Self-publishing can get you preoccupied every day. Let me tell you how I organize my time as a self-publisher from my very own experience.
I was completely buried, I had books on the top of my head. I had people who were demanding money. I had covers that were ordered.
I was losing track of it, my entire system was completely in chaos. That was where I found myself. That's the reason why I want to discuss how I organize my time as a self-publisher.
The thing is that I grew up using just a basic notebook. That was where I started, with a paper. Now, I know nowadays that sounds very old-fashioned.
But I did have a notebook. I had several tasks that I would keep track of and that worked very very well. Later on, when things became a little more technical, I moved over to using an Excel spreadsheet.
After all, you have a list of tasks. You just write everything in there that you need to remember. You write it all down.
All the tasks began to become a little bit longer of a list of things to do. I wanted to see my book sell. I wanted to have regular books coming onto the market at a regular interval.
Writing books or paying other people to write books. Moving forward with these books and getting them onto the market. That also involved optimizing the books as you go.
There is one thing you'll always notice on my blog and my Youtube channel. It is that we're always looking at ways in which we can improve what we've previously done. Since it is impossible to get it right the very first time we're putting our books onto the market.
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You will be making these orders for let's say covers or book manuscripts. Dealing with following up, formatting processes, or editing that's going on. Asking readers for reviews and answering their questions via your email list.
The list can start to get out of control. That is to say, the list becomes bigger and bigger. That was what was happening to me, I was seeing my list of tasks growing.
And with it, was coming a whole lot of negative things. The fact is that my stress level started to jump. You could see on my Apple watch that the heart rate was going up.
I was getting elevated heart rates. I was having difficulty sleeping just sitting in a chair. It was causing my back to start hurting.
I wasn't having fun anymore. I remember at that time, my wife even asking "Are you sure you want to be doing this whole self-publishing thing?" Because it's creating a lot of stress.
What was at stake was me possibly losing my entire business. As a result of all of the stress due to these tasks. Trying to manage the time that I had to get control over this.
Get Things Done Method
The first thing was that I saw that people weren't getting paid. People you're hiring to do jobs or having to come to you and say "Okay look, I delivered the job. Can you pay me for the work that I have done?"
I'm like, "Oh no, I need to get around to paying this person." But then I need all of the royalties coming in from the books. I need to get this processed for the accountants so that they're able to do it.
The taxes are paid before the Norwegian Tax Authorities would start coming after me for not doing my taxes. The result was a lot of the books were being left half-finished, not completely done. Some of the reviews that I would be trying to get for books would not be in place.
The covers would be coming in faster than I could manage to get it all pulled together. I was in complete and utter chaos. I had difficulty sleeping and my notebook was filled with items, just way too many items.
I had no prioritization on anything leading to a whole series of confusion. And a consideration that may be giving up was the correct option. But then after listening to some podcasts, something hit me.
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I heard about this guy named David Allen. I don't know if you've heard about him but he's amazing. He wrote a book that was incredibly famous.
Even though it's a little outdated today in the digital world. It's called Get Things Done or the GTD Method. The whole point of his system is very simple.
The first thing is you're going to establish a goal of what it is that you want to do. Now for me, the goal would be let's get this book out onto the market. Then the next thing you're going to do is to have the next task.
So we don't care about all of the other tasks around that specific goal. But the next task, that's the one we're going to put our focus on. So we grab, we deal with this issue we have just the next task.
Then what we're going to do is we're going to schedule it. For me, I use a tool called Todoist. That was a tool that I found incredibly helpful.
Because what happens is that we take all of the tasks we're going to need to do next for each of our projects. We schedule them out in time. So each day, when we look at the calendar and our Todoist list, we would see the items that are due for that day.
They would be broken down by the project that they're with. So it's incredibly simple to keep track of where we are. And what needs to be done next.
So if I order a cover a week from now, I need to check up on how that cover is going. I don't need to put the cover into the book yet because I don't have the cover. So the next task is following up on the cover.
We never assume anything's going to go as planned. So we're always looking at Murphy's Law. And this gives us the ability to take our time.
The Best Capturing System
We're breaking into little segments during the day, that's the first thing. Your calendar is where you decide where your time is going to go. The tasks that are going to fit in there are based upon Todoist.
You have your prioritization which makes it very easy. Where you can have the red for priority one, yellow, and blue for priority two and three. That's for the different tasks so that they go to the top of the list for that day.
So by using your calendar to block off the hours that are going to be dedicated to your self-publishing. Using Todoist on the other side of it to keep control over all of this. So that you will see which your next tasks are.
We are not looking at future tasks. We begin to have a system that I discovered was working amazingly for me. So the thing is I continue to have piles of tasks mounting up.
This exploded when I started moving into Youtube video creation as well. I discovered I was halfway following the rules. That was the next big obstacle.
Some of my tasks or as he calls them "open loops things". For which you haven't captured in your capturing system which would be Todoist. The thing is that I started to discover that it was still a challenge for me.
So, how I organize my time as a self-publisher? What I did was I had to start the day. I make sure every task I have is fully registered in the system. So I pulled it all together.
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I pulled my tracking system, my tags, the dates, and the different buckets of projects that I would be working on. I am focusing on the absolute most important next task. What eventually happened here was that my stress level started to fall immediately.
Suddenly, I found that I was getting better sleep. I could follow my sleeping patterns at night. It was drastically improving and I no longer was feeling like I'm always forgetting something.
Does that make sense? The joy of self-publishing started to come back almost bubbling. As I started to feel the sensation of this whole self-publishing experience.
That we were getting it under control again. Are you feeling stressed? Well, I would suggest checking out my affiliate link in the description of all of my Youtube videos.
And also if you need help mapping all of this out. Because I know how frustrating it is trying to find the time. Trying to figure out how to use that time most effectively.
Not getting bogged down on all of these tasks. Feel free to book a one-on-one session with me. To discuss exactly your issues in your self-publishing journey.
To discuss how best to manage your time in a free one-on-one discovery session so just go ahead and check out.