Top Tips for Planning Ahead: How A Consistent Schedule Can Ward Off Creator Stress and Burnout

Jesse Clemmens
Jesse Clemmens
Co-Founder @ HiBeam
Cover Image for Top Tips for Planning Ahead: How A Consistent Schedule Can Ward Off Creator Stress and Burnout

While the job of being a creator is rewarding, it can come with its challenges. No matter how passionate you are about your craft, niche, or community, there will be days when it's hard to get started. You might find yourself feeling cynical and less fulfilled. These are all signs of Creator Burnout. You might even be feeling this way right now! 

While there are many ways to ward off burnout, one well-known tactic for any job is to introduce a routine into your schedule. 

Some of the best creatives come from discipline and a well-planned creative process. One such example is Jerry Seinfeld, who writes all joke ideas on yellow legal paper and files them alphabetically. Which he's done since 1975. For Jerry, this means regularly keeping track of ideas and allowing him to periodically revisit concepts he'd otherwise forget. No more sitting down with a blank sheet of paper under a tight deadline.

Consistency and organization rarely come naturally, but they can be learned. Below are a few ideas for building consistency and organization into your practice as a growing creator.

Humans Tend to Do Well With Schedules

"A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time" - Annie Dillard

No two people are exactly alike, but humans tend to do well with some sort of schedule or routine. Schedules can also play an essential role for creators, as they can help you avoid Creator Burnout.

Planned schedules allow you to set boundaries. If you know ahead of time what you need to do next Wednesday, you'll be less likely to sign up for additional obligations and can instead focus on what's required with a clear mind.

Schedules help push you to delegate or automate. After all, a plan isn't just about what you choose to do with your time, but what you actively decide not to do with your time. 

Your Audience Likes Consistency Too

Planning allows for more consistency, and your audience wants this. No matter the niche, if your audience follows you for inspiration, motivation, a laugh, or a stimulating idea or beautiful view, the more you can build your presence into your audience's routine, the more engaged and loyal they will be. 

Consistency derived from planning works in your favor in a few different ways:

When you are consistent, you control your schedule and tailor it to the type of content you produce. For example, an account that provides context on daily news will pick a much different schedule from an account that covers major fashion shows. 

Measure Your Time 

The first step to change is assessing your current state. While you might have a good idea of where you are spending most of your time, it's also possible that you'll be surprised when seeing the actual data. "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it," a famous quote by legendary management coach Peter Drucker, speaks to the fact that you need proper information before determining what to change.  

For example, if you know what you spend the most time on, you can figure out where you can outsource or systematize.

Using Frameworks to Stay Creative and Organized

The good thing about being a creator is that the challenges you face are not unique to you or your field. Humans have long employed planning and scheduling to be more effective at whatever they want to achieve. A simple Google search will yield hundreds of different ways to plan and organize your goals. Here are two of our favorites:

  • The GTD ("Getting Things Done") Horizons of Focus method is all about breaking your activities into different levels, from "Projects" up to "Principles." This can be a powerful way to zoom in and out with ease, figure out how to spend your time, and give you the ability to apply this to content planning, social media expansion, monetization, and anything else you want to get done.

  • Working Backwards is another popular technique. In this framework, you pick a date and define what you want to achieve by that date. You then plan backward, thoughtfully determining what has to be complete by each subsequent time frame to complete your goal. This can be helpful for creators who struggle with decisions like when to hire a team, what software tools to use, or when to go full-time as a creator.

Scheduling Time to Recharge

Scheduling time off from your job as a creator is just as important as any other job. Just because you CAN keep working from anywhere in the world you have internet access doesn't mean you should. 

Breaks are important:

  • Breaks can lead to serendipitous creative ideas, new perspectives, new experiences via travel, or the energy you find by stepping outside of your usual environment.

  • Letting your brain and body reset and reorganize before tackling more hard work.

Unless you've pre-planned a posting schedule, you should always aim to communicate your time off to your audience so they know what to expect. They'll appreciate being kept up to date and will take note of your consistency and commitment. 

Focus On What's Important

Planning can force you to recalibrate priorities and give you time to systematize where possible.

One example is how you manage audience interactions (message, comments, and DMs). Comments and DMs can often feel time-sensitive and urgent; you may even find yourself fitting your other work around your message response time.

When you fit messaging into your schedule like any other task, you can avoid constant interruptions from notifications. When you allocate an allotted timeframe to responding to DMs and comments, you give yourself the ability to focus on the task at hand. This will lead to more quality engagement and conversations with your community.  

If you need a dedicated messaging workspace, you can use a platform like HiBeam.  HiBeam puts all your interactions in one space and filters by category, providing you the clarity to focus on what's important. 

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Summary

Hopefully, this gives you a starting point to explore and experiment works best for YOU. While a layperson's ideas of planning and consistency may appear to conflict with the concept of creativity, this is an illusion, and the most successful content creators thrive on consistency. 

Don't forget to try these methods and let us know what works best for you! 

  • Being consistent with your audience. 

  • Measuring your time.

  • Employing simple frameworks.

  • Taking time off to recharge.

  • Focusing on what's important. 

Change does not happen overnight, but choosing a few of these tips is a pretty good way to figure out what works best for you on your creator journey. Good luck!

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