Organizationally Challenged? Join Me!


When trolling around the blogosphere, I am always so impressed by how under control some of you are. There are bloggers who schedule entire months’ worth of posts ahead of time. There are bloggers like Kaitlin @ Reading is My Treasure and Alyssa @ The Eater of Books who have this professional-grade excel sheets that likely make major corporations jealous. (Seriously, I am hiring them as my own personal life organizers, if that is a thing?)

I… do not do those things. In fact, until recently, Nori @ ReadWriteLove28 was scolding me on the regular for my ridiculously useless ARC “system”. And by system, I mean random piece of paper. This used to be my ARC organization in its entirety:

I mean, you might want to steal this great and unique “idea”..

But of course, that wasn’t working. Mostly because I would lose said notebook and then just restart the list in some other notebook, inevitably forgetting half the books in the process. Granted, I still always get the books read (something I am both anal about and proud of), but it would be so much easier if I had a better system, no?giphy (7)

So Club Topic #1 is obviously going to be ARC organization.

Here’s the good news: It is actually insanely easy to be moderately organized once you actually gather a little bit of time/motivation to do the initial work. First, I found a fabulous (and even better, free!) resource from another blogger. Hannah @ So Obsessed With has this gorgeous and very functional print-out that you can download yourself!  I had searched high and low for some kind of organization that worked for book bloggers until I stumbled upon Hannah’s genius creation. I have been using this since the new year, and it has helped SO MUCH. I keep it next to my bed since I will inevitably have some kind of idea while I am trying in vain to fall asleep.

You don’t get to print your own fun clipboard though. You can buy one for like, $3 at Staples though!

So are we done? Goodness no. See, that’s where Nori comes in. She is a firm believer in ARC organization. Seriously, follow her on Twitter, ask her for tips, and your life will change. Anyway, after months of what I can only assume was Nori shaking her head in disappointment, I decided the time was here to finally get my act together. I present to you the simplist ARC organization chart ever:arc

So, there are no bells and whistles, but it gets the job done, and it’s incredibly easy to add stuff to. Plus, it’s a Google Doc, so you can view it anywhere. Now I know, this looks shameful next to some of the more um, professional looking solutions. But if you know you’re like me and are never going to actually create one of those gorgeous looking lists… this may be the answer! And, because I am super nice, (hold your applause, and know I am joking) you can just copy mine and replace my books with your own! Bonus points if we have some in common, because then you can be extra unmotivated! Here you go!

Don’t worry though, there is basically no other area of life blogging that I have under control other than this. So maybe I can find some other solutions to my organizational conundrums and we can reconvene as a club soon? Or you know, not. We are, after all, completely unorganized.


Are you unorganized? Is there something you think I need to focus on next? Do you have any additional suggestions for the group?

Posted July 23, 2015 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Discussion, Discussion Challenge / 50 Comments

50 responses to “Organizationally Challenged? Join Me!

  1. This is quite funny, because I literally just published a post about my aversion to being organised in the reading world LOL. I just feel like sometimes organisation sucks the fun out of things. I’d say stick with your notebook 😉 but apparently I’m the minority!

    • I saw that! How funny- and I agreed with you too! I mean, I just need to know WHEN stuff is coming out at least. I am with you- I do NOT want a schedule, but I need organization at least so things don’t get completely lost in the shuffle! The notebook WOULD work, if I could locate it on the regular 😉

  2. Thank you for the resources! It is not even funny how unorganized I am. I try it for like 2, maybe 3 weeks, and it works, I’m super happy with what I do, I have posts ready and scheduled even (*gasp*). And then week 4 comes along and it all goes to hell, because I can’t do it again. And then I bitch and moan at myself because I’m disorganized and this lasts for about 2 months. ARCs are the worst to organize, because you have publishers that tell you you can post the review whenever and publishers who want you to hold off until about a week before the release day. And I write reviews for the first category of ARCs and then I feel like all I’ve read are ARCs (true) and I have NOTHING to write about *hangs head in shame*

    Just to prove how bad this is for me, I have two notebooks filled with reviews and schedules. Both notebooks have different information and both are lost to me right now (I think angry house elves hid them from me *pout*). I did just move, so that may be why I can’t find them. But I do like the freedom a notebook gives you, since you can create whatever kind of schedule you want.

