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ACCELERATE YOUR SALES ON ETSY
So when Etsy announced the new 2018 changes it felt like everybody and their mother started rushing towards Facebook groups to discuss how this very dramatic change can be the Apocalypse itself.
A lot of gossip, lots of rumours and anxiety was going on. It felt like checking out for news about Brexit, really.
Now, having an Etsy shop myself and experiencing this first hand I don’t feel that anything dramatic actually happened to my income, after all, this is what it all boils down to. So, no I didn’t notice a decrease in the number of views or sale and can still make a full-time income from my shop. Furthermore, my shop keeps growing and I noticed more activity in terms of favourites.
With every new change, Etsy is trying to get better and better every time. A lot of people might find that this platform is not right for them anymore as some of the changes like taking a percentage from the shipping fee created a lot of anger and resentment in the community.
So what do these changes really mean for us, the sellers?
Do we need to make some adjustments to be up to date?
Yes, but take your time…
It is by far more important to have a killer SEO that gives your shop a solid foundation rather than worry about tweaking you shop for the new changes.
Download below my guide on how to SEO your shop from top to bottom, if you are up to date with that, no new change will drastically affect your shop.
For my shop, I made one and only one change which I’m still testing it out to see if it’s worthy. ( more about it below )
Please don’t just go in and turn your shop upside down or start to panic that you’ve got a bazillion of listings that need to be modified. Find at the end of the post a checklist that you can go through and make sure you’re all up to date.
So one of the biggest change that happened in 2018 is the:
Content specific ranking (CSR)
What does it mean?
Well CSR helps the shoppers find relevant listings that Etsy believes they are going to like based on their previous purchases or their habits across the platform. So no two people will be able to see the same everytime they type in a search.
Because of the artificial intelligence that Etsy acquired it is possible now to tailor what the buyers see.
That also means that the “clumping” is back. Having multiple items from the same shop showing on the same page it is again possible. For you, it means that it’s best to use a variety of keywords and you don’t have to repeat the same ones in all your listings. Best to diversity to increase your chances to get found more frequently in searches.
Recency is still there but probably is not going to be as important as it used to. Before, if your SEO was on point, renewing your listing would give them that bump and push it in front of more eyes.
In my experience, after the changes, I don’t see a big impact anymore and I definitely don’t rely on this as a marketing strategy.
Titles, Tags, Categories, Attributes
This is something that still stands strong and should be a priority in your SEO strategy. Etsy says:
When a customer enters a search query on Etsy, we look at the titles, tags, categories and attributes you’ve added to find matching keywords. Using all 13 tags, adding variety to your tags, adding all the relevant attribute options, and categorising your items as specifically as you may all help increase the chance that your listings will match with a query.
This is something that’s been the same for quite some time. About 1-2 times a year I like to go through all the listing and check it with Marmalead and make sure everything is looking good or swap some keywords for more seasonal ones.
Etsy gives you 140 characters for your titles but now, they don’t want you necessarily you to use all the characters. Titles should describe the item 100%, be effective and easy to read. Repeating a keyword in your title won’t increase your item’s visibility anymore. Instead of saying “A5 planner inserts, Budget Planner insert just say “A5 Budget planner inserts”.
Going on holiday will hurt your ranking and will take some time until your views are back the same way as before you set it on vacation mode.
A better solution would be to increase your processing time and add a short note that the items will be dispatched promptly on a specific date so the customers know when to expect them.
This is still very much a thing and to get in front of more eyeballs you need to think like a buyer. The first 40 characters of your listing’s title are the most important. Creating a mixture of focus keyword that describes your item with a more general keyword is the sweet spot.
For example, focus keywords would be:
- Ice cream baby rattle
- Gemini star sign necklace
- Solid oak personalised bookend
And a general keyword:
- Gifts for her
- Baby shower gift
- Shelf decoration
- A4 prints
Use an SEO tool like Marmalead or Etsy Rank to check exactly which words to use and don’t pull them out of a hat.
