Hi you busy bees you. Am i distracting you from your writing? Am i helping you with research? Shouldn't you be marketing right now? Haven't you got that killer image to finish? Oh wait you are already late for your 9-5 job, have to pick up the kids after work and have a footy game to play tonight.
I often feel like my blog is something that gets squeezed in when i have time, i don't have kids (I really don't understand how those of you who do can find the time to build a blog, it's a credit to ya). I have been struggling to find time for my blog lately so I have been trying to work on some advice and tips to follow to help me be more productive. Here i am going to share what i have implemented in order to squeeze in all those blog tasks that make your to-do lists as long as Star Wars Episode VII run at the top of the box office.
Get up 30 mins earlier
Mornings can be stressful enough and we all love an extra 15 minutes in bed. However fight the urge to press the snooze button, in fact set your alarm for 30 mins to an hour earlier and dedicate that time for your blog. The house will be quiet, emails wont have started coming in, in fact no-one apart from your significant other will be aware that you are up (and lets face it they are gonna love spreading out in the bed while you do your thing), this is your time to be a productive blog ninja. Sneaking around your home, making a cup o tea and settling in for a good half hour of writing.
You'll be amazed at how productive you can be early in the morning. According to Ciara Conlon at lifehack.com productive people tend to be early risers so take a leaf out of their book and get productive early.
- No distractions, use that quiet time to be truly productive;
- After a good night sleep your brain is charged while not being full of all the things that happen during a normal day. This can increase your focus; and
- Combine the early rise with a to-do list prepared the night before and will supercharge your productivity.
If you aren't a natural early riser here are a few tips to wake up early.
Use your Commute Productively
Well you got up earlier, enjoyed the quiet time and powered through some productive writing, kudos to you. You had enough time to have a healthy breakfast, maybe even squeezed in a jog and have had plenty of time to go and catch the train or bus to your 9-5 job. It doesn't matter how short or long your commute to work maybe. You can use that time productively.
Tasks for the Fifteen Minute Commuter:
- Use the time to read research for your blog idea;
- Get social, start commented on other blogs or pinning to your pinterest board;
- Take your notebook out and start writing down ideas for future posts; and
- Read your last post, carry out an informal audit on it, check how it looks on your mobile and test the internal/external links aren't broken.
Tasks for the Half Hour plus Commuter:
- Start writing on your mobile/tab app or in your notebook;
- Start figuring out or editing the structure of your post; and
- If you have the software/hardware to work on the go, start editing your photographs and imagery.
There are some great apps out there to use that could really help you be productive on your commute, from Evernote to Squarespace Blog app, find what works for you. These apps are great as the work you do is automatically installed on your laptop when you do sit down. If you are a bit more old school, then you can't beat your notebook.
- Own your commute, make this about you and your work;
- Use what otherwise is dead time; and
- Added benefit to test how your posts look from the reader.
Stay 30 minutes after work
Those of us that do the daily grind get to the end of our shift and shoot for the exits. We try and beat the rush, get in our cars or bikes or public transport (more on that in point 3). Well whats the rush, take a moment to debrief from your hectic day and concentrate half an hour to your blog. If you have access to the internet, start writing or researching forget about that first packed train, just get the next one. I've recently started doing this and it's such a great way to unwind from the pressures of your day job. What i have found is that it is helping me get to the end of the day too, its almost a reward for a hard days work.
- Avoid the rush;
- Prevents distraction from family, friends and other day to day tasks;
- Utilise your productivity while you are still in Office mode, you'll be amazed how much you can develop; and
- Tongue in cheek added bonus Alert; when you start your fingers tapping, any other late stayers will think "Wow that guy is powering through their work"
Order your Grocery Shopping Online
Plodding around the shop arguing over whether the duopack of rich tea biscuits provides more $/biscuit value that the single pack (Note it does) and whether you would have the restraint to not eat said rich tea biscuits in double time (Note you will) meaning that the original saving is actually a false economy, and anyway, you want hobnobs instead, but the duo or the single, arrrrrrrggggghhhhhh.
We've all been there, this takes time, something that is precious to all of us. Factor in your drive to the store, the beeps (checkout) and unpacking the shopping there is approximately 3 hrs of your day done. in my calculations this equates to 561,600 minutes over your lifetime. By utilising the power of the interweb to do this task for you, you are best placed to spend that time on other more enjoyable tasks, eating rich tea biscuits/hobnobs and writing your blog.
- Time saving;
- Easier to budget;
- Less chance of opportunistic purchases;
- Stay healthy;
- Keep people employed;
- Save on fuel; and
- Save you list so that the next time your do your shopping its a one click and done kind of deal.
Record your Favourite Sporting Events or Shows
We love our favourite shows or watching the big game at the weekend. Unfortunately the time it takes to watch Live tv often can coincide with ideal writing time. In addition, think about watching Chelsea versus Manchester City in the premier league on Sunday afternoon. You watch the build up, the first half, half time and the second half, add that with a bit of post match tactical breakdown and there is probably two and a half hours of your day gone. Tivo and Skyplus the event and watch it back. The ability to fast forward through the dull moments and adverts can save you a great amount of time. Time you can spend writing. I estimate that you could probably watch a full game in half an hour. Similarly record the latest Game of Thrones and fast forward through the adverts. Make sure when you are writing you stay off the social media to avoid those spoilers.
- Time saving;
- Fast forward through the boring bits; and
- Use this as a reward for your writing.
Just Say No to Things
This is definitely the most difficult but definitely the biggest impact on making time for your blog. There is only 24 hours in a day and unfortunately unless you have the Time Turner from Harry Potter you simply may have to just say no. I'm not suggesting that you become a hermit and lock yourself away with nothing but a pot noodle and twenty seven cats. Saying no could be saying no to that extra pint on a friday evening. Just meeting a friend for a coffee instead of the full brunch. Make an alternative date to do something with friends instead. Your friends are probably aware by now that you are blogging and are dedicated to it. What they may not be aware of is how much time it takes to develop your content. It's not just the writing, its the research, the production, the imagery and the marketing. If you explain this to your friends and family they will certainly understand that you may have to reprioritise having that three hour lunch with them every week.
- Opens up a large amount of time;
- Saves you cash; and
- Makes you appreciate the time you do see friends and family.
Well thanks for reading, hopefully this has gave you a few tips and ideas to help you be productive. So on with you, go and write and be productive. Leave a comment below of how you make time? or if you have any tips n tricks?
Love N Stuff
Andy @ DesignUntapped