There is always so much you need and want to get done on your blog, but never enough time! But what if I told you, with a little bit of organisation and self-discipline, you could achieve more and have more free time? Find out how to get more done in less time on your blog…
How to get more done in less time on your blog
Blogging is great, but there is always so much that needs doing and so much you would like to do too – we all have blogging dreams and yet they so often seem unobtainable as we are constantly drowning in to do lists and the latest ‘must dos’ of the blogging community.
But I genuinely believe it is possible to get way more done on your blog in a lot less time, and it is completely possible to reach those blogging goals and dreams…and even surpass them. All it takes is a little organisation, a lot of self-discipline and a few good tips!
Here’s how to get more done in less time on your blog…
Be goal focused
One of the keys to getting more done on your blog in less time is by being goal focused. One of the reasons many bloggers find themselves overwhelmed and frustrated is because they haven’t stopped to think what they are ultimately trying to achieve.
If you have never done this, stop for a second and think…what do I want to achieve from blogging? For most bloggers it boils down to some combination of wanting to make a decent income, whilst having a flexible job that allows them plenty of free time for friends and family commitments and a job that they enjoy and get satisfaction from, as well as being able to ‘give back’ in some way (that’s certainly my aim).
But, all too often, bloggers find themselves in the exact opposite scenario: blogging takes up way too much time, stops being enjoyable and starts to feel like a chore, AND doesn’t provide them with the income they hoped for.
The key to all of this is to start by thinking about what your ultimate goals are, and start working backwards until you get to your to do list. Ensure that everything on your to do list is truly taking you towards your ultimate blogging goals.
Plan your time well
The second key to getting more done in less time is planning. Once you know what you should be doing with your time and have a to do list which you know is taking you little by little towards your blogging goals, the next step is to actually make a plan of how to get those things done.
My top tip is to make a weekly plan of all the things you need to get done this week (and anything that doesn’t need to be done this week gets put on a separate list entirely) then plan which day you are going to tackle which tasks. That way your daily to do lists can be much more focused on what needs to actually get done TODAY. Rather a very long list of everything and anything that occurs to you (you know the kind of list I mean, right?).
My other tip is to write your daily to do list the night before. This has three huge benefits: you are less likely to be tempted to work late into the evening, you are more likely to sleep well, AND you can hit the ground running the next day rather than faffing around for the first hour (or more!) – which is what always happens to me if I don’t write a to do list #truestory #yesiamhuman
Don’t let email take over your life!
Email – aaargh!! It’s one of the biggest time sucks out there. It is entirely possible, if you let it, for email to take over you whole life. But here’s the rub: the vast majority of what lands in your inbox is someone else’s agenda, not yours. It’s things which are contributing to someone else’s goals and not your own. So, whatever you do, don’t let email take over your life.
Set aside specific times in the day to tackle email, deal with everything quickly and efficiently: delete what can be deleted, file what can be filed, reply to what can be replied to (don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ where necessary) and flag or colour code everything that you can’t do yet and GET OUT OF THERE! Click that cross, exit your emails and don’t go back in until your next allotted time. Then get on with the next task on your to do list, and resist the temptation to check your emails every 5 minutes – it’s not going to make you more productive, it’s going to make you way less productive!!
Mono-tasking is the new multi-tasking
Years ago, multi-tasting was ‘the thing’, everyone thought they were being super productive and super efficient being able to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. It was seen as a really desirable skill – and even today you often see it on job descriptions. But the tide is turning, people are realising that multi-tasking isn’t so efficient and productive after all, studies have actually been conducted that prove people are LESS productive when they try to multi-task.
Why? Because it takes time to ‘warm up’ into a task. If you are constantly flitting from one task to another, that’s an awful lot of time being lost in the ‘warming up’ phase. The new discovery is that actually spending solid time, focused on one activity ‘mono-tasking’ and seeing that task through to the end before moving on to the net task, is far more efficient and productive in the long run.
But it’s all to easy in today’s modern world to be constantly distracted by every email, every social media notification, every thought that flits across your brain…especially if you are a blogger who works from home, with no boss to frown at you when you are fiddling with your phone, and whose very job involves being on social media!
So, what’s the solution? Easy – just as with email above: CLICK THE CROSS! Don’t have multiple tabs open in your browser and multiple documents and spreadsheets open, not to mention your phone sitting next to you buzzing at you all day. Write every necessary task on your to do list, including time for email, social media etc. and stick to one task at a time. Focus on the one task you are working on at the moment and do it until it is done and then move to the next task.
