With 5 Days to Go, Setting Up the New Schedule

I only have five days left to go in this blogging challenge. And if I said it was easy, I’d be lying. Still, it’s given me a golden opportunity to understand just how over-taxed I really am. So, I’m starting on the new schedule for October.

This means I’m going to cut back on some of the things I want to do while focusing on the things I consider a priority.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially if you keep trying to add more and more to an already overflowing plate. Sometimes, you need to sacrifice a few of the smaller things so that the big picture becomes more clear.

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Why Care About a New Schedule?

Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to take a look at your life and see where you can make improvements. Especially if you find yourself in a world of stress and can’t really seem to find a way out.

The last thing you want to do when working from home is burn out completely. And it’s a lot easier than many people might think.

For me, the process of pushing out 90 articles in 30 days opened my eyes to a lot of things. Most of which that I need better structure in my life.

Prioritizes Projects that are More Likely to Succeed

When you start to pile on the projects, you should consider prioritizing. Some things are just more important than others. If you spread yourself too thin, those things you want to do will sit on the back burner longer than you anticipated.

For example, my priorities have been all over the map. This is why it’s taken me so long to finally finish writing the eBook and my Wattpad story, VII. Instead, I wind up doing tasks that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.

This means you’ll have to take a long hard look at what you’re doing and decide if there are some projects you need to drop. Because being hyper-stressed all the time can lead to a myriad of issues, such as dealing with anxiety.

Provides a Visual of Your Actual Workday

As I set up a new schedule, I use the free version of Asana. This gives me a visual of everything I want to do in the day while providing a drag-and-drop interface so I can shift things around.

Another good tool to use is Google Calendar. You can even color-code specific tasks while getting email reminders when something is due.

This kind of layout is helpful for providing a visual of what you want to get done on any given day.

Using a layout like this is what helped me decide that I am indeed trying to take on too much. And since I have a pretty good idea about how long each project takes, I can get a fairly accurate portrayal of my day.

Mostly because I am a geek with a spreadsheet. I track everything I do.

Keeps Your Projects Organized

Setting up a new schedule can also help you keep various projects organized, especially if you start dropping some. Because you want to be efficient with your time in the day.

If there is one valuable lesson I learned in September it’s that time is finite. There’s only so much of it in the day, and I’m losing out on a lot of things because of taking on too much.

When you have a lot on your plate, organization can help make sure your putting effort into the things that matter most.

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What is Going into My New Schedule?

How do you know what are the most important things as a writer? That really depends on you. Everyone will have a unique experience. But as a rule of thumb, you want to prioritize:

  • Projects that pay well, which includes client work or even blogging
  • Things that are vastly important for you to finish soon, such as an eBook
  • Anything else that will help you move your writing career forward, such as courses or writing practice

The trick, though, is to stick with everything you schedule. It’s easy to get sidetracked with other things, family, friends, or clients. Try to stick to the time slots you set up.

Here is an example. There are four major facets I am going to focus on for the new schedule: client work, blogging, YouTube, and being creative.

Client Work

Obviously, the first thing I am prioritizing is client work. Because without income, I can’t afford my mortgage.

This means that I block off the amount of time I need first thing in the morning. Once my paying jobs are completed, I can move on to the more personal and professional projects I want to do.

Jobs that pay always come first!

A New Schedule for Blogging

The blogs bring in more than enough money to pay for their own web hosting. Plus, one of them brings in a bit for some of the charities I support.

Because these are making some kind of income, and do have yearly growth, getting quality content on the sites is important. This also means spending time revamping and reworking older pieces to score better in search.

However, I need to reel back on some of the blogs I manage. This is because I simply don’t have time to maintain everything like I want. And since they are bringing in a bit of money, I can justify periodically outsourcing content.

YouTube Videos

Part of my new schedule is going to include more YouTube videos. I’ve only been live streaming for the past two months and really miss uploading.

Even though I don’t make ad revenue from YouTube, I am very close to hitting the requirements for the YouTube Partners Program. This means that sometime in the next few months, I will start to generate a trickle of income.

Not to mention that I love helping people along their freelance writing journey. I’m not super popular or create viral videos, but I’ve helped a lot of people in the past three years.

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Being Creative

My ultimate end game as a writer is to be published. It’s not that I want fortune and glory, but more of wanting to see my name on the spine of a book on my shelf behind me.

Plus, I miss having a creative outlet. Lately, it’s all been work, work, work. And that is leading me to some dark places.

You need to have that break, especially when you’re under a lot of stress. For me, working on a creative project is incredible as a stress reliever.

The Trick to a New Schedule is Time Management

In the end, though, it all comes down to how you manage your time throughout the day. This is something I’m constantly working on. And if I would stop adding new projects to the mix, I could probably hammer out a great schedule.

That’s part of this entire exercise, to be honest. I pushed myself to the limits in September and found all of the holes I can plug for future success.

You probably don’t have to push yourself as hard as I have. But hitting your limits does clue you in to how much you can actually handle in the day without cracking up.

The important thing to keep in mind when setting up a new schedule, though, is that it’s never set in stone. Keep moving things around until you can come up with something that works to get you where you want to be.

Just make sure you stick to what you’ve set up. You can’t really say your new schedule doesn’t work unless you actually put in the effort to see it through.

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A Good Strategy Takes Time to Build

Remember the schedule you create now is probably not the one you’ll have this time next year. You’ll undoubtedly move things around to fit the time you have in the day.

But it’s worth the effort if you hammer out something that keeps you productive without pulling your hair out.

Take a few moments and really think about what you want to accomplish and when you have time for it.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 8,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel. Currently, he is the Content Marketing Team Lead of GreenGeeks Web Hosting.

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