Balancing Creation with School and Work

Streaming, publishing videos, and starting a podcast are all creative projects many of us have considered doing. Something keeping us from these pursuits, however, is often our existing workload—usually school or a full-time job.

Balancing content creation with an otherwise full workload is no easy task, but many people have managed to make it work. It’s hard work and certainly not for everyone, but if you’re trying to fit content creation into your busy schedule, here are some tips!

These tips can be summed up as follows: 

Be Your Own Manager

Time management is a difficult task when we already have a major workload. To have a consistent stream or upload schedule, it’s crucial to manage yourself and manage your time. For the sake of example, let’s imagine someone who streams three times a week and publishes two videos a week while working a 9 to 5. 

1. Plan specific times to do your creative work

If you don’t already have one, use a calendar! Plan out the times you want to stream, record, or edit, and stick to it. Google Calendar is a great free option for making, visualizing, and syncing your schedule. On all platforms, it’s important for your audience to know when to expect your content, and you need to set that first.

2. Set deadlines and checkpoints

In addition to planning specific times, set deadlines for yourself, and make checkpoints for progress along the way. If you stream three times a week and upload two videos a week, you’ll have lots of small details to figure out along the way.

  • When do you stream?
    • Working backwards, when do you need to promote your stream? Decide what you’re streaming?
  • When do you publish your videos?
    • Working backwards, when do you need to finish editing? Recording? Planning? 

3. Learn how long your tasks take (to make planning more accurate)

The more experience you have with setting time aside and completing self-made checkpoints, the more accurately you can estimate how long the work will take.

You may start with setting 2 hours aside for planning a video and learn it only tends to take you 90 minutes, and you may start with setting 2 hours aside to edit and learn that you need 3 to comfortably finish. The more accurately you can estimate the time tasks take, the better you can adhere to your schedule, which builds consistency.

4. Find areas your efforts can work double-time

If your schedule is crammed, chances are you don’t have time to stream, AND have separate recording sessions for videos, AND have time to edit videos or stream highlights, AND fit in other tasks.

This makes it essential to be creative in how you create. Find ways to double up your efforts. For example:

  • If you stream at 720p, also record at 1080p in a higher bitrate (OBS Studio allows this), then edit it into videos
  • If you stream and make videos, consider streaming your editing sessions—if your computer can handle two resource-intensive tasks and you don’t mind some of your audience seeing spoilers. Some people love seeing behind-the-scenes content!
  • If you have other goals—fitness, practicing an instrument, learning a language, or more—consider finding ways to implement them into your stream. It can create an extra challenge to engage yourself and your viewers. Here are some ideas:
    • Mario Maker, but every death I do 5 push-ups
    • Fall Guys, but if I don’t win I do a Duolingo lesson
    • Just Chatting, but every time I say “um” I practice a guitar scale

The idea is this: you will need to give some things up to add content creation to an already busy schedule, but if you can find a way to make those things part of your content, you don’t necessarily need to give up as much.

5. Be Consistent

Consistency—audiences and algorithms alike love it with uploads and streams.

But it has a profound effect on you as well.

As you get your reps in with making videos, streaming, and all your creative tasks in between, you will inevitably build a habit of working on them. Developing a habit means you’ll find less resistance to get started. On top of that, the more you create, the better you’ll become, so you’ll improve your quality, increase your efficiency, or both.

Consistency will reward you with greater output and higher skill while giving the audience and the algorithm what they want.

In Conclusion…

Whether or not you already have a busy workload, being your own manager is one of the most important skills a content creator can have. It becomes exponentially more important when you’re already busy and have less time.

It’s important to work hard and grind out your content, but breaks are important too! Don’t sacrifice your mental or physical health, and remember to take care of yourself and take days off when you need to. Knowing your limits is part of creating your schedule. Push your creative limits by all means, but don’t push too hard.

Content creation is great, hard work, which is even harder when the rest of your life is busy. Form a plan, work hard, and make great things!

We Are All Creators

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