Even if you give up your boring desk job and become a full time blogger, There’s barely enough time to finish doing the things you have to do, let alone the things you want to do for your blog. If you’re anything like me, you could easily spend every moment for your free time working on your blog – social networking, writing posts, designing the website, emailing readers…the to-do list goes on and on.
That doesn’t leave a lot of time for your other passions or hobbies. I make the joke quite often that with Binge Gamer, I spend more time writing about video games than I do actually playing video games.
Imagine that I could teach you one thing. Just one secret that would make you a more productive blogger. You could make one change in your life, right?
Think what you could do with that extra time. What would you do today, if you had the time?
- Spend more time with your children
- Take your dog to the park more often.
- Go on more dates with your spouse or significant other.
- Take more vacations.
- Visit your friends more often.
- Take a class.
- Attend community events.
- Try to take over the world.**
You can also take that extra time and do bigger and better things with your blog. Hell, you can even start a second (or third or fourth…) blog. This one tip can add hours to your day. It worked for me, and I’ve seen it work for my friends after I shared the secret with them.
Have I kept you in suspense long enough?
Ok, here we go. My #1 secret to being a more productive blogger is this:
Make a schedule.
I know it sounds like I hyped up something that you already knew or something that won’t really help you. I know that it sounds like this “secret” is common knowledge. I know that right now, you’re disappointed that I didn’t share something more…secretive.
But of all the bloggers I know, very few of them has a schedule, and those who have started scheduling since I’ve shared this tip have told me that it has helped them really turn a corner in their blogging career. They’re happier, they’re more organized, and most importantly, they finally have time to do then things they want to do, not just the things they need to do.
If you’re new to scheduling, it can be daunting to organize your life that way. In fact, for some, scheduling feels claustrophobic and way too much like a “real” job. We’re bloggers because we wanted to get away from the daily grind and have free lives, right? Yes, but if you do this correctly, scheduling won’t seem like such a big deal. Pinky swear.
Blog scheduling should be your first goal. Do a little blog-storming, as I like to call it, to organize the topics you want to cover on your blog. From there, come up with some post titles or even some quick outlines. How much of your day do you spend staring at a blank page and thinking “I don’t know what to write” to yourself? Yeah, you’re not alone.
So, spend a few hours coming up with a list of topics to cover and then schedule the writing work. You can deviate from the schedule if you want; this isn’t set in stone. It’s your blog, after all. But on a day when you would otherwise start at the screen for two hours before typing a single world, having a schedule is a godsend.
I like to schedule in two ways. First, I schedule the number of posts I’m going to write every week. I give myself a deadline, essentially. Working under a deadline, even self-imposed, really helps you stay motivated to get stuff done. Secondly, I schedule around themes. You can have weekly themes, monthly themes, or themes that correspond to the days of the week. This helps you stay on track and also gives you opportunities for linking.
Other Work Scheduling
Once you’re on track with blog posting, consider creating a schedule for the rest of your blog-related work. Think about it in very small tasks. Don’t write on your schedule “Use Twitter.” Be more specific – “Start a Twitter account.” “Download TweetDeck.” “Set up TwitterFeed.” “Go through all the blogs on my RSS feed and follow the bloggers who are on Twitter.” Give yourself very specific tasks to complete.
I do this in a datebook. I plan things out for each day and cross them off as I get them done. It isn’t hard to motivate yourself to do one thing, like “Create a list of blogs in my niche accepting guests posts” or “Email Blogger X about a guest post.” It’s harder to say to yourself, “I want to get into guest posting, I’m going to work on that today.” The entire task seems daunting. The individual tasks are easy.
Start by writing in your schedule everything you have to do. Then, start adding the things you want to do into the mix on days you have more time. Adding them to your schedule means that you’re giving them priority. You’ll start thinking of them as have-to-do tasks as well. Be brave; write in ink.
Once you’ve mastered scheduling for work, you might want to add in non-work stuff too, like baking a cake for your kid’s birthday or going to the bank or taking a shower (you know who you are). Not everyone likes that much structure to their lives, but personally, I love crossing things off my list. I just find it so empowering.
It’s okay if you don’t finish everything you had planned for the day. Don’t let it become a habit, but also don’t beat yourself up if a day got away from you. It happens to us all. The important thing is that you have a plan. When you blog without a plan, it is hard to succeed on any level.
*I’m the queen of cliche phrases, and I’m ok with that.
**Did anyone else have a Pinky and the Brain moment? No? Just me?