Three Months In: Using an Editorial Calendar

editorial calendar graphic

Last week I talked about how the Bullet Journal has changed my life. Using an editorial calendar has done the same, but the magic really started when I began using them TOGETHER.  My first editorial calendar was written in pencil on my wall calendar. It was a little hard to see, but it was there. For the most part, I followed through on it and I love how it makes me feel more organized and together with my blogging. Month two I used the same technique and separately began using the Bullet Journal.

Towards the end of February, I realized that I could combine the two and make everything work together for me. So now I write out my monthly calendar, turn the page of my bullet journal and write out another monthly calendar- just for my blog.

An editorial calendar is a schedule. It’s a way to keep track of what you want to write about and when you want to write it. I love how it gives me time to brainstorm blog post ideas so that I’m not scrambling in the morning to come up with a topic. I could probably be more organized and theme my months,  but I don’t think I’m quite there yet!  Amy T Schubert of Lemon and Raspberry talks more specifically about “how to”  here – I highly recommend reading through if you don’t already use one!

Editorial Calendars really are magic. Mine is the reason that I’ve been so much more present on this blog, which is something I’ve struggled with at times, but love keeping up with. Three months in and all is going beautifully. Keeping up with both the bullet journal and my editorial calendar process has been a lot smoother than I thought it would be, which makes me happy. 🙂

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Organization: Bullet Journal

bulletjournal_fallenpeach

How do you keep track of your to do lists?

A couple months ago I would have answered with ” a million scraps of paper all over my desk”. The day that I discovered the Bullet Journal I think I had four separate lists, some items overlapping of course, that I was about to condense.

This post is both a thank you to Kim Werker, who brought the Bullet Journal to “my” attention with this blog post  and a mini review of the Bullet Journal. And, of course, thank you to the inventor of the Bullet Journal. I believe that this has changed my life in some large and very very important way.

I have tried a lot of different ways to keep organized. I even went through a phase last year where I attempted to keep my to do lists on my phone in a “tasks” app. That lasted exactly two days. I need paper. I need to physically write things down or else I will never remember them. If they are hidden in an app on my phone I won’t remember to go there and look at them. Plus, nothing is as awesome as actually crossing something off your to do list.

The Bullet Journal is pure genius. It is a paper and pen way to keep track of everything you need to keep track of without the mess and scraps of paper everywhere.

What I discovered, to my absolute delight, is that this WORKS for me. I’ve been keeping my bullet journal for almost two months now and I am loving it. I loved it even more when I realized that I didn’t have to just have ONE monthly calendar in it. Mine has two. One for events and personal things and one just to use as an editorial calendar for my blog and business. Everything is organized and I can move to do items from one day to the next without having a mess on my hands (and my desk).

The other wonderful thing about this is that you can adapt every time you set up a new month. I started in February and then realized what my journal was missing and added them in for March. You can draw the calendar any way you would like, really, and make the journal work better for you by adapting it to your own habits. For example, I like to actually cross things off instead of check mark them. It helps me see what actually got done vs what still needs to be accomplished.

So, how do you keep track of your to do lists? Do you use a bullet journal? Will you start one? How will you adapt it to work better for you?

Organizing: Having a Calendar Addiction and my February Resolution

calendaraddiction_fallenpeach

I have a very serious calendar addiction. Right now I am using 5 different calendars. I realize that this is silly and quite possibly stupid, but until this point I haven’t really had a “breakthrough” on how to cut down on my calendars. And, honestly, some of them I won’t be able to cut down on.

The pretty National Parks one in our kitchen is strictly for looks. And the white board calendar by the door is for both Matt and myself to communicate what is going on in any given month. Those two are pretty much staying as is. And I’m saying it – the kitchen calendar isn’t a calendar. So there. Now I’m already down to 4 calendars.

I also have my cell phone calendar, a monthly hanging by my desk and an engagement calendar on my desk. The cell phone calendar sends me reminders, so that is good… which means that it’s down to the monthly and the engagement calendar to condense.

Sometime in November I decided I wanted to make my own engagement calendar, but after a month of using said calendar I realized the only thing I use it for is writing down my to do lists. Well, that and my editorial calendar but – oh wait I JUST FOUND ANOTHER CALENDAR ON MY DESK. … with just my editorial calendar for January on it.. which is also written in my engagement calendars. I really really have a problem. Back up to 5.

