22 October 2010

Keeping on top of the Swaps - My way of organization

I've been signing up for a lot of swaps.  A TON of swaps.  Plus there are even more on my watch list.  With all the different sign-up end days, days they need to be sent by, partners, etc, I needed to find a way to keep track of what I was doing.  I've actually got a system that seems to be working pretty well for me.

First, I mark the Swap in my Google Calendar.  From the day the swap actually starts until the day it needs to be sent by, it's marked off in the calendar.  (You can see which swaps I'm in and when they're going on in the calendar at the bottom of the blog.)  I get daily agendas to my e-mail so I can keep reminding myself of what's coming due.  Whenever I've sent a swap out, I move the swap from my Swap-Bot calendar  to a private calendar specifically for completed swaps.

Then, I register information in a spreadsheet.  It may be redundant, but I've got six tabs in the spreadsheet.  The first is a master list.  This is where I keep the name of the swap, repeated however many times for the numbers of partners I have in the swap. The columns read: Swap Name | Sign Up End Date | Send By Date | Partner to Send to | Date Sent | Rated by Partner | Partner Received By | Rated by Me? | Date Received | Format

For each partner that I need to send to, I put their mailing and e-mail information in a comment with their name and Swap-Bot name.  I also alternate swaps by color - darker and lighter orange - to make it easier to tell where one swap begins and another ends.  Once I send a swap out, I highlight the "rated by partner", "rated by me" and "date received" fields for each one a bright yellow.  When I get a rating or get their swap, I change the color back to match that swap's color.  This way, I can tell at a glance which partners are still outstanding, either for the swaps to me or the ratings for me.  If a swap time has passed, I change the highlight color to red for those I haven't received by.  Another way to keep track easily.

The second tab is Swap Type.  Under this, I have each swap listed once, along with the format that the swap is in (e-mail swap, letter swap or craft swap), the date it was due and whether or not I've sent it.  Each type of swap is color coded differently so I can tell at a glance how many of each type of swap I have outstanding.  I can do a lot of e-mails swaps fairly quickly, most letter swaps without too much trouble, and only a few craft swaps because they take up more time.  I can make sure this way that I don't get craft-heavy with my swaps.

The next two tabs are Sort by Sign Up Date and Sort by Send Date.  Like the Swap Type, each swap is only listed once.  I have listed Swap Name, Sign up End Date, Send by Date, Format and Date Passed.  The only difference in these two are the way in which they are sorted.  (I think they're pretty self explanatory.  I also have each swap color coded here, in two different ways.  A majority of the row is colored depending on where I am in the swap - Sent, Completed But Not Sent, In Progress, Not Started, Dropped Swap/Other.  It's an easy way to tell at a glance which swaps need to be worked on and when.  The other color coding is under the "Date Passed" column, and the color coding is all that's there.  If the sign up date on the first tab or the send by date on the second tab has passed, the color is red.  If it's within a week, it's pale yellow and if it's longer than a week away, it's pale green.  This is another way I can take a look at where I stand at a glance.

The fifth tab is for my Watchlists. It as pretty much the same columns as the Swap Type, with the added column of Joined?  Like the previous two tabs, it has the color coding based on time.  It's a way I can tell which swaps I need to make a decision on whether to join or not and how much time I have to make the decision.

The final tab is Archive.  Whenever I've either gotten all swaps from my partner and been rated, or it's been more than 2 weeks past the swap end date, I move the rows from the Master List to the Archived List.  It's easier for me to be able to see what I've actually got ongoing there without having to worry too much about a lot of extraneous stuff.

Like I said, it seems like a lot, but I'm actually finding it works for me.  I keep the spreadsheet up daily, mainly so I can go in and make the changes necessary when I receive swaps or ratings.  But the general housekeeping on it I do once a day and it takes maybe 15 minutes to update new swaps, new watches, etc.
Do any other swappers have ways of organization that works to help keep them on top of the swaps they do?

1 comment:

  1. Wow this is so organised! I would never be able to keep things so neatly so I just rely on swapbot itself. Anyway I am online most of the time haha