I blog as well as work full-time in science education, so a lot of people have asked me how I stay organised and motivated, so I thought I’d share my process today in a slightly different sort of blog post. Some other bloggers like Tracy of Fanserviced-B have documented how they distribute their time, and Cat of Snow White and the Asian Pear did a Twitter poll on what takes up bloggers’ time. A lot of it is not actually writing posts.
If I had to work out how much time I spent on things each week, it’d be something like:
- 10 hours actively researching (this is higher than most bloggers since I read journal articles and textbooks for my style of content)
- 15 hours passively researching (beauty forums, other people’s blog posts and feeds)
- 5 hours actually writing and formatting
- 2 hours for photography and photo editing
- 3 hours answering emails
- 1 hour replying to blog comments
- 7 hours making content for social media and replying to comments
This seems like an overestimation, but I assure you it isn’t – I had to track this for my accountant recently! Of course, a lot of this is enjoyable and doesn’t actually feel like work, and the vast majority fits in around other things. This is partly why I spend so much time on it even though it doesn’t make financial sense, as my accountant often points out. I’m working on making myself more efficient and more accountable for my time. With the addition of my YouTube channel, I’ve stolen some time from each of these for writing scripts, and filming and editing. I’ve also been writing an eBook guide to Basic Skincare Guide as well. It’s full-on!
How do I fit all this in? A massive amount of organisation (and not having much of a life). I’ve managed to take the whole thing more seriously over the past year and have developed a bunch of systems that work well for me.
My Organisational Style
I’m more of an aspirational organiser than someone who’s actually a natural. When I start any system I’m meticulous and everything looks gorgeous, but after a few weeks things start to slip up. I am not one of those people with a beautiful planner with washi tape and stamps and perfect handwriting and appointments that never change. I burn through organisational methods unless they’re foolproof! I also tend to forget things unless they’re right in front of me, and I’m easily demotivated and turn into a procrastination puddle.
So my criteria are:
- Low effort
- Reminds me of current tasks
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Make me feel like I’m getting shit done so I stay motivated
I have a physical notebook that I use to organise my life. I carry it around everywhere. It’s like a bullet journal but more focused on tasks and getting stuff done, rather than a keepsake.
It has my to-do lists, blog post ideas, video workflow, and meeting notes, which I index using plastic sticky flags. I’ve also been using it for random things like food shopping lists, eBook formatting notes, and planning big tasks like Christmas lunch.
I’m currently using a spiral-bound notebook with a grid format, similar to this one. I’ve found that spiral notebooks are the best for me.
- Ticking things off makes me feel achievement-y (Criterion 4)
- I can rip out pages once they’re done so I feel a sense of accomplishment with the physical act of ripping stuff out (Criterion 4)
- This also stops old things distracting me from current things (Criterion 2)
- If I’m almost done with a page of tasks I’ll copy the last few tasks onto a new page, which refreshes them in my mind (Criterion 2 again).
- It isn’t all that aesthetically pleasing, but that also makes it pretty low effort (Criterion 1) because I don’t worry about making it look pretty.
Here’s a photo of an actual page from my notebook – I considered writing a new page for it and making it look neat, but that would defeat the purpose of this post…
I’ve tried digital lists and apps like Google Keep but I lost track of things easily, and I’d ignore stuff for months.