Are deadlines your nemesis? Does the week come to an end and you can’t for the life of you put a finger on what you accomplished? Do you get your client work done but your blog remains unloved and unfulfilled?
What is your blogging routine? Do you have one? Do you need one? Do you think that a blogging routine might just help you be more productive on the projects that are for your own business? My short answer is: Yes, you need a routine.
How can you get one?
If you don’t know what your priorities are, you will fail to miss the target, almost every time. Priorities will help you focus on the Important, the Crucial and the It Can Wait A While. Remember, not everything can be Priority One.
Here are my tips for getting your priorities in order and it starts with writing down the top priorities in your work and your life – choose five for now:
- Spend time with family (life)
- Blog three times a week (work)
- Blog three times a week (your own work – not client work)
- Learn new blogging techniques (work benefits you and your clients)
- Attend my child’s school activity (life)
- Exercise (life)
Grab a piece of paper and work on yours before you read any further.
List your biggest time wasters: (A peek behind the curtain – these are my time wasters!)
- Watching television
- Playing video games
- Poking around on Pinterest
- Running errands when I should be working
- Saying “yes” to coffee dates
- Doing laundry and cleaning the house when you should be working (procrastination at its best for a work-from-home writer)
List as many as you can.
Now list your top blogging priorities. List at least five as this will help you more finely tune your work efforts and maximize your productivity when you’re in front of the computer:
- Commenting on X number of blog posts a day/week
- Writing and publishing X number of blog posts on your site a week
- Connecting with the movers and shakers both inside and outside ofyour area of expertise
- Writing guest posts for other sites. The jury is still out on whether that’s a viable business building technique.
- Looking for colleagues to guest post on your site. I heard on a recent Chris Brogan seminar that having guest bloggers shows your readers that you are “too lazy” to do your own work – something to think about, maybe?
Consider adding these items to your priority list:
- Growing blog followers/visitors
- Grow social media following by X
- Build your community
- Monetize your blog – this could go hand in hand with the first bullet point
- Working on your editorial calendar. For the love of God, I want to stop writing this so please make an editorial calendar!
Look at your list. Drill down to your priorities. Make them happen.
Write these items down on your calendar, whether paper or virtual, and assign a time frame to them. Carve out time on your calendar to get to your top priorities (both life and work). For example: Exercise (life) 15 minutes a day on the treadmill – write that on your calendar each and every day. To make it even more achievable and measurable assign it a time: Walk on treadmill at 7 am for 15 minutes. Boom. Done.
Practice “mental blogging”
What?! I do some of my best “writing” inside my mind. If I know I have a blog post due I will come up with an idea and mull it around for a day or so. I get a potential headline in my head and then I ponder the opening paragraph and truly, when I sit down to type, it all comes together. This was a skill I honed when I worked at a daily newspaper. When I sat down to write an article, a deadline was typically looming and having that headline and opening paragraph made the restof the article flow from my fingertips.
Capture your ideas
I use Evernote (and yes that is an affiliate link). Why do I use that program? Because no matter where I am or on which device I can open it, jot down an idea under my Blog Topics folder and it will be available to me when I need it. I capture snippets of conversations I overhear. I will write down random questions that pop into my head and perhaps I will start to “what if” them into a blog post.
My BlogTopics idea folder also makes its way onto my Editorial Calendar. Yep, there I go again with the editorial calendar talk and its importance in the work routine of an effective blogger. Now go forth and calendar!
Don’t take a chance on a good idea disappearing from your mind in the hustle and bustle of your daily life.
Being a productive pet blogger means you need to have strategies in place to make it happen. Chances are, a fairy godmother will not come swooping down and make it all happen. You have to put in the work!
I wanted to write a book. I kept telling myself I was going to write a book. Know what? It took me forever to get un-stuck and write my book. Why? Because the idea of WRITING A BOOK! Was a scarily audacious thought and I was paralyzed at the aspect of it. How did I move forward? I decided to take “writing a book” and turn it into bite-sized chunks.
- Decide on the title
- Write the table of contents
- Write the introduction
- Organize my thoughts for the chapters
- Jot down a few words to keep me on track for the chapters
Guess what? I wrote my book. You need to eat your elephants one bite at a time. If you have a goal that is scaring you, make it smaller, more easy to digest bites.
It’s not a race.
Yes, you should be blogging with regularity. Is there any rule that says you need to write your blog post in the next 15 minutes? Can you work on it in bite-sized chunks? I am not saying that it should take you days and days and hours and hours to write a blog post. If it is taking you that long, you’re doing it wrong. I believe you should be able to write a blog post – start to finish – within an hour. You may need to take time to format it for your web hosting platform, to add photos, to add links and to promote it, but an average 500 word blog post should take you no more than an hour.
If it is taking you longer, please reach out to me. Let’s see where you’re getting off track.