What to do when you’re overwhelmed but still need to record your podcast?

It’s been a ridiculous week for me. Lots of great stuff has been happening and hopefully lots of exciting stuff is going to happen too.

My focus has been on my Podcast Planning Toolkit which has now gone live - yes it’s no longer in pre - sale it’s on actual sale. You can find it here

And on top of that I had a few last minute bits of work - which were great fun and I loved doing but all of that combined threw me off course a little bit.

I don’t know why but I need systems and short deadlines to get any work done. I blame years of radio where I had to have things done by a certain time because you can’t just put back the news bulletin because it’s not ready. And yes there may have been times I was writing the news as I was reading it out. Please don’t tell the BBC.

In a normal week I use a system known as time blocking to get my stuff done and each day has a theme - Monday is big projects day, Tues and Wednesday is client work day and Thursday is my content day. Friday is a mop up day to catch up with bits, do business admin such as book keeping and catch up on the trainings I want to do.

But with everything being what it was this week none of my days looked like that. And that’s when the overwhelm and the feeling of “ALL THE TABS ARE OPEN, TWO ARE PLAYING MUSIC AND SOME ARE FLASHING” sets in, beds down and refuses to budge.

And the main casualty of all of this used to always be my podcast because I put it last on the list.

So here is my guide to getting your podcast done when everything feels too much!

1) Stop what you are doing, make a cup of whatever you like drinking (for me it’s either a builder’s brew or a peppermint tea). And take a minute.

A few deep breaths should be enough to if not stop, then quieten all those noises.

If you can switch off your computer and your phone so you don’t get distracted, alternatively put them on do not disturb.

2) Now you’ve had a moment, grab a pen and paper (yes old school) and write down everything in your head that needs thinking about. Then put it to one side so you know you haven’t forgotten anything you need to deal with later. This really clears my head when I have a lot on but need to focus on one thing.

3) List everything you need to do to get your podcast done. For me that is - write, record, edit, grab a clip for the audiogram, mix in the intro and the outro, make episode artwork, upload the mixed episode, write up the show notes, publish. Save the audio in my google drive. Make the audiogram and prepare at least 5 social media posts around the content of the podcast.

I love ticking things off when they are completed so having that list means I can get ticking away and just seeing the ticks motivates me to the next task.

4) After writing the list I start working my way through the list. But I give myself a deadline - this mimics the way I used to have to work in radio. And to make sure I stick to this deadline I set an alarm on my phone to go off at the time I want to be done for!

Having these deadlines and making them as real as possible forces me to not go on Facebook or get lost in a YouTube rabbit hole. It also forces me to accept that done is better than perfect - at least for the first draft. Yes, after the time is up I am allowed to look over what I’ve done to make sure it is right and if it needs a tweak I’ll give it a tweak - but not until the time is up.

Now I don’t put an alarm on when I’m recording my episode because that would be the most annoying thing in the world if it went off as I was talking. But I do keep an eye on the clock to make sure I’m not drifting off into faff territory!

5) I normally allow myself another brew after recording my podcast - but if I don’t edit it straight away I will put it off and keep on putting it off. So it’s crack on. And the same with all the other things I have to do. And this is why I set aside a day for working on content.

There’s a couple of other ways I crack on with things when it all feels too much and that’s through a website called Focusmate - you sign up and book a 50 minute session where you virtually work with somebody else. At the start you tell each other what you are hoping to achieve in the session, you work on that and at the end an alert plays and you tell each other what you got done. I won’t lie it is a bit weird working like this to start with. My first session I was really nervous about who I would get and how it might be uncomfortable working with my camera on. But once I started it I was away and cooking on gas! Knowing I had to tell somebody at the end what I’d done was motivation enough to not worry them in the corner of my screen.

If though the thought of random virtual co-working with a stranger sends you into a spin then why not try it with friends. Set up a zoom call, tell each other what you want to achieve, set a timer and compare notes at the end.

In Janet Murray’s membership there is a similar set up - they’re called Get It Done sessions. I’m often in the 7am or 6am ones because they are a great way to start my day in a really productive way.

I hope these tips have been useful. I’m going to actually follow my own advice for once and I’m looking forward to a less scatter brained week ahead.

I’d love to hear your tips on how you prioritise your podcast when everything feels messy and overwhelming.

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