Over the last few days we’ve been tackling the problem of ‘not enough time to blog’ that many bloggers struggle with. I started by sharing 7 tips for busy bloggers on how to find time to blog and then had 14 of my blogging friends share a little about their blogging routines.
When I asked these 14 bloggers about their routines I also asked if they had any tips for other busy bloggers. I’m glad I did because collectively they give some great insight below.
- Write down any ideas you have and transfer them to your blog drafts as soon as possible. If you can, skip the writing down part and go direct to your blog drafts. Maybe use a smart phone so you are more likely to have a handy route to your blog!
- In your drafts add a semi-decent headline (not final, just enough to get the idea across) and some bullets. At the very least the point you want to make. If you don’t then you will forget what your post was about. Trust me on this, I speak from experience, ha.
- Work out the best time of day for you to write and schedule time in that slot. I find my best writing is between 10am and 1pm, and second best between 6pm and 8pm. After lunch is a better time for me to talk but not write. We all have a rhythm, listen to yours.
- Set a timer. Tell the family to not disturb you until the time is up. Close all distractions. Write.
- Break up your writing into less daunting chunks if you need to. One session just do outlines. Next session do bad drafts. Third some editing. Then formatting. Then final polish and posting. Don’t try to do too much otherwise you will never do enough!
Tsh Oxenreider from Simple Mom
When I first started blogging, it wasn’t a job, so I had to hustle on top of my already full life. When I blogged, it was in snippets of time here and there—I wasn’t able to afford a babysitter until a few years ago. My best piece of advice is to not wait for that “perfect” time to write or blog, because it’ll never happen. Most of our days are full with a lot of those daily liturgies that require our focus—laundry, dinner, time with friends, parenting. If you can only blog in 10-minute increments, then so be it. If you can afford childcare, even if it’s just a few hours a day once a week, I say try it out and see what happens with your writing.
And also, make the most of your blogging time by blocking out distractions. Treat your blog as real work. Close out Twitter or Facebook unless you’re genuinely working on something there, and don’t open your blog reader until you’ve written as least a few paragraphs that day.
Leo Babauta from ZenHabits
Block off a chunk of two mornings a week to blog. If it’s important, you’ll make the time.
Cut out TV, Internet, news, socializing to make the time.
If you can’t dedicate 2-3 hours a week to blogging, you shouldn’t blog.
Christina Butcher from Hair Romance
A productivity technique I use is setting an alarm on my phone for 20 mins. I work well to deadlines and because I know I’ve only got 20 minutes I don’t procrastinate or check instagram etc. It’s surprising how much you can get done in 20 minutes.
When I’m filming tutorials I try and do a few at a time so that it’s more efficient. If you’re not filming often, I recommend keeping notes and a drawing of your perfect camera setup (eg time of day, lighting locations, reflector position, camera settings etc). It makes your next shoot quicker and easier.
I think it also comes down to being honest about your priorities and being aware of when you’re working and when you’re being ‘busy’.
Not to get too fixed on posting every day, or to a strict roster, if that’s not working for you.
Why do you blog? To be creative, expressive? To do something meaningful?
If this is the case, it’s better to be your message and be a little loose and free and produce good work rather than “churning and burning”.
Nicole Avery from Planning with Kids
- Have written SMART goals for what you want to achieve for the year with your blogging. Lots of opportunities come up with blogging and there are plenty of social media distractions, so to keep focused, you can look back on these goals and assess whether you are spending time on activities which are going to help you achieve your goals. Your goals end up being your decision making framework.
- Creating a content plan that is aligned to your goals. A content plan can take time to develop, but it is an excellent investment in time, which will save you time in the long run.
- Have a social media strategy. Utilise Google Analytics to determine which social media network connects the most with your audience and brings readers to your blog. Don’t feel you have to be on every form of social media. Choose 1 -2 and do them well.
- Be disciplined. Use productivity tools like Focus Booster when working through your to do list and stick to the allocated tasks before wandering off to social media or email to check out what is new.
- Make sure you have time off over the year. Being online there is a constant flow of information in. Unplug and disconnect for chunks at time to recharge and relax. You will be surprised how productive you will be when you go back online.
Tina Roth – Swiss Miss
Try to get organized in other aspects of your life by using some of the tools that exist solely for that reason. I use Sparrow, which helps me filter out my email.
