Want Productivity? Make A Schedule

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Post by Blog Manager, Robbi Hess

As I write this post I am in the midst of, well, writing this post and planning for my trip to Social Media Marketing World. As you read this post I will have just returned home from the trip. How can I get away for a cross country flight from NY to CA, attend a conference and still keep my blog posts for BlogPaws going live? Scheduling. Scheduling. Scheduling.

On a daily basis I have a schedule that I adhere to. If I didn’t I would spend my time on Pinterest looking at recipes I’d never make and oohing and aaahing over cute puppies and kitties. Without a schedule and to-dos I tend to wander. I know people have told me, “A schedule stifles my creativity.” To that I say, “Whatever!” A schedule, I think, and productivity experts agree, helps keep you on track, keeps you focused and at the end of the day when you look at all of the items you’ve checked off you feel pretty darn good about yourself and all you’ve accomplished.

If you want to be a blogger who makes money blogging, you need to have practices in place to help get you there. You need to be disciplined because if you’re not, then at the end of the week, month or year you will wonder where the time went and why you’re no further ahead.

Here are my favorite getting-stuff-done tips:

  • Don’t leave the office (wherever your blogging office may be) without planning for the coming day. Prior to do listplanning will help you sleep at night because you can rest your head knowing that you’ve written down what needs to be done. Also, it helps when you walk into the office and glance at your to-do list because you’ve already preplanned. I have also found that when I know I have to write blog posts and I put them on my to-do list the night before my mind rolls ideas around while I sleep and I actually sit in front of the computer with no fear of the blank screen. Even better tip… if you have an idea of what you’ll be blogging about (hint, using an editorial calendar helps you with this!) then you truly may think of your blog post while you sleep and the words will fly from your finger tips.
  • Know what your major task of the day is. Number your tasks if necessary or highlight the ones that are crucial and that must be completed before you stop work that day.
  • Work on the major task first. I find that if I let a major task linger it will become oppressive and when I am working on other items, that major task is continually nagging away. It is draining my energy so I know I should devote my energies to it, get it out of the way and then move on.
  • If you find your to-do list has 15 or 20 or more items on it on a daily basis, you need to step back, breathe and decide… are all of these truly necessary? If not, move them to a different day. If so, ask yourself, “Why?” Are you overscheduled? If you find yourself saying “yes” to everything but leaving the office with more than half your list unfinished, you need to rethink what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. Yes, there are days when your to-do list seems extreme, but if that is every day, take a day and truly look at your priorities. No one can function with a to-do list that long every day AND if you face every day knowing you won’t complete it, it will become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
  • Don’t get pulled into a meeting – whether online, in person or on the phone without knowing what the agenda is. Without an agenda it’s possible the meeting will drag on and on and with an agenda it could have been wrapped up in 30 minutes. If someone calls a meeting, ask them to send you an agenda so you can prepare. If they say they don’t have an agenda, then ask them to let you know when they do.
  • Remember that life isn’t without its u-turns and you need to plan for those. That sounds wonky, I know. You should plan some down time into your calendar to take care of items that you weren’t prepared for and for emergencies that may pop up.
  • Take time to care for yourself. Yes, you need to work, but you also need to get away from the computer. Take a walk. Eat a healthy lunch. Read a book for a few minutes on your designated lunch time. Your mental and physical health will thank you. If necessary schedule time for you on your to-do list ie, Take a 30 minute walk at lunchtime. If it’s in your calendar, chances are you will adhere to it.shutterstock_129701255
  • Speaking of adding times to the calendar and your to-dos, if you can allot, for example, “30 minutes to work on XYZ blog,” “15 minutes to repin on Pinterest,” or “30 minutes to make phone calls to prospect for new clients.” Having a time limit attached to a task may help keep you more focused and you just might get more done!

Differentiate between a project (an item that has to be completed, but isn’t complete yet, and will require more than one task in order to see it through to fruition) and a task (an item that needs to be completed, but hasn’t been completed yet AND which might be part of a larger project).  To make this easier to understand, let’s say that your PROJECT is to write an editorial calendar. The writing of that calendar is comprised of smaller TASKS. Some of those tasks include:

  • Choosing the medium on which to put your calendar
  • Determining whether you will blog weekly, twice weekly or more and making space in the calendar for that
  • Adding in holidays specific to your niche
  • Deciding whether you want to write to a monthly or weekly theme and if so, adding that to the calendar
  • Coming up with actual blog titles to put in the calendar – these will likely change, but they will be a jumping off point for your blog post
  • Deciding if you will interview experts for a particular post and if so adding that to the calendar along with that person’s contact information

This is just a very small example of how a project is comprised of smaller tasks. Even a blog post could be thought of as a PROJECT and the steps you take to write it could be the TASKS. While it could be more time consuming to break each blog post aka project into specific tasks it may be helpful to do it for a week or two and see if it helps your productivity.

What is your best productivity tip? Do you have a go-to method for keeping track of what you need to get done?

(Photo Shutterstock: To-Do List)

(Photo Shutterstock: Overscheduled)