If there’s one thing we pass onto others about running a blog, it’s that it takes up a hell of a lot of time. And when time means everything, you definitely can’t afford to waste it.
Here’s what I found out when I analysed my routine. I have spare slots all over the place where I don’t do anything productive. So I started trying to at least start something, even if I just had five minutes. Guess what I found? I did more and wrote more throughout a week, even though I had less time on my hands.
You’re not alone in the struggle of trying to manage everything for your blog. Writing, photography, editing, promotion, networking - it’s a huge, common problem for a lot of us, no matter how long we’ve been blogging for. Even the top bloggers who do this for a living struggle with managing their overwhelming workload, but luckily for them (and us too), there are some amazing tools to help them do more and save time. What you need are tools you access anywhere at anytime, and if you’re anything like me, then you’ll understand how every moment can be used to do something productive.
So today, I wanted to share a few secret habits of mine that will help you maximise your time, get more done and help you on your journey.
When You’ve Got A Spare Five Minutes
You might think, “there’s no point in doing anything in five minutes, I’m just going to scroll through Instagram.” When actually, you can use those five minutes to do the teeny tiny tasks you’ve got on your list. Why? Because it’ll save you chunks of time later on.
This is a great habit to start doing when you’re on the go or waiting for something. Whether you’re on the bus, train, waiting in a queue or waiting on the phone, five minutes is actually a big chunk of time. Think about it - you could spend five minutes, like we said, scrolling through social media, warming up for a workout, or listening to a song on your morning commute. Here’s what you can do instead.
#1 | Catch up with your social media mentions
Instead of mindlessly scrolling through Twitter and Instagram, why not network instead? Making connections and relationships is so important in our industry. Whether it’s replying to that email your blogger friend sent asking for advice, or thanking everyone who’s shared your latest post on Twitter - you can spend your time cultivating these relationships. What’s even better is if you ask a question in your reply too. That gives the conversation more chance of continuing.
#2 | Make notes on your ideas
Need to come up with some new content ideas? Five minutes can let you write those down. Or why not start planning that new series you’ve had in mind for ages? Yes, the thing itself will take longer than five minutes, but bullet-pointing the initial idea won’t. If it’s something you’ve been putting off, it might give you the push you need to follow through with it. Idea creation is a huge part of the blogging process, so every spare minute you can dedicate to this is time well spent.
#3 | Create a quick quote graphic
You know those quotes you see pop up on Instagram all the time that get so much engagement? They spend five minutes creating them. If you make a pretty quote graphic once or twice a week, that’s another image you can add to your Instagram feed and utilise in numerous different ways.
#4 | Share your content with someone specific
As a blogger, you want to reach out to as many new people as possible. This is one of the best ways to spend a spare five minutes. Use the “who to follow” section on Twitter or search for hashtags in your industry and find people you can get involved with. Ask them a quick question, thank them for connecting, or if you see someone struggling with something you’ve written a blog post about, tweet the link to them. This means you’re actively creating a relationship with your community. It’s not just about how many followers you have - it’s also about how loyal they are.
#5 | Take in what’s around you
Whether you see beautiful scenery or listen in on a conversation, there’s inspiration everywhere. Pay attention to your surroundings and see what happens. That’s what I call being efficient! Content ideas can appear anywhere, so instead of just mindlessly commuting into work or waiting in line, take in what’s around you and use this spare time productively.
#6 | Create this week’s blog post headlines with a tool
CoSchedule’s headline analyser is a site you need to have bookmarked on your phone or tablet. Say you’ve got your ideas for your blog posts. When you’ve got five minutes, why not come up with your headlines for each of them? You can come up with so many variations in such a short space of time, and you can also see how effective they’ll be too. I know many bloggers struggle with coming up with headlines - just think how much time this would save.
When you’ve got a spare thirty minutes
When you’re working with thirty minutes, you’ve got the chances to achieve something even more intentional and worthwhile. Think about it - one episode of a soap or sitcom like Friends is the same amount of time you could spend doing something for your blog.
That’s not to say you should cancel your Netflix subscription and throw your TV out the window. Most of the shows I enjoy are easily fifty minutes long! But what if you could do both? Instead of watching two episodes, watch one and spend the other thirty minutes doing one of the things from this list.
#1 | Refresh your old content
Add more up to date research, include some more links or review the formatting. Once a blog post is published, it doesn't disappear the day after. Paying attention to your older content is worth more than you know.
#2 | Reply to comments or emails
Taking time to reply to each individual comment in a thorough way is a great way of building the relationships in your audience. And taking time to craft responses to emails will also be appreciated by people too - they’ll definitely take notice.
#3 | Refresh social sharing on your blog
Add a pin-it button to your images or a click-to-tweet within your posts. If you encourage sharing, there’s more chance of people actually sharing your work.
#4 | Go through your “to-read” list
Better yet, watch two episodes of your favourite thirty minute programme and catch up on all your blog reading too! This gives you the best of both worlds - and you can use it to come up with new content ideas too.
#5 | Take a break
Bet you didn’t expect this one, right? But it doesn't defeat the point as much as you might think.
Don’t put so much pressures on yourself to do everything. You don’t have to be working all the time. Taking breaks is just as important as being creative and productive with your time. You’ve got to look after yourself first and the more relaxed you are, the more creative you’ll be.
Put your phone away and shut down your laptop. Go for a walk outside. Or even better, have a power nap - they’re proven to make you even more productive.
the one thing to save you more time
Get yourself a timer - and not one on your phone. Get an egg timer and use it. Dedicate certain chunks of times to certain tasks and when the timer is up, move on. Stick with it and you’ll find your productivity will improve and you’ll start to get more done.
Let's chat in the comments - how do you save more time? What do you do to make sure you're being as productive as you can be?