    Great post!

    • Aw you’re welcome! I feel your pain! I struggle through the same thing. I’d actually kind of caught up before BEA, and was so excited but then… well, you can guess what happened 😉 And I have been falling more and more behind since- see, you commented on this 3 days ago, and I am JUST responding, which is SUCH A FAIL!

      And damn the angry elves! Seriously, that is what was happening with me and the notebooks too- granted, the reviews still end up lost a lot, BUT at least I have the ARC list somewhere safe. The thing I like about a list is that it ISN’T a schedule, like you said- I don’t like being tied down to a post or a book or anything, so it’s flexible but still kind of organized? Maybe? 😉

  3. I am slightly, kind of not really organized. Meaning I have a notebook for my ARCs. Title, Date, then column for R-Read, R- Reviewed, P- Posted. I check off when done. Every month I rewrite to updates, add, and reorder. I know using a spreadsheet would be easier but eh. I try to have the following week scheduled out but it doesn’t always happen. I have a planner where I write what posts/reviews for the week. That’s about it though. So far it has worked but I think it could be better.

    • I know what you mean, I feel like I AM making a bit of progress, but I think if I could just get a bit more organized, it would take some pressure off. Especially with scheduling, it’s kind of my downfall. How do you do it with kids? We need a mom book blogger meeting so I can steal tips!

  4. I wanna say I’m organized, but I’m gonna be honest with you. I’m not. I post whenever I feel like it. I’ve tried sticking to a blog post schedule but something always happens and it doesn’t work out for me. And I’m terrible with ARC reviews. I totally forget about them :/ Thanks for sharing your Google doc and pointing out the other bloggers. I’ll definitely look into it some more. I wanna be organized I swear! 🙂

    • Hahah I feel you! You know I think that getting organized doesn’t even have to equal a schedule- because I am never going to be the scheduling type. I mean, maybe a week in advance, but that’s it- I really don’t want to be overly planned out, because I like the spontaneity! Anything to make our lives a little easier has to be good though- as long as it isn’t taking the fun out of it! 😀

  5. I always used to consider myself an organised person but when it comes to blogging I am definitely not. I tend to leave most of my posts until the last minute and rarely have a plan. With ARCs I don’t have very many so I’m not too unorganised in that area but I do use Trello to look at which books I need to read and which ones I need to review, etc. I don’t have any suggestions right now but I let you know if I think of any 🙂

  6. I (fortunately? unfortunately?) don’t have the ARCs to keep up with, but gosh, I love that printable so much I may have to print one myself. And maybe adapt it for school life because a post-it cannot last more than three days before flying away. Personally, I just schedule a blank post with only the title when I decide I need a blog post on some day or other, and write the post itself as the day approaches. But I basically just throw organisation out the window.

    • Hahah no, post-its disappear more than any other piece of paper on earth, it seems. Even though by design, it isn’t supposed to! I am a mess at scheduling too- I wish I could at least get a FEW posts as a buffer in case I get sick or something comes up!

  7. As you know, I am totally disorganized and unfortunately paper lists never work for me. I am way too good at misplacing them and/or ignoring them. The best system I’ve come up with is just to mark my ARCs as “To Review” on Goodreads and then sort them by release date. I also have physical ARCs on my shelf by release date. This works relatively well for me because I’m on Goodreads almost every day, so I can look at the list often. I also have a “Fiction Addiction Currently Reading” shelf and a “Fiction Addiction Read” shelf. The currently reading is what comes up on my Coming Soon list on my blog and I move them to the read list once the review has been posted to my blog and Goodreads (the one element that is missing is there isn’t a specific way for me to tell if I’ve cross-posted to Amazon – probably need to add a shelf for that, since I can’t always post there right away when the books aren’t released yet).

    So that was my long explanation of my system – it actually made me sound very organized, didn’t it? (Don’t be fooled!)

