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Stick to It! Setting up a Realistic Timeline for Your Yearbook

Planning and Preparation

It’s almost time for school to start up again and that means it’s also time to start planning your yearbook. A crucial part of planning is creating a timeline. A timeline will reduce stress and make the process of creating a yearbook go much smoother. All you need to do is follow these tips and before you know it you’ll have a finished timeline for the upcoming year.


Work backward

The best way to create a timeline is to start with your due date and work backward. Once you’ve established when you need to be finished, it will be easier to budget the time for each task involved in building your book. Working backward will also help to divide up your time while preventing stress and procrastination. That last minute rush  to get everything thing done is avoided because you have planned properly.


Prioritize sections

Now that you have your end date established, you need a starting point. As soon as your team decides what needs to be included in the yearbook, determine which sections are the most important. Once you know what the bigger sections will be, prioritize these and make their deadlines first. This will not only ensure that they get done first but that they get done on time.Because certain parts of your yearbook will be more important than others, it is helpful to finish the more crucial parts of the book first, allowing you and your committee the most time to work on these sections. And if it ends up you need more time to finish, you will have it.


Make deadlines

Something else you should consider when dividing up your time is marking your calendar with multiple deadlines, not just one final one. Creating a yearbook is a huge project, so splitting up the work into smaller sections can be essential to creating the best book possible. That being said, you will still need to make sure your deadlines are attainable. Keep your due dates realistic or their purpose will be defeated. If done correctly, deadlines can help ensure you don’t forget to do anything important regarding your yearbook. It’s easier than you think to forget important elements of your book, but planning ahead and establishing due dates will help eliminate this possibility.


Get detailed

Another way to make sure your timeline is properly organized is by making sure each deadline is very specific. Your deadlines and due dates exist to help your committee be more aware of when to get things done. They also ensure that you and your team will not forget to get any parts of the project done. If your deadlines are too vague, the section may not end up getting done correctly.

For example, if one of your deadlines is a photo feature for your school’s baseball team, mention everything that needs to be done for that deadline. Brainstorming the idea, contacting the team and coaches, setting up the photo shoot, editing the photos, and when the final spread is due, are all steps that can be included. The more detailed the better, especially for someone less experienced with creating and planning yearbooks. Covering all the details up front makes it  easier for your team to stay on track, and ensures you don’t miss anything crucial.


Build a buffer

Often, a huge issue teams come across when designing yearbooks is missing deadlines. Even when they are very detailed, it can be easy to miss them or not get the work done in time. Once you miss one deadline, everything else seems to fall out of place and you can quickly find your team falling behind.

An easy way to avoid this is by allowing a small amount of time per deadline, rather than just one day. This buffer doesn’t need to be shared with the rest of your committee. In fact, it is better if you use it as just a safety net to keep the yearbook on track and not fall behind.


Google docs

Google Docs can be very good for your timeline and everything your yearbook team needs. You can use it to make your spreadsheets, text documents, and more. This will help you stay on top of all your projects. Since everything is easily shared, you and your team can work on the documents at the same time from different devices, even if you are in different locations. Using the comment and sharing features, you will be able to minimize the amount of information your committee will have to send back and forth. All of the perks that come with Google Docs will keep your timeline more organized and super easy to follow.


The more organized you about planning out your yearbook, the smoother the process will go. Having deadlines allows your team to know exactly what needs to be done and when. So start setting up those deadlines and remember to stick to them!

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