Abe Lincoln said that if he had six hours to chop down a tree, he'd spend the first four sharpening his ax. The quote’s apocryphal nature isn’t important. The sentiment is.
The idea that you should spend a significant amount of upfront time preparing to do a task is just good advice. In fact, it’s the ideal way to operate. Put another way: slow and deliberate preparation will allow you to execute elements of your podcast faster.
But rarely do we live in an ideal world. Here’s a list of four approaches to planning and execution, with examples of how I’ve found my own podcasting efforts in each.
Fast Preparation / Slow Execution - Think of this as the “festering” quadrant. Activities that fall here will take a long time to complete (if they ever completed) because of (mostly) insufficient up-front planning.
I recently found myself in this quadrant when I decide to (finally) create a YouTube channel just for the edited videos of Podcast Pontifications. A couple of Friday’s ago (or was it last Friday?), I took the plunge and started the task. I still have some ~300 videos to re-upload, so it's taking me a very long time to execute. And that’s OK, but only because I don’t have a time machine. This isn’t fun, but it is a reality.
Fast Preparation / Fast Execution - I call this the “today” quadrant because it’s where I live with this very podcast and this very episode you’re consuming. I chose the topic for today’s episode yesterday but didn’t do any real planning until this morning.
I can get away with that because of the tight processes I’ve developed over time to get episodes of this podcast out on a consistent basis. The fact that it’s a short-form show with episodes on a single topic that require very little audio editing certainly works in my favor. I do not recommend living in this quadrant if you value your sanity! But it is called the “today” quadrant for a reason, so you might.
Slow Preparation / Slow Execution - If you take forever to implement a plan you took a long time conceiving of, you’re in the “limbo” quadrant. And that’s where good ideas go to die.
In my case, I’ve yet to select an effective and efficient way to communicate with all of my clients en masse. For example, I need to let all of my clients know that Amazon Music now lists podcasts and that my team has already made sure their show is listed. Because I’ve been slow to select a solution, I’m forced to send out individual notes to all clients. Because I rarely encounter a situation like this, it’s not annoying me enough. So it goes into limbo. I've got other and better things to do with my time.
Slow Preparation / Fast Execution - This is the sweet spot, where you take plenty of time getting ready, and then you quickly do the deed.
The website for Podcast Pontifications is one example. I spent weeks looking through requirements, looking at examples of sites built with those solutions, talking to support personnel, interviewing current users of the solutions, and generally making sure that whatever solution I chose was going to be the right one for me. Then spent more weeks figuring out what pages I’d need, what elements I wanted to highlight, and then how to work best with the content management system and front-end to make it as easy as possible to update.
After over a month of prep work, the execution to make the site live only took a few days. And I’m neither a web developer nor a designer.
Similar was my selection of newsletter vendors. I spent a great deal of time analyzing and investigating options, going so far as to completely re-work my approach to the newsletter after said investigations gave me new perspectives. Once I made my decision, I was sending newsletters within two days, having back-filled with enough content to make it compelling. And all that work on the newsletter paid off, as my show’s newsletter has become my fastest-growing distribution channel.
But as great as the idea of slow preparation and fast execution is, I don’t always live there, as I’ve just illustrated. And I’ll never live there for everything. My reality is that I sometimes have to make decisions fast and implement them faster. I’ll always have nagging things that I’ll get to someday. Or non-nagging things that I may never get to at all. We all live in various quadrants all the time. So we should forgive ourselves when we find ourselves not working in that sweet spot of slow prep, fast execution.
Read the full article and share with a friend: https://podcastpontifications.com/episode/uncovering-the-tension-between-fast-slow-podcasting-processes
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Podcast Pontifications is published by Evo Terra four times a week and is designed to make podcasting better, not just easier.
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