It's no surprise that the more organized I am, the more productive I am… and life just works a lot better when I have things planned out. Organization definitely takes effort, but we're lucky to live in a time when there are tons of apps and programs to assist us. However, my productivity levels can waver; some weeks I'll be motivated to accomplish everything, then the next it's torture trying to get anything done. I don't like that roller coaster of productivity, so I've been focusing on improving organization and getting more done. Here's what has been working for me:
Editorial calendar and pre-planning social
When life gets crazy, this can be the first to go and I notice that my blog suffers. Having (and sticking to) an editorial calendar is crucial. It not only lets you plan far in advance, but you can also see where you have holes during the week. Sometimes I'll forget that I don't have an outfit shot or post ready, but using a calendar is a sure way to keep me on track. I like to take a look at my calendar every day and plan it out monthly (more on this in the next tip).
Our team personally uses CoSchedule, which allows you to assign tasks within a calendar, edit directly from WordPress, and even pre-plan social media. Planning social (like two tweets and a Facebook status for each blog post) beforehand eliminates you rushing to do it the day the post goes live. I also find that planning social posts as I'm writing content is easier since I'm already in the mindset of that specific topic or outfit.
Yearly, monthly, and weekly goals
I've been making lists with goals forever now, but it's especially important when it comes to my career. At the beginning of the year (or once a year, the date isn't relevant), I like to take a whole day to think about yearly goals for my blog. Where do I want to be in a year? What content do I want to focus on? Think big picture, but be specific on what's important to your individual brand.
After making yearly goals, I can break those down into monthly ones. For example, my September goal mainly surrounds fashion month, but my yearly goal was to “bring readers on-trend looks.” Attending fashion month and blogging about it will help meet both in a different capacity. Monthly goals are also the time to look at your editorial calendar and plan out posts. This is also where we show any planned travel so we know when we need to shoot a few more posts beforehand.
Then, weekly goals end up being more task-related. Write X post, shoot X outfit, etc. Having this system down provides me with inspiration and organization AND I'm more productive when I know exactly what I need to do.
The Pomodoro technique
Have you guys heard of this? I tend to get off task, so learning about this system has been life-changing. This techniques suggests focusing (as in phone turned over and on silent and only necessary windows open on your computer) for 25 minutes straight, then following that up with a 5 minute (tech-free) break. It sounds simple enough, but having designated focused time with a promised break gets me to do SO much more work. I use this technique pretty frequently and it helps!
This isn't the easiest thing to master because it's an expense and can feel odd outsourcing your tasks, but hiring help where you need it is necessary. It's hard to get everything done when you have too much on your plate (this includes household chores like cleaning, grocery shopping, whatever). Make tweaks to your budget to free up some spending money and hire help for whatever is holding you back from focusing on your blog and being productive. Anthony and I recently hired an assistant to help us sift through e-mails, coordinate collaborations, travel, etc. and it's really freed us up to create more content- and we're in the process of redesigning my site! :) We also hired a housekeeper once a week for the deep clean chores and that's really freed up time there for me too.
I like to have certain days for different tasks. If I need to shoot a few looks for the week, I like to get all these done on one day. The next day might be for writing or meetings. I find that letting my brain single-task makes me more productive than running around like a crazy person without actually making any progress. Sure, there are days when the craziness takes over, but when I can, following a designated day really boosts my productivity and energy levels in general.
Taking time off
Lastly, give yourself a break! No one can work work work and be motivated 24/7. It's 100% necessary to take time off and clear your head from business. If you're organized and use the tips from above, you'll be able to carve out time for yourself. Take advantage of that and remove yourself from the blog (and your Instagram!) every so often to recharge. You'll come back inspired, rested, and ready to take productivity to the next level!
What are your favorite hacks for staying organized and productive? Any other tips I should know about?