I have some tips for you about planning your writing, your life, and this is just a little walk through about my process on how I do my planning. And what's even more special this month is that I'm starting a new planning process that I absolutely love. Now, in terms of my planning background, I have always been a planner. I like having a outlook of my day and all of the things I need to do and that's grown especially important as I have gotten older, and I have a family, and I have an author business, and I have my writing, and all of the things.
So today is a collaboration video with fellow authortuber, Marisa Mohi. I have gotten to know her over the past few months and I think she is awesome and we both have similar ideas when it comes to planning. Productivity is big for us and I'm so excited to share this collab with her today.
In a typical day, though, it's not that typical right now during lockdown, but I've been trying to be as productive as I can and whatever that looks like during this time. I went through a time where I was not very productive during this lock down and upon reflecting on that, I am diving head first into getting my productivity back to where it used to be and feeling so accomplished at the end of the day. Now over the years I've gone through so many different types of planning processes. I used to use an Erin Condren planner, where I would check out the vertical and horizontal views. I've done hourly, I've done calendar blocking. I've done block scheduling, and don't worry if you don't know what any of that is, I'm not going to go into that today. I'm going to go into sort of a new process that I have been using and it has to do with checklists.
Now during lockdown, I have found that checklists have been really the only way for me to get things done throughout the day. I can't really plan a certain hour or block of time because sometimes things just don't happen the way I want to during a day. Kiddo has zoom meetings at school, so that is really the only thing I can plan for throughout the day. And I'm also focusing a lot on my physical health. I've been working out four to five days a week just to stay healthy as possible during this time and feel good about myself. So those are really the only two things I plan for every single day. And then in between that I just try to get as much done as I can. Now before this new process, I used to just write down my checklist in an old planner that I had.
It was actually up until June of this year, but it was an hourly planner. So I just started making lists in that planner of things I wanted to do throughout the day. But I found that between that and also having a notebook with checklists for my author business and things like that, it was very scattered and I wasn't able to do all of the things I wanted to do. And then also I had the brilliant idea to revamp my author newsletter and also my publisher has reverted the rights back for my debut series and I am interested in self-publishing that. So I've added so much to my plate over the last month and I really wanted to focus as much as I could on productivity and getting all of these things done. So the biggest thing for me is when I have things all over the place, I tend to get nothing done.
I have all of these things I need to do and I was just doing nothing, and that was a big problem for me. And I feel like this sort of came to me at the perfect time. I found Wendy Heard's Instagram and how she outlines her process for planning. I just fell in love with this process of using graph paper. I ordered a graph paper notebook to get started. Now I'm going to go quickly through my process of what I've been doing so far. This is such a new process for me, but I'm so excited about it. And then we're going to jump into my day. So the first page of this notebook is a table of contents. I received a notebook and one of the Scribbler past boxes that I love and it has a table of contents. So as you're writing in the notebook, you're able to mark different places.
And as I am using this planner as an comprehensive planner for all of my day to day, my author business, things like that, I wanted to be able to note where things were so I can access them quickly. So the first page I did was a calendar for May, 2020 I don't know if I'm going to do this again next month, but it was just very soothing for me to be able to draw out a calendar and mark different things that I needed to remember throughout the month. And then after that I started my weekly view. So what I've been doing is just marking each day of the week in blocks and then putting what I absolutely have to do that day. So I've included all of the zoom meetings I have to do with kiddo and any other virtual events that I am attending or must do's for the week.
So usually one or two things a day. So I think it's important to list your top three tasks for the day that you have to do because if you can accomplish at least three goals or three things off of your list, that is a great accomplishment in itself. And it also helps you hone in on what actually needs to be done and all of the other stuff can come after.
I'm also doing a day view. After that it's basically I write, you know, Monday and then all of the things I have to do and after that I write Tuesday. So it's sort of an ongoing list and I really like having that on one page if I can. So far I'm doing pretty good this week just so that I'm able to go back and see what I need to do and what I hadn't done the day before.
After that I made pages based on my YouTube channel things I want to do, videos I want to do, my schedule and my author business, which does include my newsletter and anything else I have to be doing. I like to go over my expenses and income quarterly so that next year I don't have to do it all at once. I have not nailed that down yet. I usually end up skipping a quarter and then doing a whole bunch of work at once.
At least it'll help me keep on track with what I need to do. And then I have a page for my trilogy that I want to self-publish. This is the one that I mentioned that I had my rights reverted on. So I'm able to take these books and I'm going to able to publish them again myself after editing and new covers and things like that. I wanted a place to put my process because I do want to catalog that process on my channel here. So you can see that in what I've been doing.
