Bloggers who have their sh!t together and those who don’t.
The blogging calendar is where the big boys and girls strut their stuff.
Like many bloggers I jumped straight into developing my blog calendar – I had a good-looking template, a checklist of activities, what else did I need?
Like many others however, I’d struggle to get all the tasks done. The blogging might be ok but I’d skip the most important work – the monthly strategic activities.
I was sabotaging my own blog.
So what was missing?
As soon as I took a step back from the blog and looked at it from a project perspective it was obvious my planning was missing a key element. TIMING.
I’d been slotting tasks into my daily, weekly or monthly planners without giving any thought to how long they would actually take.
I needed to get real about how I could best manage my time. To get close to reaching my blogging goals I needed a calendar that supports that aim.
I wanted a tool that would let me assign time estimates to my tasks, create a draft schedule and let me see at a glance whether it would be achievable.
So with the power of geek (which runs strong in my blood) I built my own blogging calculator.
The Blogging Tasks Calculator
The blogging calculator:
- Breaks down your blogging tasks into monthly, weekly and daily chunks
- Allows you to set time estimates against the tasks
- Clearly shows where you’re over or under committed
- Helps you create a practical blogging schedule that fits in with your lifestyle
This is the tool to use BEFORE you create your blogging calendar AND you can tailor it to meet your own needs.
Let’s Get Started
1. Open the Blogging Calculator
Download the calculator.
If you don’t choose a folder and rename the calculator it will appear in your Downloads folder with the name “Blogging Tasks Calculator”.
Open the calculator in Excel (or whatever spreadsheet app you are using) and enable editing.
2. Task Categories and Notes
At the top of the spreadsheet are the TASK CATEGORIES and NOTES sections.
The spreadsheet has been pre-populated with example blogging tasks and categories. The categories are there just as a guide. They’re to help you create a comprehensive schedule incorporating the business side of blogging as well as the actual blogging bit.
- Strategic: The activities associated with identifying your goals, planning how you will reach them and assessing your progress.
- Administration: What you need to do to make sure your blog business is operating properly.
- Development: The actions related to creating growth – whether it’s self-development or growing your blog or brand.
- Blogging: The jobs you do to maintain your blog.
You can modify the spreadsheet to suit your own game plan. I’ll explain below how to do this.
Use the NOTES field to add any info you think will be helpful in creating your schedule.
3. Fill in the Monthly, Weekly and Daily Task Tables
To use the calculator, record your estimate of how long it will take you to complete each task in the TIME column.
Then, schedule the time in the days on the right-hand side.
Simple as that.
You could enter the estimates straight into the day(s) but recording it first in the TIME column has two benefits:
- Firstly, it allows you to check the total in the TIME column against the total in the schedule to see if anything has been missed
- Secondly, if you make changes later, you don’t have to work the estimates out again as you already have them noted
For example, I might estimate my first monthly task ‘Analysis of last month’ will take me around 120 minutes to complete. That takes into account the length of time it will take me to access and run various reports and work out what they’re telling me.
I’ll record 120 in the TIME column. I might then decide to set aside 60 minutes on Saturday and another 60 minutes on Sunday for this activity.
CHECK: The Total in my TIME column (blue box) should match the Total for my schedule (green box).
Work through your monthly, weekly and daily tasks repeating the process outlined above.
4. Refer to the Overview Table
The last table auto-populates with the timings you’ve entered in the earlier tables. This is where you’ll see how much total time you’ve estimated it will take you to complete your blogging tasks.
The red cells provide your monthly total.
The purple cells divide the monthly figures by 4. This just gives you an idea of what that monthly total looks like if you spread it evenly across 4 weeks.
5. Modifying the Spreadsheet
As the calculator has been built as a spreadsheet you can overwrite the content of the cells and delete and insert new rows just as you would in any other spreadsheet.
To keep the formatting and formulae working as intended there are a couple of things to note:
Adding New Rows
You can insert new rows anywhere in the calculator.
A symbol […] has been put in the last row of the various tables. Don’t add any new rows after these rows and before those containing the shaded and bordered cells as this may muck up the formula entered into the shaded cells.
DON’T delete or modify the content of the shaded cells.
Once you’re happy with the way the time schedule looks, you can use it as a guide to create your blogging calendar.
TIP: You could have two copies of the spreadsheet
The first copy would hold your time estimates, the second could be updated to show the actual time you spent on each activity.
You could then compare the sheets to check the accuracy of your estimates (and make adjustments the following month).
You could also use the ‘actuals’ spreadsheet as a timesheet for billing purposes or to work out the value of your effort.
Image of laptop by StartupStockPhotos CC0 via Pixabay (which I’ve modified y’all)
All the other less interesting images of XL spreadsheets are by moi.