each of my books, sites, and my Facebook page for easy promotion. I’ll create a folder for each platform as well.
- I’ve written out my social media promotional plan for all of the books I’ve published so far, as well as for the sites and the Facebook page. It’s all scheduled in my planner so I know exactly when to promote each thing.
- I have been using a vision planner to plan every aspect of my writing, blogging, and more, and it’s saving me a huge amount of time. I spend less and less time on things each month, as I’m learning to me more organized.
- I have a journal for each blog and site, in which I write all of my ideas. I can easily grab a journal to see what I will blog about next, without having to waste time thinking about it.
- I’m beginning the process of reorganizing my files so I can quickly find what I need. All those little pieces of paper with notes will soon be gone. (Though I have actually organized a lot of these over the past couple of years.) I have three file boxes and have labeled them: Past Projects, Current Projects, and Future Projects. There is a file for each project, and sub-files for projects with multiple smaller projects.
Each new organizing method I try is saving me time, lessening the amount of work I do each week. And it’s wonderful! I’ve freed up so much time for work on this site and on my fiction ventures, and I’m having a lot of fun doing everything.
ACTIVITY: Take out your planning journal and start a new page titled ‘How can I Lessen My Workload’. Spend and hour or two brainstorming ideas while sipping tea in a favorite spot. Then, put one of those ideas into action each month. Start the first one today. Go ahead and schedule these things into your planner now.