Here’s my system and why it works for me. If you don’t already
have a organization system in place, follow these three rules to get started,
and keep track of all your brilliant ideas.
1) Separate Your
Personal Calendar and Your Blog Calendar Your editorial calendar belongs to
your blog, not to you, or even your personal brand. In the best case scenario,
you can use your actual calendar to record notes and keep track of ideas, and
that can be tough to do when they’re all mixed in with time-specific events.
Plus, at some point, someone besides you will see your editorial calendar, and
it can be confusing to have your original content mixed in with your dentist
appointments and bill pay reminders.
2) Use Whatever System
is Most Accessible An editorial calendar is only helpful if you actually
use it. So, pick the software or app that is most accessible to you. I’ve found
that Google apps work best for me. I like that they’re online and I can keep
them open in browser tabs next to my current projects, instead of having to
switch back and forth between software. I use Calendar to keep track of my time
and dates, but my editorial calendar is actually a spreadsheet. Sometimes I’ll
write down ideas and brainstorms in Documents, but most of my time in spent in
the cells of a spreadsheet. I can then share these with collaborators, and
everyone has access to the current version of a document. I also use Google+ ‘s
hangout feature to do the majority of my business calls and planning with my
team, since you can create documents right in the call. To keep track of tasks,
these days I prefer TeuxDeux, but I’ve also used Todoist to great success. On
particularly busy days or weeks, I like to just use pen and paper, so I can
keep track of all the projects and roles I play. All of the apps sync with my phone, which is essential when
you work from home/the coffee shop/wherever you please.
3) Spreadsheets (or
Grids) are Your Friend Whatever system you use, take advantage of some sort
of visual organization. Headings and bullet points are too limited to keep track of ideas over long periods.
Spreadsheets, or some sort of gridded system, are much more useful when
planning things that have both aspects of time (left to right) and of variety
of content (up and down). Columns and rows are your best buddies. The ability
to resize cells and format them into tables and units has really streamlined my
process. Color-coding types of posts
(how-tos, narrative, shopping guides, roundups, etc) allows me to make sure
there’s a diversity of content published each week. It takes a little while to
set up, but once you’ve got it, you can use it for years to come. I find it easy to see a month all laid
out in a spreadsheet, but you can add each piece as color-coded events to a
calendar to see patterns in your publishing and to make sure you keep things