When it comes to being more productive, sometimes the simple stuff is what works best. One of the simplest steps you can take to become extremely productive is to just fill out a calendar. What this does is it takes any guesswork out of your day so that you can use all your decision-making on the task at hand.
I can remember last year many times in which I’d get up and have the fire to start getting work done. I’d sit down to get to work and get lost in what I should actually do among a sea of possibilities. Should I work on my blog? Get some work done for clients? Maybe crank out a few articles on my niche site? I’d wind up doing a little work here, a little work there, and in the end not getting that much work done at all.
Once I started a to do list for each day, my productivity got better. All I’d have to do was wake up and breeze through my to do list and I’d have a nice solid day of work done. I was filling out to do lists every night and it dawned on me that I could make this process easier by batching this into a half hour of work on Sundays.
To Do Batching
The trick here is that I grab my calendar that I recently got and write in each square what I’ll do for that day. Take about a half hour or however long it takes for you to plan your next month. This is the less extreme version of Project 365 I wrote about last year.
What you want to make sure is that you have a calendar that is big enough to fit everything you need to write for that day. Right now I’m using this handy calendar I got free from the good folks at Linvilla Orchards in Media PA. It’s not really adequate for my needs, but it will suffice in the mean time before I get another big desk calendar. If you are looking to get on board with writing out your daily tasks on a calendar, I would suggest getting a big desk one to use with with your desk.
I like to sit down and plan out a week in advance for stuff to do. I’ll usually do this on a Sunday night and take around a half hour. You could potentially do this on your computer’s calendar, but for me it works a lot better if I use a pen and write on something tangible.
Once I get the calendar out, its idea time. I’m not sure how this actually works, but my brain just starts firing up ideas when staring at a blank calendar. This is a good place creatively and I like to just write what I’m thinking without judgement. I’ll generally like to have a week filled out before embarking on the work, but a lot of the time I fill out two or more weeks.
After I have the boxes filled out, I’ll go back and refine what I wrote down. I’ll look back at the boxes and try to flesh out the ideas a bit. That way, when I’m 5 days into a week I’ll remember what the hell I meant.
One of the things I am now feeling is to do a series of articles on a particular subject. For instance, I’ll be covering a series of karate articles in the health category in March. If you can come up with a series of articles it may help with some content ideas. Integrating podcasts and videos into your posts will also help with ideas as well. Some ideas are better suited to those formats and thus will give you more content to produce.
I know using a calendar isn’t exactly rocket science, but how many of us actually use it to its full potential or at all? I know that once I started using it and giving not only my days, but weeks and months structure, everything started coming together.
Give it a shot!
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