    • I have tried the Goodreads thing, but I never, ever update it. So that isn’t great. You DO sound incredibly organized! I am impressed! I mean, I AM on Goodreads a lot, but it is rarely for organizational purposes 😉 I should probably do a little more of that, no? AND you have reminded me that I need to cross post to Amazon more, so thanks for that! I have the same issue- I WANT to cross post, but the book is never out and by the time it is, I forget!

  8. As a very organized person, I applaud your efforts! And as I am forever searching for ways to be EVEN MORE organized, I think I may just utilize some of these resources. X)

  9. I don’t have a form or set system, really. I use the WP Calendar and plug books in by publication date as soon as I have them, just a blank draft post. Then I can see everything that’s coming up. Also, if I’m watching TV I can enter the UBB info for upcoming books.
    I know some people use Trello, but for me it was a lot of useless setting up and filling out of info. My basic calendar works just fine.

    • Oooh the WP calendar thing is SMART! I really like that idea, I may be stealing it 😉 I have signed up for Trello, just to see if it works for me. In theory it sounds good, but I do NOT need useless extra work, that’s for sure 😀

  10. I am so ashamed to admit I have a shelf called “for-review” on goodreads and that’s it. Sometimes I add deadlines to my google calendar if I have to make sure I meet that deadline. For books I get from netgalley I usually don’t write them down, I just read them whenever I want. I really shoudl set up an ARC keeping track system like this once. The google drive idea is a good idea, maybe I’ll have to start doign that. Great post and thanks for the good dieas!

  11. I have to stay organized otherwise I get super stressed out! I use Goodreads shelves – “tbr next” for the books I want to read that month, separate shelves for older books/new releases and ARCs, and a “to review” shelf. I also use a spreadsheet I made for my blog schedule. 😛

    Good luck!!!

    • I get stressed out too, which is a good reason for wanting some organization I suppose! You are SO organized, I am impressed! I don’t know how you do it- I have one to-review Goodreads shelf and I fail at THAT! And a blog schedule? Yeah, I have no such beast 😉

  12. Am I unorganized? Hahahahaha…Um, maybe a little. I think you need to focus on making a chart and organizing my arcs. 😉 I like your chart, I’d maybe just add the publishers name to it just because…that’s kind of nice.

    • Well, I think if I had physical ARCs I would, otherwise UBB adds it to the reviews for me, and NG and EW already know who to send it to 😉 Now, on my ARC REQUEST chart I have pub names. Because that is VERY important. Ask Val 😉

  13. YES! I have this same problem when I started seriously requesting and downloading books. Of course, I was very outrageous in what I was doing, so it was very hard and time consuming to keep up with and eventually went by the wayside…but recently I was thinking I need to resurrect and update it.

  14. I have gotten somewhat more organized. I have an Excel spreadsheet for my ARCs, where I have color coded them. I keep track of the publication date, whether they have been read, whether feedback has been sent, and whether a review has been posted. I do go ahead and write my reviews and schedule them ahead of time. The discussion posts are a bit harder though. I really need to get better about scheduling those in advance.

    • Girl, I don’t even have Excel bwhahaha. I am such a mess. I think discussion posts are a good thing to schedule in advance, but mine usually come to me randomly, and if I don’t write them soon… they’re as good as gone. And if I write them and THEN go back to post them months later, I hate them (true story, I have several attempts that were discarded!!) But this scheduling you speak of is such a foreign concept… 😀

  15. You are so funny! I use a notebook to stay organized, (it looks similar to your old method, great minds ya know). I love my little notebook, which is more like a journal. I also keep all my blogging and booktube idea there, too. I don’t like loose pages and having everything online would never work for me, mostly because I am constantly adding or crossing off books, (also, what if I am out and just want to stare a my month reading plan? see i need it wit me at all times). Great topic!

    • Aw thanks 🙂 I agree, great minds! And I found that I need BOTH- an online system for when I am at my desk actually doing blog-related stuff, and then a physical, notebook-like situation where I can do all the crossing out and such- because I am like you, I NEED that!

    • Hahahah I love that! You may actually be more unorganized than me 😉 I am always afraid to keep a lot of books on my nightstand because who knows what horrors could befall them- safer to keep them on the shelves 😉 Otherwise.. I feel you!

