Tips and Tools to enhance your productivity for 30 days and create more content than you ever had.
Content creation is a dream for many but can become a job only for a few.
In such a competitive environment, finding an audience is not that hard. You can take a photo of your cat and put it on the Internet, and somebody will thank you for that. Keeping it, however, and making it loyal, has become the job of the century. And it’s not that simple.
There are many skills content creators should have. They need to be creative, they need to build relatable stories, and they also need to learn how to hustle. Yet none of those things matter if they don’t deliver.
If you want to become a creator, productivity is the first skill you need to master. And there is no shortcut to being productive. You either do it, or you prepare for failure.
So whether you are a long-time creator, or just tasting waters, here is a 30-day writing challenge you can use to test your limits.
If you dare, of course. (Wink!)
The Benefits of a 30-Day Writing Challenge
Challenges are fun and satisfactory.
When you challenge someone, you always learn something. And contests have always been a way to improve ourselves and compete with each other to reach the top. Challenges are the reason why any sport we invented became competitive. And we love them so much that there is a league even for dodgeball! (I am not kidding, the National Dodgeball League was founded in 2004.)
But there are activities in which comparing yourself with others is less beneficial. And content creation is one of them.
If you compare yourself with your favorite blogger, the discrepancy between the two of you will make you feel inadequate. And it will discourage you. So in those cases, challenging yourself is the correct call.
This month, I took a 30-day writing challenge, and it helped me keep track of my multiple content creation projects without missing out on any of them. But this is not the only benefit you can have.
Here are four other benefits of a 30-day writing challenge.
1 — It helps you produce more.
Writing content for 30 days will help you produce more for two reasons.
- First of all, you want to demonstrate you can achieve the task. So even if there will be days in which you would have skipped, you keep going.
- And second, you want to demonstrate to other people that you can keep your word. So if you tell your friends or family about it, you have a social contract to respect.
2 — It gives you a content buffer.
A writing contest also means you produce more than usual. And if you succeed, you will have more content to publish.
This means you can build a content buffer that allows you to have more time to work on other projects for the next month, for example. So in the meanwhile, you can produce side content for your hustle and increase your reach.
3 — It reduces stress coming from side hustling.
Content creators usually have one root. They either love creating, or they love hustling. And in the beginning, it is impossible to excel at both.
If you love writing and exposing your thoughts, hustling will always be painful for you. But a challenge allows you to produce enough content that you have time to take care of your marketing or SEO strategies. Which you would have otherwise neglected.
4 — It allows you to schedule better.
A surplus of articles, or content, also gives you a scheduling advantage. Because if you already know each piece you produced, you can schedule them to focus on a specific keyword.
Near the end of the year, you could write articles on goal tracking and setting. And you could link them better to guide your audience throughout your blog and transform them into customers.
How to set up for a 30-day writing challenge.
Before filling up the calendar, you need to prepare for your 30-day writing challenge.
Many people start it without a plan. And they resist for a few days, thanks to creativity and habits. But it is almost impossible to complete the 30 days without giving up if you rely only on your habits.
Still, if you prepare a few tasks in advance, it will be easier to accomplish your long-term goal. So here are five actions you should take before any 30-day writing challenge.
1 — Select the writing projects you want to focus on.
Benjamin Franklin gave birth to one of my favorite quotes:
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
And although many creators sustain that overpreparation ruins their creativity, it is also true that not preparing makes you create poor content.
Have you ever read a heartful story about someone reaching their goals because they were lucky and pushed the right buttons for the correct target?
And even if somebody may say that, it wouldn’t impress me. I would respect more someone that reached success by planning it.
So before starting your 30-day writing challenge, select from one to three projects you want to work on, and focus only on those.
2 — Pick a daily requirement.
Any challenge should have clear and measurable requirements. Otherwise, they would have called it things people do when bored.
Therefore, since it is a dare with yourself to enhance your productivity for a limited amount of time, pick a demanding daily requirement.
For example, if you used to write 500 words per day, make it 1000. Which doesn’t mean you have to double your productivity, but at least push it hard enough to make a difference.
3 — Mark every planned commitment.
Sometimes, I would like to stop time, produce as much as possible, and restart it. So I would never need to give up anything.
But we all have a social life, and finding 30 straight days without any planned commitments is impossible. No matter which period you pick, a friend will have a party, or a relative may celebrate his birthday, and you can’t skip it (as much as you may want to).
So when you plan your 30-day writing challenge, consider that these activities may take you more time than expected. And if you go to a night party, you can’t wake up early the day after to work on your challenge.
You may want to skip those days and consider them aside from your challenge. So instead of 30 straight days, it will take you 34, for example.
4 — Distribute tasks.
