Over the weekend, we ran a short series of interviews with bloggers of different types, to get a feel for how they’re preparing for the festive season.
We spoke to the owners of:
If that series made you realize how underprepared you are for the coming weeks, don’t worry. Today’s post is a checklist for getting ready.
1. Have you worked out when you’ll take a break?
The first thing to do is get out the calendar. Work out when you won’t want to be blogging, and block those days (or weeks!) out.
Now you know how much time you have to work with.
2. Do you know what you want to get out of this period?
The benefits of setting some goals up front are two-fold.
First, goals will help you set your priorities for the next few weeks. Second, they’ll help you assess your efforts when you come back to your blog in 2013. They might even help you improve on your work when the festive season rolls around again in a year’s time.
Set a few goals. They might be as simple as maintaining regular posting and social media schedules, or as detailed as setting expectations for sales and tracking the sources of traffic that converts.
3. Do you know what you need to do to get there?
List the tasks you’ll need to achieve your goals.
If you want to maintain a twice-a-week positing schedule, how much writing time will you need? How much editing time? Will you work any affiliate promotions into those posts? Which ones, and when will they run? When’s the best time to promote those posts?
Make a list of all the things you need to do. Then, schedule them. Think a long time in advance, and get right into the details. Don’t just make a note to curate ten tweets to autopublish over the festive period. Schedule the time you’ll need to find quality content to include in those tweets.
Without taking your plans to this level of granularity, you’ll run the risk of underestimating the time and energy you’ll need to do everything on your list. Which leads me to…
4. Have you prioritized your priorities?
This is an extra step, but one you may well end up doing. You may already have found that your eyes were bigger than your stomach, so to speak, when you set your goals for the period. If you can’t fit everything in, check your top priorities and consider whether you’d be happy if you just achieved those.
This should help you focus as the inevitable distractions and schedule-changes come up in the coming weeks … and you run out of time!
Tip: Consider making your own checklist for every one of the tasks you need to do, so that you can avoid waking up in a panic because you forgot to find images for a post, or to encode your affiliate links in that email you’re autosending.
5. Have you got things ready for your return in 2013?
Getting ready for the festive season isn’t just about getting through to January 1, 2013. It’s also about hitting the ground running when you get back to your desk.
The lead-up to the break, at a time when you’ve just set all these goals, is to write a to-do list for Day 1, 2013. Include:
- checking emails, stats, and social listening to find out what you missed while you were offline (assuming you were offline!)
- goal-setting for the new year (if you haven’t done that during the break)
- reconnecting with others who you can help—and can be helped by—in the coming 12 months.
This is the basic checklist I use to make sure I’m on track through the festive season and beyond. What about you? Share your tips and advice for keeping your blog going through the silly season below.