How I Organize Business Planning as a Solopreneur

How I Organize Business Planning as a Solopreneur - KissMyBiz.com

Running a business can sometimes feel overwhelming. There’s always something else to be done. There’s always the risk of forgetting about a task or deadline. And doing that can be costly. That’s where effective and consistent business planning and organization come in.

Today I’d like to share a bit about how I deal with business planning and general organization as a solopreneur.

What works for me might not necessarily work for you, but if you haven’t found your own system yet, perhaps the tools I share here will help.

Analog vs Digital Business Planning (& Why I Use Both)

When dealing with business planning, project planning, or general organization, you have both digital and analog tools available. Which should you use?

Personally, I prefer to use both.

Why?

Over the years, I’ve found I do well with analog options because I’m forced to think things through before I feel comfortable committing plans to paper.

But digital planning tools like apps offer convenience and accessibility analog tools don’t. I don’t want to carry a notebook around everywhere I go to jot down content ideas for example.

Having a dedicated digital tool makes it easy for me to move my notes and tasks back-and-forth.

Digital tools are also great for that instant gratification of checking something off a list and watching it disappear. Analog options, on the other hand, tend to give me a more visual picture of longer-term progress.

Favorite Tools for Planning & Organizing My Work

While calendars – apps and otherwise – are quite possibly the most common business planning and organizational tool, I don’t use one. At least not in a traditional sense.

Instead, these are the most common tools I use for organizing both the service side and publishing side of my business:

Bullet Journals

My primary analog tool for business planning is a collection of bullet journals.

I keep a primary bullet journal to manage day-to-day tasks and trackers. But I also keep separate ones for my web publishing (blogging and other online properties) and more traditional publishing (manuscripts).

These cover long-term planning in a way that’s easy to refer back to without feeling cluttered.

I also use my bullet journals – especially my main one – for quarterly and monthly planning. Every new month gets bookmarked, making it easy to open my book and review goals and progress on a daily basis.

Todoist

On the digital side of things, Todoist is my primary tool. While I opt not to integrate it with a traditional calendar app, it does give me a snapshot of what’s coming up over the next day or week.

I’ve talked more about how I use Todoist over at my Freelance Writing Pros blog, but its main benefit is giving me somewhere to break goals and plans into micro-tasks.

I find it’s much easier for me to tackle big projects when things are broken down in this way – essentially into things I can do in anywhere from five minutes to an hour.

The other benefit of Todoist is that I can access it from anywhere, even if I don’t have my bullet journals with me.

It also features convenient labels. I use this to label each microtask by the amount of time it’s expected to take to complete — into time-based task lists. So, for example, if I find myself with an extra 30 minutes at the end of the day, I can simply pull something off my task list marked as a 30-minute task.

This is also convenient when I’m just not “feeling it” on a particular day. If I can’t bring myself to focus in general, I’ll pull up a five-minute task. After knocking out a few of those, I find it much easier to get into my planned projects for the day.

Index Cards & Notepads

I’m also a big fan of index cards of various sizes and small to mid-sized notebooks.

These are what I use for initial brainstorming when I just want to see something mapped out on paper. It avoids making a mess of my bullet journals by giving me throwaway (recyclable) pages before I commit anything to one of my books. I’m particularly fond of 5×8″ cards.

There’s nothing inherently complicated about my long-term or day-to-day planning. It’s about making anything I might need easily-accessible. And by doing this in both analog and digital formats, I have what I need no matter what kind of head-space I might be in on any given day.

If you’re a solopreneur, what tools and methods do you rely on most to stay organized and plan out your days, weeks, or even years?

Jenn Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. An active digital publisher, she runs numerous websites and blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, and NakedPR.

Jenn has over 20 years' experience working as a solopreneur running a 3-prong business of offering freelance writing and consulting services, running digital publications, and operating as an indie publisher of predominantly e-books.

This experience includes over 20 years working as a professional writer and editor, 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (specializing in areas like digital PR, online marketing, social media, and SEO), 18 years' experience as a professional blogger / online publisher (including web development), and around 16 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

At Kiss My Biz, Jenn shares stories, tips, and tools from her own adventures in solopreneurship, while aiming to help fellow solopreneurs and creative professionals succeed even where it feels against the odds.

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