Episode 187

How to stick to a content plan when you're neurodivergent (or just find content planning hard)

Transcript

IMPORTANT: THIS TRANSCRIPT IS AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED. WE GIVE IT A QUICK CHECK THROUGH BUT WE DON’T CORRECT EVERYTHING AS IT’S INTENDED TO HELP YOU FIND PARTS YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO AGAIN - NOT AS AN EXACT TRANSCRIPT. SO THERE MIGHT BE A FEW QUIRKY WORDS/PHRASES HERE!

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Do you find it impossible to stick to a content plan? Have you invested money in dozens of planners or planning resources, but not found anything that works for you? Do you worry? You'll never be able to stick to a content plan. If so this episode is for you. I'm Janet Murray. I am the creator of the courageous content planner and a whole host of concept kits that will save you time and money on your content creation and planning.

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And in this episode, I'll share how does sexual content plan, even if you're new or diversion ball on that in a second, or you just find planning. So, first off I want to share something important. I've learned about planners and planning resources as a neurodivergent person. Who's been setting a content plan out for what seven years, but if you know anything about neurodivergency is a bit of an oddity,

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and if you're not familiar with that term, by the way, it's used to describe differences in the brain that relate to learning and processing. And also I think it would be fair to say behavior communications and emotions in some cases. So autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyscalculia, it's quite hard to say dyspraxia, and it's a growing area. And the term is widening to include things that may previously have been regarded as mental health issues.

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So things like OCD, chronic mental health conditions, borderline personality disorder, and bipolar disorder. And by the way, I'm not a fan of talking about these things as difficult as I prefer to use the phrase difference. And also by the way, I am not an expert on neuro divergent brains. I'm just sharing what I understand. So if I've got something wrong,

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I really apologize. And please do reach out to me privately by email Janet that's, Janet murray.co.uk to let me know so I can fix it. So I'm both autistic and have ADHD. And I have created full episodes on those, which I can link to in the show notes, if you want to understand more. But for the purposes of this episode,

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what often goes hand in hand with these particular brain differences is problems around executive functioning. So things like planning, prioritizing, organizing, and tasks that have lots of small steps. Now my unique combination of ASD, so being autistic and having ADHD means I have this kind of frustrating combination. So I've got the racing ADHD brain, which means I make a lot of mistakes with admin tasks.

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I find them really difficult to do. Anyway. I'm always looking with about things, losing passwords. Don't open my mail, just get totally overwhelmed by admin tasks. But then, and I'm just guessing, this is the more ASD side. I also have this very logical structured brain that likes to put things in order. So you'll notice that my social media posts are genuinely very well laid out and spaced everything I create in my business behind the scenes.

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I like it to be laid out in a very particular way. It bothers me if it isn't. I have created tons of content kits and templates for content because there's a real dodgy quality to my brain that likes setting things out in order and doing things the same way each time, having frameworks and structures. So that unique combination has served me very well in some ways,

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but it also confirms sometimes like the two are fighting each other. It might also explain why I created a planner because many people with ADHD, they really struggle with planners and planning and they can get particularly frustrated. And that often tell you, I fought every planet under the sun. I love planners. I love looking at them. I love starting with them,

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but I just can't keep going with them. But until I started selling a content planner, I actually had no idea. People had so many issues with planners and how many people have a lot of shame around investing in planners and planning systems that don't work for them. And sadly, I think some people have given up completely on planners. So I want you to share a couple of key things that I've learned about planning and planners.

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As I say, I'm not an expert, but these are things that I've learned both through extensive research on neuro diversion brains, but also working over the years with hundreds and hundreds of clients on this stuff. Many of whom, whether they know it or not are neuro diversion, or certainly struggle with executive function because like tends to attract like, and I'm also going to share a few tips with you that I hope will improve your relationship with content planning.

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So this is what I've learned. I think our problem with planners and planning systems isn't that we keep buying the wrong ones. It's us thinking that we can only get value out of the planners and planning systems that we use if we use them in a certain way. And if we use them in exactly the same way as other people do. And if we use it every day,

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every week, every month for the year, I mean, I sell a planner and I definitely don't write in mine every day. I have it on my desk. I refer to it pretty much every day, but I don't write that much in it because I don't need to. It's still massively useful for me, but I don't need to write in every space a bit to be useful.

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That's just not how my brain works. And if you've invested in planners or planning resources before, and you've told yourself that they don't work because you didn't use them every day, every week, every month, or maybe you started using them and after a while you gave up, or maybe you didn't use it in quite the way it was prescribed. I want you to ask yourself a question now,

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does that mean that planner or resource wasn't valuable at all that you got nothing or you gained nothing at all from that planning resource? I would put money on the fact that even if you used it for a few weeks, you got something out of it. And if you have planners or planning resources that you haven't even opened or use, well, I'm not a psychologist,

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but one of my theories is, is that the reason you're out divergent people or people who say they find planning hard by planners and don't open them is more about the fear, the fear of it being like it was before. It's not that they couldn't use a planner or they could never get on with the planner. It's just that it's almost easier not to try again,

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then do a week again and stop after a week again, and then beat themselves up for not using it in the right way for the right amount of time. There is something I've noticed that does work for most new idol version people. In fact, most people full stop and that's taking a big picture approach to planning. So I've adapted my content planner over the six or seven years.