Make sure only the tabs and documents for the task you are doing RIGHT NOW are open and that notifications on your phone are turned OFF and your phone is far, far away from your desk (you can give your kids’ school/your other half a special ring tone or ask them to call you on your landline in emergencies, so you don’t worry about missing some kind of urgent message).
Believe me it takes herculean discipline to do this at first, but the more you persevere the, more you get used to it and it begins to be second nature. And it is so worth it…you will be amazed how much you can get done when you are not being constantly distracted and derailed by annoying pings and buzzes.
This is like mono-tasking taken to the next level. Don’t just focus on one activity at once and then move onto the next, take it one step further and batch up similar activities for a super productivity boost!
Good examples of this would be scheduling all your social media posts once a week, rather than in dribs and drabs throughout the week; using a Pinterest scheduling tool like Tailwind* to schedule all your pins for the week in one go, rather than doing a few each day; writing all your blog posts for a month in one sitting, rather than one a week…
Again, you will be amazed how much quicker you do things when you are in the zone and super amazed at how much more time you have as a result.
Create processes for the things you do often
Have you ever sat down to write a blog post and then thought, ‘now what do I do next? Oh yes, edit the photos…Now what do I do next? Oh yes, fill in tags and categories….’ Even with activities we do super often, like writing blog posts, our memories are terrible at remembering the process… and, consequently, we waste precious time trying to recall what to do and/or going back and adding things in later when we remember we forgot to do them – that ‘yikes, I forgot to put a pinable image in my post!’ moment.
For these repetitive activities, one of the best ways to do them more quickly and efficiently is to write down the process you use and tick off each activity when it’s done. You will be amazed at how much more quickly you do these kind of activities when you actually have the process written down.
You can use this technique for all sorts of blog related things: blog posts, writing newsletters, editing photos and videos, accounts, creating opt in offers or products, onboarding new customers…
Here’s an example of the one I use for blog posts:
- Write post in Word, copy and paste into WordPress
- Create recipe card (Easy Peasy Foodie only)
- Edit photos and upload into post
- Create and upload a pinable image
- Insert all hyperlinks
- Final read through to check for errors
- Set publish day/time, tags, categories and featured image
- Fill in metadata and assign keyword (using the Yoast plugin)
- Fill in the Social Warfare section (from the Social Warfare plugin)
- Schedule blog post
- Schedule social media shares (using CoSchedule*)
- Write and schedule corresponding newsletter
You can create your processes in a simple word document or you can use a tool like CoSchedule* (which is what I do), Asana or Trello. You can even just use good ol’ pen and paper – it works almost as well!
Automate and delegate as much as you can
This is a big help in that goal of getting more done in less time. Automate and delegate as much as you can. This could mean using a social media scheduling tool like CoSchedule*, this could mean hiring a virtual assistant or social media manager, it could mean getting someone else to edit your videos or create graphics for you, or hire someone to look after the backend/techy side of your blog to free you up to do all the fun stuff. It could just mean creating better systems and processes to get things done ‘semi-automatically’
And don’t just thing about automating and delegating blog related tasks. It may be easier for you to delegate ‘real life’ tasks. If you can automate/delegate tasks in the rest of your time, you have more time for blogging – for example you could get in a cleaner or gardener, pay the kids to do more around the house, pay someone else to do your washing/ironing, get childcare a couple of days a week, guilt trip your other half into helping out more – anything that frees up more of your time to focus on blogging.
Schedule regular time off and don’t forget to sleep!
The final key to getting more done in less time is REST! It sounds counter-intuitive, no? Surely you should be burning the midnight oil and working all the hours there are to be super productive, but no, quite the opposite. If you take time out to rest, spend time with your family and friends, curl up with a book or zone out in front of Netflix, you will almost certainly get more done in less time – because you are always at your productive best when you are rested. And the most important of these is sleep, make sure you are getting regular quality sleep (OK as best as you can, if you have kids) and you will find yourself way more productive than if you are always staying up late blogging in the name of productivity.
Case in point this week I decided to go to bed at 8pm one evening (I was tired and didn’t have anything else I wanted to do for a change – I’d finished my book the previous day). I slept for 10 ½ hours, until my alarm went off at 6.30 – the next day I wrote and edited a total of 5 – yes you read that right – FIVE blog posts, totalling just over 6,000 words. Now if that doesn’t prove my point about sleep and productivity, I don’t know what does! (and no such behaviour is NOT normal for me, on a normal day I write and edit ONE blog post!)
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