Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
Where does the time go? There are days of the week when I walk away from my desk and close the office door and wonder where the day went and what exactly I accomplished. I look at my to-do list some days and I have been more than productive and other days I hardly scratched the surface of what I had planned for myself. Those tasks carry over to the next day and, fingers crossed, I will get through them.
Because we all have the same 24 hours in a day and we like to eat, sleep, play with our pets, spend time with our families and even hold down full time jobs, we need to be more mindful of the time we spend in front of the computer with our blogs.
- Just do it. Nike had it right with their slogan and bloggers can adapt that for their writing routines and “just write it.” Yes, there are times when you just don’t have any ideas left on your mental shelves or you have an idea but worry it just won’t be right or good enough, or whatever term you use when you procrastinate. Remember procrastination takes more time and mental effort than just doing/writing it. Don’t wait until it’s your specified writing time to find an idea; you should be idea gathering all week long.
- Speaking of idea gathering. Plan your blogging week. I know I sound like a broken record, but having an editorial calendar means that a) you spent time putting it together and therefore planned blog posts for holidays, themes, contests or giveaways and evergreen topics and b) you won’t have the “blank screen” syndrome. You can always try free writing an idea; free writing, in my mind, is a procrastination method and if I had time to free write I would find time to write my blog instead. Having a plan and having an idea for your blog post means your blogging time will be less of a slog through the mud and more of a downhill stroll. Spend time during your week, when you have down time, to jot down topic ideas and blog titles.
- Become an eavesdropper. Bloggers, actually writers of every ilk, pay sharp attention to the world around them. They scan newspaper headlines, glance at the titles of articles in magazines when they’re standing in line at the checkout, listen in on the couple chatting over a cup of coffee in the café next to them. Bloggers also understand the importance of capturing those ideas because they are as fleeting as butterflies. Whether you write your ideas in a notebook or in an app in your smartphone, capturing them throughout the week will help you when you get to your scheduled writing time. What will you glean from eavesdropping? Two moms in line at the grocery store talking about how the dog is constantly tracking mud in the house. You might write a blog post about “Spring Proofing Your Pet” in which you can offer hints, tips or product advice on cleaning off Fido before he comes into the house. There could be a magazine article entitled, “Top 10 Ways To Lose Weight Before Swimsuit Season Arrives,” and you could turn that into a “Top 10 Ways To Get Fit With Your Pet.” Don’t let precious ideas elude you; take it from me once they’re gone they may never come back.
- Turn off the internet. I realize you won’t literally turn off the internet, but you can close the browser windows, turn off email notifications and ignore your friends on Facebook while you’re writing. Distractions are the bane of anyone who does his or her work in front of a computer screen. Even while I am writing this I am wondering if my friend responded to the Facebook message I’d written her before I started this post. I do know though that if I get off of the word document I am working on and click onto Facebook I will then be drawn into Pinterest which will lead me to Etsy for a shopping excursion and then I will have frittered away my precious blogging time. Stay focused! Reward yourself once your blog posts have been written – a walk with the dog, a cup of tea, a piece of chocolate.
- Stick to a schedule. A habit takes 21 days to form. Set your sights on a goal of blogging at 8 am Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for one hour (or whatever works into your schedule). Guard that time and over time your mind will become ingrained to the fact that that is your writing time and you may find the words flowing with ease because you’ve been mentally preparing for your blogging time.
While you don’t have to be “actively” thinking about writing and blogging all of the time, you will find that once you’re more in tune to your surroundings and become a savvy eavesdropper that you will become a consummate idea gatherer and that will enhance your blogging productivity.
What time management tips to you employ to make certain you accomplish what you need to during your blogging sessions?
(Photo: Shutterstock Kitten with clock)