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I've now been publishing it to include more and more of this big picture thinking, because I think the problem with planning for most people is that we try to do it in a linear way. So we do Monday to Friday, January, February, then March. And I think most of our brains aren't set up to think in that way. And actually when we're approaching planning in that very linear fashion,

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Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, January, February, March, that's where my most likely to feel despondent because we're trying to do too much. And if you do a week of January and then you realize you've got three more weeks to go, well, that's just really dispiriting. And it just gets so overwhelming so quickly. And if you're the kind of person that is easily overwhelmed and you do have some executive function challenges that is going to be magnified.

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So the way my planner works and the way I approach all of my planning is to start big. So the way I often describe it is like being a videographer. So you're taking a wide shot and then getting in closer and closer. So I typically start by doing a big picture plan for my year, which literally involves just looking at each quarter of the year.

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What have I got on in each of these quarters? What am I going to be selling? Am I at any events? Have I got anything launching? And by the way, you might've heard me say this before. If you've been listening to this podcast for a while, but if you can't do that, if you can't look across your year and say,

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broadly speaking what you're going to be selling, what you're going to be launching, what you going to be focusing on in April or June or September, then you've got a business problem, not a content problem. You don't need to know in any great detail, but you do need to have a sense of what you're going to be selling and what you're going to be focusing on.

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Where are you going to be spending your time? It doesn't need to be fleshed out. When I do my annual plan, it's often literally three or four bullet points for each quarter of the year. Like the 12 statements, if you like, but it gets me thinking further ahead, thinking much more strategically. And while I certainly don't have the bandwidth to be planning in depth.

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So I won't know exactly what podcasts or blog posts I'm going to be publishing in December in January, just knowing that I'm going to need to publish some content on a particular topic or theme and publish it at a certain time. And having that in my head as I go through the year, it means it's much more likely to happen. So next I do quarterly planning.

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And again, it doesn't take very long as I'm coming to the end of one quarter. I look at the next quarter and say, okay, what are we going to be selling? When what do I need to focus on? When am I speaking at any events? Am I launching any products or are there any weeks or weekends where on WhatsApp on promos,

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let's get that on the calendar. Again, none of it in any great detail, it can be done in five, 10 minutes. But what you are doing is starting to get these out onto your plan without having spent much time on it. And without getting too detailed too soon and getting overwhelmed, then I'll just take it month by month, week by week.

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And by the way, I'm not saying I don't ever get in a model or get things backing up. I absolutely do. But the key thing is, is that I always get back to it. And I think the reason I get back to it and don't give up completely, or don't have weeks or months where I don't post is because I'm coming from this big picture place.

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So if my July has been a bit disrupted and actually it has this year, if my content hasn't gone quite as I hoped because unexpected things have come along or I've had to take a break and expectedly, it's easier just to get back on it. When you can look at your planner, you've got a few things in the diary for August, you've got some content ideas,

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you've got some regular posts that you do. So for example, I do a podcast every month, which is content ideas that use awareness day for the following month. You're not always starting from a blank page. So with that in mind, here are my five tips for sticking to a content plan. If you're neurodivergent, or you just find it difficult to stick to a content plan.

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So number one, stop trying to stick to the content plan and stop beating yourself up about buying planners or investing in planning resources that didn't work and stop punishing yourself by saying you can't invest in everything else because you didn't use other resources or you can't try anything else because nothing works. The very first thing to do is just to stop telling yourself that you can't stick to your plan.

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You can stick to a plan, but as you'll discover, as I share the rest of these tips, your approach to planning might just be a bit different to other people's it's individualized, it's personalized. And so it should be. So my second tip is to get to know yourself without judgment. So get curious about what does work for you and what doesn't.

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So for example, I find a lot of creative and you're a divergent people find planning ahead, or at least planning ahead in detail. They find it very restrictive. They find it confining and they also find it impacts negatively on their creativity. So I know for example, that if I create a sequence of emails for a launch in advance, I often end up rewriting them just before or during the launch,

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because there's a part of me it's just needs to be in the thick of it. There's a part of me that needs to get a feel for how people are responding to my emails and posts and just what the overall vibe is at the time. And it's just not there when I'm sitting, writing them four weeks before, however much I would like it to be.

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So if you do find it difficult to batch your content or create content head that's okay, you can post spontaneously. If you want. What you may need to do is just to block out some time in your diary to be spontaneous. Maybe you need to give yourself an hour in the morning before you start the rest of your work or an hour at the end of the day.

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Maybe you just need to find a bit of time in your calendar and protect that time. And so what you might miss a few days here and there because you're ill or something else comes up. But if you only have to remember one thing, I'm going to protect a little bit of time each day or a few times a week to post something, and you've already done your bigger picture planning.