Anyway, back to my resolution – I think for February I’m going to try and condense and move all personal and business items to the monthly on the wall and create some other thing for my to do lists. Because, honestly, everything is all scattered and I need to get more organized. So my resolution will be to condense three calendars into one and find another way to write my daily to do lists.

So, hypothetically, in February there will only be three calendars and an on-going to do list notebook. So much better than 5, or was it 6?

Thanks for listening to my rambling. Do you have a calendar addiction? Do you have a solution for condensing?

Slowing Down for 2014, How I’m Handling Getting Overwhelmed

Feather on Rain Drops photograph by fallenpeach

Confession: I get overwhelmed every few months. Completely, nothing is working, freaking out overwhelmed. I tend to overbook myself with projects and work and every once in a while … it just hits me. At that point I feel like I’m not getting anywhere and I’m just working myself to the bone for nothing.

This usually isn’t entirely true. But it’s how I feel for at least 3 days every few months.

In 2013 I came up with a lot (A LOT) of plans and ideas. I want to try to implement many of them this year. But I don’t want to freak myself out. So I’m trying to pace myself this year. I’m setting small goals and not rushing to finish projects. For example, we will be launching a graphic design portion of fallenpeach. Do I know when? No, not yet. I know it will be this year, but I’m not rushing. I want to do it right. Once I know more details about that part of our company I will set a launch date to work towards. But until then, I’m just keeping it as one project that I’m working slowly towards.

Another example: I’m making my own engagement calendar. If I came up with this idea last year I would rush to tell everyone and announce everything about it right away. Instead, I’m taking it slow. Making each month as I go and making changes each month. When it’s perfect, I’ll tell you guys and make more announcements. But until then, the details are staying mostly a secret.

So this year, I guess, one of my words is SLOW. I’m slowing down. Taking things one step at a time. Keeping things to myself until I’m ready.

How about you? How do you handle being overwhelmed? What steps are you taking to get more done instead of freaking out?

First Meetup of 2014! January Goals

the meetup banner 2013

Let me just say, I am so ready for 2014.

2013 was a year of ups and downs, happiness and sadness plus lots and lots of IDEAS. I am, in fact, overwhelmed with ideas for 2014. Which means that I need to be even more organized that usual this year if I plan on getting any of them accomplished.

To help myself, I’ve made my own engagement calendar (more on that later this year!) and have written out an editorial calendar for January. I’m also back to categorizing my goals for the month. So, here we go!

fallenpeach January Goals 2014 Meetup

Personal:

  • Wear Fitbit more often and record food.
  • Sort through clothes for holes and worn items, then make shopping list and replace tossed/donated items.

I am determined, this year, to be healthier. This doesn’t mean losing weight, more eating better and not getting caught in laziness traps. I also have noticed recently that I’m wearing like the same 2 pairs of pants always. I hate clothes shopping, but I think it’s time to assess what I have and what I need so that there is a bit more variety … and fewer holes….

fallenpeach:

  • get back on track with blogging
  • create official mission statement and put on all social media/websites/shop etc
  • re-organize blog sidebar

This is going to be a learning and building year for fallenpeach, Sammy & Friends and our upcoming graphic design division. I’m ready to push forward and get more professional and organized with everything. No more flying by the seat of my pants (as often, anyway). Also, time for a few little changes to spruce up the blog!

sammy & friends:

  • make bookmark out of new winter illustration
  • encourage Matt to make more illustrations!
  • build a page on this blog for Sammy & Friends

Sammy & Friends is quickly becoming its own business area and I’d like to devote more space to the little guys on this blog and elsewhere. I’m debating opening a second shop just for them on Etsy, but I still think owning more than one shop will be too difficult for me right now. For now I’ll start with expanding their visibility.

graphic design:

  • I was asked to create logo, banner and avatar re-designs for an Etsy team! Can’t wait to show off what we are working on 🙂
  • come up with name for our graphic design company

Our graphic design offerings are expiring in our shop because we are working on creating a whole separate business just for our custom work. This is a big undertaking and I want to do it properly. We probably won’t officially launch until late in the year, but keep in mind we are always available for custom and graphic design work!

other:

  • write out February blog schedule
  • create February calendar pages, making changes from what worked and didn’t in January

As I mentioned earlier, I’m creating my own engagement calendar. It has elements that I’ve never really seen in one before and I plan on spending the year perfecting it. Sometime in the Fall I may offer printables or actual paper pages for sale, I’m still working out the details. Either way, I’m excited to work on this project and see how it works out.

