Monday, 23 February 2015

Say Hello To My New Best Friend - Spreadsheets!

Since I've been co-blogging with Stacie, there's been a handful of things that I've changed concerning how I blog and how organised I am - fair enough, I was always a little ahead with reviews and discussions, and by little, I mean around a month in advance, with maybe some holes left open for specific reviews or themed days, it was an easy way to operate. I blogged alone, I had my own space and with that space came the freedom to, well, do whatever the heck I liked, and while the freedom to post what I want and when I want hasn't changed all that much, was has changed is how organised I am.. mainly because, I now have to be.

In case you've been living under a rock the last few months, Stacie and I take it in turns to post on most occasions, we have set days in the week that we post specific things, and then we have the freedom to post anything we like, reviews, discussions, our menu for the week, whatever might appeal to us on any given day, as long as it's on our days, and I love that we do this. This organisation is key to how we - okay, I operate. I have a system, I have a routine, and it's fabulous, so it's only predictable that if I enjoyed keeping my blogging plans organised, I'd like to try and organise my books too, and I don't just mean by author on my shelves, I mean like organise the heck out dem books in spreadsheets, inspired by Debby.

I think I may have taken my organisation to another level.. a level I didn't think was possible.
Naturally, I wanted to share my crazy with you all, so buckle in ladies and gents, this is the method behind the madness.

I currently have 7 separate spreadsheets

  • Books Read
  • Physical Copies
  • Digital Copies
  • Review Copies
  • Books Bought
  • Book Wishlist
  • 2015 Releases
Uh, yeah, seven.
What can I say? I'm organised. Lets dig a little deeper into them shall we?

Quick Note*: all print screens were taken on 25/01/2015 and 26/01/2015. I've edited/added plenty more books since.

Books Read

I decided that while I wanted to be and feel organised, I didn't want it to seem like a tedious job filling in the information on a regular basis. I wanted to keep track of the books I read with information I find important, not what others may prefer. In the end, I decided that the vital information was, obviously, vital, including the book title, the author(s) and the series, followed by things I wanted to keep track of in order to ease locating the information at the end of the year, for example, what exactly I rated every book (as last year, I used Goodreads to help with recapping and they still lack pesky half stars), whether I reviewed them, what genre and classification they were, what format they were and how I acquired them. Out of all the information I could possibly want or need at the end of the year, this is that, and any more would just be over-kill for me personally.

*I have since added a #UKYA column to keep track of UKYA reads.

I also like to keep my 'reviewed' column colour coded so I know at what stage I am in the reviewing process. The basic colour codes are of course green for yes and red for no, but I also include other colours for other stages: blue for books I'm in the process of reading, yellow for books I've read and am going to or am planning on reviewing, and purple for books that I don't plan to review for one reason or another. I mainly keep this column colour coded so I can know for certain whether I actually reviewed a book or if I've forgotten to write one, in which case, I panic a little bit and get on it.

Physical Copies

This spreadsheet keeps the basic set up that 'Books Read' has, which a few alterations, aka, a culling of my reviewed and source column, a) because I don't need to know whether I've reviewed the books on my physical list, I just need to know what's there and whether I've read them or not and b) because I own them physically, so I don't need to know the source, the answer is in the question. Colours still play a vital role in this spreadsheet, with the usual green for yes or red for no concerning whether I've read them or not, as well as yellow for books I've put-down but not completely abandoned in the future, and purple for books I've DNF'd.

I also have a few filters set for this page, such as a 'to-read' option which searches for all books labelled as no for read, the most comomn and well used of filters, a 'contemporary' option which searches for unread contemporary options for when I'm feeling fluffy, a 'fantasy' option, which searches for all types of unread fantasy, including options that mix with other genres, like historical, paranormal or mythology, and I final option of unread other genres, which includes anything from mystery to dystopian.

Digital Copies

Once again, the set up is similar when it comes to my digital copies, however, this spreadsheet is minus the format column, since it's clear that they're digital books, as, yet again, the answer is in the question. My digital copies also have the exact same colour coding involved that my physical copies to, so really, the only thing that's different about the two is that the format of them. I could easily have mixed them all, but I didn't particularly want to be in the mood for one of my kindle books and then remember that I've got to read it on my laptop - some nights don't call for eye strain.