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You've got a bit of an idea of what you might post, the kind of thing that might be helpful for your launches or the things that you're focusing on at different times of year. Then you're never going to be starting from a blank page. You already have ideas. And I find that when you take the pressure off a creative person or a neurodivergent person and say,

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Hey, like, it's okay for you to do things your own way. It's okay for you to be spontaneous. That itself can be really freeing because there is no one way to approach this. And I do have an episode you might find useful on this topic. Do you need to batch your content? Which I think is a good example of this.

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I really struggled to batch creative content, like email marketing as I've already shared, but there's other types of content like onboarding sequences for digital products or my membership that I can batch really quickly reminder emails to events that kind of more functional content. So as I find it really easy to batch that kind of content I do, and knowing that I've got that content done gives me a bit of time to be more creative and spontaneous with the marketing content.

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And by the way, I'm not saying that protecting a chunk of time every day is the right thing for you because that's actually quite prescriptive in itself. What I am saying is just get furious, explore, find what works for you that allows you to get the content done, allows you to plan ahead, to use the planners and resources that you invest in,

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but use them in a way that works with your strengths and stop caring about how other people are using them. It really is irrelevant because what's really not helpful when it comes to content. Planning is comparing yourself to other people who you shouldn't be comparing yourself to because they are not you because where they have needs is to beating yourself up for not meeting up to someone else's standards.

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And that's not helpful. I third tip would be not to punish yourself for not being like everyone else and forcing yourself into creating content you don't enjoy. Certainly in my experience, ADHD is in particular are very interested. So forcing yourself into creating content that you don't want to create or using a particular platform that you don't particularly enjoy, or think video, if video,

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isn't your thing. All of those things can just really drain and it contain your content in a chore. And I think that's the last thing that people who have ADHD need. My fourth tip is get okay with things working for awhile and then not working as a visual person. I find sometimes a strategy works really well for me until it doesn't. And I've heard a lot of Arthur neurodivergent people say the same,

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but they get really excited. They have a strategy that works for them for a number of weeks, months, maybe even longer, and suddenly it's not working anymore. And I've learned both from my own experience and working with clients that it's really not worse, flogging a dead horse turns you out, go back to that curiosity and find something else that works.

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You will find something. And finally, if you are outsourcing, hire people who get you one mistake I've made in the past, and I'm still working on this is hiring people who are comfortable with working the way that I work as much as I would love to transform into this amazingly organized person who has all of my content written months in advance. I think given my 47 years experience,

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it's quite unrealistic to expect that's going to happen. Yep. I've got a growth mindset and I can see that there are areas that I have improved and, and there's processes that I can put in place to help, but I think it would be unrealistic to expect that I'm going to completely change my personality. It's just not going to happen. And I think in the past,

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I've worked with people who've made me feel, and actually it probably wasn't them making me feel the way that I did. But as a result of working with them, I felt constantly guilty, ashamed as if I was apologizing for being me and those of us with brains that work a little bit different for every challenge that we have around executive function. We also often have talents and creativity,

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which balances that out. And if I had to choose between being me and having my creativity, would I swap to kind of person that got all their content done weeks and months in advance? No, I probably wouldn't because I think that my spontaneity and my creativity and my ability to take an idea and run with it and turn things around quickly. Well,

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they are strengths. So I've learned to, well, obviously trying to be as respectful as I can to other people's deadlines. I do also need to be me and someone who would find it very stressful to work the way that I do sometimes. Well, there are probably other people out there who would be better for them to work with. So I hope you found this helpful,

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as I say, I'm not an expert on this topic, but I'm drawing here on my own experience and working with hundreds of clients over the years and what they shared with me. And also what's worked for them as ever. I do love hearing you. So if you have any ideas or anything you want to add, then do get in touch. The best place to connect with me online is Instagram.

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I'm at Jan Murray UK. And by the way, if you want to get on the wait list for microwave content planner, then I will put a link in the show notes. I can promise you that it is designed with new Oak divergence in mind. And while there is a scaffolding, if you like a template to follow, I make it absolutely clear at every step of the way that it's not a straight jacket.

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And there is no one way to plan. If you're listening to this episode after August, 2022, then my quatre content planner may, will be on sale. That's no problem. The link will take you through to your sales page.

About the Podcast

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Courageous Content with Janet Murray
Content marketing advice for small businesses

About your host

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Janet Murray

I’m Janet Murray and I’ve helped thousands of coaches, creative and entrepreneurs learn how to create engaging content – so they can build their online audience and make more sales in their business.

I’m also a podcaster and keynote speaker who has spoken all over the world about content marketing and building online audiences.

Work with me and I’ll teach you the strategies I’ve used to grow a multi six figure online business, selling digital products (including Ebooks, online courses and two membership sites). And launch a physical product – the Social Media Diary & Planner, which has sold thousands of copies, all over the world.