The often dreaded term 'calendar' is ever so scary sometimes. Though, it doesn't need to be. Some of the most important events in our lives live on a calendar, yet we could never forget their dates. (i.e. your birthday, anniversary, etc.) So why do calendars seem so obtuse sometimes? Well, this answer is a little different for all of us, and I'm not a psychologist so I won't attempt to figure out why. To start making it feel more comfortable to you, let's take a look at the definition from merriam-webster:
to appoint, assign, or designate for a fixed time
(a) to place in a schedule; (b) to make a schedule of
This doesn't look so bad right? Well, it really isn't that hard to be quite honest. In basic terms, a schedule is a plan or a list of things that are expected to happen on or by a specific date. The act of scheduling something is what we're gonna dive into today. Specifically, we're going to share the tool we use most often.
Many of you reading this post are likely content creators, or designers looking to grow yourself and/or your brand. As an individual, a company, or whatever you are, you have a plan right? A plan to grow. A plan to build. A plan to network. All of these things just happen naturally right? NOPE! The fact is, none of these things are innate skills for any of us. Those who have done it have learned the skills somewhere along the way. Ask some of the most successful mentors in your life how often they plan something out. Ask them what types of things they specifically plan on a calendar. You might be surprised at their responses.
I can only truly speak for myself with regards to what is planned, but if you ask anyone I've trained in the past, they will all tell you my entire calendar year is always loosely planned for my business. I use the term loosely as things need to adapt, so a dynamic mindset is key to dealing with change. Nothing is permanent. Get used to that and things get a little easier.
What to plan?
Deciding what to plan is the first step in making it easy for yourself. We might understand the basics, but you need to write it down. Take a minute and jot down a few things that you do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis for yourself. It's okay, I can wait a moment while you do that...
Okay. What have you got? I would expect to see a list of things like streams placed on a schedule, designs created, post on social media, organize a tournament for my gaming community. Did you have all of these things? If not, that's okay. The act of writing it down is the important step.
Let's move on.
To keep this somewhat high level, let's focus on the ever so intimidating 'social media' events. How often are you physically able to post on social media? Does it wear you out? It definitely wears me out. Yet, I've got it all scheduled out for myself. In fact, next week we have an announcement on Monday that I still need to finalize a few posts for. The point is, the dates are there, and I know what needs to happen. If the dates were not in my head, not on a calendar, I would very likely forget until the last minute, or its too late. The moral of the story is, social media is daunting at times, and it can be easier to do it.
How to plan?
There are so many different ways to do this to be honest, so you've got to find what works for you. I always teach to physically get a pen & paper to write stuff down as this helps you recall events a bit better. The act of writing it out is a big deal for our brains. Regardless, it is not for everyone, I get that. So what else is there?
Since we are focusing on scheduling out social media, let's look at a great free online tool for individuals and small businesses: Canva. This tool is amazing! Canva offers so much in the way of business resources, it baffles me how they have such a valuable free version. If you're not familiar with Canva, but you create content on any platform, I suggest you dive in now. I won't dive into everything that Canva has to offer, but the most popular things among content creators and small businesses is the templates they offer. Go ahead, take a look around. I'm sure you recognize some of those YouTube thumbnails. We're going to explore another avenue of Canva though; Canva Pro.
Canva Pro has one amazing feature that is astoundingly easy to use, the Content Planner. I personally use this tool and would not include a blog post dedicated to scheduling without it. I highly recommend it for all individuals who need to help plan our their social media calendar.
The Content Planner is super intuitive, so it's easy to get setup quickly. You click the 'plus' button and you're shown any recent designs you've created within Canva, or given the opportunity to grab a template and compose one on the fly. Either way, you can create post for each platform (They offer quite a few social platforms to integrate with), tweak your design, and let it do its thing. The best part is the simplicity.
At its basic form, it is a calendar for you to schedule things with. The focus is to schedule your important social media posts, visually see the planned events, and always know what's ahead. If you can see a few weeks ahead on your social media calendar, perhaps even a few months, then how much stress or anxiety do you think you might save? I highly recommend the tool, and only share it because it is a staple here at Wizzle World. Canva offers a 30 day free trial, and I encourage you to check it out.
To summarize: you need a schedule. You need a basic (complex if you like) schedule to help you plan ahead. The act of scheduling only serves as a tool to make your life easier in some way shape or form. Though, without a plan, you are 'reacting' to everything, not 'proacting'. Keep this in mind when running your business. If you need help, have a question, or simply want to drop a note, you can do that here.
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