Are you struggling with your time management?
I think this is one of the biggest problems bloggers have. If you had more hours to work with your blog, you could create higher quality content, put more often and more content out, have more time to build your social presence and design your website.
The problem is, you don’t have more time. You only have 24 hours a day and that’s it.
So where do I take these extra hours? Where do YOU get your extra hours?
I did the research, not only to help you. I desperately need more time. So I share with you what I learned and applied
I divide this blog post into two parts:
- What have I learned so far?
- What new ideas did I pick up while doing this research?
1. What have I Learned So Far?
1.1. Do one thing at a time
That is the area I have struggled. There are different areas that you have to take care of each day. Creating new content which includes research, writing and editing. Also, you need to find and edit images for your content. Then keyword research. Social engagement and building up your social presence. Improving and designing your website. Learning and improving SEO, etc. There are lots of things that you know you need to do. My problem is that I try to multitask, but I have found that it is very inefficient. Why? Because attempting to do all things at the same time, I am not able to focus on any of them. The day passes and inefficiently used hours bring only extra frustration. Now I have learned to do one thing at a time. If it is time to do research, don’t check your emails but only work on researching that thing. If you work with your emails, work until your inbox has been cleared. This way I found I am much more efficient and can accomplish more. Not only that, but it gives me also a greater satisfaction, I am happier and more relaxed.
1.2. DO NOT Edit Your Draft While Writing It.
That has always been a great temptation to me. To write and edit at the same time. However, I have read from professional bloggers that you SHOULD NOT do this. Just let your thoughts flow and put it down as it comes. After you have finished your initial draft, it is time to edit your content. Because I am not a native English speaker, I am always in search of how to say this or that in a proper way. Sometimes I don’t know how to put my thoughts into English. This way I tend to go back and forth in my texts and constantly edit them. I have learned in a hard way, not to do that. It’s more efficient to let my thoughts flow and later deal with wording, grammar, etc.
1.3. Deal With Disruptions
Did you know that workers in US offices spend 28% of their time switching between tasks due to interruption? It’s about 1/3 of all their working hours! And did you know that 40% of the time if the work is interrupted, they do not resume within 24 hours? Because of this, you have to handle disruptions or you cannot do anything. I classify disruptions into two broad categories: outer disruptions and inner disruptions.
1.3.1. Outer Disruptions
In this category belong disruptions that interrupt your work from outside. It can be a phone call, a sick child that needs extra care, a sudden problem that you have to deal fast, etc. The problem arises, and you have to deal with it. You cannot avoid it. It’s difficult because all these things interrupt your work. So what do I do? I can observe how many outer disruptions I have per day or per week. Roughly I can estimate how much time I lose because of these interruptions. Let’s say I want to work on my blog each day 5 hours but there is almost always something that causes me to lose about 1 hour. Then I analyze my day to find an extra hour to get still my 5 hours.
1.3.2. Inner Disruptions
In this category belong those disruptions that are avoidable yet often as hard to avoid as outer disruptions. Here you find a temptation to check for emails, analytics tools for your blog traffic, the world and sports news, etc. Here are all the notifications from different social networks, telling you to have a new interaction that you want to check out right away. While you cannot avoid outer disruptions, inner disruptions are as devastating as the outer ones. I have found that it is hard to avoid them. You have to build your self-discipline to get rid of them. And it is possible. So what do I do? When I start to research or write, I close all other windows (email, facebook, twitter, etc.) that might disrupt me. Because it is suggested to check Google Analytics only once per week (or even once per month) in the early stages of blogging, I clearly do not need Analytics app on my smartphone. I have uninstalled it. Before starting to work, I set my mindset and deliberately switch off everything that might become a temptation and disruption for me. I have to handle the issue, or it overcomes me.
1.4. DO NOT Run After a Bright Shiny Object. Focus on One Program Only.
That is another common mistake that newbie bloggers do. They run after each next bright shiny object that they stumble upon. I have found a great platform and community to learn about professional blogging. That is my #1 recommendation if you want to learn how to set up and run an online business. However, when I research for other platforms, I find great information from others sources too. Some are excellent, and I learn from there too. The problem is that I tend to split my focus on different programs, and I do not make progress in any of them. I have to stick with one program and do this. So what do I do? I have learned to pick useful tips and tricks from other blogs, but I focus on doing and finishing my no one program.
