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Share Your Blogging Productivity Tips

Posted By Darren Rowse 2nd of September 2007 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Productivity-Tips-BloggersIn my last post I shared a few of my own blogging productivity tips – but I’m just one of millions of bloggers and I’d love to hear yours!

So lets have some discussion on the topic of productivity.

  • How do you keep your blog ticking over?
  • Do you have any systems or rhythms that you’ve developed that help you make the time that you spend blogging more effective?
  • What tools help you in this?
  • What advice would you give a blogger struggling to keep productive?

I’m looking forward to reading your productivity tips!

Update: I’ve decided that I’m going to make a compilation post next week with some of the best tips suggested in comments below.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Regular posting, quality over quantity, keen observation are essential for any blogger.

  • I read many blogs covering many topics each day. I use Wizz RSS Firefox plugin. I just counted 37 different links in the list. I look forward to ideas that everyone may have for becoming a more productive writer.

  • I use the online post it note application stikkit and Quicksilver, and it works really, really well. I posted about it here: Blogging with Quicksilver and Stikkit.

  • I’ve made a week list which tells me what should I write on a particular day in a week.

    For example: from monday to friday I write posts about blog, seo, making money,… on weekends I write more entertaining posts.

    I guess is just like a job. On work days serious topics and on weekend more casual ones.

  • Everyday I allocate a set number of hours to work on my blogs. I also prepare a detailed “to do” list at the end of each blogging session. The next day I tackle the items on the list during my blogging time. This keeps me focused and I get much more accomplished.

  • My #1 tip:

    Stop reading blogs that help you blog. I used to read around 10 a day, but I’ve cut it down to one (ProBlogger). I’ve saved a LOT of time.

  • Luckily, I have a backlog of literally thousands of movie reviews written over the past 11 years as a professional film critic from which to draw as I build my archive.

    But even as I work hard to get all of this back inventory online along with the current reviews I write each week, I find that I must also be timely with current movie news. The timeliness is critical in my line of work, but so is the archive.

    So, each day I work to find the latest trailers and industry news that will be helpful to my readers. It’s a lot of work–period–but it’s also a lot of fun.

    The key is content–great content. Within three weeks of posting, I’ve seen my new blog site approach the numbers of my former site. Seems to be paying off. ProBlogger has been a great resource for me.

  • I set aside time for writing. When I write I turn of the internet (good excuse for going to a coffee shop). The main thing is to do one thing at a time. It’s when we get distracted that we lose time and productivity.

  • Pen and paper are my biggest organizational habits. I generally write down an outline of what I want to post about over the course of the next week and carry it around with me. Just the exercise of having written it down seems to help me stay on track as far as subject matter.

  • Blogger is essentially sharing. If we are not sharing tips,tricks, or hacks then our blogs are deficient. Remember, everyone has something to share and offer. Thanks for sharing.

  • I’m most productive when I’m motivated, so my best productivity tip is one that makes me motivated.

    I use the Updated Today plugin, in combination with a trick I created to show something only to the blog admin on WordPress.

    Whenever I have written a post today, I see a little yellow banner up at the top of my blog. That let’s me know that I’ve accomplished something today. If I don’t see it, then it’s a great motivator to actually do something!

    The only downside is that it is becoming a little less useful now that I use future posting. :(

  • To me, a schedule really helps. Since I’m still a student, school will always come before my blogging. That’s why I’ve set up a schedule for myself that would help me keep track on what I’m doing every day.

    Sly from

  • JD

    I have an ongoing To Do list of a variety of tasks: writing, marketing, research, reading and commenting on other blogs, ad stuff, design stuff . . . the list is neverending!

    By having a lot of different choices of types of blog work, I can’t use the excuse that I’m not “in the mood” to do X, Y, or Z.

    If I’m not in the mood to write, then I can read other blogs. If I’m not feeling motivated to work on marketing, I can jot down some ideas. If the idea of figuring out how to set up an amazon store fills me with dread, I can play around with my layout. And so on.

    I may not write a post every day, but I’m always working (playing!) on my blog in some capacity.

    Yay for me!

  • Transitioning from blogging online with WordPress to using Ecto offline is my biggest blogging productivity secret. I have much more flexibility in brainstorming, planning and organizing my thoughts and ideas for the next great post.

