In case you haven’t noticed, I dig organized systems and processes.
In a recent post, I shared with you my favorite (free) organizational app in the world: WorkFlowy.
But there is something I love even more than WorkFlowy.
I call it My Brain.
In full disclosure, my blogging strategist and friend Cristy Cates inspired it. I think that I even ripped off the name My Brain from her.
And, because I dig sharing the love, I have to say that Krista Dickson – a lovely blogger who blogs about blogging – inspired this post.
You see, I received an email from her the other day about her own scheduling system that relies on sticky notes.
And, in case you weren’t already aware, sticky notes are freakin’ wicked.
Now, there are a bazillion different ways to use sticky notes.
If I was really good with words, I’d include – Dr. Seuss-style – a slew of catchy phrases about how to use the little buggers. But words are not my forte.
What I will say is that if your use of them is limited to leaving reminder notes to pick up the dry cleaning on the coffee maker, you are doing it all wrong.
My own discovery of the infinite potential of sticky notes came this spring while I was building this site.
In the months preceding Darling Little Spreadsheets’ launch, I was feeling massively overwhelmed.
It was literally my 10th blog, and I was quite comfortable customizing WordPress themes and playing around with plugins and code. I knew all about hosting, email list building, and content upgrades. Simply put, I already had the tools in place to create an exceptionally wicked site.
But I had also succumbed to the online marketers – the bloggers who make their fortunes selling courses to other bloggers on how to make money blogging – and I was constantly being reminded that if I didn’t follow their secret formulas for success, nobody would ever see my blog or buy my stuff. So, I bought their courses on credit that I didn’t have.
Rather than reduce my overwhelm, the courses and emails that flooded my inbox added to it. I now had triple the work ahead of me and no sense of how in the heck I was going to accomplish anything.
That’s when I learned about Cristy’s Brain.
Now, I don’t know exactly what her Brain includes – I only know that it exists and that it is, in many respects, the equivalent of a mobile and organizable brain dump. However, I do know that the second she told me about it, I felt a strong urge to create my own.
Over the months, My Brain has evolved as I’ve learned what works best for me. Currently, there are two major components to it, although I’m in the process of adding a third…
Here’s how My Brain works (in brief):
- I do a brain dump of all biz or blogging related to-dos, as well as anything else that is taking up precious mental real estate.
- I transfer each item onto a sticky note.
- I organize the sticky notes according to their purpose or priority.
- I shift the sticky notes around as priorities change, items get completed, etc.
During My Brain’s infancy days, I organized the sticky notes based on days until launch. E.g. I worked backward from launch day and assigned tasks to each day. This system would have worked better had I not drastically overestimated how much work I’d be able to accomplish while working a 9-5. The beauty of this system was that I simply shifted the sticky notes back as needed (and launched much later than anticipated).
My current Brain involves two key elements:
- Quadrants based on urgency and importance (and integrating both biz and personal tasking); AND
- Content and monetization ideas.
Your Brain may look quite different than mine, and that’s awesome. The point of it is to create a system that allows you to quickly unload all of the random thoughts and to-dos that circulate between your ears in a manner that allows for flexible organization and an increase in productivity.[clickToTweet tweet=”Organize your blog & biz tasking, content ideas, & launches with *drumroll* sticky notes!” quote=”Organize your blog & biz tasking, content ideas, & launches with *drumroll* sticky notes!” theme=”style1″]
Maybe you’ll do what Krista does and organize your stickies by day of the week. Maybe you’ll do what I do and organize them based on importance and urgency. Or maybe you’ll treat it as a sticky note version of a bullet journal. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
The critical element of this system is that it’s meant to be quick.
Have a thought? Transfer it to a sticky note and integrate it with the others. Reorder the notes as needed. Remove the notes once you’ve complete them.
Use different colored stickies for different categories of items (that’s what I did when I first created My Brain), or just do what I did in the image above and mix up the colors to add interest. Note that I use different shapes for personal items so that they stand out at a glance.
A few final thoughts…
It’s worth noting that I integrate My Brain with WorkFlowy. What I love about the app is that I can reorder and move items around – just as I do with the sticky notes.
The difference between My Brain and WorkFlowy, and how I minimize redundancy, is that while My Brain takes up space on my wall, is colorful, and includes everything that I need to do in the not-so-distant future often for a specific project, my WorkFlowy setup is organized to include all tasking (including appointments, grocery lists, and things not included in My Brain)… and only for one week out.
Speaking of WorkFlowy, if you’re intrigued by this free app and want to learn more about it, check out this post.
And, if you are in the market for some seriously no-fuss, wicked spreadsheets to manage your blog and biz activities – you know, social media and hashtag managers, editorial calendars, and income trackers – check out my Blog & Biz Spreadsheet Bundle.
Now, I’d love to hear from you! How do you stay organized and on task? Do you have a favorite system? Please share in the comments below!