Trying to create content on a weekly basis is sometimes really difficult. In fact, not having an idea to blog about or a topic to cover for a podcast can be deflating, and at times and has even knocked my confidence down a level.
Have you been there?
With having two podcasts and two blogs (I don’t recommend this if you’re just getting started), being able to produce quality content on a weekly basis is a must if I want to best serve my audience, create engagement and build my business.
Oh, and having two podcasts and two blogs makes it a little bit more challenging when staying organized and efficient each and every day of the week.
Hiring a virtual assistant to help with a lot of daily tasks helps but only if you have the systems in place to provide your VA enough work. That’s been my biggest challenge since bringing my VA on full time in April.
I know I can be delegating more tasks to my VA, which will help me in the long run but, I didn’t have any systems in place to identify what exactly I could be giving her.
Do you have a VA and struggle to find tasks for him/her?
This formula will help you discover tasks you can outsource.
Here is my daily step-by-step method for journaling that results in more content topics and more productivity
The most important part of this system is the fact that it’s daily. Commit to doing the following exercise daily ( I do it in the morning)
Coming up with ideas to write about or podcast about takes time. It takes research. It takes engaging with your audience and consuming content in other areas BUT, if I don’t record or capture any of this information I’ll almost never remember what it is I wanted to write about. The DAILY practice of this exercise is critical for “endless” ideas for yourself and for your team.
Step 1: Identify your trigger questions
Trigger questions are great to get your ideas flowing and have really helped me break through when I find myself saying “ I don’t know what to write about”.
Have you said that before? 😉
My trigger questions were inspired by Bryan Harris of Videofruit and I recently found out his were inspired by Michael Hyatt—two people I’ve been following much closer lately because I love their work as it creates ideas such as this post.
Here are my trigger questions.
- What did I do Yesterday?
- What lessons did I learn?
- What could I have done better? (or more effectively?)
- What could have I given to Nyle?
- What did I read?
- What am I thankful for right now?
- What is one blessing I should recognize?
- How am I feeling right now?
- What are my plans for today?
- What one thing I must accomplish today?
You can see that I break these questions out by “yesterday” and “Now”. I do this every morning after completing/reviewing my checklist for the day.
Originally I thought I wouldn’t like reflecting on the the previous day as I’m starting a new one fresh but I’ve found it’s given me enough time to marinate on what happened and what didn’t that I approach the learnings and takeaways with a clear head.
Here’s how I try to answer each question:
What did I do yesterday?: This is self explanatory for the most part but I refer to my to do list from the day prior and quickly write about the things I got done.
What did I learn?: This is important and where I come up with ideas for posts like this or things I need to implement in my business our routine.
For example, you might answer this as, “I learned a new routine to implement to come up with more ideas and be more efficient” or “I learned a system to discover new tasks to outsource” and maybe even, I learned of a new tool to quickly ask myself trigger questions ( see below).
What could I have done better or more effectively?: This is an important one for me as I say yes to too many meetings and calls that I should be saying no to.
The question to ask yourself is…What should have I been doing that I didn’t by saying yes to something?
That’s how I approach this question each day. For example, today I answered this question by saying, “I stayed on my Skype call for too long after the interview was complete just chatting. Yes,the chatting was great but I realized I should have cut it off earlier and scheduled another time to chat and have that conversation so I could get back to the task at hand on my calendar.
What could have I given to Nyle? : Nyle is my lovely executive assistant. (Hi Nyle!, you’re great!) and I continue to try and give her more responsibility because she is amazing at taking action and initiative but she could be doing so much more for me If I just gave her more stuff.
Now, I’ve gotten a lot better over the last few months but I realized I didn’t dedicate enough time to identifying tasks for her to take over. By reflecting on what I did yesterday I’m able to identify things that she could be doing for me and that’s what this trigger question results in.
Lastly, I ask myself “what did I read?”: I try to read a little bit each day, whether it’s a book, blog post or article. I’ll quickly make a list of things I read. If I read nothing, I just say “nothing”.
What am I thankful for right now?: Every night I write in a grateful diary. I write 3 things I’m grateful for that day. It’s my way of reflecting on that day. Asking myself this question in the moment seems to generate a few different things and a refreshing way to start the day.
What is one blessing I will recognize? This aligns well with the last question but this is where I identify a task to acknowledge. If my one blessing is my fiancé, my dog or a living thing, I will make sure to say something to that person.
How am I feeling right now? This question is great because I’ve been looking back on the previous days answers and I can see trends as to when I’m unproductive, I sees feelings such as “jealous”, “depressed” or “sad”. It’s also been great to answer this question by saying “fuc*ing awesome!” too.
What are my plans for today? This is where I’m winding down and forced to review my to do list for the day and make sure everything is blocked off in my calendar. I’ve adopted the zero based calendar system that Bryan Harris uses to make sure every hour of the day is accounted for—even if the hour is persona AND even if the hour (or more) is for screwing off.
What one thing I must accomplish today? Then the last thing I focus on is the most important task for the day. This is the ONE Thing I cannot let slip by and MUST get done.
I make sure I have plenty of time for this task blocked off on the calendar. As you can see for today, that’s to work on slides for my Mobile Marketing Business Academy membership site to plan some lessons. I’ve even dedicated multiple time slots to it.
Step 2: Make your trigger questions easy to access
This will save you time and get you answering the questions as fast as possible in the morning.
I use Text Expander. By setting up Text Expander I just have to type “;stuck” and all of the above questions are quickly added to the page I’m on and I can begin answering the questions.
See how I set mine up below
Side-note: Using this for email addresses, schedule once links, addresses, and even entire email templates so much faster to complete.
Step 3: Make sure you document any blog posts or potential tasks to delegate somewhere where you know you’ll see them.
I use Evernote for almost everything. I’ve adopted Michael Hyatt’s latest Evernote style which has changed the game on how I use Evernote ( a separate post on this to come) and I keep a list of blog post topics ideas in a checklist:
I revisit this list daily to determine what I want to write about for that day when it comes to writing a blog post or script outline for my podcast episodes.
If a blog post is inspired by another article or podcast, I’ll send that to Evernote to the “inbox” notebook with the following tags. “.2014” “.content ideas” and “.mobile mixed” if it’s for my blog on mobile marketing.
Then, whenever I’m looking for ideas I go to eve note and search for “.content ideas” and have all of the things that inspired me and got my brain juices flowing.
For more on that system, check out Michael’s post here.
Step 4: Assign and create tasks to delegate
I use Asana for all my project management, to do tasks ( in addition to Evernote pad). Asana lets me schedule tasks to Nyle and look at our content calendar to see when posts or podcasts are going live.
It also let’s me assign tasks to Nyle for future delivery.
Once I’ve identified a task by answering “What could have I given to Nyle? “ From step 1, I will add it in asana.
If it’s something I need to explain further by providing a video tutorial for her, I’ll assign it to me to tackle at another time that week.
If it’s a task she is already familiar with, I’ll just assign it to her with a description so she can get started.
I’ll do a more complete post on how I use asana in more detail.
Step 5: I continue my day according to my calendar
For me, I like to plan my days out for everything I need to do. The same 24 hours is available for both business and personal tasks so my calendar is full with a mix of those.
So once I’m done with this process, I look to my calendar and dive into the next thing on the calendar.
How do you keep track of ideas?
Did you like this system? Are you going to give it a try? Let me know in the comments or if you have your own system that works.