This content originally lived in a free mini-course on Teachable. Spoiler alert - there's a free template at the end of the post. No opt-in required, but you'll need to create a free WorkFlowy account.
What Happens When Your Blog Is a Mess?
Are you a blogger? If so, chances are you're busy, and most days feel like you've bitten off way too much of that blogging burrito.
Me too. I don't have time to search through piles of blogging notes--virtually in this app and that, or on paper. No one has time for that.
You can't be all over the place with your blog. You know what happens? Ideas slip away. Opportunities are missed. Stress levels explode. That's not okay.
But when I started my blog, that was exactly what happened--a hot mess. I was scattered and lost.
I had too much information in too many places. I tried out a couple of blog planners, and while useful, they didn't quite have the flexibility, or anywhere-access I needed.
That's when I discovered WorkFlowy. I was hooked! I use WorkFlowy to organize my blog. Frankly, I'm using it to keep my sanity.
The goal for this post is to help you develop an organized, easy system to manage blogger overwhelm and to help your blog run smoothly.
You can apply the same organizational system to a Trello board, a Google doc (although that won't be as flexible and fun), Asana, whatever you prefer.
Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with WorkFlowy. This post is based on my personal experiences with the platform and is not sponsored by WorkFlowy.
So Many Plates
If you're like me (and most people I know), you're probably multitasking for your life! I sure am.
When I started my blog, I was working a full-time day job. That bit the dust, but I still have so much to do.
Are you currently spinning these plates?
Working the 8-5 day job.
Working from home mom.
Managing the house/family/pets.
Blogging (and the tasks that come with it).
Starting an online business or two.
Eating, breathing, sleeping, you know the drill!
Are You in the Right Place?
a.) You have no idea what you're doing!
b.) You're overwhelmed by the massive amount of information and advice flooding your feeds, inbox, and brain every day!
c.) You need to tame this info beast before it swallows you whole!
d.) All of the above!
If you chose d, you're in the right place. :)
What Do Most Bloggers Have in Common?
No matter the niche, all blogs have supporting elements, systems, and structures. Well, let me add a caveat: All successful blogs have these things in common. Without a support structure, anything will fall apart, including a blog.
Behind the Curtain
We can have a little Wizard of Oz moment here. Let's take a look behind the blogging curtain.
For the purposes of this post, let's assume you're the sole blogging wizard behind the curtain. What categories of tasks, resources, and ideas might you have?
Guest post opportunities and ideas
Social media engagement
Other blogs to follow
Emails to subscribers
Expenses to track
Educational information and resources
Traffic building activities
Website and blog maintenance
Ideas for free or paid services and products
Goals for your blog
Tasks you repeat daily (or weekly, etc.), such as publishing a post
That's a lot of information! Next we'll make a quick stop to introduce you to WorkFlowy, before digging into how it can help you organize your blog.
According to the creators of WorkFlowy, it's a "zoomable document that provides unprecedented flexibility in organizing your ideas." Their tagline is "organize your brain." Oh, I need to organize my brain.
In the simplest of terms, WorkFlowy is a list-making or outlining tool. You can access WorkFlowy online or through the smartphone app. If you're going to use it often online, bookmark it, add a shortcut to your desktop, or add it to your shelf (for all you Chromebook users).
It's a great place to gather, organize, and reorganize your tasks, ideas, and more. It's extremely user friendly and has a clean, minimalist look. I really love it!
Is WorkFlowy Secure?
I'll let their lawyers answer. :)
Why Are You Waiting? Try It Now
Take WorkFlowy for a quick test drive. I'll wait right here. Fun, right?
The demo takes you through key features, which we'll cover in the next lecture.
What Makes WorkFlowy Awesome for Bloggers: Key Features and Flexibility
1. It's Zoomable
Zoom in by clicking a bullet point and out by clicking "Home." Zoom in means you narrow down, or dive into a section. Let's say you have a bullet with a heading of "101 Ways to Kill a Zombie." (Not that I do, just for example. Okay, I do.) You click on the bullet and zoom in on that list of 101 ways. Click "Home" and you're back to your WorkFlowy homepage or master list.
2. It's Collapsible and Expandable
Sometimes your master list is too much. Sometimes you want to see it all. Click the + (plus) beside a bullet point to expand it. Click the - (minus) next to a bullet point to collapse it. Think of it this way, you can zoom from big picture to little picture and back.
