How to Blog More Productively

With children, partners, parents, friends, home, and even a job to squeeze in to the day, finding time to blog can be tough.  Time management can be a huge problem for bloggers, and indeed anyone who works from home or creatively, but it doesn’t have to be.  Follow these nine tips for better time management and effective organisation of your work time, and you'll be blogging better and more productively in no time!

Make a Weekly Plan

Create a plan for your week, either with good old pen and paper, your Google calendar or as a document on your laptop.  Break the week down into hourly segments (discounting time to sleep of course!).

Be realistic about your commitments and allow enough time to do everything properly.  Shade in times that are non-negotiable, e.g. the school run, regular meetings, weekly lunch with your mum, time at the gym/going for a run etc.  Allow sufficient time to get everyone up and ready in the morning, time for lunch and a walk every day, and time to make and eat a proper dinner, plus evening time with children and bedtime.

You will have a LOT of hours left.  Now, before shopping/TV/other distractions fill those hours, schedule in your blogging time.  Fix in set time blocks for writing, vlogging, editing, checking email, replying to blog comments, social media etc.  Schedule your tasks in on the best days/times for you to accomplish them.

Set these in stone and make everything else work around them, not the other way round.  It probably sounds a bit military but believe me, this works, you will expand the time you think you have exponentially.

Find Ways to Save Time

There are so many ways to save time for the things that really matter.  For example:
  • start ordering groceries online
  • set up regular deliveries for pet supplies (we swear by Waitrose Pet)
  • buy a TV guide every week and spend 10 minutes deciding exactly what to watch
  • re-arrange your kitchen to make the things you need most frequently more accessible
  • meal plan and create a stock cupboard that can cover all possibilities
Create an Editorial Schedule

Have a schedule of what you post when, e.g. review on a Saturday, thoughts on a Tuesday, animals on a Thursday.  Plan your posts around 2-3 weeks in advance, and have some evergreen content written and ready to go for when a crisis happens or you want to take a break.

Aim to schedule a week's content in advance, then any other posts (e.g. comment on a news story, sponsored content) can be added in as and when necessary.  You just post twice, or shuffle your pre-scheduled content along.

Put any linkies or blog hops you join in with in your editorial schedule too.

Keep Ideas in Reserve

Dedicate a notebook to blogging and carry it with you everywhere.  Jot down ideas for posts, fragments of overheard conversation, outlines for future blog posts, ideas for building traffic, anything.  Don't let all your bright ideas get lost, because if you think you'll remember it later, chances are you won't.

Keep ideas for blog posts at the front of your notebook, then spend periods of dead time, such as waiting to pick someone up, to pad out your ideas, or even draft a paragraph or two.  When you're ready to write (in your writing time block, of course), just refer back to your notebook for ideas and use it to sketch out your post.

Priotitise Tasks

Lists are everything, seriously.  On work days, I aim to keep my daily to do list under 25 tasks, but will have a top 5 of 'must do' tasks at the top.  For me, a simple WORD document works best, but a lot of people swear by the bullet journal method.

If you blog less often, make a weekly to do list for blogging, with content being at the top of your priority list.  Think about what YOUR priorities are, e.g. building your social media profile, and make them numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5 on your list.  Commit to making those top 5 happen on every work day/work week; anything else is a bonus.

Schedule Tasks

Now you know what you want to achieve, put your priority tasks into your weekly planner.  Print out a stack of weekly plans and fill each one in at the end of the previous week.  Make doing this every Friday a regular pattern, then come Monday all your blogging tasks for the week will be planned and ready to go.

Stick to One Task

Now you've got your time blocks, stick to them.  Multi-tasking work is not effective.  You'll feel mega busy and like you're accomplishing lots if you respond to every e-mail, comment and tweet as it comes in, but will you get much done really?  Will you have got any writing done by the end fo your session?  Probably not.

The key way to accomplish your tasks is to concentrate on one thing at a time, no distractions.  Have a set time for responding to comments, being on social media and replying to e-mails, as per the time blocking method, and you will achieve much more.  Plus you avoid feeling totally overwhelmed by everything you have to do to maintain, and build, your blog.

One task at a time, so turn off your e-mail notifications, turn off social media, switch off your phone, and concentrate.  One hour or even 30 minutes later, move on to the next task.  You will get loads done.

Deal with Problems

If you are procrastinating, ask yourself if it's because of a task you dread, or if you just need some time out.  If there are certain tasks that you hate, consider outsourcing them to a virtual assistant.

If you need some time to think, leave everything and go for a walk, have a bath, do some gardening, even watch daytime telly!  Let your subconscious mind do the work and you will come back refreshed and full of ideas, and ready to write.  I find some things are already half written when I do this, and they just spill out on to the page without much further thought.

Take Breaks

You know what, it doesn't matter if you don't get dressed, it doesn't matter if you don't shower, but it does matter if you don't eat.  Take regular breaks for breakfast, lunch and dinner, have cups of tea while you gaze out of the window, take a walk*, keep your mind and body healthy in order to keep being creative, and productive.

* You may need to put clothes on for this!

Related post: Time management tips for bloggers

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