Ask any blogger what they’re working on and they’ll usually respond with a laundry list of items that are required to keep a website running: writing, coding, photography, branding, promotion, social media management, networking. The list goes on and on. The sheer number of tasks that are supposed to be completed each day is already immense and it seems the so-called experts are adding more all the time. Whether blogging is your full-time gig or your side hustle, the fact is: there aren’t enough hours in a day to even begin to tackle all of the things you think you should be doing and so, your to-do overflows. Some things get accomplished because they’re fast or easy or you just can’t put them off any longer. Others stay on the list so long they ultimately get forgotten and discarded in a pile of the good ideas and unfinished projects that you just never got around to.
The truth is that a to-do list is a terrible productivity tool.
Sure, crossing off finished tasks comes with its own sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, but who hasn’t spent the day working on your to-do list only to look at the clock, realize you’ve spent hours and still feel like you haven’t really achieved anything important? Where exactly does the time go? Time is the one resource that none of us can create. We all get 24 hours a day. And yet, we waste time working hard on tasks that are busy work. A to-do list can tell you all the things you would like to complete. It can tell you all the things the experts think you should be doing. It can track all the things you would like to do if you had all the time in the world, but it can’t help you get more done and it can’t help ensure the tasks you work on are the right tasks to help you achieve your goals for your blog.
Productivity Over Busyness
Our society has this weird tendency to be in awe of the busy person. Being busy is a badge of honor that proclaims us to be a better adult than those around us. People assume that because you’re very busy, you must be getting a lot of important things done. This is false. Ticking a lot of items off your list isn’t really productive. Productivity is about getting the best possible result for the least amount of effort. If you want to be truly productive and start crushing your blogging goals, you need to ditch your to-do list and start scheduling your time instead.
Get More Done By Scheduling Your Time
Time scheduling is a trick used by some of the most successful people in the world. Millionaires, CEOs, Olympic athletes, and more all use scheduling to ensure that they are focusing their time on what matters to them most. It’s a proven fact that an uncompleted to-do list can be a powerful demotivator and most people struggle to differentiate between urgent tasks and important tasks. For example, responding to blog comments in a timely fashion is an urgent task, but it’s only an important one if your responses generate more engagement from your community.
Tips for Effectively Scheduling Your Blogging Tasks
- Decide how much time you are able to spend working on your blog and when you are going to commit to working on your blog. If you plan to work on a task “when you have time”, it might never get achieved. If you plan to work on it Saturday at 2 pm you stand a much better chance of completing it. Try to set aside time to work on your blog when you feel you’re at your best.
- Schedule time for tasks your blog cannot survive without. For most people, this boils down to two tasks: create content and maintain your website. Schedule time every week to work on those items.
- Prioritize the things you want to do by how effective they will be in helping you meet your blogging goals. If you want to increase engagement, you might decide that responding to comments or participating in Twitter chats are the best use of your time. If your goal is to increase traffic, participating in Boosts or creating images for specific social networks might be a better way to go. If your goal is to generate income, you might spend your time pitching brands or working on your affiliate programs. Decide what blogging tasks are essential to you. No two blogs will have the outlook on which tasks are most important and that is OK. We’ve all got to decide what is essential to us.
- Decide how long you need to spend on each of those tasks to get the desired results. Be realistic and make sure you plan to give yourself enough time to complete the task well. It’s better to do a small number of things fantastically than to do a large number of things kind of ok. Allow yourself a bit of extra time in case a task ends up being more complicated than you expected or if you run into technical difficulties.
- Once you know how long to spend on each item, block that time out in your planner and treat it like you would a meeting or appointment: Pick a time, show up and do the work.
- At the scheduled time, sit at your desk or work area. Focus solely on the task at hand. Put all your energy into completing the one task that you are scheduled to work on and complete it well. Resist distractions or other tasks that might pull you in. For longer work sessions, consider using the Pomodoro Technique.
- Regularly schedule the time to review your efforts and determine if the tasks you are focusing on are achieving the desired outcomes. If they aren’t, reassess what you’re doing, brainstorm other ways to achieve that goal and try again.
- Make sure you schedule time for big projects and continued education. Challenges like the Social Media Holiday Challenge or the Boost Your Blog 10K Challenge can make a huge impact on your success as blogger, but if you don’t schedule the time to work on them, you may not get the desired results or worst, you’ll be left feeling like you’re behind, can’t catch up and abandon the project altogether.
You’re not going to get it all done. There are too many things and never enough hours, but respecting your blog, scheduling the time to nurture it and sticking to that schedule can help you focus more on the things that can really impact on your traffic, your engagement and your income and help you waste less time lost on the internet.
Reminder: The Boost Your Blog 10K Challenge starts Monday! Check out our custom task reminder stickers to help you schedule the time to crush this challenge and grow your blog.
Simply download and print. You can print on computer paper, cut them out, and glue them into your planner. Or, you can print them on sticky paper to DIY planner stickers.
What is your best productivity tip? How do you keep distractions at bay and focus on the task at hand?
Jodi Chick is a lifestyle blogger from Vancouver, BC (That’s in Canada, eh?) who believes anyone can have a pet-friendly home that doesn’t feel like it’s gone to the dogs. When she’s not arguing with her sassy puggle or snuggling her sweet rescue dog, she can be found in the kitchen, the craft room or on the couch, bingeing on Netflix and putting stickers in her many day planners.