There’s a free editorial calendar for 2017 waiting for my email subscribers in the library to be downloaded now! It’s great for planning your valuable content marketing, if you’re a blogger, entrepreneur or freelancer. Why not grab it for your hobby blog, too? Sometimes it can be a bit of a hassle to come up with interesting, educational or fun content even when you’re blogging without the goal to generate money.
Also, if you’re considering turning the blog into something more professional later, based on my own experience it’s a far easier process when posts aren’t completely random in the archives. Remember that once the blog is part of a business, every single post should preferably reflect the brand then to avoid confusing a new visitor, so what you create from now on is better dealt with later when there’s at least some kind of red thread visible throughout your posts. But now I have some tips how to use the editorial calendar and will introduce the Pomodoro technique as well.
The editorial calendar consists of a monthly calendar with all dates added for your convenience. The purpose of this calendar is to plot the “front-end”, what the visitor will see and when on your blog and social-media profiles.
There is also a weekly page to print 52 copies of, and instead of planning what the reader will see, you can use this for the “back-end” work by which I mean when you create the content you want to schedule to show on the calendar.
If you prefer batch days to separate blog content from the content appearing on social media, the weekly calendar helps you stay organised. Or if you want to create a bit every day, it will work for such planning as well. The main idea is that this editorial-calendar package will allow you to separate front- and back-end planning nicely.
How to print
The editorial calendar is black-and-white because I like a clean, simple style. My colour printer uses the more expensive toner instead of ink, so I like to be frugal when possible.
There are printing instructions included, but I want to mention here that the pdf works for double-sided printing as well. However, I prefer single-sided printing for the calendar portion, because I punch holes such that I create a spread of the monthly calendar. This also allows me to assemble into the ringbinder a month followed by its weekly pages, followed by the next month, and so on.
Double-sided printing will keep the weeks separated from the months, resulting in more shuffling of pages back and forth, but this is completely up to you. There are pretty page labels you can buy or make at home, which you can use creatively to stick fast-track “bookmarks” to the weekly pages however you like, if you prefer to save paper.
Pomodoro and how I use it on the weekly page
Below each day, I write the date. Below that, I draw four circles on days when I have batch work planned.
While I’m a huge fan of the project management service Asana, I still use pen and paper every day to define the task itself. Workflows in Asana then split up the task into action steps, but I still need to write by hand to be productive. (Yes, I know Getting Things Done calls anything that takes more than one step to finish a “project”, but what I’m referring to here now is the type of tasks that build up large projects according to project management standards.)
So the circles I mentioned are for Pomodoro, a productivity technique that has basically saved my life. Before trying this method myself, I kept thinking it was yet another fad, or yet another technique among the rest of them. But it is a miracle really, as I used to have huge problems with focussing long enough, and began to doubt myself on a rather fundamental level. When trying this technique, however, it’s like I got my brain back after having lost my productive mind for years.
You can use pomodoros, or Pomodoro intervals, of various lengths according to your own preference, but I find that the traditional 25 minutes works best. It’s long enough to allow me to find focus, go deep inside the topic, and find that elusive flow state of mind. Then a five-minute break establishes the so-called diffuse thinking, necessary to let the information be handled in a more meandering manner by the brain.
After three or four pomodoros of focussed thinking broken up by diffuse-mode thinking, the next break is a bit longer, ten to fifteen minutes.
On an excellent day, I can handle eight to ten pomodoros in total, but the remainder of the day certainly isn’t spent doing anything demanding.
For this reason, I warmly recommend Pomodoro for batching up your work. One way to get whatever feels the most difficult to do done is to start the day with a few pomodoros, after which for example creative work is welcome. When working in a library, I keep an app on my iPhone, which has a ticker counting down silently from 25 minutes. There I find the zone immediately, which is quite fantastic.
So if you want to do batch blogging, you could schedule such work on the weekly page on a particular day. If you need fewer pomodoros, draw fewer circles to fill out when the intervals are done, or if you need more, draw more. The next day could be batching up social media posts for different platforms, and so on. Please share in the comments your system, if you think others could benefit from it. We’d love to hear it.
To access this editorial calendar, use the form below to sign up for access to my library. If a friend would like their copy, please direct them to my website so they can sign up, too!
Are you using the calendar? I’d love to hear how it’s working out for you.