Calendars for Productivity

Woman in a blue top holds a monthly calendar and the post title, "Calendars for Productivity" is superimposed on the top.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Happy 2018!

I’m never much of a fan of resolutions, but I do like making sure at the beginning of each year that I’m organized.

With that in mind, here are the calendars that help me stay organized and on top of everything for the year.  Since a writer’s life intersects with their homelife, there are also calendars listed that help organize my personal life.  If both parts of my life are organized, there’s a hope of retaining writing life-personal life balance.

Production calendar for publishing

You don’t have to overthink this, and it can always be changed!  Plan what you want to accomplish for the year: one book?  More?  Then pencil in those dates on your calendar for completion.  Even better, get on your cover designer’s, freelance editor’s, and formatter’s calendars.  Now you have something to work toward.

My cover designer always designs a book ahead for me.  This ensures that I don’t run into any scheduling snags.  (I do have to write back cover copy for a book that I haven’t written yet.)

Editorial calendar for blog (I use OneNote)

I used to put my blog’s editorial calendar on my Google calendar, but I found it more difficult to see upcoming posts and to make date changes.  Now I use a page in OneNote (you could just as easily use Word).

Again, try not to overthink this.  This is simply a place where I can list ideas for posts and resources to write them (or at least a note as to where my mind was going when I came up with the idea in the first place).  I list all the dates that I blog and then put the ideas/blog titles beside them.  This way I never feel as if I’m at a loss for what to post.

Google calendar for life

I use Google calendar for everything else (being sure to back it up).   Everything that I need to remember goes on there and I have the calendar email me my daily agenda each day.

A bonus is that now I don’t have as much paper in my house.  I copy the stuff over to the calendar and then throw the paper away.

Another nice thing is that I have my calendar with me all the time since it syncs to my phone.

Wall calendar for the big picture

Sometimes, though, the Google calendar isn’t enough.  That’s when I’ll either print the month or week view of the calendar  or  look at my wall calendar.  Sometimes, with a wall calendar, I get more of the big picture of how my week or month looks…and any scheduling conflicts that I might have.

Do you use a calendar?  What type do you use?

4 calendars to help writers with a more productive 2018: Click To Tweet

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16 thoughts on “Calendars for Productivity

  1. Elizabeth, Happy New Year to you and to your family! I don’t make New Year’s resolutions either but this year onwards I’d certainly like to organise my fiction and nonfiction writing, and work to deadlines as far as possible.

  2. Happy 2018, Elizabeth! I wish the best for you and your family. I know what you mean about the benefits of calendars. One thing I like about using a calendar is that it keeps me from (too much) ‘overbooking.’ I can space out my larger, harder, or more stressful projects so that I’m not doing too much at once.

  3. I’ve used Google calendar until now – because the phone syncing is great!
    I’m looking forward to having to add publishing stuff to my calendar somewhere in the future :)

  4. Hi Elizabeth – life has changed somewhat for me … and calendars don’t feature at the moment – but life will adjust and I’ll get used to the different lifestyle – would love to be as ‘authorly’ organised as you … have an excellent year ahead with lots of happiness and joy – cheers Hilary

  5. I use a word document too to keep track of my blog. I used to use a big calendar for the rest of life but have moved to a Google calendar. Just need to check it instead of trust my memory. I’m not scheduling specific writing times but am trying to work on incorporating some time more regularly, especially on weekends when I have more time. Happy New Year!

    1. Word docs work! I have a reminder set to check my calendar…if I don’t check it, it doesn’t do me any good (and I’ve screwed up that way too many times before). Weekly/monthly writing goals work just as well as daily! Happy 2018 to you!

  6. Happy New Year!

    I use two calendars – one on the wall for an easy glance at the month, and a date book on my desk for day to day stuff. The date book has work and personal stuff on it. Deadlines, appointments, notable book stuff (like when my Kindle Select expires for each book), stuff for my other job, notes about when I exercised and how much, etc. I just have to make sure I remember to write stuff on my calendars. Which reminds me, new year – new calendars need updating.

    1. Writing stuff on there is important! I’m like you with the wall calendar…I like to know upfront which weeks are going to be hectic.

      So funny….my kids (20 and 16) prefer date books for everything. Maybe because their profs and teachers are giving them homework verbally in class? I’m the only one in the family who is nearly 100% digital.

  7. I’ve been trying to decide how to better track a blog content schedule…

    I love to write things down. While I use Google Calendars for my fiction production schedule, appointments, the kids’ activities, travel schedule, and for any specific promotions I’m running, I actually started bullet journaling in 2017 as a way to keep track of my day-to-day to-do lists. I’m a minimalist bullet journaler, so I don’t do a lot of doodling or decorating of my bullet journal like I’ve seen with others, but I wouldn’t trade my bullet journal for the world. In addition to keeping track of the day-to-day, I also keep track of any ideas that pop into my head that I need to address. And I take notes or jot down actionable steps from online webinars or blog articles inside the bullet journal. It keeps everything in mostly one place that I can easily tuck into my purse.

    1. I’ve heard so many good things about bullet journals (and some of my blog commenters here have loved them). I wonder if I’d go too far with mine or get intimidated by how nice some of the ones online are. But I love the way of keeping up with things that way (thoughts, ideas, etc.) Sometimes I do think better on paper.

  8. I should learn how to use the Google calendar. I’ve heard good things about it.

    Right now I use a physical planner and appointment calendar, At-A-Glance. It has a monthly calendar and opposite the calendar is a blank page for notes (I use it for birthdays, blog schedule, word count, membership expiration, and various reminders). It also has a daily/week at a glance. Every year I transfer what I need to a new calendar and start over. Just kind of old fashioned, I guess :)

    1. I used to use At-a-Glance. I liked their weekly calendar the most, I think. It helps so much to have a system in place for all of the items you mention…no matter how we do it. My kids, in particular now, love their weekly planners. You’d think they’d be digital, but surprisingly, they’re old-fashioned, too. :)

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