Content Strategy · · 6 min read

When the schedule gets in the way

Social media not only rewards consistency, but frequency. If you're able to publish more on discovery platforms, you'll be rewarded with more views. I remember my first interview with Tori Dunlap when she told me she needed to publish three videos on TikTok per day. I couldn't believe it.

Even outside of views, there's value in publishing a high volume of content – especially in the beginning. Every time you publish (each "rep" you get) makes you a little bit better and a little bit wiser. You can view everything you publish as its own mini-experiment. The more you publish, the more data you collect.

James Clear told me that his advice for new creators is to let the schedule drive the work.

"Early on in your career, I think it's important to let the schedule drive the work. You need to develop your voice or develop your style or consistency or whatever. Like, I think that reliability early on--and we can debate how long it is, is it a years, three years, five years, I don't know--but it, for some period of time, I think there needs to be consistency so that you can sort of like build your skills at whatever it is you're practicing. After that period has been done, then you've kind of earned the right to think a little bit more carefully about, 'Okay, maybe I should break the pace that I've had so that I can do that A+ work.'"

Eventually, you've found your voice and publishing consistently isn't a problem. Suddenly, you may feel the pull towards more long-form, in-depth, or complex work. Maybe it's a new experiment, you've found it more rewarding, or you're entering a season of quality over quantity.

This creates a new problem: creating this new work feels at odds with your current publishing schedule. It feels like you're trying to jam MORE work into the same (or less) time.

It's uncomfortable. It's frustrating. But I've identified five possible solutions.

Change the schedule

The simplest (though not necessarily easiest) approach is to change your publishing schedule. If you're publishing once per week, you could throttle back to twice per month. In extreme cases, you may actually throttle back to ZERO if you're willing to cut out a platform entirely.

Remember that consistency ≠ frequency. You can be consistent without publishing constantly.

There are two potential negative consequences to this approach:

  1. Ads. If you're selling ads in your content, this would have an immediate, direct impact on your revenue potential. And, if you've already sold ad inventory weeks ahead, you'll likely want to fulfill those obligations before making a change.
  2. Speed to trust. Content businesses are built on trust and trust is developed over time. Trust can sometimes be accelerated by frequent, high-quality interacations. If you reduce the frequency of publishing, those who see each piece of content hear from you less often (and those who miss some of your content will hear from you even less).

That second point could be overcome by producing even higher-quality work that resonates more deeply and has an incrementally higher return on trust. That's the goal of deeper content – so it may be a worthy trade. Even still, fewer touch points with your audience MAY reduce how often they're thinking about you.

Change the product(s)

After James Clear published Atomic Habits, his life changed quite a bit. Not only were there more demands on his time for work, but he would soon become a dad too. We talked about this briefly on air in that same episode I referenced earlier:

"Since the book has come out, my time has become very tight. And I have a lot of new things that are impinging on my schedule that weren't there before. Like, you know, speaking requests is a good example. Okay, that sounds great, and it is fun, and I enjoy it. But it usually takes two days out of my calendar because I gotta fly to the place to talk, you know, talk to everybody do Q&A, come back. And so that takes a couple days up that I can't spend writing, you know, a longer form or more in depth piece.

Then we have a question, 'Am I going to start working on another book again soon?' Okay, well, if you're going to do that, that actually takes up probably most of those days when you are home. And so it was a realization that I don't have the time that I used to have to write a long form piece. And I need to decide, 'Am I going to capitalize on the opportunities that I have right now and not have that much time, or am I just going to say no to those opportunities, and then have the time to write the article?'

What I decided was, this is a unique period of my life, I am excited about the things that I'm doing. So I want to keep doing that. But I still want to be able to provide value. And so if that's gonna happen, then the format or the form needs to change."

That was the birth of his 3-2-1 newsletter format, which launched a week or two before our conversation. It's regarded as a super high-quality newsletter with literally millions of readers – but it's a much smaller time commitment than his original newsletter format.

I've heard him describe this another way off-air. To paraphrase, James said there are an infinite number of possibilities for how his newsletter could look...and so there are certainly some possibilities that requires LESS time yet yielded a BETTER product.

This is true for all of us. Whatever platforms you're publishing on, there are certainly ways that you could create a better product while requiring less time. It may take some time to identify and test those approaches, but they exist.

So if you want to do more in-depth content on [platform] but you feel constrained by all of your other commitments, what if you tried to identify ways to decrease the requirements of those platforms (without sacrificing the quality)?

This question is hard – but incredibly high leverage when you discover an answer you're happy with.

Change the process

This dovetails with the last point. Sometimes, you can identify inefficiencies in the actual process of making [thing] and reclaim some time by fixing them. That may be the process in creating [first priority thing] or in the other things that you're still committed to publishing.

Example: If you want to put more time into YouTube but feel constrained by the time publishing your newsletter or podcast, you could look at THOSE processes to find ways to make their process more efficient.

By elevating my video editor into a producer role, it actually reduced the amount of time required of ME in the production process (while making the product better).

I like to consider Tim Ferriss's famous question:

"What would this look like if it was easy?"

Sometimes your answers are ridiculous and unfeasible. Other times, they're brilliant.

Increase team capacity

The crux of our issue here is resource constraints. If you currently feel like all of your available TIME resources are allocated, an additional TIME cost feels impossible.

You can't add more hours to your day – but you can add more collective hours to the team's day. You can hire help (full-time, part-time, contract) to augment your team's time resource.

I know your initial thought is to just hire MORE people, but you may be able to more intelligently spread the work across your team. If Person A takes twice as long at Task G than Person B, you can put Task G on Person B's plate and you've suddenly increased team capacity without hiring.

Technically, I'd bucket that example under "Change the process," but this often goes hand-in-hand with adding to the team. Whenever you add someone new (full-time, part time, contract), it's an opportunity to re-evaluate the overall division of labor across your team to ensure everyone is spending their majority of time on their strengths.

Suck it up and go into a hole for a while

This sounds tongue-in-cheek, but it isn't. The truth is we are often very inefficient ourselves. I'm sure you've had periods of time that feel far more productive than typical – it's a "zone" or "gear" that we can tap into given the right conditions.

Sometimes, a viable solution to your capacity issues is to go "monk mode." Clear your schedule, sacrifice your abiilty to stay on top of EVERYTHING for a short period of time where your sole focus is the new [thing].

Want to get ahead of content? Block off a couple of weeks where you truly only focus on creating new content. When you're in flow on the same priority for a longer period of time, you will be surprised how much you can create.

This scenario gets more difficult to create the more complex your life is. If you have kids, a rich social life, or other obligations, this may not feel feasible. If you don't have those things, this may be the solution you're looking for.


The tension you feel between your current reality and your desired reality is uncomfortable. It sucks to publish work you know could be better or deeper – but you wanted to hit your deadline. The sooner you choose SOME new approach, the sooner you will relieve that tension.

These are five solutions to that problem, but they're probably not the only solutions. So take them with a grain of sal,t and if none of them appeal to you, try and find your own.

Recommended Next

Public Homework

I remember watching Ship30for30 take Twitter by storm. It seemed like, overnight, Dickie Bush went from a few hundred followers

Designing Your Content Strategy

One of the earliest and most challenging questions for new creators is choosing which platforms to invest time into. There

Join 60,000+ Creators

Subscribe to the Creator Science newsletter for real-life experiments, expert interviews, and evidence-backed advice every week.