    I would say that future date posting comes in second – as Darren said today and Leo at Zen Habits a few days ago – you can take advantage of creative bursts that appear like consistency to your user. This gives me more time to read and respond to comments.

    I also agree with Simmons – cutting down on the blogs I read about blogging gave me more time to process the great thoughts from the blogs in my niche, leading to more ideas for my own writing.

  • Great tips all – I’m going to make a compilation post next week with some of your best tips.

  • I wrote up a post about productivity a while back:

    Covers a lot of the usually stuff, but also things like not making a big deal out of little things and why you should get a good browser.

  • Choose a topic to write about.

    Go through some key points.

    Write out a rough draft.

    Start your first draft.

    (Write more drafts if needed)

    Start Final draft

    Read through and publish!

    Sometimes I like to work on different articles at the same time. This keeps me from getting bored.

  • Whenever I’m in need of new ideas for posts to write, I just take a look back at the past day or two and see if there are any real life situations I can apply to the topic I write about.

    Darren, I’ve noticed you do quite a bit of this yourself.

  • I’ve now set a posting schedule for one of my main blogs, thanks to your 31 day challenge. Even when I don’t stick to it, I always have something to aim for. I plan to do this for the other main blog too.

    Reading other blogs also gives me lots of ideas, which I write down so that I don’t forget them.

    And when I’m using blogging as a diversion from less palatable writing, I find it really easy to dash off a post. It’s a shame it doesn’t work as well when it’s crunch time. :)

  • Each weekend I write a bunch of posts in one batch & use WordPress to schedule my posts to drop throughout the week. On top of that I write a little each day so that I keep up with current happenings.

  • Hi Darren, It’s usually when I’m not thinking about things to blog about that I come up with an idea. So, I keep a notebook with me and write down a sentence or two that will remind me of the ideas later on. If I didn’t do this I would forget.

    If I read something in a magazine or newspaper that inspires me, I cut it out and put it into a file for later.

  • The most productive thing that I can do for my blog is to get up by 5:30. This gives me a good 45 minutes to work before I have to head to work. Although you may not believe it, these 45 minutes are more productive in my work day than three hours could be later in the day. It is unreal how much I can get done!

  • loving these tips!

  • I set up a schedule for myself and because I am a student I need to manage time effectively. I write about 10 Posts on Sundays so that there is not much of writing to do on the other days.

    I set up a to do list where i dump each and every idea or an article I would want to review and have a look at it later. Most important things for me for content discovery are Digg, and Stumbleupon. I find a lot of stuff through these websites.

    If you are blogging on wordpress then I suggest you look into this posts that I wrote quite some time back.

  • I always have a mindmapping application out that I can use to brainstorm and capture my ideas with. If I come across an interesting website I link it to my mindmap so that I can go back to it later. This really helps me to focus and when I am ready to write I just pull up my midmap and have all my resources in one place.

  • Skip rough drafts and rewrites. instead, read your post aloud to someone before hitting the publish button. It’s amazing how many errors you’ll find and correct as you read it.

  • Write down the 10 most important things you can do for the day and list them from most important to least important, now start with the most important.

  • When you think about the word productivity it means that you produce something.

    At least for me that’s NOT the most interesting thing.

    It’s much more interesting reading ideas about link building, getting more traffic and how to convert the traffic into money.

    My least productive days are those, when I start reading first (emails, forums posts, RSS news, …) and producing second. (writing, getting links, optimizing my websites, …)

    The key to great productivity is then to discipline yourself to produce first and learn second.

    If you have an idea about an article, turn on your computer and write it.

    Then try and get some links (unless you have an established website where links occur naturally) and THEN see if you can learn something new or take care of business by reading emails and other info on the web.

  • Whenever I’m blogging, if I want to be productive, I have to eliminate all other distractions. No TV, no music, just me and the computer.

  • I’ve made it a habit to write down a list of topics that I want to blog about so that when I sit down to blog I know that I’ve got things to write about for the next few days. If some other event or subject catches my fancy I can put the topics on the list on the back burner but I’ll always have something to write about.