Customer experience score
Now, your customer reviews will impact your search. Etsy is becoming picky about what shops are recommending to the buyers to make sure they’re getting a good experience with their online shopping. So getting great reviews can improve your score rating while the recent open cases and different infringements can hurt it.
This is another thing that created a lot of discussions. Etsy started to charge 5% fee from the shipping cost encouraging you to ship your items free. Now we know that shipping isn’t free for anybody but it started to prioritise in the search results the shops that do that. Amazon brought the trend with fast and free and now people have different expectations from what they used to.
Etsy does mention that you could include the shipping price into the total of the item but that’s not always an option for many shops. If you sell something big and fragile it’s unrealistic to include the price of the shipping on top on the item itself as you’ll repel the customers before they even click through to see more.
There’s no one size fits all.
In my shop, I started doing free shipping and I haven’t seen any massive change in the number of sales I get but I know some shops have noticed a difference. You can always give it a go for a couple of months and see if it’s right for your shop and if not you can always go back. That’s the best way to test this out.
And now, for the most important pieces of the puzzle, to get found on Etsy that is:
List more items
There are over 50 million items on Etsy. The chances to get found when you have 16 items in your shop? Minuscule.
Just adding more listings is one of the most effective strategies to grow your shop. Now, don’t expect an instant boost everytime you add an item. For the Etsy bots to find your item can take any time between 4-6 weeks but once it’s picked up and start getting some sales you will see a boost in your views and favourites which can result in more sales. To carry on that cycle make adding items to your shop regularly a priority.
The minimum number of items any shop should have is no less than 50 before expecting some significant activity.
I remember when I decided to get serious about Etsy I committed that by the end of next month to have 50 items in my shop and my revenue went from 0 to $499 straightaway.
By adding more items in your shop your exposure will increase, you’ll get more clicks and Etsy will start to see some activity and will send traffic your way. But you need to put in the time and effort before you see the results.
So moving forward:
- Titles and tags still need to match
- Your best/focus keywords at the beginning of the titles
- Attributes that describe your item 110%
- Polish your about me page
- Don’t fiddle with your announcement section but add SEO in
- If you’re going for holidays increase the dispatch time rather than setting your shop on holiday mode
- Make sure your customers are happy, more positive reviews more chachings
- Check if it’s worth decreasing your shipping prices and including it in the price of the item
- List more items to increase your exposure
Do you have any further tips that helped you keep up with the new 2018 changes? Share them in the comments below so we can all learn from each other.
Let’s ask ourselves this. Why did we start Etsy?
For many of us was the time flexibility around the kids, a creative outlet that can bring us some side money. You see for most of us Etsy is a way to create an income from our passions. Our hobby gets validated when somebody buys something that you created and leaves you a positive feedback. But soon after you start you realise that it takes a lot more time and effort to get it off the ground and your lovely items aren’t getting in front of many eyes.
So you start to question maybe your product is not good enough otherwise why people wouldn’t buy.
I know I did.
I thought maybe the style is not right for this market, maybe people love more neutrals and was trying to fit in too many categories slowly stripping it off any personality and corkiness that my items initially had.
You see you can’t appeal to everybody.
You just need to find your people.
Those people who fall in love with your products and can’t wait for you to upload another item to snag it right away. Those people who enjoy your items because it helps them solve that small problem that might have. Either making their baby look cute for the christening day with a lovely outfit or finding a great gift to offer to that somebody special in their life.
Once I realised that I had a massive weight off my shoulders, and I could get to work in the right direction rather than frantically worry about everything and making useless changes that weren’t bringing me any results.
I still remember that month.
Was the month when my shop went from making $0 to $440.73 (£344) and five months later I was making over $6900 (£5400).
That was last year.
Since then my shop only continued to grow in 2018. So I finished 2017 with a revenue of just over $20.000 that was generated between the months of July to December and today I’ll teach you all the methods I’ve been using to make my shop take off and make it worth my time almost overnight.
1. Know who your buyer is
You hear it everywhere, who is your target audience but can’t emphasise enough about the importance of this crucial step because the reality your products can’t appeal to everybody and that’s a great thing! You need to ask yourself:
- Who will buy my products?
