A New Year, A New Approach to Getting Organized

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Even though I’m obsessed with helping other businesses become more organized, efficient, and effective, I’m not always the best at applying those same strategies to myself. My business is very much still a work in progress -- and probably always will be -- but that doesn’t mean I’m not constantly looking for ways to improve.

 I see the start of a new year as the perfect opportunity to kick bad habits, get rid of recurring annoyances, and refresh my systems and processes. For this first blog post of 2019, I’m going meta: I’ve written a case study about applying my own organizational processes to my own business, and how I came up with a new system for planning, developing, and writing blog and social media posts.

 Background:

Since launching this blog in July 2017, I have taken an unstructured approach to selecting topics and posting articles. This system worked well for a while, as I was also just launching my business and still figuring out my services and brand. It gave me a chance to play around with different types of articles, to try out different collaborations and partners, and to test new ideas as I refined my services and added new workshops.

 The Challenge:

As my business grew and I got more clients and opportunities, I found myself with less time to spend tinkering around with topic ideas and waiting for inspiration. The writing started to feel like yet another obligation I wasn’t keeping up with, as opposed to a fun, creative outlet.

 I needed to find a way to be more structured about my writing time and deliberate in my topics, while keeping the content authentic, engaging, and relatable. Although I continue to get fun ideas and inspiration all the time, I can’t drop everything and write the way I used to. Furthermore, I need to make sure I’m writing about the topics that are most central to my business mission and that promote my services and areas of expertise.

 The Solution:

Just as I always do when I work with a client, I made the first step a brain dump of sorts. I asked myself a series of questions to get all the relevant information out in the open.

  • What aspects of planning and writing blog and social media content need improvement? (Answer: long lags between posts, difficulty coming up with topics, limited time to write)

  • What would a better system look like? How would my life be different with the better system in place? (Answer: create set of topics and publication timeline in advance to ensure they complement other planned business activities; have team to help write and post as needed; schedule regular, uninterrupted time for writing)

  • What is keeping you from getting from the current system to the better system? (Answer: no centralized database and calendar for team to enable collaborations and scheduling, lack of plan for how to use different social media platforms, no specifically defined roles and expectations for team members, including myself)

 These questions helped me get the needs, concerns, and considerations out in the open, so I could start putting the pieces together and determine the steps needed to put a solution in place. I implemented a brand-new system for my team and I to share ideas, coordinate writing and posting assignments, share drafts of content, and much more.

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Results:

Each quarter of 2019, the majority of my blog and social media posts will relate to a key theme, and I’ll share case studies, tips, pop culture examples, recommendations, and more around that theme.

 These first three months will be all about getting and staying organized, and will address topics like time management, setting up a shared drive, organizing your email inbox, building better schedules, and more.

 I hope that this new system helps me to stay focused and on track with my writing, and to continue to provide you with thought-provoking ideas and useful tips to inspire your own quest toward better workplace operations.