I previously talked about “How To Be a More Productive Writer”. In that article I listed 6 basic steps that help you attain the productivity needed to make your writing career a success. I briefly touched on the wonders of making lists and schedules. Today I want to talk more about…
A Weekly Writer’s Schedule
This is a picture of my weekly writers schedule. I created a basic hourly schedule in Microsoft Office and then printed it out. I filled in all the necessary tasks that I would need to perform each day and then color blocked the time I’ve designated to complete them so I can visually see how much time each task takes. I then added some embellishments to make the schedule more visually appealing to me. You don’t have to do that but I recommend it because, honestly, who wants to look at a boring piece of paper.
*Side note: Before creating my schedule I spent a week writing out everything I did and how long it took to do those things. This was done so that I could see how my time was spent. I then took that information and figured out a way to cut the areas of time that did nothing for my life and then came up with a plan to maximize the time that brought me joy and paid the bills lol.
Here is a breakdown of my weekly writer’s schedule
- The columns consist of Time, Description, and then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
- On the far left is the Time. I broke it down into half hour increments starting at 6am and ending at 10pm.
- The next column is Description. This is where I wrote down what general task I wanted to perform in that block of time every day of the week.
- The 3rd – 7th column houses the days of the week (Monday-Friday). In these columns I wrote what specific task I wanted to work on for specific days.
The general tasks that I want to perform daily every week are the following:
- Family Time 6am to 8am – Getting the kids up, prepared and off to school
- Me Time 8am-9am – This usually consists of me just trying to wake up enough to function lol but on days where I’m on top of my game I use this time to shower and get dressed for the day.
- Write Your Heart Out 9am-12noon – I set aside 3hrs a day to just write. Whether its to write out words/scenes for a novel I’m working on, my writers notebook, or to work on contest entries or paying gigs.
- Lunch Break 12-1pm – I use this time to take a break from it all and eat or run errands. Some times I just veg out and play on my phone lol.
- Blogging Research 1pm-3pm – I set aside 2 hrs to think of blog ideas, or to research blog information. I also use this time to write out upcoming blog posts.
- Social Media/Author Platform 3pm-7pm – This is a time period in my day where I’ve blocked 4hrs to accomplish not only things related to social media and my author platform but responding to emails and comments that might pop up during the day, taking care of the kids when they come home from school, and of course making and eating dinner. So I’m not sitting in front of a device for 4hrs but going back and forth between my other responsibilities as wife and mom.
- Family/Hubby Time 7pm-10pm or whenver we deicde to go to bed. – This block of time is set aside for my family. On a perfect day no devices are touched during this time period but we all know that doesn’t happen like that every day. It’s at least my block of time where I try to spend it solely on the ones I love.
I use the same colors for the same basic tasks and I make sure to color out the blocks of time throughout the whole week. I do this so that when I see a color whether its highlighted material or whatever, I know that just by seeing the color it has something to do with writing, or blogging, or social media, etc…
Here is a break down of what my daily tasks are:
- Monday – Family time, Me Time, Write for My Novel, Write/Post Blog, Respond to Emails and Comments, Post to Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest (I’ve also added Tumblr) and Family Time to end the day.
- Tuesday – Family Time, Me Time, Work on Short Stories/Contests/Gigs, Lunch Break, Research for Blogs and for Book, Respond to Emails and Comments, Interact With all Social Media Accounts and Family Time.
- Wednesday – Family Time, Me Time, Work on Novel, Lunch Break, Write and Post a Blog Article, Respond to Emails and Comments, Post to All Social Media Accounts, and Family Time.
- Thursday – Family Time, Me Time, Work on Writers Notebook, Lunch Break, Research for Blog and Book, Respond to emails and comments, Interact on All Social Media Networks, and Family time.
- Friday – Family time, Me time, Free Choice – meaning whatever I am behind on lol, Lunch break, Write and Post blog, Respond to Emails and Comments, Post on All Social Media Networks and Family Time.
*Side note: I try to use the weekend solely for my family and friends and to also catch up on my reading and errands that I didn’t get to during the week.
Next I took my finished basic weekly schedule and placed it into a picture frame. Why you ask? Not because I thought it was a work of art lol but because this way, I will have my basic schedule (only having to print it and fill it out once) under glass so that I can take a fine tip dry erase marker and fill in those tasks that only happen now and then or appointments that pop up but are not a regular thing. You know, saving paper = saving the planet…. small steps at being “green”. Or I’m just a cheap skate and want to save on printer paper and ink. I’ll let you decide which one is the true statement 😉
I then keep the picture frame on my desk in eye sight so I’m constantly taking peeks at what is coming up next for me. Unfortunately, that is not all I have to do to keep on schedule. I also have this exact schedule programmed into my Google calendar and have set it up so that alarms go off on my phone to signify when it’s time to move onto the next task. I know, a bit much, but it’s what I need to keep myself moving along. Without it, I truly get lost in my own world and end up cruising the internet for hours or burying my self in hours of research without getting the other important stuff done.
In front of my the picture frame I lay out my “Daily To-Do List”. I created this sheet in Microsoft Office as well and I use it to break down the specifics of each daily task I have to do. I have a stack of these sheets printed and stored at my desk. I take one out each night and fill it in with what I need to accomplish the following day. Then I place it on my desk in front of my weekly writers schedule so that it’s ready for me the next morning. That way, when I go to sit down at my desk I don’t waste time trying to remember what it is, specifically, that I need to do.
Here is a breakdown of what my Daily To-Do List paper has one it. It is broken down into 6 sections.
Section 1: Writing– Where I list what specific writing tasks I need to accomplish and then check off.
Section 2: Blogging– Where I list what specific blogging tasks I need to accomplish and then check off.
Section 3: Social Media– Where I list what specific social media tasks I need to accomplish and then check off.
Section 4: Research– Where I list what I need to research and then check off.
Section 5: Appoinments/Meetings– Where I list the time of those appointment/meeting, who they are with and where.
Section 6: Emails/Call– Where I list the emails and calls I need to make along with the phone number or email address.
Confession: This doesn’t happen every night. I’m not Super Mom with the power of productivity but I try to follow this routine and keep it as a guide so I’m not lost at sea when I start my day.
Remember, schedules, to-do lists, and routines are great and incredibly useful but life doesn’t always follow them. Use these as guidelines to help accomplish what you want to in your writing career but don’t ever forget to cut yourself some slack when life gets in the way.
Do you have a weekly writer’s schedule? What does it consist of? What programs do you use to create your schedule or to do lists?