Mini Blog Series: Building the dream – Part Five

Welcome to the final instalment of my five-part mini series.

Last week, after months of procrastination and uncertainty, I finally began to get to grips with a huge project that had quite frankly scares me: my social media.

Isn’t it interesting how fear can paralyse us into inaction?

Anyway, I digress. Last week the lovely Jen Gale, ethical business coach extraordinaire, ran a free five-part course on breaking down big scary goals into manageable smaller actions. I used it to tackle my social media dilemmas.

If you’ve been reading my mini series then you’ll know by now how much I’d love to have your feedback on my proposals and ideas. Your thoughts matter. They really do.

The process Jen has devised might also help you as it can be applied to ANY big (or scary) project that you want or need to achieve.

So, for the final part of the jigsaw…..

Day Five: Making it happen

Jen advocates using a wall planner calendar for this next bit. As you can see from the image, I created my own simple one on a big piece of paper.

Prior commitments: You are supposed to add public holidays plus any personal holidays or commitments you might already have planned. However, as I’m about to begin a new part-time job and currently only have a couple of short breaks planned for this year, I decided to come back to this stage once my commitments are confirmed. For the most part I know how much time I have available and that’s what is important for the purposes of this exercise.

Specific Dates: Next, I was instructed to add niche specific dates, that might spark some ideas for blog or social media content. I had a lovely time finding out about all the awareness days that exist and adding these to my makeshift calendar. My head began buzzing with ideas as I added them.

Planned Launches: Next, you add any product or services you might want to launch, since this will obviously impact on your available time. These get added to the calendar with post-it-notes so you can keep moving things around to ensure you don’t have too much going on at any one time. The pursuit of too many simultaneous goals isn’t a good idea either. If you have four goals it’s better, for example, to plan these as four separate quarterly goals instead.

Currently I don’t have any product launches or services in the foreseeable future as all my efforts are being ploughed into the creation of my book. Virtually all of my available time is therefore spent writing.

What I do have is an outline schedule mapped out for each stage of my book creation process. This is divided into three parallel elements: writing my book and all that is involved in its editing and publishing stages; creating the book images, including all the mixed media creations, staging, photography and artwork; and finally my marketing. My social media is a fundamental part of this later element, hence why I am encouraging myself to address it now. No more procrastination!

There is much of the book creation process that I have no idea how long it will take, so rather than give myself specified deadlines, I have chosen to simply turn up every day and work my way through each of my outlined tasks methodically. This is somewhat risky strategy, but I do seem to be driven in some mysterious way to complete this huge challenge I have set myself.

My Calendar: So, back to the calendar. Mine has now become a bespoke calendar for my social media challenge. I added all the actions I identified on Day 4, using hot pink for the overall task and green for the sub-tasks. I am impatient and would very much like to complete this challenge in much shorter timescale that my 31st December deadline, hence why I’ve not spaced my tasks out more. However, I also very aware that once my new job begins and other commitments creep in, it is inevitable that my tasks will begin to get moved and delayed. I am determined though, that I will complete my entire social media project by the year-end at the latest.

Planning Ahead

Jen recommends that at the beginning of each quarter I should plan out what needs to happen and when and to add these to my diary.

Then, on the last day of each month I should get super-specific about my mini task deadlines, thereby moving my big social media project forward in line with my timeline calendar. I should also plan my social media content for the month ahead.

I have a confession to make. At present I’m pretty awful at forward planning. I’m good at simply turning up and putting in the work but I tend to plan just one week in advance, so Jens proposal will create a much-needed and fundamental step-change in the way I work.

Conclusion:

Can I do this? At this present moment in time, I am determined to make it work. My new social media project calendar has been mounted on the wall along with my big project schedule and other motivational tools I’ve created for my big vision wall in my studio.

I’d very much welcome any tips, advice or just plain encouragement to keep me going on this herculean project I’ve set myself.

And of course I’d love to hear what you would like to see and know about in my social media!

I do hope that you’ve enjoyed this mini series and that you’ve found it interesting and perhaps even useful.

Until next time lovely friends

Mary-Ann x

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