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5 Steps to Creating a Productive Blogging To Do List

Posted By Nicole Avery 12th of April 2017 Be Productive 0 Comments

I have always been a to do list writer, but I haven’t always used a to do list productively. See if any of the following sound familiar, you:

  • Write things on your to do list after you have done them, just so you can cross them off.
  • Add so much on your to do list that it overwhelms you and you don’t look at it.
  • Scan your to do list looking for the easiest things to do.
  • Get to the end of the day and you have done quite a few tasks from the to do list, but not the activities that will help you achieve your goal.
  • Email yourself notes and use your inbox as a to do list.

None of the above are productive ways to use a to do list, but it is possible to use a to do list to make you more productive. You just need to put thought into it and ideally have a defined process behind the approach you take.

I have evolved my to do list process over the years and for the last two years have found a process that not only allows me to get stuff done, but it makes sure I get the right stuff done. To be productive we need to do more than get more work done. We need to get the right things done.

It is worth noting that you will never get everything done that you want to do. We have so many ideas for things that we want to do and no matter how productive we are, we simply will not be able to do all of them unless of course we hire ourselves a team of VAs and that is a whole other blog post!

Being productive doesn’t mean doing it all, it means choosing wisely where to spend your time, energy and attention to help you achieve your goals. An effective to do list will help you work productively.

1. Create a weekly master list

Ideas floating around in our head can distract us from our task at hand. We often keep thinking of things because we don’t want to forget them. Thinking about a new idea for a product you could create while your writing your latest blog post however, will see your attention split and as a consequence the blog post takes longer to write.

Allocate a time once a week where you create a master weekly to do list. Sunday afternoon afternoons work well for me. I find that after sometime off work over the weekend, I have lots of ideas to get out of my head. Using a simple A4 size notebook I write two columns – the first is for blogging and the second is for family and household tasks.

I write the two lists at the same time as I find once I start writing things to do, they all come to my mind and I just separate them out in columns on the page. It is a great feeling to have everything out of your head and on to paper.

2. Write down your goal

On another page I will create my to do list for Monday. I will write the day and date, then write my blogging goal for the year at the top of the page. Writing down your goal regularly reminds you of what the goal is and writing it before you choose what tasks you are going to do for the day helps increase your focus on what is most important over the longer term.

Your to do list might contain these activities:

  • Create a video tutorial
  • Write newsletter
  • Update resource page with affiliate links
  • Catch up on emails
  • Write module one of course

To help prioritise them you would look at your stated goal for the year. If you have chosen your goal well for the year, your goal acts as a decision making filter for you. For example, if your goal was to increase revenue by creating your own products then your first task should be to write module one of the course. If you goal however was to build your newsletter list, then writing your newsletter should be your first task.

3. Write down your key project

To achieve your goal for the year, there will most likely be a number of projects you will need to complete.  If we follow on from the example above and your goal was to increase revenue by creating your own products, you current project might be creating an online course. You would write that as your project at the top of your to do list and make sure that you spend some time on your project every work day.

4. List three tasks for your day

With your goal for the year and current project at the top of your page, you would then turn to your master list and choose three tasks that will help you achieve your goal and project. Limiting the tasks you put on the list prevents you from choosing a range of easy tasks. It is much easier to sit down and clear out your inbox, respond to comments and spend time on social media than it is to write the first module for your online course.

By limiting your tasks to three, you have the room to choose tasks that will add value to your blogging bottom line.

5. Visualise your day

Many of you may have read the point above and are now shaking your head thinking visualising my day sounds all woo woo. I used to think this too until I tried it. It truly makes a difference. Having written my to list the night before, when I head to the gym first thing in the morning, I can better visualise my day.

I visualise what I am going to do when I get home from the gym to get things organised at home for the day. This allows me to get straight into my work when I get back from taking the kids to school. I then visualise which will be the first task I will work on for the day, I visualise the break I will take once I have finished my first work session, then repeat the process by visualising the next task I will work on.

Visualisation works because it reinforces your priorities and they are front of mind. So when I sit in front of my computer and I am tempted to head to my inbox, there is a disconnect experienced – this doesn’t match up to my visualisation and I am much more likely to resist the temptation and start work on my project.

Charles Duhigg a Pulitzer-prize winning reporter for The New York Times, writes about the importance of visualisation in his book Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business.

“Your brain has to decide what deserves attention and what deserves to be ignored, and [the] way it does it is compare what we expect is going to happen to what’s actually going on,” Duhigg told Quartz. {source}

Then it is a matter of rinse and repeat. Through out the week as you think of things you need to do, you add them to your master list. At the end of each work day you write your to do list for the next day, with your goal and project at the top of the page.

As the week ends, you create your new master list and you are once again setting yourself up for a productive week via your to do list.

How do you create your to do list for blogging?

About Nicole Avery

Nicole Avery is a Melbourne mum to five beautiful kids aged seven to 17. She is the master organiser behind the popular parenting blog
Planning With Kids
and and the creator of the Planned & Present e-course, a step-by-step guide for mums on how to organise the chaos of family life while still leaving space to enjoy it.

  • Great post! I am really into productivity and am going to try visualizing my day, thanks.

