Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
I love productivity tips and organizational posts. Why? Because I have a ton of work that I have to complete on a weekly basis and if I didn’t have a system in place I would be, honestly, frozen in place when faced with my daunting to-do list. I learned after my breast cancer diagnosis that I had to get a grip on my work schedule and by default my life schedule (as in, I wanted to have a life after my diagnosis and treatment). Prior to breast cancer, I worked sometimes seven days a week and many days of the week I worked for 16 hours a day. I look at that now and wonder how I managed to still be here today.
I wish it hadn’t taken a huge health issue to force me to look at my lifestyle and my work life, but it did and it taught me how to prioritize and systematize tasks so that I can do more in fewer hours. Yes, I actually close my office door at 5 pm on a regular basis and that isn’t always the easiest thing to do when you work from home.
Here, for you, are some pet blogger productivity tips that I hope will make you more productive and feel less stressed:
- Don’t fall into the trap of writer’s block. I used to teach writing classes and I would tell my students there is no such thing as writer’s block. It’s a cop out. If you want to be a writer aka pet blogger, you can’t be one of those people who waits for inspiration to strike. You need to make it happen. One way to avoid writer’s block is to be always gathering ideas for your next blog topic. If you keep an idea notebook nearby, or dictate messages to yourself in your Smartphone, you won’t be face with the blank screen syndrome when your blogging time rolls around. This is especially crucial if you have limited amounts of time for your blogging — you don’t want to waste it wondering “what should I write?”
- Set small goals. Yes, I have signed up for NANO. Do I have time to write a novel in November? Perhaps not, do I have time to write 1,667 words on my novel every day in November so that on November 30 I have a 50,000 word novel? Perhaps, yes. Break your big goals down into smaller, bite-sized chunks. If you have a task that seems insurmountable, chances are it’s because it is just too big. Take a step back, take a deep breath and break that big task down and chip away at it.
- Take small steps to change your life aka work habits. I love this book, One Small Step Can Change Your Life. What this means to me is to not think, “I have to change everything in order to change my life or work habits.” For example, if I wanted to lose 50 pounds, I’d be better served by giving up a morning donut or an after dinner bowl of ice cream than to swear off all sugar, carbs, between meal snacks, alcohol and to start walking 10 miles a day! Eeep!! Make a small change in your blogging habits. If you want to write five blog posts a week, perhaps you need to work up to it. You need to make small changes in your schedule to find available time for writing those five blog posts. Don’t tell yourself, I am going to work my 40-hour a week outside the home job, deal with my two hour daily commute, come home, walk the dog, never watch television and toil away at my computer until I fall (exhausted) into bed at 1 am only to do it again the next day. Slow down. Breathe. Find pockets of time that will help you work toward achieving your five blog posts a week goal.
- Start a new habit. Is there something you’ve been meaning to do, but just haven’t gotten to? For me, right now, it’s to get back to reading on a regular basis. Why have I fallen away from reading? I have filled that time with other hobbies — crochet, or talking on the phone with a friend — or watching television. What can I do to make reading a habit once again? I can start a new habit of reading during my lunch time. I can start a habit of reading at least five pages of whatever book strikes my fancy every day. Five pages might not seem like much, but it will eventually become a habit. The point is to get your mindset into a routine of expecting XYZ to happen on a regular basis and then it will become automatic. Make your pet blogging a habit, as in, “Every Saturday morning I am going to blog for 15 minutes.” True, you might not get much done in those 15 minutes, but your momentum of committing to that time frame might just propel you to find more ways to work in a blogging habit. A habit that I started that was scary at first, but has helped me start my mornings in a better frame of mind is to not check my email for the first two hours of my work day. Why? I found that I would get mired down in them and because I hadn’t planned for them, it sucked a lot of time out of my day AND more importantly reading emails first thing in the morning put me into a reactive mode — not conducive to good mental health or a positive attitude toward the rest of my workday. Because I know those first two hours of the morning are my best and most productive times I guard them and work on those tasks that take the most mental energy and then I check email.
- Don’t blame yourself if you don’t meet a goal or cross off every item from your to-do list. The problem might not be you, it might be the tactics and strategies you’re employing to complete those goals or those to-dos. If you’re looking at a to-do list that is never done, take stock at the end of a week when this happens and try to determine why. Were your goals too lofty? Did you have too many items on your to-do list. Did you get distracted by Pinterest or Facebook when you should have been working? Take stock of your true activities and how much time it truly takes you to do XYZ task. Chances are you will find there are time vampires in your schedule that you need to cut off (and it could be that social media is your time vampire).
What steps can you take to be more productive or to introduce a habit into your pet blogging routines? I’d love to hear!
(Photo Shutterstock: Dog dressed as vampire)
(Photo Shutterstock: Cat staring at clock)