You feel overwhelmed.
You can’t get anything done, much less, even get TO, your projects because you have so much going on.
So many things bidding for your time.
There’s just not enough of you to go around.
“If life weren’t so crazy,” you think.
“If only there were more hours in the day.”
“If only you had help.”
Your “if only” list is so long, you can’t even remember why you were making it in the first place.
Things are just chaotic.
Other bloggers seem to always get ahead. Accomplish more.
But not you. Nope.
Feeling stuck sucks!
I’m one of those bloggers who truly gets ahead, and today, I’m going to share exactly what I do and what YOU can do, step by step to completing your projects.
Every month, I’m releasing 1-4 projects that I’ve completed. Not everything is sounding a trumpet either. Some things, I lightly launch and don’t even tell anyone. I just start implementing them, working my known and proven system to MAKE my posts go viral. How to make a post go viral is something I go into great detail in my upcoming course (releasing Oct 31), so it’s not something I’ll tackle in this post.
In this post, step by step to completing your projects, I want to show you my exact system of how I am crushing my goals and getting everything done in record time.
Because you hear it all the time, all these bloggers tell you, “OH, I crush my goals all the time. OH, I’m out there crushing it.”
You know what they DON’T tell you?! HOW!
Sound the trumpet, great, another blogger just hit a goal. That’s great. But if no one is telling you HOW they are hitting those goals (step by step), it’s not helpful, is it?!!!!
My system is very simple and includes some free printables for you too (cue the cheering!) This way, you too, can crush your goals, set the world on fire, and get your projects out there for the world to see, which in turn, means more money and traffic to your blog!
Step by Step to Completing Your Projects
The very first step is to write down ALL of your project ideas. But don’t just write them all down randomly. I keep a work binder with tabs I made.
You can grab any binder you have laying around your home. I choose to go with blue because I LOVE COLOR!
Then, I created a cover page for it that says, “Work Binder.” It’s a separate binder I have divided into three sections…
You can download the, “Work Binder” cover page here.
I didn’t have any dividers on hand and honestly, didn’t want to purchase them special. What I DID have on hand is some thick printable paper that I use for my printables (the brand I use is here) and some Avery tabs, so I just used those instead. I like them better. With dividers, the white inserts are always falling out and annoying me! The Avery tabs stick right on, no paper inserts falling out on me all the time, and it works perfectly.
In the first part of the binder, before any tabs, I have all my products ideas. Any time, I’m struck with a brilliant project idea, I write it down. Here’s exactly how I do it….
Each idea gets it’s OWN sheet of paper (you’ll find out why in the next step).
For this project idea, I write down the idea: Essential Oil Emotional Benefits Binder.
I write down the launch price and how long I’ll launch it for. In this case, it’s a free newsletter subscribe and the launch will be 48 hours. What this means is that it’ll still be free, but unless I alert my email subscribers to it, they might not all find it on the blog. So, I’ll tell them about it for 48 hours, which is just one email (my newsletter goes out every Tuesday, so I’d schedule it during one of those).
Then I start writing in the things I need to do, in order to complete that task. For this project, those things would be:
- Start writing the binder (gather my favorites)
- Finalize the binder and design it
- Create a post about it
- Promote it and launch
- Put a link to the binder in my navigation bar somewhere
- Put this item in my store for sale (the reason I will have it on my site for free as a newsletter subscribe and for sale in my store is because the item will be for sale, but for those who find the post and sign up, they can get it for free. Many times I get Google traffic to my store and they don’t see my site. Other times, people would rather pay for an item than to give their email address. You want to have options for different audiences, as well as new traffic).
The next thing I write down is if it’s been tested or not.
Does this idea pass the test?
What this means is, does my audience love the idea or not. If my audience does NOT love it, I do NOT create it. You can ask your audience in a number of ways. The most recent test I did this week was a simple question within a post.
I told my email list about the post and alerted them there was a small poll within the post. Many took the poll and here were the results. It’s a simple click-based poll via heatmap. I set up three different pages and every time the link is clicked, it gets a higher score on the heatmap. Very simple to gauge.
As you can see, the #1 spot was Essential Oils Diffuser Blends Guide and the second place was Essential Oils Emotional Benefits Guide. Those two I will work on for sure. Clearly, my audience wants it.
But you see the third option there, Essential Oils Food Recipe Book? It only has 4.44%. It’s less than half of the other two ideas and since there’s not ENOUGH interest, I won’t create that product at all. I will write “Test: FAILED” on the top of that sheet that I started for that idea and put it at the back of my binder (perhaps revisiting the idea another time, again testing my audience, or scrapping the idea altogether, but for now, it’s off the back burner and dead), and keep my other two sheets as “Test: PASS”.
You can print out the “New Projects” sheet here.
Sometimes I’ll do a giveaway if I have a lot of questions to ask my audience. I usually do this once-twice a year to make sure I’m on track and doing and creating what they want in the order they want it.
It’s really simple to find out what your audience wants. They are very generous in wanting to tell you, all you have to do is ask (and make it super simple for them to vote and respond).
After you KNOW something is tested and approved by your audience, it’s just a matter of scheduling it.
Here’s a schedule I created for my projects.
You can print out the “Goals” schedule sheet here.
Next, I take each project that has been tested and I start filling in my goals schedule sheet by the year.
The first thing I do is figure out WHICH project is the MOST important.
How I decide that….which one will make me the most money or get me the most subscribers. If I have two projects that get subscribers and two that make money, I alternate them. Maybe in January, I’d do one making money project and one subscribers project. Februrary would be a making money project and subscribers project. I do that so it’s nice and balanced.
