Content Creation

Working the Plan

Remember last week when I made a big proclamation about how the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time and everything is possible if you make a plan? Well… here’s a little caveat. MAKING a plan doesn’t do you a darn bit of good if you don’t actually go ahead and follow it.

This was a tough week. I had a video and email campaign project at work on top of all the things I normally do. I also feel the winter dread setting in – will COVID spike again? Will we need to stop seeing friends and loved ones? My dance card is full. But it’s ok! I have a plan. A glorious plan that breaks up all my task into bite-sized, digestible pieces. Well, it turns out that even the best plan can be sidelined by the deadly combination of exhaustion and procrastination.

This is not my first post about procrastination…

So, I didn’t really leave myself enough time to get everything done this week. Not great. But also, the key to a good plan is flexibility. And fortunately, as a life-long procrastinator, I didn’t leave everything until the very last minute before the ENTIRE project was due. There is still time to dig out.

I have also found myself struggling with a nice helping of avoidance coping. I don’t love to read. I read slowly and information comprehension/retention takes an enormous amount of brainpower. Several of the research sources are full books and the sheer volume of reading is overwhelming. So there we are. I’ve laid my faults all out on the table.

So what to do about it? Well… adapt and overcome, of course. I’ve adjusted my production plan to make more time for the portions of the project that I didn’t finish this week. I have also found through my research on what is necessary for a successful podcast that three of my proposed deliverables (episode art) aren’t really necessary. I’ve struck those from my plan in order to make more time for the important stuff – research and writing. I have also looked at my research sources and ranked them in both value and length. I will tackle those that have high importance and low length first and work my way up to the longer, more in-depth but possibly tangential information if I still have time.

To keep the momentum going, or really… to start the momentum, I’ve worked up a production journal that lists all parts of my project each week, their status, the duration it takes to complete the task, and any notes that are relevant. Tasks can be Not Started, In Process, or Completed. I intend to keep this journal in excel because I can copy and paste the weeks from one to the next in the tabs.

One issue that I’ve struggled with in my production journal is logging the amount of time to complete each task. I do a lot of DIY projects and NEVER remember to take the before photo. Remembering to pay attention to when I start a project or how long it takes me to complete is a similar issue. I often jump around from project to project depending on what I’m in the mood to work on, what I have time to complete, or what needs to be completed in a timely manner. This sometimes frantic work style isn’t great for logging time. I certainly intend to pay closer attention to this aspect of my work in the coming weeks – not only because it’s part of my assignment, but because it will benefit me in the long run. My boss often asks me to report how long projects take so that she can be mindful of my time when agreeing to take on projects requested by our team. I also hope to work either for myself with several clients, or as a consultant, in the future, and being able to honestly record my billable hours is a must!

Draft Production Journal #1

If I’m being honest, the idea of having a production journal as well as a production plan in two formats seems unnecessary and duplicative. I suppose it makes sense if I’m using the journal to show my employer my work and how long it takes to complete each project, but currently, it feels like I could have done without the production plan through TEAMS and just created this production journal to track my progress. Going back to last week, I’m a regular old list person, so this low-tech version suits me better than using a bunch of apps and websites.

If you’re curious, you can view the final Production Journal entry here. Obviously, I had to fancy it up a bit in Canva. No reason to create something that isn’t aesthetically pleasing!

Perhaps I should have begun with what I did complete this week instead of all the places I came up short – I have a podcast logo!

In the article How to Start a Podcast: Every Single Step for 2021, Colin Gray drives home the point that first impressions are unbelievably important when trying to stand out from the millions of podcasts out there.

Just like your episode titles, first impressions are everything. Having attractive cover art that stands out is vital when your show lines up against thousands of others in the Apple Podcasts or Spotify directories.

(Gray)

I followed his suggestion to create a very large file that will be clear even scaled-down. The original is 3000 x 3000 px, and must look uncluttered at 200 px. I opted to use just heavy black illustration and text on a very light blue background. The image is a vintage medical drawing of chromatic aberration – a distortion that causes an outline of unwanted color at the edge of a photograph. While the actual image doesn’t have anything to do with convergence specifically, I thought that the three lines coming together through the lens, then going in their separate directions really encapsulated the theme of the podcast.

This week I will be tackling the rest of my episode one research as well as the start of my episode two research. Fortunately, my research for episode two is a bit lighter since I’m only creating an outline for this project. I’ll also be working on annotating my bibliography and creating outlines for both episodes one and two. Lots to do, but I have no doubt that I’ll get there!

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