Blogging is a whole lot more than writing posts! How do you keep on top of all the tasks? Steal my daily, weekly and monthly blogging checklists to help you stay on track!
Do remember those heady days when you thought blogging was just about writing a post and pressing publish?
It’s pretty much like that for all of us when we start, but slowly things keep getting added to the to do list, don’t they? Emails, social media, photography, editing, tech stuff, Pinterest, accounts, email marketing… the list gets longer and longer!
Having a great long to do list of #allthethings can feel overwhelming and feel like it’s sucking all the joy out of blogging.
But it really doesn’t have to be like that!
I believe that old school way of writing everything you have to do, everything you think you might want to do, everything someone once told you you ought to do… all down on a bit of paper (or in even in an app) is a really bad idea.
This kind of ‘everything’ to do list is not the path to blogging success… this kind of to do list sucks the joy out blogging, leaves you feeling stressed and chaotic and ultimately leads to blogger burnout and, sadly, to many bloggers throwing in the towel completely…
I believe that the answer here lies, not in one long jumbled to do list, but in 3 separate and highly focused to do lists – a daily checklist, a weekly checklist and a monthly checklist.
But first… goals
I cannot write about blogging to do lists without first touching on blogging goals. You cannot write effective blogging to do lists if you don’t have a clear idea about why you are blogging… what you personally want to achieve out of blogging…
Why? Because if you aren’t clear on what you want to achieve out of your blog (Money? Creative outlet? Flexible career? Fame?), you won’t be able to able to decide what is and isn’t a priority.
Blogging without first setting goals, tends to lead to those long impossible to do lists. Goals give us bloggers a filter to help us decide what is and isn’t a priority (and what could be crossed off the to do list altogether!)
If you want help setting goals for your blog, I really recommend reading my blog post on Goal setting for bloggers, where I go into this topic in more detail. You can also grab yourself my FREE goal setting worksheets!
Monthly to do lists for bloggers
I like to write my monthly blogging to do list at the end of the previous month. So I write my January to do list at the end of December, my February to do list at the end of January and so on.
If you have worked through the exercises in my Goal setting for bloggers post, you will already have a really good idea of what your main focus for each month will be, as well as the individual tasks that will get you there. This is the first thing that you should add to your monthly blogging to do list.
Next you should check your calendar and see what is coming up in the next month. Do any of these appointments need you to do specific tasks ahead of time? If so, add them to your monthly blogging to do list.
Are there any other blogging related activities that HAVE to be done in the next month? If so, add them to your monthly blogging to do list as well.
Finally, you will need to add in regular monthly activities, such as blogging accounts, cleaning your email list, updating blog posts and updating your media kit.
Weekly to do lists for bloggers
Once you have your monthly blogging to do list written, you are ready to focus on the next week. Start by looking at your monthly blogging to do list and roughly deciding which week you will do each task in.
For example, your end of month tasks are likely to be done in Week 4. If you have a project you are going to be working on, e.g. launching a product, you’ll most likely want to do a little bit of that project each week. So Week 1 might be research, Week 2 creation, Week 3 editing and so on.
I find it most helpful to write W1 / W2 / W3 / W4 next to each item.
Now you are ready to write your blogging to do list for Week 1.
First write on your to do list everything you have written W1 next to on your monthly to do list.
Then add to that list all the regular activities you have to do every week. For example, writing a new blog post, sending a newsletter, scheduling social media and updating plugins.
Make sure this to do list contains EVERYTHING you need to get done this week. This is actually a great stress management tool – now you have just one document that lists out everything you need to get done this week, you can forget about every other to do until the end of the week when you come to plan your next week.
I like to write my weekly blogging to do lists on a Sunday evening as part of my Sunday evening routine – but you can do this on Friday evening or any other time over the weekend if you prefer. I highly recommend you DON’T write it on Monday morning though – otherwise it can easily become a procrastination tool!
Daily to do lists for bloggers
With your weekly to do list written, writing your daily blogging to do lists is now EASY!
Start by looking at your weekly to do list and write MON / TUE / WED / THU / FRI next to each activity (obviously adapt this if your blogging days are different to this). Take care when you do this not to put too much into each day! If you find as you do this, that you just have too much to fit into one week, make a decision about what can be bumped to the next week.
Now you are ready to write your first day’s to do list.
I really recommend writing your daily to do lists the night BEFORE – this will help you hit the ground running the next day, reduce stress and allow you to sleep better. So, for example, I will write Monday’s to do list on Sunday evening (as part of my Sunday evening routine), Tuesday’s to do list on Monday night and so on…
Start by writing on your daily to do list everything you have written MON next to on your weekly to do list (or whatever is the first day of the week for you).
Add to this any blogging activities you do on a daily basis. For example: checking email, replying to blog comments, checking social media, writing tomorrow’s to do list etc.
I would also add to this list any calendar appointments you have on that day – especially if those appointments will happen during your usual blogging hours.
Now you have a to do list which just has the tasks you need to complete in ONE DAY. Read through that list to make sure this is achievable in the hours you have available. If not, work out what you can move to later that week (or even next week).
Now you are ready to put that daily list into practice…
How to make your daily to do lists actually happen!
Of course, the act of writing to do lists alone does not guarantee you will actually DO them!
