New Year’s is long past and the shine is starting to wear off those resolutions we made, whether they were for content planning or visits to the gym (or both!). On the surface it may seem like these activities couldn’t be more different, but if you look closer you’ll see that content planning is actually a lot like getting to the gym. Here’s why:
We know it’s good for us (that doesn’t make it easy)
From childhood reminders to eat our vegetables to adult issues like getting organized, most of us have long understood that if something’s good for us, it probably isn’t much fun. As adults we spend a lot more time doing not-fun-but-necessary tasks than we did as kids, so it’s hard to get enthusiastic about adding another chore to our to do lists.
There are simple ways to help you maintain motivation though, whether it’s for putting in your content planning time or going to the gym. In the early stages of a new change it’s easy to keep our eyes on the prize because we’re still fresh and excited. So, when you’re first starting your content calendar (or gym habit), write down what you’re hoping to accomplish on a post-it or notecard.
Rather than writing down just the goal itself, really think about the difference that it will make in your life if you stick with it. “Not scrambling to meet deadlines anymore” or “able to run a 5k” might be things you’re looking forward to. Keep it somewhere visible in your workspace (or with your gym gear) so that you have the reminder when you need it.
And don’t forget, chores can be fun too! Crank up the music during planning time the way you do during your workout, give yourself a treat for sticking to it, or find another way to infuse some fun into your new habit.
A regular routine is more important than total time
Everyone thinks of going to the gym as something that should be a routine, but we don’t necessarily think of organization the same way. However, approaching it as such helps us incorporate organization and planning into our lives as daily habits, rather than big projects to be viewed with dread.
Exercise is definitely more effective with short, regular sessions every week instead of one long session once a month—and so is content planning. When you first start producing content it can be tempting to look no further than the next blog post, but making planning a regular part of your day can greatly reduce the total amount of time you spend on it.
See if you can carve out ten or fifteen minutes during your day for content planning and organization. If-then planning can help you figure out when the best time is while also helping you build a habit chain, making it easier to stick to your new routine. For example: “If I’ve just come back from lunch, then I will spent ten minutes on my content calendar.” Or if exercise is your desired goal: “If I’ve just finished work, then I will go to the gym.”
Staying on track is a lot easier with a buddy
Having a gym buddy can make a huge difference in how often you wind up actually going to the gym. We never want to let our friends down, and buddies can provide extra support and encouragement when it’s needed.
We don’t often think about needing accountability buddies when it comes to work-related goals, but maybe it’s time we start. For folks who work more independently—from freelancers to entrepreneurs to remote teams—an accountability buddy can help with a lot more than staying on track with content planning. A regular check-in with a peer can provide some much needed support, feedback, and accountability for folks who don’t have many work peers on a daily basis.
Content planning doesn’t have to be hard just because it’s good for us
We don’t have to keep staring at our content calendars like those helpings of broccoli that sat on our plates as kids. With some thought on how to incorporate content planning and/or exercise into our daily lives, a little help from our friends, and well-placed reminders to keep us motivated, we can keep our new habits going way beyond January.