Review Copies

This spreadsheet is a little more difficult to explain and definitely caters to my own mental madness. The basics are still involved, the title, author(s), series, read, rating, and genre. I haven't bothered with the classification because I very rarely request or read advanced copies of anything other than young adult, and in contrast to the other spreadsheets, I've included the release date and the archive date, which also gets used as 'date in which your NetGalley download expires' and 'date by which publishers request review copies to be reviewed'. The spreadsheet is also organised by release date, just to make searching and viewing that much easier.

Understanding the spreadsheet is another issue entirely. The actual sheet is split into three sections. The first section between the headers and the first black split are the review copies with no archive date or expected review date, which means I'm not limited to when I can read them, and are therefore, not as high a priority as the other books in the spreadsheet. The second, smaller section between the two black splits are the books I have in my Adobe Digital Editions Reader and are therefore on a clicking tock. Standardly, you get 54 days to read the books by once downloaded, so these books are some of the first I see when I log into my spreadsheet, therefore making me more likely to read them. The third and lower section of this spreadsheet includes books I haven't downloaded yet, but have archive dates, and therefore have to be considered soon.

Colours are still very much the same with this spreadsheet too, with the usual green and red for yes and no, blue for reading, yellow for put-down and purple for 'nope, bye!' Okay, for DNF, but I've been tempted to put that in place of.

Yeah, this one is very much catered to be understand by me, that's why it's very.. hap-hazard.

Books Bought

This spreadsheet came about when I decided I wanted to cut back on the books I bought, and when I did buy books, I wanted to record the fact that I'd bought it and it'd not been gifted, (which is always a problem I have when inputting information into reviews), remember how much they'd cost me (considering I'm unemployed and don't get a lot of income), and just how many of the books I'd bought this year, I'd read. the set up is once again the same, with the the title, author(s), series, read, rating, genre, classification and format, but it, of course, includes a price column, which keeps a record of how much they cost - duh. Colours continue to stay the same throughout, much like those for 'review copies', 'digital copies' and 'physical copies', with the usual red, greens, yellows, blues and purples.

Book Wishlist

So far, this is probably the least developed of the spreadsheets, but generally, I like to keep a hold of a list of books that I'm constantly eyeing up, whether that be because I've enjoyed other installments, heard good things, or generally keep meaning to pick it up. I plan to use it more as the year progresses, adding in books that could be future presents on occasions, or books I'd really like the purchase myself if possible. Generally, the same set up is used, the usual title, authors, series and in this case, book number if it's part of a series and what genre it's in. What follows are two very different columns.

First, a 'need' column, which takes note of the level in which I feel I want the book. There are four levels in total, Must Have, which is bright red, Really Want, which is a darker red, Would Like, which is for those books I'd like, but would either rather not buy, or in some cases, not buy top dollar for, in a slightly browned colour, and Consider in orange, which is for books I've either not read other installments for, or books I'm still wavering on. Secondly and lastly, my status column, which does and will keep track of the books in a more physical way, in three different shades of blue, purchased being in the example, in a dark navy blue, Christmas and Birthday presents bought in advance in a slightly paler, baby blue colour, and other gifted books in a very very light blue, much like cloudy blue.

Most books in this spreadsheet will be physical back-listed titles, and so any other information isn't really needed.

2015 Releases

The final spreadsheet helps me keep track of 2015 releases, specifically, those that catch my attention on more than a fleeting interest level. These can very from finales of series to new standalones, to some really exciting titles I'm looking forward to. As you can see, the set up is extremely similar to that of the 'book wishlist' spreadsheet, however, this time, as is expected, I've got a release date column, pretty vital for when you want to keep up with new releases. The colour codes are identical to the 'book wishlist' in that I have a rating in need column, all coded by priority, and I have a status column, also, colour coded exactly the same. I also have a column that lets me know if I've read those books, but it's not a column that is of much importance, it's more there for peace of mind.

How do you organise and keep track of your books?

Do you keep lists, spreadsheets like me, or do you wing it and hope for the best? Organise or spontaneous?

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