“I’d get more done of there were two of me.” “I need a clone.” “There just aren’t enough hours in a day.” “Busy.”
If any of these statements resonate with you, I urge you to take a step back, regroup and start over. Your entire life shouldn’t be measured in blog posts completed or hours worked in a week. Sure you need to write X number of blog posts, but you also need to have a life.
Let’s get right to some steps that can help you regain control of your life with these 7 time management tips for bloggers:
Start your morning with a routine.
Whether your morning starts at 5 am or 10 am, it’s still the start of your day. Take control of it by creating a morning routine. Your routine is as unique as you are. My routine involves me getting up, getting dressed–hair, make-up, the whole shebang–walking Henrietta, having breakfast, reading the newspaper, maybe watching some Gilmore Girls, then getting to work. I don’t look at my phone or check emails or even open my computer until I have had at least an hour to myself. Don’t jump right into the day by checking email because, chances are, that will put you into a reactive move and leave you feeling frazzled and frantic.
Know what you’re going to do once you get to your office.
Whether you work from home or outside the home, knowing what’s on your plate before you walk in the door will help set the tone for a productive day. Make your to-do list for the following day before you leave the office at night. Jotting down what you hope to accomplish the next day will help you jump right in when you get to your desk, and it will also help you rest easier at night because you have written down your tasks.
I know that life happens and your schedule can be thrown off kilter. A daily schedule for a small business owner or a pet blogger will help you be more productive. Have set “office hours.” This will let your friends and family know that you’re taking your business seriously and that you aren’t free to babysit the nieces and nephews or run errands for Mom during the work day. A schedule will also keep you on task with working instead of getting bogged down in household chores that, frankly, can wait until the end of your office hours. If you worked outside of the home you wouldn’t be dashing back and forth doing laundry, would you?
Get away from your desk regularly.
I know I said not to become distracted by household chores, but you do need to “distract” yourself by taking regular breaks. Get up. Get a drink. Take a short walk. Taking regular breaks will help you both physically and mentally. If you get so lost in your tasks, set a timer and get up at least once an hour for at least five minutes and march in place, do some stretches, practice some yoga. A healthy entrepreneur is a happier, more productive entrepreneur.
Just as you shouldn’t lean over the sink to eat a meal, you shouldn’t gobble your meals down in front of the computer. Checking email while eating your sandwich means you’re not being fully present in either activity. Additionally, there is nothing so pressing that you can’t get away from your computer and eat your lunch or breakfast or dinner at the dinner table. Set aside at least 30 minutes in your workday for your lunch and a brief, brisk walk. Eating at your desk may also lead to your making poor food choices and gaining weight, the bane of the self employed!
Make friends with a planner–virtual or paper.
This is where you will make note of your daily to-dos, list your long-term goals and priorities, make note of appointments and out-of-office obligations. Don’t leave “phone calls with clients” up to the power of your memory; write them down. Also, having your long- and short-term goals written down will help you see whether you are making progress on them. If you have “write a book” as a long-term goal you want to complete in 2016, you can’t leave it until December 30. If “write a book” is on your agenda this year, in your planner write down “work on my book 1 hour” and add that into your planner a couple of days a week. This will keep you accountable to yourself and will help you chip away at this big project.
Know what you’re working for.
If you’re working just to work–and yes, we all work to pay the bills–your work will drain you. If, however, you’re working to attend the BlogPaws Conference, or buy a new computer, or invest in a new wardrobe for your pet, or have a new website designed, you are working for something that has meaning to you, which will make it a goal worth achieving. The household bills will still be there, but make certain you have a real “why” for what you’re doing.
Where do you get bogged down and lose your trajectory toward productivity? Let me know and we can talk about them at the BlogPaws Conference!
Robbi Hess is the former BlogPaws blog manager and will be speaking at the BlogPaws 2016 Conference. She blogs at All Words Matter and is the Media Manager for Big Barker, maker of premium beds for big dogs.