Organize Your (blogging) Life: Tools, Tips and A DIY Project

After many years as a professional surfer of the world wide web, I have discovered that the one thing we’re all talking about in the blogosphere (aside from kids, cooking and love of course) is:

Real life is such a total timesink sometimes.  Without the advantage of being away at an office, we can be easily distracted by phone calls, snack breaks, music, videos, dilemmas, etc.  Yes, being our own boss is a difficult task, but I think with a little forced organization, things would be a lot easier.  They do say deadlines are an artist’s best friend.  But how on earth to really get ahead of yourself and organize?

Let’s start with the three basic things I need to accomplish in order to at least FEEL like a successful blogger/artiste/person-who-does-things:

  • Create a post.  After all, there’s no blog without content.  So I have to be able to find the time to actually write a post including photos/videos or whatever madness I have in mind for that day.  Which also reminds me that keeping a healthy handful of themed posts every week really makes life easier (i.e. Wednesday Wants which is an updated version of my old Etsy Wednesday series).
  • Socialize.  This means reading other blogs that mostly fit within my niche and commenting.  It’s fun to be a part of the conversation and being a wallflower doesn’t get us anywhere in the blogging world. This also includes my involvement on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc
  • Projects.  This is an art/photography/oh-look-at-the-pretty-things blog.  Essentially I’ve got nothing if I’m not creating offline as well as on.  I need to shoot pictures and complete those artful projects in order to share them after all.  Plus, that’s the real reason I’m here, because I love to create!

So my goal is to (DEEP BREATH):  manage all my posts ahead of time which leaves room for socializing and also taking time to carefully and thoughtfully plan out projects which will then allow me to carefully and thoughtfully plan out  my posts that people I’m socializing with will want to read and share….

Dang.

I love technology and all the wondrous apps it provides us. Naturally I need the ability to keep track of digital information like links for This Week’s Finds, images, etc, but finding the right program can be extremely daunting.

After research and watching the short video below, I decided to give Evernote a try for one month.

Why the trial run? Because with so many ways to stay digitally organized, it’s easy to get distracted and bounce from one thing to another.  This way I am commiting enough to learn and really decide if we’re compatible, but also allowing an escape hatch if it’s just not working out.  So far I can report it’s extremely easy, but I’ve barely touched all the whistes-n-bells. Have a look:

I also use my Pinterest for keeping internet things filed neatly.  It’s without a doubt the easiest way to keep things organized online, there’s just no good way to sift through it yet. The day they allow us to search through our own boards via date, I doubt we’ll need much else.

More important than any of this is the actual organization of my days. In this way I am and always will be an old-school paper & pen gal.  I have a notebook dedicated to keeping ideas, lists, notes for photos, blog posts and projects.

((FYI – I got all these awesome things from Muji.  It’s cheap and they’re plain enough for me to want to beat up with everyday use, but also pretty enough to feel creative and fun.))

But what about an every day calendar to stare me in the face and really remind me of the daily to-dos? One that is easily customizable?  Well that’s where the super fun part came in:

First of all, this is what it looked like over my desk before:

The bulletin board, although fun and colorful, is basically just a bank for distracting things that no longer really serve as inspiration, just old reminders.  Plus, look at all those post-its.  Well what better way to solve my dilemma than with a calendar… made of post-its?  HM? WHAT BETTER WAY? There is none… see?


It’s like being able to breathe again after… um… not being able to breathe.

Anyhow. This is stupid easy so let’s hop to it:

Materials:

  • Post-its
  • 24×24 sized piece of construction paper/posterboard/cardboard
  • colorful tape or gaffers tape
  • colored pencils, crayons, markers
  • hands or really talented feet
  • a ruler (optional)

Reason #1 why I need to be more organized, I am embarrassed to say that this photographer pretty much sucks at remembering to take photos when I’m working on projects like this.  It’s on my to-do list to get better at that.

So yada yada I used a large piece of black construction paper and cut it into the 24×24 shape.  I truly hate measuring and leveling things and prefer to use my eye to hang pictures.  I used that same “technique” I like to call “looking” when I made this calendar by simply placing the post-its in a uniform manner until I was satisfied.  Voila:

Now you can skip the next part I did and simply tape out lines if you want, but I’m a crazy loon and used some crayon to fill-in the cracks between post-its in order to get my calendar lines:

Then I removed the post-its, used gaff tape to really emphasize where the lines are and get a nice raised effect, then mounted the paper to cardboard (which is why you still see some wet glue wrinkles that later dried nice and smooth):

I’m way too impatient for absolute perfection, which is why this photo was taken before I filled in all the days nicely.

I want to point out that I’ve designed a kind of sliding calendar.  I don’t know about you, but I need more than just one month at a time in front of me.  So as every day of this month passes, I remove a post-it and add one for next month.  I use colors to separate the dueling days. Here you see March slowly disappearing while April begins to arrive.

 

Holy crap… am I organized yet?

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