A Yearly Calendar? You must be joking. That’s what some people will say.
🙂 Hear me out. One of things that changed last year was making a calendar for my writing work. I started with scheduling blog posts on Google Calendar (which is the best way for me) and thought since I had so much to schedule why not schedule everything on it.
So I took a day off (yes it does take a good chunk of your noon) and started planning, first with big things. Blog posts, podcast dates, submission dates, publication dates and payments. Then I added all the other stuff like meet x, interview y, edit manuscript, revise, send to agent, create a query, start an ad campaign, etc.
Why do it?
You Get More Done
I review the calendar for the next day before I sleep just so I know what needs to be done. And I have been able to do so much more when things are on the calendar. In fact, I will definitely get things done on the calendar while ignoring anything and everything else. And I have been able to get more done. I was able to write more, publish more, query more, pitch more and definitely accomplish more than I ever have in a writing year. So this year, I’ve managed to make a more detailed calendar.
Keeps A Schedule
It keeps me on schedule. With my calendar I know that every Monday my blog post has to be out, my podcast needs to be ready for the 1st and 20th, I need to read 5 books by the end of the 31st of the month and my short story needs to be ready for mid month. That has kept me on a wired system that sticks to time. No excuses, just do it! 😉
A Measure of You
It gives you a measure of where you are. For example, I’ve earmarked my calendar to write a new draft in January, then edit in February and then another rewrite in March. Now if something sells and I need to write or read or rewrite on short notice then I can look at my calendar and add it in without feeling overburdened or lost. Also I can review my quarterly schedule and know if I’ve managed to complete the work I assigned myself in that quarter. So it gives you a measure of writing who you are and how much is done and how much room there is for more.
Now how do you do this.
- I use Google Calendar and you can use anything else you like. So first take a sheet of paper and list out all the things you need to get done. For me this was 3 manuscripts, 3 rewrites, 24 podcasts, shorts stories etc.
- Now assign months to these.
- Mark these on your calendar.
- Then fill in other details.
- Don’t add more than you can do!
- Daily review what work needs to be done.
- At the beginning of each month, check how much you’ve accomplished, what you haven’t been able to do, shift it onwards for the year. Get a sense of what needs to be done this month, add in new details or new short stories or competitions as they come.
- Every quarter review, set aside a date to review this calendar.
- Now I know a lot of people will even pencil in time. But I don’t do this. Because of this thing called life. Lots of things happen when you work a full time job, there’s traffic, you need to get groceries and you know life. 🙂 So I don’t pencil in time. I’ve wired myself to get the work done. Don’t know what time but it will be done before I sleep. I love the feeling I get when I change the color on my calendar when the job is done.
- There will be days when it won’t get done, don’t postpone, see why it wasn’t done and then assign it a different month altogether, so you can come to an activity with joy rather than a sense of duty.
Have you used a calendar? Which one? Has it helped you?