Let’s create a scenario, shall we?
I’m sat with you in your favourite coffee shop and we’re enjoying our favourite drink of choice (tea for me!) You’re telling me how you’re feeling frustrated with your blog, and I ask if you can pinpoint the thing that you’re struggling with the most.
What would your answer be?
Think about it. Right now.
What to focus on?
How to stand out?
Or what about time?
Ah, time. Yes. A problem that ALL bloggers struggle with.
Whether you’re new to the blogging game, your enjoy blogging as a hobby, you blog alongside your full-time job or you want to turn your blog into your main money-making gig, finding the time to fit everything in is a constant challenge.
Juggling a very busy life myself, I’m always struggling with how to be productive on a limited timescale. With even more on my plate now than ever, I’ve had to find some ways to conquer this challenge and I think I’m onto a winner.
So from my experiences, what follows is a collection of some ideas and strategies I’ve tried that have helped me accomplish a lot more in less time. I really hope you can take something away from this. Let’s go!
Just before we begin, I’ve created a checklist of tools I use everyday that seriously help increase my productivity. Click the button below and it’s yours for free!
#1 | LEARN TO PRIORITISE
It’s nothing new that good time management starts with learning how to prioritise, right? And prioritising means figuring out what is most important to you in terms of how you want to spend your time.
Here’s the thing - if blogging is really important to you, you’ve got to give it weight as a priority. That’s the first step to actually finding more time to do it.
I know this is easier said than done. I’ve been saying for months that I want to go back through all my content and reformat it. Have I done it? No. Because saying you want to do something is only one part of it.
Saying you want to do something is nowhere near the same as actually doing it.
I work full-time, run my blog and manage my freelance business. But I also exercise, like to spend time with my family, want to take care of myself AND my boyfriend and I are hunting for a house together.
This means that learning to prioritise is vital for me, to make sure I’m working on everything that I want to.
I used to find prioritising really difficult. But I recently had a realisation with it.
Instead of prioritising tasks in general, I started prioritising them in terms of the time I had available.
Let’s say I get home from work at a decent time, exercise and get my jobs done, then I’ve got time to work on my blog before ‘chill’ time. That’s a chunk of time where I can get a decent task done.
On the flip side, let’s say I’ve got to attend an event for work one evening, I get home really late and I only get fifteen minutes - that’s a lot less time.
I wouldn’t be able to do the same task in both those chunks of time. So you’ve got to adapt your tasks to the time you have available.
This means you won’t get disappointed when your to-do list never gets completed. You’ll be able to tick both big and small tasks off depending on the time you’ve got to play around with.
So really, you’re just adapting the time in your life to allocate for all the areas you want to focus on. This works for your career, relationships and any other projects, just as much as it does for blogging.
#2 | KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT YOU NEED TO DO & WHAT YOU WANT TO DO
There are certain things that need to be done every single day. Like make your bed, prepare your meals and brush your teeth 😉
But there are other things like hoovering round, cleaning your make-up brushes and filling your car up with petrol that can be done once a week or so. You don’t NEED to do these every day (even if you might want to).
This is exactly the same for your blog.
Blog tasks that need to be done daily could involve things like:
- Scheduling tweets
- Uploading a photo to Instagram
- Responding to comments
- Checking emails
These are general things that you know you NEED to get done. Then obviously, you can add in ‘write a blog post’ when you need to get that done based on your publishing schedule.
On your other list, you’ve got the things you want to do for your blog but aren’t a priority yet. These could involve:
- Reformat your content
- Categorise all your posts
- Rewrite your about page
- Create a paid product
That way, if you’ve set yourself a chunk of time to work on your blog, and you come to find you’ve done all your ‘need to do’ tasks, then you can work on something from your ‘want to do’ list.
I used to post content seven days a week. But I found that this was literally ALL I was doing for my blog.
Do I regret it? Not one bit. It grew my online presence in a massive way and I recommend all bloggers give it a go - even just as a challenge for a month.