- What problem can my product solve for them?
- Can it fill up a need that they might have?
When you try to answer these questions I want you to think about specific needs. Yes, your product might not end poverty in Africa but for sure can put a smile on somebody’s face when that person received it as the 30th-anniversary gift and is everything they wanted for that special moment in their life. Handmade with care with unique features that no high street product can compete with.
2. Your shop profile matters
You’ll want to get in there and populate the heck out of this place with keywords. This will help your shop become more visible on Etsy as well as on Google’s search. Long tail keywords that describe your item 100% should be used in a natural conversational way in your:
- Shop title. This is a way of telling Google and Etsy what your shop is all about. When you decide on this title you must include your focus keyword here as well as any additional keywords for the remaining of the character space left. I used “A5 planner inserts” ( my focus keyword) and “personal planner refills” because that’s the only two things that I sell in my shop. Very clear, very specific.
- Shop announcement – Contrary to popular believe this is one place that you shouldn’t keep tweaking. The keywords that you use in the shop announcement must include again your focus keyword and an additional short description that is relevant to your items. This place is also great for adding your social media handles.
- Shop sections – Make it easy for people to find you items and navigate through your shop. Tell them exactly what you are selling by using longtail keywords that describe your products perfectly in a specific way.
Grab yourself the ultimate SEO checklist and see exaclty where SEO matters in your Etsy shop.
3. Name your items profitable keywords
One of my problem with the low sales was simply because of the low number of views and that was consequently because people weren’t searching for the words that I named my products.
Allow me to introduce you to Marmalead. This Etsy SEO tool was a total game changer for me. I could find out what keywords people type when searching for an item and use those exact one rather than keep throwing spaghetti at the wall hoping something will stick.
Start by typing in Marmalead’s search the very basic keyword that describes your item 100%. Marmalead will generate a report showing the engagement over time, the number of searches that were made for that word and your competition. It will also show you the different tags that are relevant to that word. This is the best and most efficient way to search for the right keywords for your products and get in front of more eyeballs.
4. Your product description matters.
I see a lot of shops not taking enough advantage of this section which can be key to sealing a deal. Let’s say that I’m looking for some baby blankets. I make a quick search and I find something that I like so I click on it. I scroll through the pictures and I’m just not convinced about the fabric, to me, it looks a bit scratchy so I check out the description and there’s nothing that can assure me that will be soft on my baby’s skins so I go back to my search.
The description box in an opportunity to tell a story about your product and make it relatable to your customer. It is the place to show all the characteristics and the benefits that can offer. Talk about the materials that you used and where you sourced them from if relevant, tell us about the way it’s made, basically help your customer imagine using it and how it will fit with their lifestyle making sure you answer any potential buyer’s questions as possible.
5. Add related products
This goes hand in hand with your product description. If you have any relevant products that your buyer might be interested, make sure you add them in the item’s description. To prevent looking spammy and desperate just add 2-3 items. Because an Etsy link will be clickable this will encourage the buyer to check further some more of your listings and keep them for longer in your shop.
6. I provided a great customer service
I noticed that a lot of the questions that I was receiving were from people who were not sure about certain things related to a product. They needed reassurance somehow and they were with the mouse hovering over buy it now button.
Most of the questions that I was getting were related with:
- the size and fit of the item
- unsure about what will work best for them
- shipping time
I took every bit of advantage of this opportunity and to answer these questions quickly, professionally and friendly which lead to a purchase almost straight away, positive feedbacks and repeat purchases.
I know that some people can ask beyond silly questions or have certain expectations about the item that are unrealistic and the first instinct is to become defensive and take things personally.
One great example would be one of my recent conversation with a customer being extremely disappointed and leaving me a 1-star review expressing their discuss with the fact that she paid $5.40 including the international shipping (must highlight this) and all she received were planner inserts. Because she didn’t read the 3 places where is mentioned that the binder is for display purposes or the 4 places in the title that clearly mention planner refill only she expected a full leather Filofax Binder currently priced at $60 with the inserts, of course.
