This post is from monthly contributor, Amy.
What is your biggest frustration or need as a blogger?
I posed this question to a group of my friends a few weeks ago and was astonished by the number of people who took the time to answer my question. Answers ranged from technical woes to the learning curve, but the overwhelming response? My title gave it away didn’t it? That’s right: time management.
“Finding time to post.”
“I need to research several things; I want to be 3 weeks ahead, but I can’t keep up.”
“My biggest thing is that I really need to sit down and plan what to blog about instead of scrambling to think of things last minute.”
“Lack of time management”
“There just aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I want to accomplish. When it comes time to do for myself, I am drained.”
What Can We Do About Time Management?
So if time management is our biggest struggle as bloggers, what can we do about it? Where can we find more time in our day to manage our blogging efforts?
Let me tell you something about me that you may not know. I am what they call a “creative.” I don’t schedule my time, I don’t have an exact road map for anything I do, and I generally don’t follow rules. Especially not time management rules. I kinda float from one activity to the next as needs arise and the day unfolds.
I would like to offer some general guidelines for blogging time management that work really well for people like me:
1. Don’t read your email.
When you have a moment in your day to open up your computer and get some work done, don’t open your email. Email is a time drain, and before you know it all of that time you could have spent working on your blog will have been spent deleting emails from Pinterest, Facebook, and Timbuktu. If you must read email (and I suppose we all must) do that at times when you can’t possibly blog.
I have a smartphone, so when we go out to the playground I take along my phone and scan/delete emails. I have found a few other times in my day when having a phone is handy, but having a computer is not. For example, when I am waiting in a drive-thru, I delete emails.
2. Keep writing and social media separate.
As I was sitting down to write this post, I needed to go back to the original Facebook thread where my conversation about blogging frustrations took place. I had to open Facebook. I was immediately pulled into a conversation — a perfectly valid and exciting conversation helping someone else solve a problem. It didn’t take me very long to realize that I was not finishing what I needed to do on Facebook and moving on. Social media is a necessary part of blogging, but it needs to take a back seat when you are ready to write.
Close all of your other windows and ignore all notifications until the post is written.
3. Spend 15 minutes a day writing your next ebook.
I learned this tip from ProBlogger Darren Rowse. He says that he eventually realized he would never have time to write unless he got up fifteen minutes earlier each day. Once he made that choice, he was able to finish his first ebook and eventually moved on to becoming a multi-millionaire Pro Blogger.
So, fifteen minutes a day with no internet windows open — just your editing software and you.
4. Don’t get locked into doing what other people think is best.
Many of the “big names” in blogging say they get up early to write. If that works for you, great! I can’t. I’ve tried to become a morning person, believe me. I’ve come to terms with the fact that changing my body clock and heredity is not possible.
I write at night. The house is quiet, the children are sleeping. It’s perfect. I do a lot of social media and business work during the afternoon when the children are noisily playing around me but don’t have immediate needs. At night, I write first and then a chat with two or three of my night-owl friends is a just reward — once my post is written.
5. Use powerful tools.
I have a few free tools that make my blogging world a better place. These include Buffer, Hootsuite, Evernote, and Ahalogy. Each of these tools serves a different purpose but they have one thing in common: they save me time.
Buffer is used to schedule posts I want to share from my blogging friends. As I scan through social media in the afternoon, I open up any links that look like they would be a great fit in my niche, read the article — and if I like it — I click the Buffer button on my toolbar. I can quickly and easily schedule a personalized Facebook share or tweet of my friend’s post.
Hootsuite is used to schedule my own content and affiliate promotions. I have to admit, I have gotten out of the practice of using Hootsuite, but as I write this I am reminded once again that it was a timesaver because I was able to organize and schedule several posts all at once.
Evernote is a powerful notekeeping app that syncs all of my notes between my smartphone and my laptop instantly. Notes can be tagged for easy location later. I have a note for each of my affiliate links. I have a note for many of my planned blog posts. I have to-do lists for various projects. No matter where I am, the information I need is just a click away.
Here’s the bottom line: You can do this!
Don’t let what other people tell you about time management make you feel inadequate or unprepared. Don’t jump through someone else’s hoops. Manage your time your way.
Because when you are a creative, your way is the only way that will work.
What are your go-to techniques for Time Management?