In the last year, I was able to quit my day job and work for myself full-time. It has not been easy. I have found that working for yourself pretty much means working All. The. Time. Or at least feeling like you have to. When you are paid to do a job, you do the job and then log off for the day. But when you work for yourself, there is always something you could be doing. “I could write one more chapter.” “I should really read that marketing article.” “I need to reconcile the accounts for the month.” “I should start editing that book early.” And so on. But we all need downtime. We all need to have a set time to log off and do other things.
One thing that has really revolutionized my life and gotten me a lot more hours in the day is using a weekly planner. I started using it about six weeks ago and about two weeks I noticed that I was getting “done with work” at about 8 pm, as opposed to midnight like I had been doing for…longer than I can remember (Another thing that happens when you work for yourself is the days end up bleeding together until you have no idea if it is Wednesday or Saturday.)
However, I’m not working less. If anything, I’m working more. I wrote two books this month. No, I didn’t just start two books or outline two books or add two books to my “to be written” pile. I started and finished writing two books. And that is pretty much my plan for the next year, to write two books a month, in addition to editing, marketing, teaching writing classes, and raising my daughter.
And I’m not scared or worried I won’t be able to do it even though I have never had this ambitious of a schedule before. As i said, since I have actually gotten organized, it’s like I have been gaining hours in the day. I’m working smarter, not harder.
Here is an example of what my schedule looks like right now:
I think it is pretty self-explanatory. What has been really amazing is seeing that list of “other things to do” diminish. For that area, I put all of the little things that need to be done every week. Things that might take fifteen minutes or four hours, but that don’t need to be done at a specific time or take up a schedule spot. These are just things that need to be done at some point when I have time. That list probably had twenty things on it at one point, and it kept growing! But slowly, daily, I worked on it. Now it is down to seven really manageable tasks I’ll have no problem completing over the next week or so. True, other tasks will get added to that list as I think of them, but it really helps to get all those things out of my brain and on paper. Instead of having all these things I need to remember taking up space in my head and stressing me out, I just check the list whenever I have time and get it done then. In fact, making a to-do list is a productivity “hack” that most successful people use. Don’t knock it until you try it!
You can click here to download a free blank version of the weekly schedule template. Feel free to tweak it however you will find most useful! For example, I find having a list of when my newsletter will go out and which author’s books I will be sharing very helpful, so that is on my personal schedule, but it isn’t on the template. Really, this template is for everyone, not just writers. So feel free to give it a try and let me know how it works for you.
Another way authors can stay productive in the new year is by using the Love Kissed Author Planners. There are two planners available, one for Book World Domination and one specifically for New Releases. How do these help? Well, the Plan for Book World Domination includes:
- monthly pep talks
- monthly & weekly calendars
- guided monthly notes
- notes for each quarter
- password keeper
- publishing calendar
- new release planner/organizer
- newsletter swap organizer
While the New Release Planner includes:
- Word Goals
- Goal Setting
- Publishing Schedule
- Publishing Status
- How to Publish Profitably
- Publishing Profits Tracker
- Calendar and Habit Tracker for every month of 2018
Both planners actually have a lot more stuff in them, but you can check out them out here to learn more.
So that’s how I’m getting organized in 2018. How about you? What are your big plans? Let me know in the comments!