So please please, if you sell baby headbands and it happens to show a picture with a baby wearing them make sure you mention in the description that the baby is not included with this purchase to avoid further disappointments. Just saying…
Now I left the last BONUS tip for the last because is that special and require a section of their own. This step I can confidently say that it put my shop on the map.
7. Use better photography.
Yes! Really. If you have a good quality camera on your smartphone you might be able to get away with that but since the images are the first impression and there’s no other way people can check out your product this step should be a top priority. I started taking photos with my iPhone but I realised that the big money is in the photography and once I started taking myself seriously I invested in a camera and in photo editing course that gave me the confidence to move further with my shop.
Here is an image from one of my listings before.
The reality is if you want to make money you need to invest money. Either in your skills or in tools to help you get the professional look that other shop. Your products might even be better but if you don’t make that obvious you tank the sale.
Adobe Lightroom is a must have tool for me as it saves me hours on editing. The course that taught me everything I know about it The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Lightroom. No bulk of fluff, just action pack with great results.
Here is an image that I shot with my Canon and had it adjusted in Lightroom.
Investing money or just time in your shop is a detrimental point in advancing your career. There isn’t just one magic change that you’ll have to make to generate a full-time income from your shop but a multitude of one right step after another after another checking out constantly on how it performs.
Implementing at least some of the strategies discussed in this post will get you closer to creating a strong brand and an identity to your shop because after all you guys we work hard on it and we deserve some recognition to boost our confidence that yes! This is working and is going somewhere.
What is your current struggle with your Etsy shop? The views, the photography, SEO? Share it in the comment below.
Inside: Want to bring traffic on autopilot to your Etsy shop? Check out this guide to using Pinterest group boards to increase your chances of getting found.
The most efficient way to grow your following and get more saves on your pins, especially when you’re just starting out is to use group boards. By using group boards on Pinterest you essentially leverage other people’s audience to grow your own and to drive traffic to your shop.
Pinterest group boards are the secret sauce to growing your Pinterest account and my favourite way to bring organic traffic to my shop without doing much.
What is a group board?
In a nutshell, someone owns the board and invites other people to join and pin to it. When someone pins, the followers of the group owner can see those pins only and not your own followers.
They allow you to make your content visible for new people.
So let’s say that you have 160 followers and you join a group board who has 10,000 followers, your pins will be shared with 10,000 different users everytime you add a pin to that board. You gain traction a lot faster as now, more people will pin and repin your content.
When I started blogging group boards were the only source of traffic that helped drive over 22,000 views to my website.
Yes, just by pinning my content there.
How to find group boards to join
So now that we established what is a group board, how do you find one?
Well, you know a group board by the small circle in the left bottom corner of the board. This signifies that it’s a group board because there’s more than one pinner in the circle.
Let’s take an example.
This group board has over 28,000 followers and only 8 contributors. When I add a pin to this board it has the potential to be seen by those followers and repined thousands of times.
When you have little to no audience leveraging some traffic from other established bloggers is the best way to get noticed.
When you want to find group boards to join there are a couple of approaches you can try.
1.Type a keyword in the search
To find a relevant group board start typing in search a relevant keyword making sure you sort it out by boards. To find the group boards look for the multiple photos in the small icon and then you can request to join. (more about how to request that below)
Can you spot which ones aren’t group boards below?
2. Check out your favourite pinners
Search for people in your niche, who are established and are already doing a good job. Look for brands or other Etsy sellers like you who are active on Pinterest, click on their profile and scroll down their list of boards. Chances are that they might already be part of some group board and you can request to join them.
Now, I must warn you a lot of these group boards will not be open for contributors so it will take some research and digging around before you’ll find a few but this time and effort is so worth it.
Another thing would be to make sure the board is perfectly relevant to what you want to pin.
Just because a board has lots of followers doesn’t necessarily make it a good fit. A lot of group boards have lots of duplicated, broken links and low repins can be time wasters.
Finding great boards takes time and research.
