Taking blogging to a professional level is like running a business. It requires setting goals and building a strategy for achieving those gals. That’s why I turned to my time management application of choice, 2Do, to develop and document my blogging strategy.
This year I started two blogs, National Journal Writing Month, and Mac Automation Tips. I’ve started a few other blogs in the past, but I was always too busy to maintain them, and I didn’t have a strategy for developing them.
What’s been different about this year is that I have been using some really awesome tools (e.g., CoSchedule, MeetEdgar, Canva) and that help make blogging more manageable and efficient. I have also benefited from taking Jonathan Mulligan’s course, Blogging Your Passion University.
But for several months I was overwhelmed by all the things I needed to do to develop my blogs. As any blogger knows, there are numerous tasks and projects that need to get done, including writing and editing content, promoting content on social networks, developing premium content, designing promotional images, and all the small things in between. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t discover things that I need to do, and ideas I would like to try.
So eventually I had to figure out just how I was going to keep track of the blogging strategy I was building. That’s where using 2Do came in. I discovered that this management tool is useful for developing and documenting my goals and strategies, and most importantly keeping track of ideas and tasks that I want carry out in the near future.
Before Using 2Do
Before I started using 2Do I kept blogging tasks and ideas in digital notebooks, and saved related bookmarks in Safari, and the read later application, Pocket. But my notes and bookmarks were scattered, and I didn’t have a big picture of where I was going.
I was getting a lot of good ideas from Blogging Your Passion University and other similar professional blogging sites and podcasts, but I didn’t know where all the ideas fit into my overall plan. I didn’t even have a plan. I was mostly caught up in trying to write, maintain, and promote blog content and related projects. And needless to say, I couldn’t do everything I needed or wanted to do in a few weeks or even a few months. I needed a tool to help me stay focused for the long term.
I first thought about using a spreadsheet in Apple’s Numbers, but as I tried working in it, I didn’t find the user interface attractive and user-friendly. I then turned to Wunderlist, because I really liked its minimalistic design and ease of use.
I especially liked using Wunderlist on my iPad, because I could quickly add content, using the iOS Sharing feature, to selected folders from within almost any app. But as I started using Wunderlist, I realized that though I found UI design appealing, the application lacked many features I needed, including setting recurring dates, creating projects with subtasks, and color coding folders. Subtasks can be added to Wunderlist, but they get buried in a hidden side panel.
So I decided that though 2Do is not as clean cut as Wunderlist, it fulfills the purposes I need for developing my blogging strategy.
Thus, I recreated folders and tasks from Wunderlist into 2Do. Those folders include:
- Blog Post Ideas (brainstormed lists of blogging topics)
- Blog Site Development (ideas and tasks for developing my blogs)
- Email Subscription (ideas and tasks for getting email subscriptions)
- Freebies (Ideas for blog related freebies for my readers)
- Future Tactics
- Premium Resources (ideas for monetizing my blogs)
- Twitter Strategies
- Webinars (ideas and plans for webinars)
- YouTube Strategy
I also have folders for Business and Finance, Online Subscriptions, Affiliate Resources, and Read Later bookmarks.
The list of items in my folders are numerous, and I can’t do everything at once. Instead, I simply star items I want to work on for the next month or two. I don’t add deadlines to most items, but I will set due dates and recurring dates to items that are time sensitive. For instance, I set a recurring date to check my online subscriptions every three months, in order to consider which ones I should cancel. I set dates for updating my Twitter profiles, and doing regular Twitter follows and unfollows using Crowdfire.
Most of the content I’m adding to my 2Do folders is while I’m browsing articles on my iPad. When I come across an article with useful ideas, I now have a place to bookmark and review them later.
With this management system, I finally have a way to keep track of the big picture and most of the important parts that fit into the big picture. As I work though Blogging Your Passion University, for example, I document ideas and tasks that are pertinent to my goals and strategies for my blog sites.
I also use the 2Do management system for developing checklist lists and project plans. Any item in my 2Do can be converted to a project or checklist with sub-tasks. For instance, I have a checklist for creating a webinar, one for creating a video tutorial in ScreenFlow, and another one for blog maintenance tasks. I’ve always kept these types of checklists, but I now find them more accessible in 2Do, and they are a part of my overall blogging strategy.
Use Any Management System
Naturally 2Do is one of many task management systems. I prefer 2Do because it’s cross-platform and not too complicated to use. But other tools including Evernote, OmniFocus, or Wunderlist could also work.
As for carrying out my tasks and plans, I started using iDoneThis.com. Though I have lots of daily to-do’s in 2Do, I find that keeping a daily log of my accomplishments and goals for the day and week helps me get things done. I use iDoneThis also for reflecting on my work —what’s working and not working, and how could possibly do things differently.
I hope you as a blogger find my approach useful, especially if you have not started documenting your blogging strategy. This article is part 2 of my series about how I’m taking blogging to a professional level. Part 1 of the series covers the related tools and services I use for promoting my blog content on Twitter.