I always want to be working on ONE course AND ONE binder at a time, personally.
Because sometimes I’ll be stuck on a course and waiting for one of my assistants to help me. In the meantime, while I’m waiting, I’ll work on the binder. I always try to spend (first priority) at least one hour on a course project per day. Since a course is so labor-intensive, unless I keep that momentum up, sometimes, I really want to fall back and just not do it (or put it off).
They take a LOT of work and it can get overwhelming. But by doing just one hour a day (or more if I get into it or have extra time, like today, I did 3 hours and created my entire sales page) I lessen the chance of my getting overwhelmed and wanting to quit. I just focus on one aspect on my “New Projects” sheet each day. Today, it was the sales page. Tomorrow it’ll be switching over my pretty URL I purchased to mask the link on my Sarah Titus site. Since my host has to do that, I have to wait, so tomorrow, I’ll spend 30 minutes doing that and then work on a binder (currently working on a Christmas binder). 🙂
This way, I’m always working on something and gaining ground, even while I’m waiting.
But each day I try to keep focused on just one-two things like that. Today, I created the sales page to my Happily Ever Blogger course that is coming Oct 31 and I’m working on this post.
This is how I balance all my work and get it done.
The MAIN THING I want you to see through all of this, is that I’m NOT stressed, I’m NOT overwhelmed and the major reason is because EVERYTHING I do is tested. If I release or launch something to my audience, it’s because they let me know they want it. Instead of working on dud projects or projects no one wants, everything is tested and organized.
Does that mean that everything I release is a smashing success? No. But it sure does weed out a lot of ideas. As a creative, I’m always inspired. I’m always writing sheets for more ideas, and I tend to want to start them right away without testing. But, since I started testing things, I’ve reined in my free spirit a little bit and can focus on the stuff that will MOST LIKELY be a success, thus gaining me ground even quicker!
Instead of feeling scattered, I’m calm, relaxed, and organized. When I have a thought about an idea within a project, I have a whole sheet to write it down on because I AM inspired a lot. I just go to my binder and write it on the appropriate sheet.
Now, keep in mind, again, I don’t throw AWAY those sheets of failed project ideas. I keep them in the back of the binder as a reminder if I forget and have this brilliant idea again. I can be like, “No. It was already tested as a ‘No.’ Don’t bother,” OR if it’s something I REALLY personally just want to do, I do all the successful project ideas first, then go back and retest. Maybe my audience is ready for the project at a later date, maybe not, maybe I’ll never even get to it because I have too many projects that test a, “Yes.” Either way, I save it.
The great thing about doing this system too, is that instead of starting and not finishing a bunch of projects, you work on one and finish it, at a time. Also, it gives you time to really stew on your thoughts.
For example, I had an idea about a 30 day challenge. While I’m working on my current course and binder, I’m thinking about that challenge and I had the brilliant idea of putting my binders for sale within the challenge on various days. It’s a way I can slip in selling my binders very naturally.
If I didn’t take the time to think about the project before just getting excited about it and starting the project, I wouldn’t have thought of that, and if I did think of it later, I’d have to go back and re-do the work to insert the binders. This would have made more work for me.
Rather, now I just write that idea on the sheet and keep thinking over all my ideas and how I can improve them. When I get to them, they are ready to go and have been well thought-out.
Also, if you’re wondering how I know which courses to work on first, with that, I listed all 7-8 of my course ideas in a previous giveaway. 2-3 of those courses didn’t get enough votes. The other courses, I just numbered on my sheets in order of votes. So, I’d work on the binder and the course with the most votes. In this case, it was the Happily Ever Blogger course that got first place.
I also want to say that I don’t test EVERYTHING. I only test projects. Things like posts I don’t test. But the things that take a lot of time, yes, absolutely, you want to test them before you start!
It may take you some time to get into a routine of your own system, but if you keep working it, you can be MUCH more productive and take step by step to completing your projects at a very rapid rate.
In blogging, there are a lot of things that distract us. Keeping our projects first and foremost in our minds and really making them a priority is huge. It’ll grow your blog and your business faster than anything else, I assure you. Your projects should be your #1 priority. If you don’t have enough time to work on your projects, you haven’t set up enough systems in order to have that time to do so.
One of my FAVORITE systems that I have set up that saves me SOOOO much time is my email vacation responder. I get a lot of questions that are the exact same, so setting up an automatic response for each person is really helpful. I know that if I get an email and the answer is on that responder, I don’t even have to respond. It saves a lot of time on something (email) that tends to suck up a lot of time. I feel like it also makes people take you more seriously when you have an autoresponder set up. People know you value your time.
If you’re not sure which systems to set up, begin looking at your business and seeing patterns. What do you do over and over and over again? Is there an easier way to set up something to save you time in that area? Be proactive and get lots of systems in place. Having systems helps you set boundaries, which in turn helps those people (like me!) who have a hard time saying no when asked something.
It’s easy to say, “My general rule is…” This way all your communication is the same and you’re not showing favoritism or feeling scattered and trying to make so many decisions. One answer, all the time = so much less stress.
What can you do in your business TODAY to make your life EASIER TOMORROW? What ONE system can you set up? Maybe it’s this work binder. Maybe it’s an email FAQ, maybe it’s something else, but I encourage you to do it. Otherwise, you’ll just continue to feel scattered and overwhelmed and that doesn’t lead to success…it leads to you quitting and we don’t want that!!!