Selecting the best group boards
I know that it will be tempting to go crazy and want to join as many as possible but in my experience, at most, you want to have 7 or less fantastic boards.
Joining too many will be difficult to keep track and it will look quite spammy and desperate.
You want to be strategic about this and select the few that will bring you some real results.
When you come across a group board that you like and feel that it can be a good fit for you, you’ll want to monitor it for a day or two. What you’re looking for?
You want to make sure that the contributors are active because you want to be part of a board that’s getting engagement and repins.
A good way to monitor this activity is by taking a screensaver of the top pins and see where they are down the page when you check next. The more people pin to that board the more you can pin too. (Some boards will have different rules and sometimes a daily pin limit. Make sure you are following those rules or you might end up getting kicked out.)
Requesting to join
Group boards have different ways to request an invite and become a contributor. Most of them will have the instructions in the board description. Look for direction and for their prefered method of contact.
Following these instructions gives you the best chance to be accepted. When a board owner asks you to email your request there are a couple of things to include.
When sending your email you’ll want to keep it short and sweet and make sure you include the pieces of information mentioned in the template above as those are crucial.
Nobody will have time to read exactly what you do and what you are passionate about and definitely don’t include a short bio about you. People skim your email and will click on your profile and if it flies and they are open for contributors you’ll be in.
In my experience about half of my requests are accepted and if you don’t hear back in a few days consider it ignored. There are many reasons why you aren’t accepted some of them being:
- your account is too young – they might be looking for more established pinners
- your content is not a good fit for their board – don’t take it personally
- their cat was surfing the internet, came your email your email and deleted it, on purpose
The truth is you’ll never know, don’t waste any time giving it though and move onto the next best fit for your content.
Boards exclusively for Etsy sellers
There is some confusion going on for the Etsy seller whether is a good idea to use boards exclusive with Etsy products.
I want to give you my full and honest opinion about them. I did try them and have been part of about 5-6 for some time.
Let me explain.
The truth about this boards is that often there are thousands of contributors, sometimes more contributors that followers resulting in everybody just pinning their own things to the boards and not repinning between each other.
This is not the case for all but if you follow my suggestion about monitoring it for a couple of days before requesting to join might make it a safer bet.
Here are some general Etsy boards that accept contributors (at the time when this article was written)
- Etsy.com Group
- Pinter-Etsy Small Biz Group
- Handmakers Success Group Board <3
- Look what I made!
- All things
- Etsy Marketplace
- Etsy Group Board of Handmade Art- Jewelry, Fashion, Home Decor, & Edibles
- The Crafty Galler
- Shop Online – Support Small Business
Do you have any other group boards that you joined an have good results with? Share them in the comments below so we can all learn from each other.
Follow me on Pinterest for more posts like this.
In my Etsy shop, I make planner inserts in 2 different sizes. Personal and A5. If you aren’t a planner obsessed like me this can sometimes be confusing because both these sizes can fit a Filofax, and a Kikki K yet they are so different because these planners come in multiple sizes.
In this post, I will give you a summary of which planners are which sizes. I will focus on my favourite type of planners, ring bound planners. Because of their diversity, durability and how customisable these planners can be, in my opinion, they are perfect if you need more than just a dated planner.
With ring bound planners you have the flexibility to add/remove pages and to choose inserts that are specific to your needs as well as chose a real leather cover or a faux to suit more your budget. Another good thing is that they come in multiple sizes.
When I was choosing my planner I had in mind two things to consider:
- how portable I need this planner to be
- how much space I need to write in
In a nutshell, there are six most common ring round planners sizes out there
A4 & Letter size
A4 (8.27 × 11.69 in) such as Filofax Finsbury
Letter size (8.5×11″) such as Frank convey monarch
A5 is the size that I personally use and love most (5.8 x 8.3 in)
Planners that use A5 inserts:
Ideal for carrying it around with you these inserts are 3.75″ x 6.75
4.72 x 3.18 mm
Once you figured out which planner suits you best it’s time to look for inserts.
