Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
Even though we are five days into the new year, chances are your calendar is — or can be — a blank slate. A chance at a new, fresh start for your business, your blogging and ultimately your life! What can you do, now… today… to prioritize for 2015 blogging success? Look at your calendar as a blank slate. You have the entire year ahead of you rife with possibilities and new beginnings. Isn’t that a great feeling? I love it!
Chances are you have that feeling that there just aren’t enough hours in a day – believe me, I have been there. Maybe you’re looking back at last year and wondering, “Where did the time go?” I urge you, before this new year goes any further that you take time to write down your successes from the previous twelve months. Post them in a prominent location and use them to spur you forward.
As for 2015 and your priorities, here are some of my favorite steps for setting priorities, I hope they will be of help to you:
- Before you can actually prioritize, you need to write down what your priorities are. Write them ALL down. Once you’ve done that, look at them with a critical eye and assign them numbers in order of importance. Realize that while they may all be priorities you simply cannot get to everything all at once. It’s impossible and that’s why you need a ranking system.
- Once you’ve ranked them, go through them again and set realistic time frames to them. Want to write a book? How many hours do you think it will truly take? Or how many hours a day can you devote to that (or any) task on your priority list? How many hours a day do you want to work? Keep that in mind when you’re assigning time frames to tasks.
- What results do you want to attain? Simply writing down a priority and assigning a time frame to it, won’t help you achieve a goal or a result if you don’t know what the result is. Yes, writing down that you want to “write a book” is a priority that brings with it its own visible result. But if your priority is to “bring in more customers” or “blog more often” how will you know if you’re achieving that goal (even if you’ve allotted X amount of hours a day toward pursuing it) if you don’t write down a measurable result? “Blog more often” could turn into, “Blog Monday, Wednesday and Friday” – measurable and result oriented.
- Ignore the majority of the emails that come into your inbox. What?! Truthfully, aren’t most of the emails that come into your inbox ones that you could ignore? If so, delete them. Don’t let them linger in your inbox because they sap your energy and overload your inbox so get rid of them! Answer the emails that need answering and respond to requests. Touch your emails once… don’t read them today and then decide to answer them tomorrow. It’s making double the work.
- Keep blank space in your schedule. If you schedule your entire eight hour work day what happens if an additional meeting or phone call or family emergency comes up? When will you fit it in? Believe me, scheduling a buffer into your day will help you be more productive because you won’t have to operate in panic aka reactive mode if something unexpected comes along and honestly when does a day in the life of a blogger go according to plan?
- If you’re like me and work from home, leaving the house to go to a meeting or to travel means that I am scrambling around to find everything I might possibly need and that takes time and raises my stress. How did I prioritize this task? I created a travel-to-do list, actually I created two travel to-do lists; one for long distance or airline travel and one for traveling to a networking event. On these lists I put whatever I believe I need for each event, including which bag or suitcase I will be using. In some cases I keep my suitcase or my laptop bag filled with most of the items I might need but there are still those last minute items I need to add in: laptop, laptop charger, phone charger, etc. I also make note of whether I am printing off an agenda to take with me. Having this checklist, even though it’s not used frequently, helps me get out the door on time and will less stress.
- Did you know that setting a deadline will help you conquer procrastination? Just as you’ve set your priorities above and added in the amount of time it will take to complete them, now you want to add in a deadline. For example, “write a book” if you don’t assign deadlines you will likely put it off until December 31, 2015 and chances are you won’t be able to write an entire book before the stroke of midnight, right?
- If 2015 is the year you have determined that you will work for yourself aka create your own job, write that down as a priority and rank it. How driven and determined are you to be your own boss? If you’re highly motivated rank it higher, assign the number of hours a day/week you can devote to it and then make it happen.
If, you find at the end of the day, your to do list is either longer than when you started the day or if you simply haven’t checked off many items it is time to step back and see where you might be wasting (yes, I said wasting) your time. Are you involved in tasks not on your to do list? If so, why? Are you spending more time on social media and adding pins to your Pinterest board than you truly think you are? If you find yourself drowning in to dos that are not making to the “done” list you may need to track your time in five minute increments for an entire week to see exactly what you’re doing and whether your priorities may be skewed.
How will you face the new year productivity-wise? I’d love to hear!