The goal of anyone who works online is to be productive with their time. You want to get the most you can from the time you're sitting at the computer.
Whether you class what I do online as blogging, content marketing, or affiliate marketing, the fact is I have been writing articles regularly since I started working online in 2000. I continue to write thousands of words every week.
Over the years I have gotten a better understanding of how to be effective with the time I work online. I would like to share with you what I have learned as I believe it will help you become a more productive blogger.
1. When You're in the Mood, Write to You Drop
Sometimes the stars align and everything just flows the way you want it too.
You have had a great sleep the night before, a quick cup of coffee, and you sit down at your computer refreshed and raring to go. This is the optimal time for any writer as your brain is buzzing with ideas.
When you're in “The Zone”, write until you drop.
Many people swear by the effectiveness of time tracking applications that utilise the pomodoro technique of only working 25 minutes at a time, but I have never found these “Stop and Start” techniques work well with me. Instead, I will write for an hour or even two hours when I'm in the right mood.
When I start to feel the quality of my writing fade, I take a break from the computer and recharge.
2. If You Can't Write, Read
Being well rested is no guarantee that the words will flow.
Distraction free writing apps that stop you wasting time on social media services can help ensure all your attention is on your article.
However, even if you have no distractions and have planned ahead and prepared notes and ideas for articles to write, you may find your mind is blank.
Writers frequently suggest taking a break in order to tackle writer's block. They suggest going for a walk, listening to music, watching a film etc. This is generally good advice and something I do encourage you to do sometimes, but if you only have two hours left in the day that you can work, taking a break for an hour or two is not making an effective use of your time.
In situations like that, what I do is take a step back and read. I will read an eBook or spent a few hours reading articles. When I find an interesting article, I either email it to myself for future reference or save a new draft WordPress post with the article URL and some notes in the content area.
This strategy has resulted in me having around 100 draft posts on my blog; which gives me a head start when planning content and writing articles in the future.
3. Tired, Hungover, Bored – Do Something That Requires No Thinking
There are many times when you cannot write and your brain cannot focus on reading.
Perhaps you are hungover from having a few beers the night before, perhaps you did not get a good sleep, or maybe your brain is just fried from writing and reading too much.
When you find yourself in that position, do not be tempted to just publish an article so that your usual publishing schedule is not affected. All you will do is give your readers a poor incomplete article.
What I do instead is sit on the couch, watch a movie, and do something that allows me to leave my brain at the door. For example, I will take screenshots and crop images for future articles I am preparing.
My habit of taking notes and doing the boring stuff in advance means than when I am in the mood to write, I can focus solely on writing. I do not need to spend time cropping images or finding references.
This strategy effectively means that my no time is ever lost to tiredness.
4. Are You Completely Useless? Step Away From the Keyboard
Whilst I encourage all bloggers to have a good work ethic, I warn you all not to burn yourself out.
You need time to relax away from the computer and recharge your batteries. It is just as important as the time you spend working at your computer.
My whole blogging strategy is to be as productive as I can with my time so that I can enjoy more time away from the computer.
So when you're feeling burned out, call it a day. Take a day or so to relax and forget about work.
When you return to work you will find yourself refreshed and raring to go.
When I meet someone new and they find out I work online, they always ask how I can be productive if I work from home. Motivation is important, but I believe it all comes from developing good working habits.
I stay motivated about working online by being sensible about how I manage my time. I understand my limitations and I work to my strengths wherever possible. I also recognise that breaks and time away from the computer are just as important as the time I sit down and write so I don't feel guilty if I am less productive than the day before.
I hope those of you who blog on a regular basis will find this useful. Be sure to share how you manage your blogging work in the comment area below.
Thanks for reading.