I have found that right when I wake up I am very creative and I feel like I like to use that time when I am alone and my family is sleeping for me to get like the real work done stuff I need to be distraction free for.
This morning I turned on an instrumental album, I think it was a chill step album and I scripted a YouTube video that is coming out.
After that I have decided that I wanted to do a survey as one of my steps for my newsletter process. I've been a little unhappy with my newsletter for a little bit now and I want to talk to subscribers and other people who are interested in author newsletters about what they want to see, what will make them click the email when they see it come in. So that was a lot of fun to do.
While I did my weekly budget, I watched a little bit of it live with Becca Syme all about Clifton strengths. If you have seen any of my recent writing vlogs I have been talking about how I've been using the Clifton strengths to basically make myself better, more productive, things like this. This is why this whole planning process has changed for me a little bit and I have been really focusing on productivity.
One thing I love about having a checklist way of doing things is that when I have unexpected moments of time to myself. I'm able to quickly pick something off my list that I'll be able to do in a short amount of time or even just get started in the time that I do have. I've learned to be very flexible wherein that used to really annoy me at the beginning of this lockdown. But lately I've just been going with the flow. Having these checklists is really helpful. Also, one thing that I sort of have been doing, and I just thought of it myself, is that if I haven't done something a previous day, I highlight it in yellow. So when I make my list for the next day, I see if I need to fit that into the next day or later in the week. And then once I've accomplished it, I think I've been using orange, I highlight in orange or just another color. So I know that it is done. So that is a way for me to track what I've been doing and making sure that I get everything done that I need to without forgetting.
While I was eating breakfast, I was pulling notes from 'Wired for Story'. After reading 'The Anatomy of Prose' by Sacha Black (out May 29, 2020) I have been wanting to start to read intentionally, whether it's fiction or nonfiction. I created a Scrivener document this week for reading intentionally. Anything that I annotate or I tab up in books while I'm reading, I want it to be all in one document.
I have been separating different topics within this document so I can access them quick, I am marking what pages and what books all of this information comes from. I've been trying to declutter as much as possible. There are a lot of important things in a lot of these craft books that I have, but I don't necessarily need to keep the books once I am done reading them. I've been typing in all of these annotations into this document so I can access it later. Starting this document was one of my goals this week. That is one of those things that I didn't necessarily have to do right when I woke up in the morning and I needed my top creativity. And it's also helping me think about what I want to say in my review.
Another one of my top three to-do' is get moving every day, especially during lockdown. Either I go on the treadmill or I do a workout. I've got to keep moving.
After I worked out, we did lunch and we went outside. It was such a beautiful day out and I sort of slipped and this is something that I found very consistent over the past few weeks, especially because it's been so nice out. I want to enjoy the weather, because I am stuck in my house all day. Usually in the afternoons I am pretty much useless when it comes to my productivity.
I have been trying not to work at night because I'm waking up so early. I try to get to bed at a decent time so I can wake up early. So as I said, one of the things that me and Marisa wanted to talk about and emphasize is that during this time it's okay not getting it all done. And while I have been talking about my planning methods and what I do, this is no way a foolproof system. As I said, I have done so many planning types and templates and over the years sometimes it did kind of get on my nerves when I wasn't feeling that my planning process was working. But I've sort of been open over the past few years and especially during this time that not every part of your life you're going to be able to plan a certain way.
If you are one of those people who have the same planning methods for years, that is amazing. But for those who aren't, I'm speaking to you and that it's okay. These are not things to be too stressed about. Life changes. So if you do love to plan, find a new way. Another planning method that I didn't mention that I actually started working on in January that lasted until lockdown was virtual planning. I created a template on Google sheets and I did it that way because I didn't want to put pen to paper. It didn't satisfy me in the way that it did online. Having a planner with lists right now is working for me. I can't say what will work for me next year. So I would say give yourself a little grace if possible, especially now and also another thing I'd like to mention is that at the end of the day, even if you are a planner or not and you don't feel like you accomplished everything you wanted to, one tip that I'd like to mention is at the end of the day when my list is not complete, I am notorious for creating a list that is so ambitious for myself, but I like always knowing what's next to do.
I like to go back at the end of the day and review my schedule and things that I haven't done. As I mentioned, I have been using a highlighter to highlight things I haven't done that I want to push to another day or later that week. This is just a tip that I use for myself to remind myself so I don't forget because I usually will forget and then think about it two weeks later when it's probably due. I am so excited that I was able to talk about planners with you today and the importance of letting it all go when you need to, but also having a plan.
For another planning process be sure to go check out Marisa's video.
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Author. Dreamer. Storyteller.