3. It's Hashtag Friendly
WorkFlowy allows you to use hastags to quickly designate categories or people. Let's say you have a list of 12 blog post ideas, and a few of those might also make great courses or guest posts. Simply add a #guest or #course hashtag to the items. When you click on a hastag, all items with that hashtag will appear. Click escape to go back to your normal list.
4. It's Flexible: Drag and Drop
If you're like me, you'll develop a system and refine it often. It's easy to move items around in WorkFlowy. Simply drag and drop to the desired location. Say you have a huge list with sub-items and you want to move that entire section. No problem. Just make sure the bullet is collapsed and drag it to its new place.
By hitting tab, you can indent an item, which makes it a sub-item of the one above it. You can also remove the indent by hitting Shift + Tab.
5. It Has Options
When you hover over a bullet, a menu of options appears. You can choose to complete, add note, share, export, duplicate or delete the item. Selecting complete turns the item gray and adds a line through it. If you click complete again, the item returns to normal.
The duplicate feature will come in very handy, if you have a master list of tasks that you want to replicate. You can export items as formatted or plain text, or just select items and hit Ctrl + C to copy. We'll get into the benefits of sharing a list soon.
6. It's Searchable!
Have you ever hidden something from yourself? I have! Type anything into the search box at the top of your WorkFlowy home page and hit enter. No more hiding in your list!
7. Bonus: Keyboard Shortcuts
Highlight text and hit Ctrl + B to make it bold. Ctrl + I to italicize. Ctrl + U to underline.
Hide or show your completed items by clicking Ctrl + O.
To complete an item, place the cursor next to it (or highlight) and hit Ctrl + Enter. Undo complete (or any other action) with Ctrl + Z.
Ready? Set Up Your Account
Create your free WorkFlowy account. All you need is to enter valid email address and confirm it. The basic level is free -- up to 250 items per month.
What's next? Let's find out how WorkFlowy can help make your blogging life easier and more productive.
Blog Management Categories
My template includes seven major categories for a Blog Management Template:
Posts | Content
Promotion | Traffic Building
Engagement | Community Building
Learning | Resources
Expenses | Business | Housekeeping
Priorities | Goals | Actions
Monetizing | Providing Value
Don't worry. I know there's more to it. Each category has sub-categories as well. Of course, if you want to add categories or change the wording, you can.
Here's your Blog Management Template
This is what it will look like on your screen:
Before you do anything else, click "Add it to my account" in the lower right corner.
Now that you've add the template to your account, you're free to customize away!
Next, we'll talk about WorkFlowy Pro and options for getting more space on your free account.
Just a note: You're welcome to use the template, and I hope you do. You may also pass it along to friends. But please don't share or present it on your blog or elsewhere, without crediting me because that's rude.
At the time I'm writing this, WorkFlowy Pro costs $5 per month or $49 per year. After using it for a few weeks, I went Pro and ponied up for the full year to save a little.
The biggest difference between free and paid: Free users are limited to 250 items per month, and Pro users are unlimited. Pro users also have more options with fonts, etc., but space is the real reason to upgrade.
It's fairly easy to hit 250 items, when you're tracking a lot of information. You may be able to keep it under control and prune your items from time to time. WorkFlowy will warn you when you get close to your max. For me, it was better to go pro.
WorkFlowy has a simple referral system. Share your referral link, and once someone signs up (and confirms), you each get 250 more items.
Can't I Just Use Google Docs or Word?
Sure, you are welcome to copy and paste the Blog Management Template to Word or Google Docs. But they don't work the way WorkFlowy does.
Remember, you can customize and streamline the Blog Management Template to make it work for you. As you progress with your blog, you'll grow as a person and as a blogger. Your management system should also be able to adapt and grow with you.
It's bonus time!
I have two little bonuses for you. The first is a template for a planner/to-do section in WorkFlowy.
It includes places for the day's top six tasks, personal note and errands, and what I call a "Daily Tick List."
"Today's Top 6" is intended for the most important things you need to do today to move your blog or business forward.
The "Daily Tick List" is for tasks you do every day (or almost) to maintain your blog/business. These are things you need to do, but that fall outside of the realm of big, move your business forward items.
Be sure to click "Add it to my account" to save your own copy.
Again, make this your own. You may find it doesn't work for you. We each have our own way of managing life. :)
The second bonus is tucked away in the Blog Management Template like a hidden treat.
At the end of the Posts | Content section, you'll see the Post Punch-List:
It's a handy list of things to do, once your first draft is finished. I find it easier and faster to follow a process for publishing posts. Otherwise, I end up going back in to add and fix things! Again, customize it for your process.