Now that you selected your working projects and minimum requirement, you can distribute tasks based on your commitments.
With a requirement of 1500 words per day, for example, you can write 1000 for articles and 500 for social media. Or you could focus only on one project and switch to one of the others the next day.
It doesn’t matter how you distribute your tasks, but make sure to reach the requirement every day.
Also, remember that nobody will blame you if you exceed the threshold once. But if you cannot reach it, it may become a problem. And it will be harder to recover.
To give you an idea, in March 2022, I also made a challenge. Here is how I planned it by building a content roadmap.
5 — Use buffering days.
Besides planned commitments you cannot skip, you may want to add a few buffering days to your challenge.
As I said before, writing challenges are simple in the beginning when you rely on your creativity. But after a while, your productivity will drop, and you will fatigue to reach the threshold every day.
For this reason, you can plan a few buffering days to help you recover from productivity slumps. In those days, you don’t have any requirements. And if you wrote enough in the previous days, you can take a day off. But if you didn’t, you need to recover.
Symmetry-Related vs. Duties-Related
Once you understand how to set up a 30-days writing challenge, you may want to draw your own. Or you can download the 30-day writing challenge printable.
Whatever you decide to do, I suggest two types of planning.
- The symmetry-related plan is more symmetrical and gives you a free day every six days. It is easier to follow if you don’t have any other commitments. And it gives you the correct balance between productivity and days off.
- The duties-related plan suits better creators with a job who can’t set a buffering day during a workday. So to align with their duties, this plan puts a buffering day each Sunday when you have more time to recover.
Below you can see how these two plans distribute.
How to remain productive during a 30-day writing challenge.
It doesn’t matter how much you plan or how good you think you are. Without a method, your claims will fail. So if you want to remain productive during a 30-day writing challenge, you need to maintain focus and have strong fundamentals.
Here are three things you want to do.
1 — Use a productivity system.
It might seem useless to repeat, but a writing challenge is nothing but a specific productivity challenge. Therefore, your best tool is a well-oiled productivity system.
If you already have one, use it every day. And if you don’t, here is a list with a few of them (referral links included).
- 5 Seconds Rule: From the homonym book by Mel Robbins, the 5 seconds rule is the fastest productivity system. Every time you need to do something, you count down five seconds and start doing it. A psychological pattern helps you begin things if you mentally prepare first. So if you don’t have any other systems, you can use this one.
- 12 Week Year: Even this system is presented in a book by Moran and Lennington. At its core, the 12WY is a planning strategy. But it also deals with productivity.
- Getting Things Done: Davide Allen, in his book, described a productivity system where the only thing that matters is getting thoughts on a paper, organizing them into tasks, and finishing them.
- Time Blocking: is a productivity system that splits time into blocks dedicated to specific tasks.
- Eisenhower Matrix: is a productivity system that helps you understand which tasks are relevant and urgent, so you can do them right away.
You can read a more detailed guide on the perfect productivity system to build one from scratch.
2 — Micro-manage tasks.
Another thing you can practice to maintain high productivity is to micro-manage tasks daily.
Even if you have a content plan for the 30-days writing challenge, it helps to review each task in the morning and evening. Your mind already thinks about the content you need to produce and works on the idea. So when you sit down to write, you don’t have to start from scratch, and you finish faster.
3 — Control your motivation.
I did many 30-day challenges in the last year. And every time I failed was because of motivational slumps. No matter how hard I try, sooner or later, I stop feeling motivated, and I skip writing for a few days.
So if you want to succeed at writing for 30 days straight, you need to learn to control your motivation. And here are a few suggestions you may follow:
- Don’t crush your goals. If you work more than you should every day, your willpower could crumble. And if one day you are more motivated than others, leave that motivation to grow until the next day.
- The less motivational power you use, the more you will have when you need it. Therefore, always rely on a productivity system or a routine, and use motivation only for emergencies.
- Even if writing is your goal, pair it with some reward. This way, your mind connects your activity with the final result, and it will be easier to remain motivated.
- Deal with failure. The worst thing keeping you from being motivated is failures, and you have to learn how to deal with them if you want to continue.
As a creator, you should try a 30-day writing challenge at least once in your life because it teaches you so many things about your productivity and your character. To complete it, you need to work at high peace for a while and keep everything under control.
You need to learn how to deal with unexpected events if they show up (and they will). And you also need to build a stable productivity system that allows you to stop procrastinating and get to work.
Nevertheless, no matter the benefits, you should never exaggerate with this kind of challenge. If you just completed one, wait a little until the next. Your body can only support so much effort. And even if you fail, give yourself time to recover before starting again.
Nobody is rushing you. And there will always be time for everything.
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