Becoming an efficient blogger with a productive way of working is crucial to success.
It’s unlikely that your blog will fail from a lack of love for your topic. After all, you took the time to get started. That’s more than most people with an idea will ever do.
It’s more likely that life will throw curveballs that make it difficult to stick to your original vision. Unless you treat your blog as a priority, a ‘must’ rather than a ‘should’, it’s easy to let it stagnate and die.
If you want to give your blog every advantage, read on to discover:
- How tech can help you stay focused while blogging
- How mapping out your creative process can help you stay productive
- How a strict schedule can make your blog resilient to life’s challenges
Use Tech to Stay On Track
The information age is a double-edged sword for most bloggers.
While we enjoy instant access to more information than ever before, we also run the risk of greater distraction.
If you find yourself starting out with the intention of researching a blog post, but end up in an unproductive mess of opened tabs and social media notifications, help is at hand. Studies have shown that willpower is a finite resource. If you struggle with staying focused, take your willpower out the equation.
The following apps will help you focus on blogging, regardless of how much willpower you feel at the time.
More often than not, especially when starting out, you will be the sole boss of your blog.
You won’t have another person to monitor you, cajole you or put pressure on you to use your time well. As a result, you run the risk of losing track of exactly how your time is spent.
RescueTime give you a clear understanding of exactly how you spent your day. The software offers detailed reports of how long you spend on particular apps or activities. You can set limits, and review your progress in making changes to the way you spend your time.
As busy bloggers, we are often so caught up in getting things done that we lose the big picture oversight of exactly how we got them done. RescueTime will help you better understand yourself, and use your time in a way aligned with your priorities.
Do you ever feel trapped in your own head while trying to write?
Sometimes, getting words down onto the page feels like drawing blood from a stone. It can be easy to get waylaid by self-judgement, criticism or a lack of urgency.
FlowState is an extreme solution to force you out of writer’s lethargy. You simply set a period of time and begin to write. If you pause for longer than five seconds, you lose everything.
Perhaps the toughest part of staying on track as a blogger is resisting the sheer variety of demands on our attention. Smartphones with push notifications, tabbed browsing, and mobile apps engineered specifically to be addictive are the sirens we must ignore.
Freedom allows you to totally customize which websites and apps you can access. For example, there might be a period of your day where access to email is conducive to productivity, and another where it is not. Freedom makes it easy to choose exactly when and where you will focus your precious attention.
Understand and Improve Your Blogging Process
If blog posts are like recipes, then bloggers are like chefs.
Although blog posts share many common ingredients, there are unlimited ways of putting them together.
When you understand your own blogging process, you are able to write ‘recipes’ of how to get a consistent outcome from a defined series of steps.
Mapping out the way you produce blog posts isn’t intended to kill your creativity. Far from it. Instead, it gives you a structure to work with, and improvise around as you see fit.
There are days when it can feel absolutely overwhelming to sit in front of a blank screen, knowing that you have to produce a certain amount of content you feel happy enough about to share with others. On days like this, having a simple step by step process of ‘do a, then b, then c’ can make the task a lot more manageable.
If you feel you could benefit from having your personal blogging process mapped out, consider the following ideas:
- How do you define the start and end of your process? Does it begin when you first start thinking of an idea, or when you sit down to write the post? Does it end when you hit publish, or when you finish promotion?
- Define the complete range of tasks needed to produce a blog post. Which are essential and non-essential? For example, you might define hitting publish as essential, but optimizing your image alt tags as non-essential. Doing this makes the complex process of blogging effectively seem more manageable. You know exactly what is involved, and how important each aspect is.
- Is there a particular sequence of work which tends to produce the best results for you? For example, if you notice your best blog posts result from researching carefully before sitting down to write, you should make this sequence a part of your process.
Taking the time to map out the way you do your best work gives you a valuable recipe to follow on those inevitable days where you feel uninspired or overwhelmed.
Scheduling Your Success
Once you’ve unlocked your most productive way of working, it’s time to devise a schedule to keep your blog on track. Advance planning, both in terms of a content publication schedule, and batching tasks together, keeps your blog consistent and in line with your intended vision.
- Devise a content schedule, but make it achievable and in line with your aims. It’s better to keep your goals manageable and steady. If you try to publish too often, or in a way which doesn’t mesh with your life, you run the risk of burnout and blog abandonment.
- Look for opportunities to batch tasks together. When we switch from one type of task to another, we lose focus and take a while to ‘get in the groove’ again. You can overcome this by batching related tasks together, and scheduling them appropriately. For example, you could consider creating headlines for your next 10 pieces of content at the same time, or producing top images in a single session.
- Make use of tools such as Trello and Google Drive to schedule and collaborate. Or keep it old-school and use a paper calendar. Whatever works for you.
Have you got a personal spin on any of the above ideas? Do you have any other powerful productivity advice for your fellow bloggers? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.