Being an online business owner can be very rewarding but also very overwhelming. It's very easy to get caught up in an online rut because our businesses are located online and so are many of our systems. But one thing has always benefited me and my business....
Don't worry, I still have many systems including my editorial calendar that I use as an electronic and online resource. But having a paper-based planning system allows me more freedom in what I'm doing within my business.
Today I'm going to share my five secrets to how I've used my planner to stay organized and help my business succeed. And don't worry, I'm also going to be sharing some super awesome planners and printables with you to help you get and stay organized offline!
1) CREATE CLEAR GOALS
When I'm planning for my month I always like to start off by having clear goals in mind. I take the time at the beginning of each month to plan out a set of goals that I want to accomplish - they can be related to pageviews, income or getting projects done. I keep track of these on some note pages within my planner. I then break these goals down by the week to make sure I am getting done what needs to be done to accomplish this.
For example, one of my biggest goals this month is to reach 2,500 pageviews. I then take this goal and break it down into 750 pageviews per week. This actually puts me over my goal but gives me an idea on how much I need to be promoting, what posts I need to write and all of that other fun business tasks needed to accomplish this.
I track all of these goals, ideas and brainstorms in my planner so I can reflect on them throughout the month.
2) Use the Monthly View to track big projects, blog posts or appointments!
One of the areas within my planner that I utilize the most is the Monthly Overview. This area allows me to plan out blog post content, schedule in appointments or document larger projects going on within the month. Seeing everything in a two-page spread like this is much easier for me to plan other content and projects around it.
For a Monthly Overview area, I also recommend using pencil to schedule in your tasks. I find this area in my planner changes the most often and things need to be rearranged and I would rather simply erase a task than have to pull out whiteout and get my pages all messed up. When I plan in the Monthly Overview, I try and keep things as simple as possible in terms of a system because the pages can get filled up with content really fast and I need to be able to move, manipulate and arrange as needed.
3) Plan a week in advance
Each week can look very different for my business - sometimes I'm focus on huge client projects and others I'm focused on creating content, like this blog post. No matter what your business week looks like I always recommend planning them in advance. I use Sunday night's to do this while I watch a good TV show or right before I head to bed.
Planning out my weeks has allowed me to see what I have going on and as well as the actionable steps I need to take to get things done. For example, I always know on Monday's that it's blog post today and I need to proofread the post, published the post, promote the post and share the post around. Planning this in advance gets me thinking about things such as how I want to promote the post, what I want to say in promotions and how I want to engage with my audience throughout the week in relation to my post.
Planning your week in advance always means I'm not spending all week in my planner writing down things that need to get done. Instead I'm actually getting things done! Once again, I recommend using pencil because plans can change quickly (at least for me) and I need to be able to erase, manipulate and arrange tasks easily.
4) Shorten your daily to-do list
When I first started Studio Krystal I literally tried to get 10 - 15 things done in one day and it was actually making me get less done. I highly recommend focusing on 5 small tasks per day - my tasks even include things like answering e-mails, checking social media and writing a blog post. No matter how big or small the task I really limit the number of tasks I have within my day.
In saying this, I also keep a list of 2 - 3 additional tasks that I could do if I were to get my list of 5 important tasks done. This allows me to fill up my day and plan out my work. Sometimes tasks are going to take longer than others and sometimes they won't. Allowing me to have this overflow list gives me extra things to work on but doesn't make me feel discouraged if I don't get them done.
5) Plan your days and tasks out by the hour
Have you ever went and started scheduling your social media content and then realized four hours have went by? While some tasks are going to take longer than others I love planning my days by the hour. This allows me to see that from 2 - 3pm is the time I need to spend writing blog post content but then from 3 - 4pm is the time of the day when I'm wrapping up final tasks to shut down for the day.
This is called block scheduling and it's a great way to format out your tasks from the previous tip that I shared. And if you know that social media scheduling is going to take your 2 hours schedule out this time for it. Don't let the times limit you and instead focus on your top tasks and the realistic time it would take you to get them done.
Again use pencil when scheduling in these tasks because things might change and chances are you are going to have to move things around to fit your daily schedule.
Staying organized offline is one of my number one business tips for any business owner - newbie or veteran! We all have different needs though and we all need different paper-based planning systems put in place. To fit all of our needs here is a list of some fellow #bossladies and their amazing products to get you started:
The Organized Planner
The Organized Planner was created for the woman on the go! This planner will get you organized, help you accomplish all of your goals, and carry all of your "To Do" lists in one place. The planner is broken out into a few different components: Yearly Calendar, Monthly Calendar, and Weekly Calendar. This planner comes in one size with the dimensions of 7x10 and retails for $22.95 and is the perfect companion if you are new to planning or want something affordable.
View more on this product by clicking HERE!
Ashley Shelly Planners
The Ashley Shelly Planner is designed to help you create your very best days! There are a few extra special features that guide you through organizing and staying inspired throughout the entire year. One important thing to note is that these are academic planners so they run from July 2016 to June 2017 (for example).
I could sit here and explain these planners for hours because there is so much fine detail and amazing qualities about them. Ashley Shelly Planners are high up on my wishlist as the planner I'm looking to purchase for 2017!
And as an EXTRA SPECIAL thanks, owner Ashley Shelly, has offered to give me my very own discount code! If you are interested in purchasing her planner use the code COUPON CODE 'STUDIOKRYSTAL5' receive $5 off of your purchase!
View more on this product by clicking HERE!
Want to learn more on how I stay organized? Join my mailing list to gain INSTANT access to the amazing free printables you see below - these are sure to benefit you in your planning!