We all have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Doesn't matter where you're from, what you do, who you are. We all have the same amount of time allocated. 24 hours. Yet some of us are able to do more within the allocated timeframe, and others seem to have trouble finding time. You want to find that time to create content, but time slips by week after week and you don't understand why. Or more likely, you have not realized what zaps your time and attention weekly.
Like many fitness professionals out there, I have self-diagnosed myself as having ADHD. I cannot focus on one thing too long time and tend to jump out of what I'm supposed to be doing. What zaps my time? Netflix, mobile games and social media. Even while writing this, I found myself switching tabs to check out Facebook to see what I'm missing. Every switch can cost me 5 minutes minimum. 5 minutes that I could have easily either used for research or to finish this paragraph. Which I eventually did.
Creating content takes a lot of time. Research, writing, storyboarding, recording or editing can each take up an hour or more just to get everything in. And it takes a lot of discipline and commitment if you want to get everything done within a day. But how many of us in this industry have that time and energy to do so? Most of us are drained physically, mentally and emotionally after our sessions, and face it, creating content is the last thing on our minds after a long day. All we want to do is to Netflix and eat some ice cream.
So if you're anything like me, a HUGE procrastinator who puts everything to the last minute (don't judge), here's how I get my content done every week:
1. Find Out What Eats Up My Time
Budgeting time is like budgeting finances. Everything should be allocated as according so I don't spend too much time on a certain project or in front of the TV. But prior to budgeting my time, I also need to be aware of what takes up my time. Could be me binging on the latest k-drama series on Netflix ("It's Ok Not To Be Okay" people, so good), or getting engrossed in a mindless mobile game. I can play a game on my iPhone, lose track of time and not get any work done cos it's past 1am. Either way, time could have been better spent getting some research done or writing a few paragraphs so I don't have to rush everything at the last minute.
Distractions throw me off rhythm and keeps me away from the flow. If I were to allow every distraction to take place, I would probably take a month to finish a blog post. So if I am aware of what eats up my time, I know I need to either schedule my TV time or set a time limit for me to play the mobile game before focusing on getting some work done. More awareness = more self-control.
2. Reset My Schedule
All work and no play makes Leonard a dull boy. And there's a season for everything. Work, play and rest. Besides being aware of the distractions, I've also set time based on when's the worst time for me to do any work. I used to be a night owl. I used to think that I do my best work in the dead of the night when everyone else was asleep and the silence allowed my brain to create content. But the truth is, I didn't get any work done. In fact, I procrastinate the most in the evenings. By the time I get home from teaching my classes, the last thing I want to do is do more work. My brain is fried, my muscles are screaming, and I'm just so spent from dealing with everyone I don't want to do anything at all. So for all of you our there who feels the same way I do, here's a cyber high-5.
Staying up late and waking up late is a terrible cycle. Can't get my own workout in and I don't get any work done. My creative self felt trapped and useless. It's no wonder why I felt miserable. So in the midst of my Japan holiday in 2019, I did what I needed to do. I reset my schedule. I looked at what would be the best possible timings that I could do what I needed to be done. I scheduled my workouts to be first thing in the mornings, followed by getting some blog work after before heading off to teach my classes. I looked for blocks of time in the afternoon where I was going to be idling, and put myself to work on something creative. Every little bit of work done helped me finish my blog posts in time for Friday's deadline.
It's not to say you should switch to waking up early in the mornings to get everything done. You do you. But you will need to find the best time for you to do what you need to do. If you find that you can never get any work done, then it's time to try a new timing. That may mean altering your body clock, but you do whatever works for you.
3. I Set My SOP
I don't know about you, but my brain and body shuts down when I'm overwhelmed. I'll drop everything and walk away when there's too many things lumped together. It is hard to focus and I feel suffocated by the mountain in front of me. Every time that happens, I have to sit down and write out my strategy to get everything accomplished. Prioritizing what's important and what needs to be done first helps me lay out the foundation to what I need to do.
It'd like setting up your own SOP every time you need to create your content, and it gets a lot easier once your SOP is fixed. Which day will you do research. Which day will you create the graphics. Which day will you get down to writing. Working with your schedule, you'll be able to get your quality content out by setting yourself up for success every week.