But you don’t need to post content every single day. Since I changed my schedule, I’ve had more time to create other things, like the #BloggingBreakthrough magazine, content upgrades for many of my posts and my freelance business.
Many new bloggers think ‘working on your blog’ just purely means writing blog posts. But we all know there’s so much more to blogging than that.
#3 | LEARN TO SAY NO
Got another sponsored post opportunity that will be more time than it’s worth? In talks with another client that you think will take up too much of your time with not as much of a benefit?
Just say no.
Don’t feel like you have to explain yourself. You don’t have to justify anything. If something doesn’t seem right to you or you don’t think it’s going to be worth your time, then just say no. You’ll give yourself more time to work on other things that are much more important to you and will give you an even bigger reward.
#4 | CREATE PROCESSES FOR IDEA GENERATION AND A CONTENT SCHEDULE
One of the biggest questions I get asked by my readers is how I come up with so many ideas. This means that it’s obviously a big problem for a lot of you.
As much as you might think that coming up with an idea each time you sit down to write a post is the way to go - it’s not. Believe me. There’s a much more effective way to do it.
I set aside a few hours on a Sunday each month to spend generating new content ideas. Then I put these ideas into my ‘blog post ideas’ notebook in Evernote, with each idea going into a certain category.
Doing this means I’ve given myself enough content ideas to work with until the end of the year.
Think about how much time it saves you! When it comes to creating your editorial calendar for next month, you’re not taking twice as long to complete it because you’ve got to come up with ideas on the spot. You can go to where you keep your ideas and fill the blanks in immediately.
I know some people prefer to blog spontaneously and so don’t use editorial calendars. But I also know if you’re serious about blogging (and want to make it into something more than just a hobby), nothing works as well as a publishing schedule.
#5 | BREAK BIG TASKS UP INTO BABY STEPS
I have a friend who’s an author and he once gave me some really good advice.
He said that if you put on your list to ‘write a book’, it’ll never happen. Whereas if you break it down into sections like, ‘write first half of chapter one’, ‘write second half of chapter two’ and so on, that makes it even more manageable.
Or you could even do it by setting yourself a target of writing 500 words every single day - think how many words you’d have by the end of the week!
So when it came to creating my eBook (even though the idea made me feel completely overwhelmed and I thought I couldn’t do it), I used this advice.
I had my idea ready, so I split the book into sections so it looked something like this:
- Design front cover
- Write introduction
- Edit all images
- Write task one
- Format task one
- Write task two
- Format task two
It might not seem effective to you, to split it up this way. But I was amazed at how much I achieved in a lot less time than I first predicted.
I completed the eBook over a few weeks.
Breaking this huge, overwhelming task down into baby steps was key in me having the confidence (and ability) to complete it. Hundreds of people have now signed up to download this free eBook and I’m now conjuring up new eBooks to create based on this one.
Because when you do it once, you’ve got the confidence to do it again.
#6 | MAKE SURE YOU DEDICATE TIME TO REST
If you ask any blogger for advice, one of their pearls of wisdom will be to take a break.
If you don’t manage to create a content upgrade for that post or you forget to schedule tweets, your world won’t be over.
Sometimes, when you find yourself not being able to do everything that you want to, it could be a sign that you need to step away and take a break. It’s perfectly alright when you don’t get all those tasks ticked off.
Work when you have time to work. Work when you feel most creative to get the work done. Work when you feel like it.
Because if you do it when you’re least inspired, you know you won’t create your best work.
You know yourself, your life and your blog the most. Remember that.
a final note
The strategies I've listed here are only scratching the surface. But I can promise that if you learn how they work together and start to implement them in a way that works for you, you'll notice a huge difference in your productivity in no time.
For the exact tools you can use to help you even more, get your hands on this free checklist where you'll find ten of the best tools that you can start using right now. Woo!
How do you stay productive with your blog on limited time? I'd love to know about your experiences in the comments!