Do you struggle to find time for your blog? Are you a multi-passionate entrepreneur, a busy stay-at-home mom, or a full-time professional? Whatever your situation, fitting blogging into an already busy lifestyle can be a challenge.
Are you ready to maximize your blogging productivity so you can have the blog–and the life–you want? Here are 30 strategies for successful blogging when you have a life, too.
Manage Your Time
1. Track Your Time
Write down how you spend your time every day, from the time you wake up until you go to bed at night. Even better, actually track your time for a week. If weekdays are pretty consistent, you can track just one weekday, plus the weekend.
2. Find Time to Blog
Look at your time logs. Do you see any gaps you can devote to blogging? If you have a commute that doesn’t involve you driving, you can use that time for your blog. Another option is to blog on your lunch break.
You may realize there are activities you can let go of to make more room for blogging. If you find yourself staying up late surfing Facebook, you could write during that time. Or you could go to bed early, and wake up early to blog. It doesn’t have to be every day. Just one or two blogging sessions can make a difference.
3. Write It Down
Once you’ve identified some regular times that you can work on your blog, write them down or schedule them in your Google calendar.
Stay on Track
4. Keep to Do Lists
I’ve always loved to do lists, and checking things off is a great reward for getting things done.
Inspired by David Allen’s classic book on productivity, Getting Things Done, I keep a projects list, a next actions list, and a someday/maybe list. A project is anything that requires more than one step to complete. Next actions are very specific, exact next steps. The next actions list is your go to list to see what to do next. The someday/maybe list is great for keeping track of ideas you may want to implement later.
5. Write It All Down
When you make your lists, make sure you write it ALL down. Get everything out of your head. It is extremely helpful not to have items floating in and out of consciousness all the time and frees you up to focus on doing things rather than trying to remember everything.
6. Choose a Few Tasks to Focus On
I pull my daily to do’s from my next actions list. Leo Babauta recommends choosing two or three Most Important Tasks to focus on each day.
Build Good Habits
7. Be Consistent
You may not be able to post every day, but you CAN be consistent. If all you can do is one quality post per week, that’s fine. Consistent quality is most important.
8. Start Small
If you feel overwhelmed, start small. Write one sentence. Or set a timer and write for five minutes.
Every little bit adds up. Eventually you will make noticeable progress. And some days you’ll find that you make leaps and bounds.
9. Use Triggers
Habit-building expert BJ Fogg recommends doing your goal activity right after another activity that you always do automatically, which is your trigger. For example, right after you tuck your kids into bed, go to the computer and write. Read more about his awesome Tiny Habits method here.
10. Be Accountable
If you’re having trouble following through on items you need to get done, use accountability. Find a friend, fellow blogger, or forums to hold you accountable. Tell them what you’re going to do, then after you do it, give them an update.
11. Let Go of Perfect
It’s great to strive for excellence, but at some point you need to let go and press publish. As Harry Truman said, “Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction.” Don’t let perfectionism keep you from getting it done.
Simplify Your Blogging Strategies
12. Choose One or Two Areas to Focus on
You probably have a lot of ideas you want to implement. But the truth is, you can’t do everything all at once. Decide what you’re going to focus on now, and put the other ideas on your calendar to implement later.
You will be far more effective with one or two goals to focus on rather than spreading yourself thin. When your current emphasis is finished, or at least more on autopilot, you can choose another goal to work on.
13. Simplify Social Media
Your social media strategy doesn’t have to take hours. If you’re just getting started, pick one or two social media platforms to focus on. You don’t need to do everything at once.
Use an app such as Buffer to schedule your posts so you can spend your social media time more strategically.
When it’s time to engage with social media, be prepared with a short to do list, stick to your list, and don’t get carried away. If you need help planning your attack, here’s a 15-minute plan for using Twitter.
Get More Done in Less Time
14. Clear Your Head
It’s hard to focus if you’re stressed out or preoccupied. If you have a lot on your mind, start by relaxing and clearing your mind. Meditate, listen to relaxing music, journal, or run or walk to de-stress before you begin. Even a few minutes can make a huge difference.
15. Minimize Distractions
You will get a lot more done if you minimize distractions and keep a laser focus on what you need to do.
If you have children at home, you can work during nap or when they’re asleep at night or in the morning. Or you may need to leave the house and go to the library or a coffee shop to work.
16. Stay on Task
On the computer, make sure you stay focused on your to do list. Some strategies are to come to the computer with a to do list and stick to it, or use a distraction-free app such as Ommwriter, FocusWriter, or Freedom. If even your own writing distracts you, try Ilys, where you can only see the last character you typed.
Social media and email can be huge distractions, so either disable them or make sure you have the willpower to stay off of them. On that note, disable your phone notifications or turn it off if you need to. Writing on paper is one good solution.
17. Use Your Most Productive Time
If you have some flexibility, experiment with different times of day to see what works best for you.
Writing takes more brain power, so I like to write in the morning and do easier blogging tasks later in the day.
18. Use Small Pockets of Time
A great tip from blogger Meagan Francis is to keep a list of items you can do in 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes. That way when you have a short block of time, you can quickly take action and get it done without having to spend time figuring out what to do.
19. Write in Stages
It can help to write in stages spread over days. One day, just write as much as possible, to get your first draft. The next day work on editing, and the next, proofreading. It’s amazing how much more you get done in less time with fresh eyes.
20. Use Momentum
When you’re on a roll, keep going!
21. Take Breaks
If you’re planning on working on your blog for an extended period of time, make sure you get up and take a break every hour to maximize your productivity.
Keep Track of Your Ideas
It’s so frustrating to forget an awesome idea you had because you were too busy to write it down or didn’t have a sheet of paper. Don’t lose any more ideas to the hustle of daily life.
22. Record Ideas on Your Phone
Use your phone when out and about to keep track of ideas. You can use the voice record function to make it super quick and simple.
23. Use a Pen and Paper
Keep idea notebooks throughout your house and in the car to capture all of your great ideas.
24. Start and Maintain Drafts
Use Google Docs to start and keep drafts so that when you need a post, you’ll have one started. Also, when you come across a great article that relates to something you’ve already started, you can just copy and paste the url right into your draft.
Be Prepared for When Life Gets Crazy
You know you need to provide high quality content that is useful to your readers, but that doesn’t always have to mean a 1000 word post.
25. Plan Ahead
Pre-write posts so you have them for extra busy times.
26. Create a Series
Create a special series or theme days to make it easier to come up with post ideas. You could have Tuesday Reviews, Wordless Wednesdays, Thankful Thursdays.
27. Keep a List of Easy Post Ideas
When life is extra hectic, one awesome tip can make a positive impact. Other quick and easy post ideas include reviews, favorites, a collection of amazing images, or a question. Take a little time to make your own list of easy post ideas to turn to when life is in overdrive.
28. Reward Yourself
When you meet your goals, reward yourself. Ideally reward yourself with something healthy, such as taking a walk or relaxing with friends.
29. When the Going Gets Tough, Get Help
When time is of the essence, and a Google search leaves you confused, feel free to ask for help. In my experience, most bloggers are truly nice people who are glad to help others.
30. Take Care of Yourself
It’s hard to get anything done if you’re a sleep-deprived zombie.
Take care of yourself, and get the rest, sleep, exercise, nutrition, and social interaction you need so you’ll feel good, be productive, and not get burned out.
You Can Do It!
My hope is that both seasoned bloggers and brand new ones will find a new tip or twist to help you find a little more time for your blog.
Remember, you don’t have to implement every idea. Experiment and see what works for you. Choose one strategy to use today. Try it, and see how it goes!