THE MEETUP – has been slowing down a lot lately and I would love to see it built back up to the community it was. If you are working on monthly goals, please feel free to link to them in these blog posts and spread the word!

The Meetup is a community of bloggers who set monthly goals and encourage each other on projects and goals. Link to your goals below, I would love to see what all of you are up to this month!

Meetup: December & End of the Year Goals 2013

the meetup banner 2013

Happy December! It’s hard to believe that 2013 is nearly over. Looking back, it has been a rollercoaster of a year for me. But it’s not over yet.

On the first day of November, I talked about RESETTING. My goals for November where to simply work on personal projects, sort photographs from road trips and take some time for myself.

I would say I was mostly successful. There were two craft fairs in there, and a handful of other obligations, but overall I’ve really gotten a good start on resetting. That’s right, start. I’ve decided to continue my RESET goal until the end of 2013. I’m about halfway through sorting road trip photos and one of my big goals for December is to at the very least choose and print the ones I want to put in an album.

This is actually a great way to bring in Day 1 of 30 Days of Lists because my list for BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR is really just a fancy way of saying December Meetup Goals!

30lists_december1_fallenpeach

How was your November? What are your goals for December? Are you participating in 30 Days of Lists as well?

Planning an American Road Trip: Favorite Tools

favtools_planroadtrip_fallenpeach

Last week we spent a few days planning our next road trip. How much planning we do for any given road trip often depends on a handful of factors:  time frame, budget and if we already have a set of places to go in mind.

This particular trip: we only have 7 days, a limited budget and at least three major stops already planned. We are also traveling to a part of the country that can have areas of no civilization / cell service. Because of all of these factors, we are planning a little more detailed than usual. We aren’t calling ahead for hotels or campsites, but are making lists with addresses and phone numbers for possible places to stay which means by the time we leave we should have a good idea of how far we will be driving each day and what our itinerary looks like.

The last time we went on a big road trip, I didn’t have a smart phone. We didn’t really use a lot of apps or even websites to plan, other than Google Maps. We just kind of drove and saw what we saw. Since then I’ve discovered a bunch of fun websites and apps to help us plan and so I decided to write this post letting you know about them!

Websites

Google Maps is a big one. With the website, you can put in multiple destinations and get a general idea of driving time (both total and between one location and the next), possible routes and a good far away look at what your route looks like.

Roadside America started to come into play for us after our first big trip. Once we saw how much craziness there is to be seen in America, we wanted to find more of it. This website is the ultimate list of World’s Largest and other awesome and nutty things/places you can see across this fine country. Choose a state and search by town, choose a map and trace your route, search for something specific – how you search is up to you. What’s also great about this site is that people chime in and update each listing so that others can know if an attraction has shut down or moved or expanded and enlarged.

RoadTrippers is fairly new (at least to us) and amazes me in so many ways. You can put in your route (with multiple destinations) then choose what you want to see on the map (attractions, places to stay, restaurants etc) and little dots will appear along your route telling you what of those locations is nearby. It also estimates distance and hours to be traveled as well as how much gas will cost (although our estimate for this trip seems a bit high). I love using this website in conjunction with others, but I don’t think I would use just it alone. The places to stay seem to be limited to quirky not chain and although that is nice sometimes, others you just need a Best Western. Overall, though, I found some fun unique places to see for our trip through this website!

TripAdvisor is great for hotel reviews. I always make sure to read some of the good ones and some of the bad to find the truth in reviews.

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As for phone apps, I’m limited. RoadTrippers and Roadside America both have apps but they are unfortunately only available for Apple devices. Both Matt and I have Android phones. However, I will definitely be using GasBuddy and am on the search for any other handy apps. Will update if I find anything else great!

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Books and Other Helpful Things

GPS – we will be using our Garmin GPS for most of our journey. We used it on our Honeymoon and it worked beautifully. Google Maps on our phones may also come in handy if we need to detour or something goes wrong. We will also have an actual paper road atlas in case we lose cell / GPS signal.

AAA – I always stop by AAA and pick up a couple maps and travel guides for the places we will be going. It’s free with your membership.

The Next Exit  – this book is awesome. It’s so helpful and easy to use that I recommend anyone that ever travels by car have one in their back seat. Most times I find it easier to use this book than the GPS. It has all the restaurants, gas and hotels off of EVERY EXIT off of every major highway in the United States. It even tells you if something is only on one side of the highway (and what side). We have the 2012 edition and love it. If you are on the East Coast there is another similar book just for I-95 which is equally awesome.

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What are your favorite tools for planning a road trip?