When it comes to calendars, I’m old-school. I find and print free online calendars and write on them with a ballpoint pen. My brain functions better when I can view the week’s appointments or the year’s production calendar at a glance.
Today I’m sharing my four favorite calendar resources with you, and offering a free download: my 2016 social media template. This Word doc is the exact template my team uses for every social media account we manage.
To download your blank 2016 calendar template, click the red button at the end of this article or text 2016CALENDAR to 44222.
I am dubbing 2016 “the year of the online course” at Blogging Bistro. Our first course, “Plan Your Dynamite Website,” will launch in early 2016. (Click here to learn more about the course and to join the interest list, or text INTEREST to 44222.)
In addition to online courses, we have a dozen client projects active at any given time, so it’s important to schedule course launches on dates that don’t conflict with projects for our other clients.
Here’s how I planned our 2016 production calendar:
Printed free, blank monthly calendars at print-a-calendar.com.
Taped the calendars to the back of my giant “brainstorming” whiteboard.
- Speaking engagements
- Other out-of-office dates
Added product launch dates for contracted clients.
Added online course launches, complete with the dates we’ll offer promotional webinars, send follow-up e-mails, and open/close course registration.
I can glance at this calendar and know exactly what’s coming, and when. I like using color-coded sticky notes because I can easily move items to different dates or remove them from the calendar altogether (as I did the other day for a conference that got canceled).
TIP: Depending on the size of your calendar, you may need to resize your sticky notes. I used small, square stickies and cut each sticky into narrow strips that fit nicely on my calendar.
Thanks, Jeanine Blackwell, for sharing this easy calendar-prep tip!
Daily To-Do List
For daily tasks, I use two tools.
From CalendarsThatWork.com, I print “Weekly Portrait” calendars for the coming month and jot down key appointments (you can type them in if you prefer; the calendars are Word docs). At the end of each month, I store the completed calendars in a binder.
I have used CalendarsThatWork.com for years. They offer 22 styles of “sample” (free) calendars you can print, and you can get full access to all their calendars for only $22/year.
Plus, when you choose a sample calendar you like, you can have it emailed to you each month, so you can print ‘n prep nice and early (I do this).
For my daily to-do list, I use TeuxDeux, a bare bones, browser-based app that’s perfect for obsessive people (like me) who delight in checking items off a list.
If I had to name one business management tool that I use more than any other, it would be TeuxDeux.
How it works:
- I type my “to do” under the appropriate date and click “Enter.”
- If I don’t get the list item done today, TeuxDeux moves it to tomorrow’s date when the clock strikes midnight.
- I can drag-and-drop any list item to whatever day I want, or I can cut and paste an item onto a specific future date. I absolutely love this feature; it helps me quickly decide whether an item is a “must do today” or whether it can wait till tomorrow or next week. There’s no messy scratching out and rewriting involved – it’s just a simple drag-and-drop, and boom, you’re done.
- When I complete a task, I click it to strike through the text. If I want to remove the item altogether, I click it and then click the X next to the item.
TeuxDeux offers super-simple editing and formatting options, explained in this video. The app also includes an area where you can create custom, non-dated lists.
You can try TeuxDeux free for 30 days, and after that, it’s only $24/year; a great deal (they are not paying me to say this, but they should be!).
The desktop version works fine on my Android smartphone, and they also offer a free iPhone app for subscribers.
Social Media 2016 Calendar
You’ve probably figured out by now that I believe in keeping things simple. I created a 3-column table in Word, with the third column reserved for social updates.
The “teaser” I wrote to promote this article is:
4 fantastic scheduling tools for yearly, monthly, and daily tasks, plus a FREE downloadable social media template for 2016! http://bit.ly/1NIEwhi
I wrote several versions of the promotional teaser, adapted the wording for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest, and copied/pasted the update onto various dates on my social media calendar. That way, I ensure that I promote the post multiple times via several social channels.
I also use this calendar to record:
- Social media tips I post daily on our social channels
- Links to great resources around the web
- Random thoughts and commentary related to online marketing
At the end of 2016, my calendar will show every update I’ve posted to my social channels. I print the entire calendar once, at the end of the year, and store a hard copy.
How to adapt the social media template
I start the year with separate, blank social media calendars for each client. To do that, I open the Word template, select “Save As,” and rename the file.
You may not manage dozens of social media accounts like I do, but you could “Save As” and create separate calendars for your Twitter account, your Facebook page, and your blog.
You can customize the shading color of the cells, change the font or font size, or add your own “highlighted” dates (column 1 includes several key USA holidays and observances, which I highlighted in yellow).
Basically, you can use the template however you want! This is my gift to you. I’d love to hear how you put it to use.
Click the button to download your free 2016 social media calendar template OR text 2016CALENDAR to 44222.
Love your new calendar? Please share a link to this article with your social media peeps!