    I usually shut the ringer on the phone off. I’ve found that friends and family on the phone are the single biggest disruption to my blogging schedule.

    I tend to be more creative in the evening and at night and sometimes I get a lot of ideas during that time. What I do to harness that wave of creativity is start several posts about different things I want to blog about and then save them instead of posting them. On days that I find it very difficult to come up with ideas to write about I can always go back to these unfinished posts and finish them, polish then up and post them. Between that and the list, I rarely miss an opportunity to post.

  • 1. Drinking strong coffee.
    2. Refraining from checking my stats all the time.
    3. Leaving the house occasionally, which clears my head and the stimuli of the outside world give me new ideas.
    4. Cutting down on the RSS feeds I subscribe to.
    5. Building a close blogging network so we all inspire each other to keep going.
    6. Time-stamping posts.

  • Never throw away anything you write (save all posts in harddrive/disc).

    Don’t write a post if you are not interested in the topic.

    Write in a word processor, first, so you don’t loose the post!ARGHH!

    Good grammar. If it doesn’t read well, it won’t get read.

    Just like a photographer, look at everything in terms of it being captured in a picture/post.

    Never write anything you would be embarrassed for your mother to read. (not actually related to productivity).

    Get up every hour so you don’t get blood clots.

    Plan ahead.

  • I glance at Technorati, and other social networking sites to get ideas, then mull them over for awhile. Later, I write articles for my blog.

    I also love to read many blogs to get inspired to write. I read blogs within and outside of my niche. I have a forum on an IPB message board where I have listed over two hundred blogs and their URLs (at last count) and I’m still adding more!!

    Another thing I find useful is to jot things down throughout the day. I come up with blog post ideas all the time, so I carry around a small notebook and a little green mechanical pencil with me all day. At night I keep the notebook and pencil next to my bed where I can get to them quickly if another idea pops into my brain. I find myself dreaming about blogging on many nights. Once I wake up I jot down any blogging ideas I come up with.

    I like to try to keep at least ten articles in my WordPress dashboard at all times, all ready to publish. I only resort to those when I am in a rush or for the rare occasion when I can’t think of anything to blog about.

    I also like to list hundreds of ideas on my Invision Power Board forum. I have hundreds of blogging ideas listed in a restricted forum (where only I can see them) with dozens of articles in varying stages of development. When I finish one, I pop it straight into my WP dashboard.

    If you can’t think of anything to blog about, I have the perfect solution for you: Read Darren Rowse’s
    Works every time.

    You’ve gotta have PASSION to blog!

  • I just have a regular schedule. When I wake up I make my way to my computer and check out all my website statistics. I then proceed to empty my inbox and then if I have a good idea I may write (or begin to draft) an article or post.

    Then I make sure to check out some of my subscriptions before going down stairs for a drink and some toast.

    Thanks to having a small web log I can usually manage it daily in the mornings when there’s nothing on TV lol.

  • I would prepare some posts by one time and release one per day! Who is adopting this policy?

  • How do you keep your blog ticking over?

    Here is the trick: I always have something to write about because I simply sit down and start writing. If I keep fretting that I don’t have any ideas for new posts, and don’t do anything to actually write a post, then chances are the finger of blame will falsely fall on the poor writer’s block. It is always best to keep doing what needs be done, without letting any negative thoughts get in your way.

    Do you have any systems or rhythms that you’ve developed that help you make the time that you spend blogging more effective?

    I know what is the best time for me to write. I always write in the evening because that’s when I am most energetic and motivated. It’s in the evening when our body temperature reaches its highest point, which eliminates any lags, laziness, and slump that causes us to procrastinate.

    Other than that, I always read something good before settling down to write. Reading a well-written book, for example, motivates me to write better and pay more attention to stylistic aspect of my writing (This usually is a problem for me because English is not my first language)

    What tools help you in this?

    Notepad (Windows built-in note-taking software) I have tried many note-taking software and other tools but I keep coming back to notepad. Notepad is just a click away from me and I can start writing instantly without having to deal with interface issues of other software..

    Only other tools I use are Longman and Merriam Webster dictionaries, online thesaurus and my browser’s spell checker.

    I believe in minimalism and getting down to work without worrying about a lot of tools, groping my way through hundreds of buttons, and pesky confirmation messages.