I also use TeuxDeux for keeping a list of the things I need to do any given day.
And I cannot stress how wonderful DropMark is for collecting images and organizing them into specific groups.
Jonathan Fields from Good Life Project
Blog in the margins. Keep an idea capture device with you at all times (Moleskine, voice recorder app, etc). That way, when you’re running around and some insights comes as you’re going from one place to another, you can jot it down immediately, then flesh it out later.
Experiment with short form content (which I’m about to do a bunch of). No such thing as too long or short, only too boring.
Most times, jugglers just haven’t learned their priorities, or haven’t chosen to cut out extraneous things.
I don’t watch TV. I don’t surf endlessly. I don’t spend hours at a time staying up on FB and Twitter and getting current with 400 blogs.
I work for my community and that gives me the time I need to create.
Crystal Paine from Money Saving Mom
1. Focus on the things that will give you the biggest return on your investment of time.
For me, that means devoting most of my blogging time to writing posts. Interacting on social media is good and answering emails can be a great way to build relationships, but I’m okay with not always being able to respond to every comment or email if it means that I’m able to devote more time to getting quality posts up on a regular basis. At the end of the day, the quality posts are what are going to give me the biggest return on my investment. Well, unless one of those emails is from some huge blogger or gigantic media company who wants to promote me. :)
2. Use a timer.
Have a set times for how long you’ll spend on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, answering comments, answering emails, etc. and then set a timer and stick with it. I don’t spend much free time on the computer; most of my computer time is scheduled in specific time blocks for specific tasks. This might seem rigid, but it significantly increases my online efficiency. Once I’ve had a really productive stretch of time, I’ll often give myself a short 5 or 10-minute breather to check whatever I want online. And then it’s back to the schedule.
3. Batch everything you can.
Don’t flitter here and there checking Facebook and responding to one comment, checking Twitter and retweeting something, and checking Pinterest to re-pin something all while writing a post and trying to draft an email. Focus on one task at a time and batch those tasks. For instance, I try to schedule a number of posts on Facebook at once or clean out my inbox in one swoop. Multi-tasking rarely increases online productivity.
4. Shut down the distractions.
When I’m writing posts, I usually shut down my email so I can focus on writing posts instead of being distracted by incoming emails. In addition, I’ve turned off all notifications possible on social media so that nothing is beeping or dinging for my attention while I’m trying to concentrate.
5. Outline posts ahead of time.
I rarely write a lengthy posts in one sitting. Usually, I outline the post ahead of time — often while I’m in the middle of doing dishes or even driving (thanks, Siri!). Having a framework in place for my posts ahead of time makes it much easier to flesh out the post when I’m at my computer and ready to write.
Rand Fishkin from SEOMoz
Much like working out, it has to become a habit.
You can build a habit in 30 days if you stick to it and force yourself not to deviate.
In my early blogging days, that’s exactly what I did – I wouldn’t let myself go to bed until the post was live.
Trey Ratcliff from Stuck in Customs
What tips do I have to a “poor blogger who is juggling a busy life”? My response is that everybody is fucking busy, but you make time for what you love.
If you don’t love what you are blogging about, then you obviously are considering it “work” and it’s a “task” on your to-do list. Maybe your blog is about the wrong thing! It’s okay to change, you know… you’re allowed to be many things in life, so pivot to a new subject that you love. And if you’re not sure you love it, then try it for a while, like a child with a piano one week, a skateboard the next, and a guitar the next.
There’s no need to stop behing a childlike in your experimentation when you are an adult.
You’ll find what you love as long as you forgive yourself for failing on many random stabs! Your mom is not standing over you forcing you to play the piano (“blog about BS”) every day. You’re in charge, you know. If it’s something you love, then you crave it, you think about it in the shower, you lose track of time. If you love it, you find a way.
Well, we all have the same amount of time, and almost everyone is juggling a busy life.
For me it just finally became a priority. I wanted to be a writer for several years before I actually started writing.
Once I made it a priority I could tell it was something I’d be doing for a long time, so I tried to pare down as many other activities as possible to support that focus.
Neil Patel from Quick Sprout
FROM DARREN: A HUGE thanks to all 14 bloggers above who put aside precious time to respond to my questions! Thanks!
Don’t forget to check out our BlogWise Ebook for more tips on blogging productivity.