My 3 favorite tools and a tip for getting organized.  If you've been feeling totally disorganized and like you have no focus, - then keep reading :-)  
Tools & Tips

My 3 favorite tools & a tip for getting organized

Running a handmade or creative business involves a lot of time, energy, and effort.  Today, I’d like to share my 3 favorite tools and a tip for getting organized and being more productive.  If you’ve been feeling totally disorganized, like you have no focus, and that you have so many things on your plate that you end up doing things “willy nilly” – then keep reading 🙂

Last week, I talked about Procrastination + Excuses = Lack of productivity.  All that’s true, but let’s take it one step further and talk about the need to get yourself organized!

Being organized means having your affairs in order so as to deal with them efficiently.

Let’s apply that thought to your handmade or creative business.  Being organized when running a business means that:

  • you have to focus
  • organize your things to do (bookkeeping, production, social media, content planning, and a whole slew of other things)
  • set aside time every day to do the things you don’t like to do
  • and, come up with a plan and stick to it!

Maybe you’re wondering if I REALLY understand what that “willy nilly” feeling is all about ……

  • I run 3 different business (our software business, my handmade business, and YarnyBookkeeper).
  • From March through July I work a couple days (or several afternoons) a week at a commercial greenhouse and play with plants 🙂
  • This time of year, I making bows for Christmas wreaths
  • I garden and can

Oh yes, I understand that feeling of doing things by the seat of my pants!  Which leads me to…

Let’s talk about getting organized!

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last couple months taking some on-line classes and doing a lot of searching for organizational and productivity tools, to help me with:

  • getting this blog and website organized
  • find some focus
  • getting social media a lot more under control
  • and something that would help me shorten the amount of time it takes to write a blog post

There is SO MUCH STUFF out there on the internet, enough to make your head hurt!  But I did find some things that struck a cord with me, that I’m actually putting into place, so I thought I’d share them with you too.

Let's talk about getting organized! I've spent a lot of time in the last couple months taking some on-line classes and doing a lot of searching for organizational and productivity tools, to help me with: getting this blog and website organized find some focus getting social media a lot more under control and something that would help me shorten the amount of time it takes to write a blog postMy 3 favorite tools & a tip for getting organized and being productive

The first goal was to get this blog and website organized.

I found an article written by Tonia Kendrick about How to use a content idea spreadsheet to stay organized, there is a video on this page and she offers a free Excel/Google Sheets template.  I really liked what she had to say, so I signed up to get the free spreadsheet.  I’ve had the spreadsheet for a little over a month and from what started as a simple way to organize and plan future content has turned into so much more!  I’ll have a video coming out next week that will show you how I took her idea and:

  • Fine tuned the categories here on the blog
  • Made a list of every blog post that’s already here and organized them in the spreadsheet to fit these new categories
  • Made funny little notes to myself about when I shared these posts on social media AND what message I used when I shared them

I needed to find my focus

Ya, I know – that sounds a little hokey doesn’t it?  But we all need focus when running a business.

I created a spreadsheet for a 12 month plan (that I’ll be posting in my Facebook group on Tuesday as a Member’s Only freebie).   It’s a little rough around the edges right now and really more geared toward my own plan.  But I’ll clean it up.

Basically, it allows you to set goals and determine your focus for each month.

My next goal was to get my social media a lot more under control

Some of that simply meant having a consistent theme (background colors, fonts, layouts, etc.) that I could use over and over, just switching out images and adding some text.  I use Canva – but it’s just too easy and distracting – and that can lead to being inconsistent and all over the place.

Kara over at DIYdesign has some great social media templates that you can customize with fonts and colors to give your Instagram or Pinterest postings some consistency.  It only takes a few minutes to modify her base templates with your colors and fonts and boom – a consistent social media look.

The last thing I needed to do was to shorten the amount of time it takes to write a blog post or a newsletter.

Yes, we all know that we need to consistently publish blog posts and send out newsletters to stay in contact with our subscribers.

No matter how long your list of content ideas is – when it comes to actually sitting down and writing that post while looking at that blank screen causes the best of us to freeze.  Me included.

When we freeze like that – it really makes that task of writing so much harder and it takes so much longer.  When that happens we dread writing the blog post and can end up postponing it for far longer than we should.

I found this short video by Melissa Pharr about creating quality content fast.  At first, I was super skeptical and thought that maybe she was selling some sort of tool or software.  I mean seriously, how can you go from spending 9 hours to write a newsletter to being done in less than 10 minutes?

Sounds too good to be true, right?  WRONG!  And I can’t believe how simple it all is!

She really does have a super simple 5 step method for writing a newsletter.  I’ve applied the technique to creating blog posts and IT WORKS!  It’s taken me an hour to write this post, create the graphics, and schedule it to share to Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest & Twitter.  Not bad!

Let's talk about getting organized! I've spent a lot of time in the last couple months taking some on-line classes and doing a lot of searching for organizational and productivity tools, to help me with: getting this blog and website organized find some focus getting social media a lot more under control and something that would help me shorten the amount of time it takes to write a blog post

So, there you have it.  My 3 favorite tools & a tip for getting organized and being productive

  • Content spreadsheet
  • a 12 month plan
  • Canva
  • Instagram & Pinterest theme templates
  • and, a simple 5 step process for creating content

Hope you have a great week!  Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Until next time,

Nancy

P.S. Don’t forget to come back next week and watch the video for how modified the Content Spreadsheet and join my Facebook group to receive the 12 month planner.

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Nancy Smyth, The YarnyBookkeeper

Hi, I'm Nancy. I'm a yarn addict, career bookkeeper, and handmade business owner. I get the same feeling of joy when working with yummy yarns as I do when working with a column of numbers that all add up correctly.

Bookkeeping for your handmade or creative business doesn't need to be scary. I can help you learn to handle your bookkeeping and other behind the scenes STUFF with confidence!

2 Comments

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  2. Courtney says:

    Great post Nancy! I was just talking to my husband this morning about getting a simple monthly planner from the dollar store for planning out my designs for 2020. I will probably print out undated months since I went through the trouble of making myself a planner this past year that I didn’t use too consistently LOL

    1. Hi Courtney 🙂 So nice to see you here! I’m glad this post helped. A simple monthly planner from the Dollar Store is a great idea. It can be hard to get used to using any sort of planner and sticking too it. Things have such a habit of changing LOL

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