    What advice would you give a blogger struggling to keep productive?

    Don’t set your standards too high. Don’t try to become Darren overnight. Concentrate on your own style and be innovative. Follow a schedule and do whatever you must to keep on blogging. JUST DON’T QUIT! (shouting intended)

  • i usually tag some pages or items with tag blogthis when i am surfing. if i dont get any idea to blog on a particular day. will in through this list to blog about. and i have am hour blocked every day to blog.

  • I am an absolute newbie to blogging but a very good book got me started:

    It is: Information trapping by Tara Calishain

    Thanks for your tips.

  • There are two types of posts that help me stay productive and give more clarity to the focus of my blog to my readers.

    1) Zeitgeist posts (example:

    We build these posts by gathering articles about our subject manner that show that the subject is being covered in the mainstream media and blogosphere, but aren’t big enough to justify their own posts. So we collect them for a few days, and then put them together as their own posts.

    This post format is nice because it helps us to stay focused on the topic at hand, while giving us an easy means to prioritize new information coming in. We can quickly assess new information to deem it worthy of a separate post, or if it simply needs to go into a zeitgiest post.

    2) All You Need To Know (example:

    These are our weekly carnival posts, which help in three separate ways. First, they help us to list the best posts of each week, which can help people that don’t keep up with every single post of every single week. Now that we’re up to a staff of 6, we’re rather prolific. Second, they help drive traffic deeper into the blog. Finally, they give us a post structure to guarantee that we’ll have a post of interest on our slowest day, which traditionally is Sundays.

    Having these standardized post styles is one method of keeping productive. Even on days where the news of our niche may be slow, we still are able to produce content that is interesting and worth people’s time.

  • Get away from your computer.

    I’m really prone to writer’s block, especially sitting in front of the computer while trying to come up with great ideas. Many times it’s more productive to take a walk and let the brain think than to try to force creativity at the desk.

    These are some great tips!

  • My blog covers a niche area in Software testing( which of course is my area of interest too). Since i host my blog on blogspot , I use windows live writer tool …which makes my job of blogging very easy.

    Other than this answering questions regularly, clearing up doubts of readers might make you a more productive writer.

  • Whenever I come across a fascinating blog article or Web site, I tag it in My, usually with a category and/or note that corresponds to one of my blog categories. Then I come back and review the tagged material when I have time to really absorb it. Often, in the process of doing that, I’ll develop an idea for a post of my own. At the very least, I’ll write a link post that point my readers to quality posts related to the theme of my blog.

    I’m also trying to break down long posts into a series of posts – something I learned from ProBlogger. Not only does this fill out the editorial calendar, I think series posts make it easier on the reader to focus in, and hopefully, return to your blog for the next installment.

  • My favorite productivity tool is a digital kitchen timer.

    Nothing can sideswipe your attention and redirect your efforts quite like the world-wide-web. The timer keeps me focused, motivated and targeted on the individual task at hand.

    Identify your daily, weekly and monthly activities, set a time limit for each one, and start the digital timer in countdown mode. Save your favorite activities for last to serve as your reward for staying on task.

    Here’s my current timed list of blogging tasks:

    Weekly (Blog Business):
    15 minutes: backup previous posts and template changes
    15 minutes: submit posts to blog carnivals
    60 minutes: collect links; write and publish my blog carnival roundup
    15 minutes: thank carnival hosts through comments
    45 minutes: send thanks for new incoming links
    15 minutes: identify new posts to write during upcoming week
    (Total = 2.75 hours per week)

    Daily (Blog Business):
    15 minutes: reply to emails
    15 minutes: respond to blog comments
    15 minutes: check new forum messages
    15 minutes: check stats
    30 minutes: read other blogs, leave comments, copy my comments for future post ideas
    (Total = 1.5 hours/day x 5 days = 7.5 hours per week)

    Writing Process:
    30 minutes: brainstorm, research, outline, collect links
    60 minutes: write rough draft
    30 minutes: edit, polish, proofread
    15 minutes: publish to blog
    (Total = 2.25 hours/post x 3 per wk = 6.75 hours per week)

    Additionally, keep a small spiral notebook handy at all times. Jot down thoughts and ideas for future use.