Check out below my Etsy shop for:
I don’t know about you but I hate staying at home at the weekends.
Especially since I started working from home, weekends sound like a break from the routine, getting out of the house, doing something that I don’t get to do during the week and seeing more faces. But with spending all day out and entertaining the kids, it comes also the big price tag.
For months I’ve been lying to myself that we’re just going to have a bite out but Saturday comes and ends up in 2 meals and 1 snack, play area entry, shopping here and there and it kills the budget for the rest of the month. Mind you, Sunday didn’t come yet.
You see for a long time I had to find a better way to do things or else I would never have enough money for my long-term goals if everything is spent on a short time, impulsive purchases.
If you tried to get your finances in order you probably are as I was, confused with what to change to make your money work more for you.
You see as a busy mom of two, blogger, Etsy and eBay shop seller I often find myself confused about my income, expenses, taxes and I never really know how much I actually take home. Considering that each month is different, it only adds more confusion.
Because I know the overwhelming feeling too well I wanted to share with you a system that I found success with. I create a planner refill to guide you step by step on a getting your finances in order and bring more focus on how to manage your money.
Since I shared this bundle with you on Etsy, I was overwhelmed with your response. Thank you so much to all of you who purchased one and it is great to read your kind comments about how this system helped you create a plan to save and pay off your debt.
I know that you don’t need complicated. You need easy. A step by step guide which you can trust that if you follow will be a game changer for you.
I’ve struggled with budgeting for years. Credit cards, spending more than I was earning, buying on impulse, my addiction to cushions that can easily ruin any marriage. I tried, I tried to buy fewer picture frames, even uninstalled temporarily my Pinterest.
It was a mess.
I thought that creating a budget is hard work, having a plan for how much to spend on eating out is a bit stingy, reforming new habits, cooking at home more and finding money free activities for kids was not exciting enough. But I’ll tell you that a car repair that you can’t predict is happening always at the most inconvenient time.
When I made that connection I figured out how to create a budget and after that, it became a game.
It was addictive.
I created this bundle and I’m sharing the exact system that I found success with it.
I figured out the basic routines that make saving money a pleasure, I learned how to calculate my monthly income and know exactly what is coming in. I cut on over $120 recurring expenses that were running without me even giving them any notice, 5 different subscriptions for tv ( Netflix, Now TV, Amazon prime video, Sky and a designated subscription for kids tv? Yes and cable on top of all that. It feels embarrassing when I write it even because the only thing I ever watch is youtube.
Those types of changes allowed me to make room for margin and start paying off the debt, allow me to work from home doing something that I love and share my journey with you.
Many of you have asked me to give you a more in-depth walkthrough of how to get the best of out these inserts and spend less, save more and create a paying your debt system that you can rely on.
Shall we have a look inside?
It starts with..
A pretty cover
This translucent cover has a patterned page underneath and I love the effect it gives. The next page would be for your personal details. Write your name, address, phone and email on the provided line. On the back of the page a cute encouraging quote to keep you motivated.
Monthly income and expenses
First thing in budgeting, determine your monthly income. This might be easy if you have regular income but once you have multiple streams of income and irregular it will be hard to calculate it all in your mind.
If you have multiple sources of income this page is ideal to break them down and have an overview of exactly what money is coming in and the source.
All your income should be calculated as a net income. Every month you need to create a new budget as there are no two months when all your expenses will be the same.
The Fixed and other expense category is for expenses you know are coming but not for bills.
For example this month I know I will be spending money on taking the kids to see a couple of attractions and I already know how much are the tickets. Things like house renovations or purchasing a new appliance can be added to that category. The other expenses are things that you can plan for although you are not sure about the exact amount. This can be approximated so you are not caught totally off guard but can still budget for.
I love this sheet as it gives the perfect overview of the different categories of recurring monthly expenses. It is broken down into 7 most common categories:
Utilizing categories has been recommended by many financial experts because it is so efficient.
The expense inserts are ideal for additional expenses. This pack comes with 12 planners to give you enough for an entire year. At the end of each month draw the line and calculate your balance based on your income and expenses.
