What causes yearbook advisers to lose much-needed sleep? Deadlines!

My first year as a yearbook adviser was spent working late at night and all day on Saturday just trying to send in my pages only a few days late! However, during my second year as an adviser, I knew there had to be a better way to survive and to be happy as a yearbook adviser. Here is what worked for me:

Mark deadline dates on your private planner or calendar. Only you need to know the real deadline date because you are the one ultimately responsible. Look at how the production plant dates correspond with your school’s calendar. Be sure to note if those dates coincide with any school testing days or holidays.

Give your staff deadline dates that are two weeks prior to the plant’s deadline dates. Let’s face it; yearbook staff members are often not as committed to completing deadlines in a timely manner as you are. They know the adviser will somehow get the work done even if they do not! By having a two-week window, you know you have some time in case someone doesn’t complete his or her responsibilities. Penalize the students’ grades when they do not make the deadline you have set for them.

When pages are finished, send them in immediately. Don’t wait until you have 80 pages complete to make your deadline. Send in 40 pages when 40 pages are done! This gives you some early credit in case you are late on another deadline.

When deadlines are met, give the staff (including yourself) a couple of days off. Putting together a yearbook can be very stressful for everyone, so occasionally you and your staff deserve a day off. During the yearbook period, allow the students to listen to music or watch a movie. Or maybe just let them talk or relax – something to provide a break from yearbook work. This little reward will be the boost that you and your staff need to meet the next deadline with vigor.

Try to finish as many pages before the holiday break in December. No one wants to face a huge deadline the first couple of weeks in January, so try to send in extra pages in November and December that cover the January deadline.

Every year making deadlines gets easier as I follow these simple steps. This past year I even received my books three weeks ahead of my targeted ship date. While the success of the book each year is somewhat dependent upon the staff, implementing a few of these suggestions just might alleviate a little bit of your insomnia!

Contributed by
Melissa Joiner, Yearbook Adviser

Vanguard High School, FL