  • Tip #1–This productivity tip may not for everyone, but if you can do it you should:

    Get yourself some help– Really, if you can make more money per hour than you’re paying the business manager or assistant who’s helping you, then it’s worth it to shell out the dough so that some of your blogging (and other) tasks can be taken off your plate.

    It also usually allows the blogger to increase his income even though he’s spending money on the help, because his time is freed up to pursue more projects.

    But, obviously for this productivity strategy to work, you have to be making money already, so it’s not for everyone :-) If you’re a seasoned problogger though, it could radically improve your life.


    Tip #2–Morning exercise and eating a small healthy meal every 2-3 hours. That tip may sound weird, but honestly I implemented this change about 3 weeks ago, and on the first day my energy was increased by a million fold, I could focus like a laser beam all day long, and consequently I got tons more done, blogging and otherwise.

    I think with working online all day sometimes we can forget to eat (or at least I do!) and then around the middle of the afternoon I’m exhausted. But now with eating the frequent small meals pretty much my entire day optimally efficient.

    Eating regularly and exercise can make a HUGE impact on anyone’s productivity, but especially anyone how has to sit in front of the computer for long stretches of time.

  • I have to keep a small notebook with me all the time, to write down inspirations, possible titles, keywords, etc. I usually have an outline for a post before I’ve sat down at the computer.

    You must keep a scratch pad in the place you get the most ideas. In fact, I’m installing a dry-erase board in the shower. (sounds silly, I know) I get the best ideas in there, but they usually leave my mind with the steam escaping. I can’t just run out all the time, sopping wet, and start tapping out a post, without my husband contacting mental health professionals.

    My latest trick to keep the ticker going? Create a new Carnival or Group Writing Project! I’ve recently created the Mothers and Daughters Blog Carnival (yup, I’m a mom blogger) The first edition went over so well, and doubled my subscribers.

    Great tips, everybody!

  • I’ve been inspired to try out some GTD software because of posts like this. It’ll be published tomorrow (look for the trackback).

  • Here’s my post about adopting a Getting to Done wiki for blogging and work/personal tasks:

    Thank you for inspiring me, Darren

  • Hi Darren,

    I get posting ideas from life – including other people’s blogs. I wake up at 5 or so every morning (just the way I am) and read feeds for an hour or so on my e61 phone, and keep a running ‘todo’ email open. I get up at 6 and get the posts started (usually a sentence and the link that inspired the thought) so I can finish them off in the evening after work or on weekends. Some of the ideas go into my day-job client consulting and intrapreneuring efforts, some spark new blogs. Life (and that includes RSS) is the best source of material :)

    Thanks, Andrew

  • I am taking my laptop with me to work. I turn it on during my scenic ride on a seabus (crossing Pacific Ocean) from North Vancouver to Vancouver (Canada) and back. The trip takes less than 15 minutes one way, but I am amazed to see how much can be accomplished during that relatively short period of time.

    I used to be upset that there’s no internet access on the seabus, but now I’m actually glad to be working offline for awhile – no distractions. I can catch up with my emails, RSS, and even write down some post ideas for my blog and save them in my Thunderbird Drafts.

    Coincidentally, I’m hosting a group writing project: Time Management, the deadline is September 26, 2007. I’m sure that everyone would find Real time management solutions from real people to be extremely helpful.

  • Hi Darren,

    I just have one tip to share with others. It’s about how and where to find readers to your blog.

    When I believe that content is King. There are two phases to the process.
    a) Content is king so prepare your content and present it well.
    b) Now go for hunting readers

    Where do you hunt?
    a) Similar blogs and their comments
    b) Forums where I answer to particular SEO questions
    c) Social networks

    It worked for me only when I hunted readers from similar fields related to my blog. For instance on Yahoo answers in SEO topic, I found readers who are interested in knowing about basic SEO tips. And i genuinely tried to answer them, (not spam) where by i managed to collect their trust even though only a few. This helps me more in winning loyal readers if not huge number of them.

    At the end of the day I’m happy winning a handful of loyal readers than x10 times of passers-by.

    Give me targetted traffic, loyal traffic, and a niche market.