You can use this list to make a note of
- meals out
- clothes you purchased
- personal items that were not already budgeted
- guilt free fun money
Because some months there are slight changes to my bills I like to check the boxes as the bills go out. I also tried to have everything on the direct debit and make them all at the beginning of the month rather than be scattered throughout the month. It is easier to keep track.
Sinking funds and Savings
Sinking funds are savings for expenses that you expect but don’t know exactly when. The way it works you save regular amounts each month for costs that you know will occur. This is a pile of money that you’ll collect with a very specific purpose in mind for one thing only like:
- car servicing and insurance
- vet checks
- boiler service
- dental expenses
- home repairs
- kids entertainment during school breaks
Planning in advance for expenses will give you the peace of mind that when they happen you won’t reach for the credit card and accumulate more debt.
The money that you save for the sinking fund should be easily available to you without incurring penalties for withdrawing the money early so keeping them in a short-term savings account or in an envelope at home is ideal.
In the bundle, you’ll also find a savings tracker. You can use this for the long-term savings. It can be used for your emergency fund and the amounts don’t have to be fixed each month but more whatever is left at the end of the month has now a purpose.
To encourage you further inside you’ll also find a money-saving challenge which dares you to save $1.378 in 52 weeks by increasing the amount that you deposit by $1 each week.
Getting out of debt
Getting out of debt is a marathon and a work in progress. These inserts will help you calculate your debt, the interest charges, set monthly payments that fit your overall budget and reduce the balance. We will create a payment plan and have a clear idea of when the due dates are, minimum payments that can be made, the current balance and make clearing your debt a priority.
You can either start by:
- Paying off your smallest debt first
- Paying off debt with the highest interest first
At the back of the bundle, you’ll find 6 planners with to-do lists to make notes along with your journey and observe how far you’ve come.
If you are ready to snag your planner refill, this bundle is available directly in my Etsy shop right here.
Let’s start saving!
Inside: Are you writing to-do lists that don’t help you get things accomplished? Find out in this post how to write efficiently action-packed to-do lists.
If you are anything like me to do lists is an important part of your day. It’s what motivates you, keeps you on track and consistently gets you closer to your goals.
In the same time, if a to-do list is not crafted to work for you it can easily become counterproductive and you will feel like giving up.
As most of you know I started my Etsy shop out of my passion for planners and created different refills to last me a lifetime before I even started sharing them with you.
One of my favourite refills has always been a to-do list and I keep a bunch of them at the back of my planner so I can always pull one out as I need it. For me, it’s the best and most efficient way to get organised with work-related things, my kid’s schedule, shopping, brainstorming ideas because they are so versatile.
For me, my entire life is planned in my planner.
I bring it with me everywhere. It just lives in my bag, and when I’m home, it lives on my desk.
If I pop into the supermarket I can always check what I meal planned for the week and shop for ingredients, if I need to make an appointment I can always see if there is anything planned for that day, because I have everything in one place.
My planner is my safe place to organise my life and it keeps me on track to achieve things that I couldn’t achieve in the past. It keeps me accountable, and for that alone, I love it.
In my planner, I would pull a to-do list next to each relevant category.
If I am working on a project for the blog and I have assignment and project planning inserts I would add a to-do list to expand if needed and get into more details.
If I am meal planning I could add it as a shopping list near the menu for the week.
And let me tell you this.
Our brains love lists.
It is something magical when a plan comes together and you nailed it. The sense of accomplishment, of keeping on top of your day.
How to write an efficient to do list
Are your to-do lists looking something like this?
- Blog post ideas
- Pack my lunch for tomorrow
- Birthday party
- Website for Emma
- Conference tonight
This is a perfect example of a bad to-do list.
What post ideas, cook what for dinner, birthday party at what time?
Now, amongst all these ambiguous tasks there is ONE winner.
One of these tasks is actionable and clear and that is…” pack my lunch for tomorrow “.
Why? Because it starts with a verb. You can do it in one go and cross it off your list and done!
