Our third post, in the Streamline Your E-Course Production series, is how to maintain a consistent schedule in order to boost your course production efficiency.
BENEFITS OF A CONSISTENT SCHEDULE
There are many benefits to maintaining a consistent schedule, such as, it:
- Keeps you on track
- Makes you accountable and less likely to procrastinate
- Helps propel your e-course production forward and get things done faster
- Helps with any associated anxiety/stress surrounding completing your e-course
- Boosts your mood as you check off tasks which, in turn, makes you feel like you are “getting somewhere”
So, why wouldn’t you not want to make a schedule?
I know, sometimes it is hard to even think about, as it feels like another task! I hear you.
But, even a “high-level” schedule will help. So, start from the big picture and then you can break it down from there.
TIPS TO HELP CREATE AND MAINTAIN A CONSISTENT SCHEDULE
Now let’s talk about some tips for how to maintain a consistent schedule.
Keeping a consistent schedule may be trickier if e-course production is your side hustle right now, but even a little bit everyday adds up over time.
So, make sure to block out time in the evenings/weekends to move you closer to your goal.
I’ve outlined below some tips and resources to help you create and maintain a consistent schedule:
1. Write your schedule down either by hand or using technology
- This could be as simple as using a calendar or planner that is devoted to tracking your e-course production tasks (either hardcopy or digital).
- You could also use scheduling applications like Any.do, DigiCal Calendar, Google Calendar, TickTick, Trello to accomplish this. Check them out and see if their features appeal to you.
2. Keep your schedule visible and set reminders
To help maintain a consistent schedule:
- Keep your schedule visible in the spot where you normally work on your e-course (if it is a hard copy).
- Set reminders on your phone/tablet for the week’s tasks (if your schedule is housed electronically).
3. When creating your schedule, think of the big picture first
- When do you want to have your course completed by?
- When do you think you can finish your storyboard?
- When do you think you will have your course slides completed?
- When will you be finished filming your video lectures?
4. Write down the specific tasks you want to accomplish each week as you work toward your goal
- Refer to your high-level goals (the big picture) and then work backwards to determine what tasks you will have to complete each week to meet your self-imposed deadlines.
5. Adding onto that last point, is one of the key tips to maintain a consistent schedule – decide when you will work
- What days will you devote to creating your e-course? What hours of the day?
6. Stick to your plan!
- It may be hard sometimes to stay on track, but try your best to stick to your plan.
- If you do waiver, just make up the time and keep going – life is full of surprises!
The diagram below summarizes the process for developing a schedule to complete your online course.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO START CREATING A SCHEDULE?
I would suggest starting your e-course production schedule after your brainstorming phase. This is when you have decided on your course topic and created notes about what you will cover in your course.
It is therefore a good place to start mapping out what you will need to get done each week to produce your final product.
For example, your schedule could look like this at a high level:
- Week 1: Start creating your e-course blueprint or storyboard
- Week 2: Continue drafting your storyboard
- Week 3: Fine-tune your storyboard, add media mock-ups, proofread content
- Weeks 4 – 5: Create course slides
- Weeks 6 – 7: Film video lectures
And so on…
TIPS FOR WHAT SPECIFIC TASKS TO INCLUDE IN YOUR SCHEDULE
You may be wondering about what tasks should go into a schedule devoted to completing your e-course.
Maybe you are like me and keep a lot of stuff in your head.
Or, maybe you are at a stage where you are doing a large portion of the process, such as working on your storyboard so it would be repetitive to keep writing this in a weekly schedule.
Even so, if you are working on your storyboard, then you could break down this large task into smaller tasks to get done each week, as we discussed earlier, so it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.
For example, consider recording these items in your schedule during the storyboarding phase:
- What slides you will work on each week.
- If you want to include some mock-up images in your storyboard, record which ones you will get done each week.
- Document instructions to yourself about how the final course slides will look – will there be animations? Will you be narrating the slides? Enter this as one of the tasks to complete in a given week.
- If you are including audio narration over your slides, then indicate which audio scripts you will work on each week.
These are just a few examples, but I hope it helps you see that you can take a bigger task and break it down into smaller tasks to help keep you moving forward with your e-course production.
TAKE A LOOK AT MY WEEKLY SCHEDULE
It always helps me to see behind the scenes of how someone else accomplishes something. So, I thought I’d include an example of some of my weekly schedules.
Note, I’m old school!
I still like to write out my tasks by hand in this little planner I picked up at a store:
Hopefully, this gives you an idea of what an e-course production schedule might look like.
So, let’s recap!
Here is a summary of our third step to help you streamline your e-course production:
- There are many benefits to maintaining a consistent schedule, such as: keeping you on track, helping you avoid procrastination, helping you complete your work faster, helping you reduce anxiety and stress, and helping you feel more productive.
- Tips for creating and maintaining your schedule:
- Write your schedule down either by hand or use scheduling apps
- To help maintain a consistent schedule, keep your schedule visible/set reminders for each week’s tasks
- Think of the big picture first when creating your schedule
- Break larger tasks into smaller ones and record these specific tasks in your schedule for the week
- Decide when you will work on your e-course – block this time off
- Stick to your plan
- Start creating your e-course production schedule after you have brainstormed the content.
- Example items to include in your schedule during the storyboard phase include specific slides you will create each week, media mock-ups you will include, narration text you will write, and development instructions.
- I showed a few example pages from my “old school” schedule that I use just for e-course production – so check these out above!
Well, that’s all for today.
Leave a comment and let me know if you have any questions about our third step to help you streamline your e-course production.
Stay tuned for our next installment of the Streamline Your E-Course Production blog series…
Thanks for stopping by,
CEO and Founder of e-course alley