  16. Yeah, I think if there was a contest for the least organized blogger I would at least get top three. The thing is, I like to be organized! My room is always perfect, I reorganize my desk and straighten it every other day and I like to make schedules! I just…um..don’t follow schedules… I try! I try so hard but it doesn’t work! Making schedules is fun, so I do it all the time but then I don’t want to do/read whatever is next on the schedule and so…everything falls apart. My ARC organization consists of a normal word document with the titles and release dates and that’s it…then I cross it off if I actually manage to read and review it on time and besides that, it just mocks me. =(

    Great post, Shannon! I’m definitely copying your ARC organizing methods. =)

    • Bwhahah we would be getting that award together 😉 I LIKE to be organized… I am just not. Not in any aspect of my life. Actually, blogging is probably the CLOSEST I come, which is downright frightening if you think about it. But I just have NO TIME and it makes me sad and frustrated and then I get behind and then… well, you know 😉

      Thanks, feel free to copy away 😀

  17. Oh man, these bloggers are so much more organised than me! I pretty much pick up whatever ARC I am most hearing the buzz about or most feeling at the time and that’s me! But what handy tools to link to! Thanks for sharing the links Shannon.

    • I LOVE that Jeann! That is the best answer yet! I wish I could be that easy going about it, but it stresses me out when I don’t know what I “should” do. I think maybe I should just be more like you- if I was, I’d be reading Illuminae like I want to right now 😉

  18. You and Nori know how hilariously bad I am at organization, especially with ARCs, so I don’t even know. I should probably do something with my spreadsheet, but it’s so much WORK. Also I did not know about the lovely Hannah’s ingenious solution so I will need to check it out. I like things I can actually WRITE on (writing out TBR lists that I don’t even use is always fun).


  19. Yeah, I have to stay organized or STRESS!! I have a pretty detailed (and color-coded) spreadsheet that I use to keep track of ARCs. I also use Google Calendar (also color-coded) to schedule my blog posts. It definitely keeps me organized and stress-free, for the most part. 😉

  20. Being organized is why I went back to a paper planner. I tried to be modern and have everything digital, but then would forget to check my calendar. Now I’m doing both, but I prefer paper. Plus, it helps me keep track of when an ARC is due, and plan when I should have the review up. I’ve only been using a planner for three weeks, but so far so good.

  21. Awesome post/topic, Shannon! Are you sure you didn’t write this one for me? 😉 With my semi-OCD tendencies, I can’t believe I haven’t developed a better system for myself when it comes to ARCs but… well, yeah. Just one of those things that has so far fallen under the radar. I’m loving Hannah’s blog to-do list and your ARC doc! Thanks so much for sharing both! Sadly we only share one book alike on the ARC list (the Jolene Perry) so I’ll have some updating to do. Woe is me. lol

  22. This is pretty intimidating, because I’m very new to this, and barely know what an ARC is, let alone have any responsibility for reviewing them. However, I do have things to say about organization!

    1. If you happen to be a disorganized person, then you need to figure out how to compensate for that. Routines are your friend. This is why my keys are ALWAYS in the same place, and why I put my clothes for tomorrow into the bathroom every night (because 6 am decisions about what to wear are impossible). This leads to…

    2. Schedules. I am participating in the Top Ten Tuesday meme. I’ve set myself a Throwback Thursday goal of reviewing old favorites every week during vacation, and every 2-3 weeks during the school year. Even if nothing else gets done, these will happen, because they are part of my routine. The same thing holds true in my house and at my job. If I can set up a routine, things happen. If I am spontaneous…well, that can be fun too. But it’s not always super effective at getting the basics done.

    3. Notice what works, and amplify it. I was smitten with Goodreads when I learned about it seven years ago. I have done excellent at recording every single book I read, and tracking hundreds of books I want to read. So I’d probably be one of those people who used GR to track my ARCS as well. I have a friend who keeps gorgeous notebooks, and another one who’s big on binders with cute fonts. It’s okay if your thing isn’t someone else’s thing. Also, notice what doesn’t work, and let it go!

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