That’s why when you craft your to-do list make sure you verbalise it.
To trigger you into action you must add a verb to it. Give it a meaning. from blog post ideas -> brainstorm blog post ideas
If your actionable verb can’t be done in one sitting then it’s best to break it down even further.
So “website for Emma” will become:
- Create an outline of things to implement in the new design
- Email template to Carry for approval
It wouldn’t be enough to just say Build a website, you need to take it further and make it more specific. Split it into a couple more tasks that can be done in one sitting.
So whenever you find yourself writing big projects on your to-do list stop right there. It will overwhelm you and out you off and it will stay on the backlog until the night before.
You first need to identify all those things that are meaningful to you or important for you to get done or because other people are relying on it.
Start writing everything down otherwise you’re brain will keep bombarding you with don’t forget this, don’t forget this at random times.
Have everything in one place
No to-do list will be efficient if it’s scattered somewhere at the bottom of your purse, or in a place you don’t often check.
If you don’t already have a planner, grab a notebook and make it a go-to place to keep on top of your day. You need to leave space in your brain for creativity.
A lot of the people are walking around constantly thinking about all the things they’re trying to manage and remind themselves about all the things are still left to do.
There is no reason to keep thinking about a thing twice.
When you do your brainstorming session that’s the time you need to allow for planning and allocating task, after that it’s all about picking up one task at a time and getting it done.
Mental hurry is not beneficial to anybody.
Make it simple, make it specific
If you have a long-term goal that you know it’s will take time, but you need to make incremental steps towards it start with those.
You have to clarify it.
If you find yourself writing things that are not specific and actionable stop right there. Is no point in just making some quick notes and make your day look busy and overwhelming.
Keep it simple and keep it short.
What exactly is the work you have to do? What does the work involve?
What’s the outcome?
Identify that and then set the next action. Always think what are you trying to accomplish and write down on your to-do list the exact way you’re going to accomplish it.
So before you start anything, define what the most important work is.
For example, if you need to “film a video for youtube” a better task will be: “Film the simplicity challenge and link to the free pdf”. This task looks more doable now. Try breaking the task further into doable actions and allocate it a time and a date for when that will get done.
I made my to-do list a self-managing system that can do the remembering for me and hold me accountable.
Now, you don’t need to keep thinking about those things and will take the mental juggling out of the picture.
Putting pen to paper and taking a few extra minutes to plan ahead your day but it will put you at ease and lets you complete tasks without wasting time.
Relling on your mind alone will not get you far. Your brain can remember you that you need to do something at 2 o’clock in the morning when it’s virtually impossible to do it or you already missed the deadline. Imagine multiplying that by a hundred and it will be difficult to even focus on a task because you keep getting bombarded with too many ideas.
Make sure you keep your system consistent and you do a review.
When you are happy with your to-do list it is time to relax.
When you know what your goal is, what the next action that you need to take you’ll start to experience stress-free productivity.
Now, as a bonus let me list the many different ways I found to do list helpful with.
- Shopping list
- Gratitude list
- Bills to pay
- Meal planning
- Personal goals
- Books to read
- Assignments to complete
- Recipes to try
- Financial – expense tracker, bills to pay, debt payments, saving charts, no spend activities,
- Meal planning- shopping list, grocery list, meal ideas, recipe to try
- Work/academic- project planner, assignments, meeting notes, brain dump, personal goals, emails to send, calls to make, appointments to attend.
- Spiritual/religios- bible study, daily gratitude, prayer list, daily affirmations, ways to give back to the world
- Home- house projects to do, gifts to buy, things to fix, errands to run, birthdays, important dates
- Goals- 5-year goals, today’s top three,
- Health and fitness- meditation tracker, fitness workouts, self-care list.
Keep motivated and whenever you are feeling down just look back at your lists and see how much progress you did.
There are some days when I feel I didn’t accomplish anything. Just keep going. Once you make a plan, the next step is just to keep going and keep going and never ever quit until you get to where you wanted.
Now, it’s your turn. What are your favourite ways to use a to-do list? Share with me in the comments below!