My first tip here is to NUMBER your to do list. Take a look at the things on your to do list for tomorrow and ask yourself… ‘if I could only do one of these things, which one would it be?’ Make that number 1. Then ask yourself, ‘if I could only do one MORE of these things, which one would it be?’ Make that number 2… and so on. This will ensure that, even if you don’t get everything on your to do list done, you will still get the most important things done each day.
My second tip is to be strict with yourself. When you sit down at your desk to start work, take a look at what is #1 on your to do list and do that. Don’t allow yourself to think, ‘I’ll just check emails / Instagram / my stats first and then I’ll start my to do list…’. Doing this is a sure-fire way to start your day off on the wrong foot and likely to result in you not actually completing your to do list.
Instead work steadily through your to do list in the order that you have set yourself. You will feel so good about yourself if you do AND you will have an incredibly productive and successful day to boot!
If you want to take numbering your to do list to the next level, try putting start times against each activity. This is a great way to make yourself achieve a lot in a short space of time. Often we take our time over the first few tasks of the day – as the time available seems plentiful… but we then pay for it at the end of the day when we have to rush the last few activities, or we don’t manage to complete them.
Putting times against your tasks forces you to a) be more realistic about what you can fit into one day and b) work quickly on the first tasks of the day to beat your own targets.
I don’t use this start times technique every day, but I do use it on days when I have a lot to get done, and it is always incredibly effective at helping me get a lot done in a very short space of time!
When things crop up in the middle of a day…
Now you may be thinking… ‘Eb, this is all well and good – but what about if a new task that needs doing crops up during the day?’
My top tip for this scenario comes from one of my favourite productivity books, Do It Tomorrow by Mark Forster* In this book, Forster advises avoiding doing tasks that come in on the day they come in unless it is absolutely 100% necessary. Instead, he advises putting them on tomorrow’s to do list.
We are so easily tempted away from our carefully planned out to do list by the shiny new task that has just cropped up… not because it’s any more important or urgent, but simply because it’s new and shiny!
So when that shiny new task crops up ask yourself if it genuinely HAS to be done right now because otherwise there will be a really bad consequence (for example, if the school phones to say your kid is sick or if water starts gushing through your ceiling), or if it could at least wait until the end of the day. If it can wait, draw a line under your to do list and write this shiny new task under that line.
At the end of the day, look at all the tasks you have written under the line and ask yourself… do any of these REALLY need doing TODAY (and/or are any of these literally 2 minute activities I can quickly get done and off my list right now!)
Then look at the rest and decide… do they need to be done tomorrow at the latest? In which case add them to tomorrow’s to do list. If not, decide when the best time for them to be done would be and add them either to your list for this week (if it needs to be done some time this week) or this month (if it needs to be done some time this month).
What you will often find in the cold harsh light of reality, when those tasks have lost their new and shiny nature, is they actually aren’t really all that important (at least compared to all the other stuff you have to do) and can be crossed off completely!
What if you don’t get everything done?
Of course, another potential issue is that you might not actually manage to get everything done on your to do list. What then?
Well, the first thing to do is ask yourself why? If this happens it’s most likely because you were too ambitious with what you could fit into one day – try and learn how long it takes you to complete each task and do your best to avoid overfilling your days!
The other point to note is, if you followed my advice above, you will have at least managed to complete the most important things for that day…
But what about the things you haven’t done?
Well, the best thing to do here is go back to your weekly blogging to do list and decide when the best slot for that activity would be. It could be first thing tomorrow, but not necessarily. It might be that tomorrow is already quite tight and actually you have a much lighter day later in the week when it would fit better. Or you might decide that actually it’s not all that important / urgent and decide to add it to next week or next month’s to do list instead.
Project to do lists
One other issue is that of projects which have multiple steps. If you start to add every step onto your daily, weekly and monthly checklists, your to do lists can become very long and it can be very tedious to keep rewriting the steps over and over again as you transfer things from list to list.
To get round this problem, I advise creating project to do lists for big projects, such as product creation, events, launches etc.
This allows you to simply write the name of the project on your monthly and weekly to do lists – or maybe the part of the project you want to get done that month/week.
On your daily to do list, you can either just write the project name and how long you want to spend on the project that day OR you can write the specific parts of the project you want to get done that day.
Pen and paper or app?
Personally, I find it easier and quicker to write my monthly, weekly and daily to do lists using pen and paper. I find that any electronic system I try to use just gets in the way and slows me down.
The only exception to this is project to do lists. For big projects, I tend to use a spreadsheet to plan out a large project, and then break it down into sub tasks with due dates.
However, if you are more of an electronic systems / app type person, you can absolutely use the tips in this blog post in conjunction with the app of your choice!
Daily, Weekly and Monthly Blogging Checklists
Wish someone would do this for you? Your wish is my command! I have created 3 easy to use printables for your monthly, weekly and daily blogging tasks. These include typical tasks you need to do every day / week / month as a blogger, as well as space to write your own personalised to dos!
Hit that ‘GET THE CHECKLISTS’ button to get them RIGHT NOW and finally get on top of your overflowing to do list for good! (Your future self will thank you 😉 )
- How to write an effective to do list
- How to organise your blogging week
- 7 things to do on a Sunday evening to make your week way more productive
- 10 ways to be a more productive blogger
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