  • That was awesome Nicole! I think it is time I start organizing my blogging weeks. =) Thanks again!

  • That’s a fantastic way to stay on track. I need to start doing that.

  • Great tips here, I’m guilty of emailing myself to-do’s so will be creating one big list and I like the motivation of having the bigger goals at the top, thanks!

  • Hey Nicole,
    This is really a great article and i do believe that giving priority to one work until you finish it off is better than trying to jump into every single one and then finally leaving them all undone.
    We have seen those racing horses wear blinders that covers their eyes, that helps them keep their vision focused and forward. Similarly in blogging we need to keep ourselves away from all sort of distraction and temptations.
    It’s very easy to get distracted online there are a lot of things that can capture your mind but setting goals, sub goals and to do list will let you prioritize your works, this will surely help you complete your work before falling back to your daily site surfing routine.

  • Hey Nicole,

    These are absolutely amazing To Do List and surely very helpful to be productive blogging. Our goal is the thing which provides us road map in order to start journey from initial and successfully we reach to final point.

    Visualization in our mind for a day also very helpful to sketch rough map of day, it helps to organize your full day with positive actions. Thanks for sharing.

    With best wishes,

    Amar kumar

  • Hi Nicole,

    These are some awesome tips to help us become more productive. I agree writing down your goals is extremely helpful. There’s just something so motivating when you’re working and your goal is sitting in front of you.

    I do believe you have to have one key project you’re working on and work on it everyday. Otherwise you’re not really going to achieve your goals. So many people spend time multi-tasking only to realize that they really didn’t reach their goals.

    Thanks for sharing these tips with us, I know they are going to help so many of us become more productive.

    Have a great day :)

    Susan

  • Hey Nicole,

    I always try to add at least two things for the day. Whether it’s about building my social presence or commenting, I try my best to complete my tasks.

    The idea of a to-do list is always the best. Once you finish your tasks, just check it. Visualizing my day is all what I do to spend some productive time on blogging.

    Thanks for sharing this article.
    Have a great day.

    ~Ravi

  • One of the most useful posts I have read about this matter. Simple, concise and straight forward. Great!!

  • Great list! Writing things down and visualizing your day can really make a difference. Clearing your head will make it much easier to get things done.

  • Hey,

    Thanks for the amazing post. My last task before sleeping to to create next day To-Do list.

    I prioritize the tasks need to be done. And it works so well to improve my productivity by 50%.

    Thanks for adding new tips to make a better list.

  • Thanks for this post Nicole. I’m always good at writing down proper to-do lists, with goals, priorities, and so on, but somehow I’m losing motivation to follow them after a few days or weeks, and I just need to start from scratch once again. Is there a way to remain focused on my tasks (and goals) all the time?

  • Doing these 5 things creates order in your mind Nicole. Orderly minds process smoothly.

    Just this morning I got back to listing 4 things to do for the next few hours. Read the last few Pro Blogger posts and write real blog comments, sharing my insights. Ditto on John Chow’s blog, and Warrior Forum, and Tony Robbin’s Facebook Page. It is weird how guidance finds you when you get really clear, and even weirder how writing down steps to take on a to-do list helps you get really clear. 5 second task too. We all have time for that.

    I’d add, visualization works well when it is a feeling thing. I am not a visual guy so seeing goals or intents did not work too hot for me; monkey mind crapped all over the intent and I saw mumbo jumbo.But getting a feel for my day and how it would proceed helped me get clearer on my feelings, letting me blog and make friends more from love and less from fear.

    I am a real work in progress. But all are :) Really though, I feel the need/intent to share more of my successes and failures through my daily activities. Because yesterday I got an email from someone who bought a handful of my eBooks and dove into my blog, but felt hesitant to reach out because in their eyes I seemed too many levels up. No way, of course. I put on my pants 1 leg at a time. I usually wear shorts anyway….but hearing this, it gave me a glimpse of a few things I can do daily to connect with prospering folks who are interested in a guy who has retired to the tropics through blogging, so I can help them do the same.

    Even if I feel a nudge to move away from the 4 tasks for the day, staring at my to do list gets me back on track. What an amazing way to focus heavily on what matters most, where your talents would be best placed, because a concrete to do list is as clear and obvious at it gets.

    I have some 60,000 thoughts daily. No way in Hades I recall all the stuff I would like to do, or the few key things that help me move in the direction of my goals.

    Signing off from Thailand.

    Ryan

  • Unfortunately I am one of those “inbox task list” types! I often send myself notes, I even have a note label in my gmail that is just for when I send myself an email. Ugh!

    I love your tips for simplifying it. Having goals, and making sure you are moving in that direction is really important and I need to get back to it.

    I think moving back to paper and pencil for my lists is a great first step. I have a lot of sketchbooks, and such, time to use them!

    Chris

  • Listing out the to do list is a must in blogging to make things in order. Otherwise there is high chance that one will simply waste time and end up with getting nothing. This is an awesome post, thank you for your share.

  • I find that when i make a to-do list, i can’t stop until the last task is accomplished. I feel less tired and stressed having my workday planned out. Thank you for the helpful post.

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