Monday, 16 January 2017

Season’s tweakings

January is rubbish. It’s the month that none of the others want to sit next to. December gets all the glitz and parties, and February is at least over quicker, so the paycheque goes further; but January? January gets diets, dubious resolutions, and a whole bunch of abstinence.

I don’t really buy into abstinence, but when it comes to comping in January, I don’t really get much say in the matter. That’s not to say there’s nothing out there, just that (with a handful of notable exceptions) most of it doesn’t exactly blow my skirt up.

So, what’s a comper to do?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been focusing on my admin. Sounds pretty dry, right? Maybe so, but if this foundational work means 2017 goes off with an even bigger bang, then it will all be worth it.

Let’s have a look at my progress so far:
  • New spreadsheet: Easiest job of them all! These are the columns I’ve been using, but I’m open to suggestions if you think I’ve missed any.
  • New diary: Last year, I used a notebook to record ideas and deadlines. This worked tolerably well till the middle of the year when extraordinary events blew all my routines out the window. This year, I’m insulating against disorder with a proper, fit-for-purpose diary that shows a whole week across a double-page spread. I can now find things throughout the year much more easily. All that remains now is to train myself to consult it every day…
  • Calendar dates and hashtag days: I suppose I could write these all in the diary, but it seems like a lot of hard work. I’ll probably just print out Di Coke’s list and stick it in the front. With Blu-Tack, so I don’t have to print it next year!
  • Managing likes/follows and unsubscribing from newsletters: I’ve long been a fan of Crowdfire, so getting my Twitter house in order hasn’t been too onerous. As for Facebook, I recommend Unlikeit. It’s not recognised by Facebook, so you have to ask the developer if you can register to be a tester on the beta page, but it does exactly what you need it to. And last but not least, the unwanted e-mail. I’m normally fairly hot on avoiding subscribing to newsletters and marketing mails, but sometimes it’s like plugging a leaky dam with bubble gum - especially in December. I’d heard good things about and tried it for the first time last week. I can’t believe how straightforward it is - kudos to the developers!
  • Wishlist: Check!
  • Bookmarks: I’ve tidied my bookmarks into folders for daily draws, and searches for local comps and wishlist items. I know some folks have a folder for instant wins too, but I tend to avoid these as I can’t justify the time.
  • Compiling stock photos: I’ve set up a folder on Dropbox with sub-folders for seasonal pics, such as Christmas and autumn, but there’s always room for improvement.  It also wouldn’t hurt to spend an hour or two trawling through every last picture I’ve got stored on this machine.
  • Learning a new app: The first target for this year is master Tweetdeck - I've made a start, but if anyone has any tips, I'm all ears!

So, that’s the winter of my discontent made glorious summer through nerdy admin work. Still, I have a sinking suspicion that I’ve forgotten something. As such, I’d be really grateful if you could comment below with any suggestions so I can revisit this post next January and use it as a checklist for future winters!

How do you cope with the January lull? What does your spreadsheet look like? Have you any suggestions for things to bookmark or the kinds of stock photos to have on hand?


  1. I actually like the slower pace of Janauary because when i have too many things to enter i end up in a panic! I've never really comped by hashtag before other than #freebiefriday occasionally if i have the time but i actually did on #bluemonday and had a win from that! In terms of stock photos - i keep meaning to pull together a file of all my favourite christmas ones. Things like pancake day ones and snow themed ones could also be 'recycled' for comps i guess. Also often see comps where they're looking for 'happy' photo so perhaps that's another folder of photos to keep handy somewhere. x

    1. I definitely recommend hashtag-days - 99% of my Twitter wins come from hashtag effort comps! If I've won more than two simple RT comps in my time I'd be surprised!

      I'm the chief photo-taker in my house, which means we've got hardly any pics of me, making some comps very tricky to enter :/

      Pancakes is a good one though - I think I've seen that before. But what about pumpkins? There's loads of comps for pumpkin carving each year. That said, the standard of carving gets better every year - my efforts to date have been incredibly amateur :(