Taking Virtual Stock: Inventory and Organize Your Projects, Your Hard Drive and Course Purchases

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Have you ever purchased an online course, eBook, or special report thinking that you’d consume the content immediately or would be able to easily remember how to get back to the website or file folder on your computer, when you had time to go through the material?

If you are smiling or nodding right now, know that you are not alone. In an ideal world, we attend and consume the content for every course we sign up for, from day one.

The reality is that we are all busy and it is not unusual to procrastinate getting started. If we don’t organize projects and keep a visual reminder, we may even forget how to get back to the websites for courses or content we’ve purchased.

One remedy is to create a ‘Learning Purchases’ file folder in your email box where you keep all of the login details for each course or product you register for. Additionally, give careful consideration to where you’ll file any downloadable material to your hard drive.

I’ve found it helpful to create a master file where I store carefully labeled file folders all of the courses and learning materials I purchase. View your hard drive as you would a filing cabinet in your office. Set up a system that will make it a snap for you to easily access your files.

Deb Gallardo recently published an article on her Story Ideas Virtuoso blog by a world-renowned expert on efficiency in marketing online, Dr. Jeanette Cates. In her article; Organize Your Online Business, Jeanette shares five key strategies that can make a huge and positive impact on maximizing your productivity and minimizing your sense of overwhelm.

One of my favorite strategies is one that Jeanette taught us at a live workshop I attended a few years back. She calls this the “Inventory Your Assets” strategy.

In essence, you take stock of all of the courses and learning materials you’ve purchased, articles you’ve written, projects you’re working on, etc.

Open up an Excel spreadsheet and create a master file of all of these virtual assets. Include a field for the URL to each online course or the path to where files reside on your hard drive, (such as: documents/articles/my writings.)

In addition to the above, I’ve found it helpful to use the Saturday time slots in my Outlook calendar to create recurring entries for courses I’m currently going through or revisiting. For example, when registering for a course, open up the registration email and copy the URL, username and password, used to access the course content.

Choose an open time slot in your Outlook calendar where you can create a recurring appointment. Paste in the login details and save the entry. That way you’ll see the visual reminder and are more likely to schedule time to go through the course materials.

Print off a copy of this spreadsheet and keep it on a clipboard, or other easily accessible location on your desk, where you’ll be able to easily refer to it.

Create a Master Brain Dump Document for All the Projects and To Do Items in Your Head

Now that you’ve created a master list of all your learning assets, this would be a great time for you to create a master list of all the projects and to do items that are swimming around in your head.

I’ve found it helpful to take a Word document or a piece of notebook paper and divide it into six or nine boxes. (You may need more than one piece of paper.) This will allow you to keep related items or project topics together.

To begin with, you may want to label several of the boxes with projects that are at the top of your mind. More topic ideas will surface as you proceed.

Topic titles for your boxes can include things like:

  • Personal to do list
  • Business to do items
  • Books to read
  • Prioritized programs to study
  • Writing projects
  • Name of a specific project
  • Name of another specific project
  • Etc.

Now you can begin jotting down items and plugging them into the appropriate boxes on your page. This master list is a great place to plug in all of the notes and to do items you have on your mind as well as those you’ve jotted down on sticky notes, which may have in a pile on your desk, stuck to your wall or the edges of your computer monitor.

MindMap Your Master List

An alternative to having a master page divided into boxes is to create a handwritten mindmap or use mind mapping software. You can create top-level topics and then secondary (and so on) levels for the specifics of each topic.

Two of the most popular and free mind mapping programs are, xMind and Freemind.

Bob “the teacher” Jenkins is an avid mind mapping proponent who has taught many entrepreneurs how to become more productive by mind mapping their business.

In his article, Get More Done When You Turn Your List Into a Mindmap, Bob shares a list of mindmap examples and strategies as well as visual images of actual mindmaps.

Now That You Have Your Master List, Plug Your Projects Into Your Calendar

By organizing your learning assets and documenting your projects and to do items, you’ll be able to accomplish more than you might imagine.

Once you have a master list (in a type-written document, on a divided notebook page, or in a mindmap,) it’s time to prioritize your projects and actually plug them into your calendar.

This will allow you to become even more productive and efficient with your time and energy. Prioritize these activities and you will likely be amazed at what you can accomplish.

I’d love to hear how you organize projects and virtual assets in the comments below…

D'vorah Lansky
D’vorah Lansky, M.Ed., is the bestselling author of Book Marketing Made Easy: Simple Strategies for Selling Your Nonfiction Book Online. She is also the founder of the Digital Publishing Café, which provides workshops, interviews, courses, and resources to help you produce, publish, and promote your digital content. Connect with D’vorah and receive a collection of digital publishing tips and resources.
D'vorah Lansky
D'vorah Lansky

Comments

  1. It’s the best time to make a few plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
    I’ve learn this put up and if I could I wish to suggest you some fascinating
    things or advice. Maybe you could write subsequent articles relating to
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  2. You are quite welcome! And thank YOU for sharing additional tips. Keeping organized and knowing how to access information is essential for running an efficient business.

  3. D’vorah – LOVE your idea on Saturday blocks for learning. Very creative as usual.

    Like Lynne I use spreadsheets for most of my organization. It’s so easy to add tabs as needed. I keep a master Planning2013 – then add a tab for each project I’m currently working on. As I complete a project it moves to the back of the file – out of sight. But that way my total year’s activities are in one place.

  4. jane gardner says:

    How did you know that is what I was thinking today! How I am going to organize all my ecourses to start the year. Great tip.

  5. D’vorah- Thanks for this timely post!

    I really like your idea of scheduling time to work on a course in the Saturday slot of your calendar so that you have a visual reminder.

    The idea for creating a virtual asset file is a great one and one that I use regularly. I found it helpful to create an excel spread sheet with the urls for the primary subdomains of my website so if I need to take a quick look at a sales page I created last year, I can find it quickly without having to go into the admin area of my site.

    Thanks for helping get us organized for the new year!

    • Oh, thank you Lynne for that great idea to create a spreadsheet with my website urls – I’ve just got a new website and was wondering how to keep track of those and make it easy to find them – great idea.

  6. Great, great, great organizational tips, especially for the hard drive stuff. I’m in!