Spoiler alert – running a blog alongside a full-time job is no walk in the park.
But it’s actually something I’ve been doing since I first started blogging three and a half years ago. How I manage to stay so motivated, be productive and accomplish so much is probably the one question I’m asked the most.
The simple answer? You need focus, determination and most importantly? You need to be organised.
So today, I thought I’d dig a little deeper and share some of my tips for how you can become the master of your blog schedule and create your best content yet.
#1 | TAKE IT SERIOUSLY
Many of my readers run their blogs as a hobby and that’s such a great thing to embrace. But if you’re just not getting your content out there and not seeing results, then maybe you need to take it a little more seriously.
When I changed my mindset like this, it completely transformed the overall purpose I have for my blog.
To keep your blog running regularly, you need to have some sort of structure behind it. This can be as in-depth or basic as you want, but it essentially means you need to be disciplined and set yourself some working hours.
There’s something I’ve carried with me throughout my career and blog so far and that’s to work on tasks in terms of time.
So instead of coming home from work and saying, right, in these two hours I need to get a blog post up and ready to schedule – you work with the time you actually have available.
If you only have half an hour to play with one day, you’re not realistically going to be able to write and format a blog post. Then when you don’t accomplish this, you’ll feel guilty. That’s what you DON’T want.
Instead, look at your time each week and decide how much of it you want to dedicate to your blog each day. If it’s only ten minutes on your lunch break, that’s OK! The point is that you’re organising it around you.
I have many different methods of keeping on top of things. There’s my editorial calendar which is stored in Google Drive, my blog post ideas list in Evernote and then I also have a planner and I want to start a bullet journal again. This works really well for me because I can update it multiple times throughout the day.
There’s a problem with to-do lists though and that emerges when you don’t manage them properly. You need to be able to prioritise and focus on one task at a time. “Sort next week’s post” is a huge task. Break it down into mini sections and it’ll be much easier to manage.
#2 | CREATE AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR
I completely understand that some people prefer to publish content as and when they feel inspired. But for me, an editorial calendar has been crucial to my blog’s success.
If you want to take a step further with your blog, you need a constant stream of content being published and that’s where your calendar comes in. This is SO important, in fact, that there’s a full lesson on it in the Blogging Breakthrough challenge.
To keep on top of your ideas, make sure you get everything done for each post and grow your creative abilities, an editorial schedule will be super helpful.
I create my schedule at the end of each month for the next month ahead – I’m so much more productive when I work ahead of myself.
There are two main categories I focus on so Tuesday’s post is related to the “blogging” category and Thursday’s post is related to the “productivity category”.
Then finally, I have my weekly email that goes out to my mailing list community on a Thursday afternoon. This is definitely doable for me and ensures I never miss a post.
Your task: Look at how many times you can realistically publish content to your blog per week. Even if it’s only once, it’s fine as long as you keep it consistent!
#3 | MAKE IT EASIER FOR YOURSELF WITH THE RIGHT equipment
Given how much I depend on my planner and to-do lists, it’s safe to say that the right stationary can make a huge difference. I don’t know about you, but when I open the page of a fresh new notebook I get so excited! It instantly supercharges my productivity.
I don’t go mad, but I definitely don’t shy away from investing in new stationary when I need to – so much so that I’ve not got a big collection I need to work through! At the most basic level, invest in a notebook and pen that you can carry round with you whenever inspiration strikes, and I’d always recommend having a diary/planner too.
#4 | AIM FOR INBOX ZERO
It’s every blogger’s dream, right? A clean inbox. I want to love answering emails, but 90% of the time it feels like such a chore to me, unless it’s about something exciting.
Saying that though, if you don’t try to keep on top of your emails, they can become an even bigger burden for you. Sometimes, you could even miss out on opportunities (#guilty).
In an ideal world, I’d check my emails once in a morning, once after lunch and once at the end of the day. But with a full-time job, that’s not realistic.
I try and aim to tackle my inbox every other day if I can and that’s what I’d recommend you start with for now too. You can still get to zero! Just work with folders and file things away that you need to take action on or respond to, and reply to the most urgent ones. Your time is precious – you don’t want to waste it all on emails!
#5 | MAXIMISE YOUR TIME
It’s not only my full-time job and blog I’ve got on my plate right now – there’s also my freelance business, plus the fact we’ve got a wedding to plan! This means it’s absolutely crucial for me to maximise that amount of time I have available.
I get 40 minutes at lunch. I can’t waste this scrolling through Twitter or Instagram. My actions have got to be intentional and purposeful, and that’s something I’ve come to master.
I write a daily to-do list for my blog at the end of each day, so when it comes to my lunch break, I can pick the key things I want to focus on.
If social media is involved, it’ll be strategic. For instance, I’ll interact on Instagram to spread my visibility or do some reading in Facebook groups to see if I can help anyone out.
Over breakfast, I don’t really take the time to relax and start my day (although I wish I could!). This is the perfect opportunity to schedule all my social content for the day.
Then evenings and weekends are split between “work time” and “free time”. Work time could include anything from emails, to writing or formatting content, to taking part in a Twitter chat or doing the next lesson in my freelance course. And I always take an hour on a Saturday or Sunday to bulk take Instagram photos.
It might sound like a lot but it actually gives me more free time doing my tasks in this way!
#6 | PICK A DEDICATED PLACE TO WORK
I know how easy it is to come home after a hard day at work and want to collapse on the sofa. You’re not alone.
But to work efficiently and be productive, you need to make sure you’re organised, motivated and ready to go when it comes to the time to work on your blog. Usually, this means being able to work in a space that lets you focus and doesn’t provide you with distractions.
As much as I’d love to curl up on the sofa every night with my laptop, it doesn’t help my productivity. I only really allow myself to do this if I’m taking part in a Twitter chat. Otherwise, my dining room table is my go-to space. I turn a Chilled Spotify playlist on, light a candle, sit up straight and it makes me feel a million more times ready to tackle my to-do list.
It doesn’t need to be Pinterest-worthy or Instagrammable (is that a word?!) – it just needs to be your own. I LOVE seeing an insight into people’s work areas, especially if they’ve got personality. It’s like you get to know more about them, just from where they make all their grand plans.
#7 | USE TOOLS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
There are SO many (might I add FREE) tools out there that you can use to help you accomplish your goals. The easiest and most effective way to master your blog schedule is to use the tools that are out there at your fingertips. From scheduling content in the back end of your website, to using Buffer for your social content and a calendar for your reminders, the possibilities are endless.
I wouldn’t be as productive as I am without all the tools I use on a daily basis. P.S If you want to know exactly what tools I use and how I use them, you’re going to want to stay tuned for Thursday’s post 😉
How do you manage your blog schedule? Do you think you’re organised or could you use a little extra help? Let me know in the comments if you’re going to take any of these tips on board!
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