1.5. Most Important Things First
That is the lesson I have learned in a hard way. I ask you, what is most important thing in blogging? Is it keyword research, quality content, social engagement, SEO or website design? They are all important but without content everything else is useless. So you have to create content, quality content in the first place. And this is where I made a mistake. When I started my workday, I did all the other things first and then I turned to create content. Do you know what happened? Right, I ran out of time and failed to finish my articles. I had used my prime time for not so important things and did not have enough time nor freshness to create quality content. Often I approached weekends with unfinished blog posts. It was a frustration for the whole weekend. I had to change it and make content creation my priority No 1.
Content first, all other things after that.
Do you know what happened after that change? I was able to finish my articles on time, felt relaxed and satisfied with my work.
1.6. Don’t Stop When You Are Tired. Stop When You Are Done.
That is a lesson I learned from the online marketing guru Neil Patel. It can be a temptation to continue your unfinished task the next day but in fact, it is much more satisfying to live with the knowledge that you don’t have unfinished tasks for the next morning.
1.7. Live in the 2nd Quadrant.
In my opinion, this is the single most important thing I have learned about time management. Have you heard about it? Stephen Covey teaches about living in the 2nd quadrant. You draw a graph like that: As you see, 3rd and 4th quadrants fall into the “not important” territory. Things and tasks here might be urgent or not urgent, but they are not important. So why waste time on them? If you can move your life out from these 3rd and 4th quadrants, you have already freed considerable amount of time to deal with important things. 1st quadrant includes urgent tasks. Because they are also important, you cannot avoid them. So you have to do some firefighting. Urgency builds stress. Stephen Covey teaches that highly efficient people live in the 2nd quadrant. They deal with their tasks when they are not yet urgent. This way they avoid landing in the first quadrant and can work in a relaxed mode.
1.8. Take a Rest. Don’t Kill Your Eyes.
To take a regular rest is advice that you hear from all the professional bloggers. I failed here doing long hours non-stop. My eyes got tired, and I was not able to work anymore. Finally, I was in a situation where I woke up in the morning, and my mind was ready to take the challenges of the new day, my body was ready too. But my eyes were tired. I was afraid to approach the new day and long hours behind a computer screen. To blog, I need my eyes. No eyes, no blogging. So I had to do something about it. I cut my working hours into 50-minute stints and after that took a 10 minutes break. This way I kept my mind and eyes relaxed.
2. Ideas That I Picked up While Doing This Research?
Until now I shared you what I had already learned and also applied. All these things have helped me to save valuable time and be more efficient. But while my research for this article I picked some excellent recommendations that I plan to apply too. Hope these tips will help you too :)
2.1. Have an Email-checking Schedule and Don’t Deviate.
It is recommended not to check emails more thank twice per day. You might not feel it but each time you check for emails, you lose time, and your other tasks are interrupted too. So better turn your email notifications off and set fixed times when you check your email. It is advised to check emails after 11 AM and then after 5 PM. The reason for 11 AM is that morning hours from 9-11 are the prime hours and by 11 AM you should have finished at least one important task. It is advised not to check emails on Friday evenings and weekends. And I understand why. It is the best way to destroy your weekend. If you are going to answer a question in more than one paragraph or two, consider writing a blog post instead. This way you have answered an email, and you wrote a post too.
2.2. Stop Back and Forth by Offering Solutions
That is great advice that I want to implement. If you don’t ask for suggestions but instead offer solutions, you can cut the amount of emails in your inbox considerably. So it is advised to ask yourself: “what is my ideal outcome?” or “how can I solve the problem?” Then propose your solutions.
2.3. Check Google Analytics Once per week or even once per month
Checking analytics tools constantly is a mistake that novice bloggers often do. I did the same. Having no traffic yet, I still check the Google Analytics something like 20 times per day.
Every. Single. Day.
How much time I waste because of that? However, pro bloggers and online marketers recomment not to check analytics in the early stages when you have no traffic yet. Not only you lose valuable time. There is also a saying: “Paralyzed by analyzing.” What that mean is you may lose hope when constantly watching non-existent traffic numbers. So better focus on creating quality content and check your analytic tool once per week or even once per month.
Before you go:
What time-saving tips do you use while working at home? Please do me a favor and drop me a comment below. I appreciate it much :)
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