Like many people who work for themselves and juggle the demands of work and children, I work hard. However, sometimes in the past I have felt that, although I put in a large number of hours, I possibly wasn’t always focused and using my time as effectively as I could. I would feel my focus dissipating and the window flicking would begin. I felt the need to be all over everything at once, rather than focusing on one task. So, I spent some time thinking of all the things I could do to increase my blogging productivity and I am going to share them with you.
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
Leonardo Da Vinci
- Use a timer – set yourself certain amounts of time for certain tasks. You can find a useful timer here. This keeps your focus up and you will work quicker, making the most of your allocated time.
- Log out of social media – this is the hardest thing for me. I like to respond to things immediately, but do lose focus in doing so.
- Eliminate distractions – close windows, turn the TV off, whatever helps to put you, and keep you, in the zone.
- Use distraction free blog screen – which you will find just under the Text tab in WordPress.
- The correct environment – find out what your ideal conditions are. Some people need complete silence, some background music, you need to find your sweet spot.
- Take regular breaks to refresh your mind and creativity – Don’t get stale, even short regular breaks can ensure you stay fresh.
- Don’t put things off – do least liked/hardest tasks first.
- Write a daily to do list every day– only put on it what can be achieved in that day. Keep a separate list of your longer term tasks.
- Organise your workspace – You must have heard the saying a tidy desk is a sign of a tidy mind!
- Focus on result-oriented activities– Pareto’s law states that 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. This means that 20% of our actions result in 80% of the results. Therefore, try to find the 20% of actions that are creating the 80% of results and focus solely on those activities.
- Use Boomerang – a fabulous add on for gmail that allows you to schedule emails. AMAZING!
- Say No – sounds easy, but saying no is actually quite difficult. Think about the time you will spend on the task and what you will gain in return. Don’t spend hours on a review for a £5 mug, if you want to be a pro blogger (unless you really want the mug!). It must make sense for you.
- Learn shortcut keys– in any programme you use. There are even Twitter shortcuts.
- Use an autotext programme – If you find yourself typing the same thing out frequently (like your address), then install an auto text programme. Then you simply type a short cue and the text will appear. This can save you a lot of time and give you some relief from monotony. I use Phrase Express.
- Focus on one thing at a time – don’t multi task. Women are meant to be fab at multi tasking, but lots of studies show that you are more productive when you are focusing entirely on one task.
- Reward yourself– Whether it is as simple as a cup of tea. Set yourself a little target and a reward you will enjoy.
- Find your productive time and utilise it – Are you a morning person or a night owl? Work at your brightest time.
- Group tasks together – i.e. answer all emails from one day at one sitting, rather than flicking back and forth.
- Reduce tasks – is there anything that you can stop doing? Analyse how you spend your time and the rewards you get for the tasks you do. If any tasks take more than they give back, stop doing them.
- Set Targets (less than a week), Objectives (3-24 months) and Career Aims (5 years +). By writing down your goals you are 70% more like to achieve them.
- Prioritise – When you have written your to do list, allocate each task a priority.
- Schedule posts – Write in batches and schedule them all, this free’s up time in the week and reduces stress.
- Check your email twice a day only – O.k, so I am not 100% there with this one yet. However, it does make sense.
- Work in bulk – take all the pictures you will need for the week (where possible) at the same time. Then they will all be there ready for you.
- Use a social media scheduler – Tweetdeck, Twuffer, Buffer, Hootsuit, Social Oomph. (I use social oomph and Evergreen on WP).
- Use BlogLovin to keep track of your favourite blogs. Saves time searching the web for them.
- Use IFTTT (If This Then That) – you can programme in ‘recipes’ to suit you. I.e. (if) someone sends me and attachment via email (then) save to my dropbox. Whatever you want it to do, you can create a recipe to make it happen.
- Use Zapier – similar to IFTTT.
- Eliminate the drainers in your life. Focus on people who can help you achieve your goals & be happy. Not on people who suck the life out of you, we all know them!
- Don’t work if you are tired – O.k, so most of us are parents and we are therefore ALWAYS tired. What I mean by this is I get so tired I fall asleep at my computer and end up typing hfhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh or similar on the screen. I struggle on and probably achieve 5 minutes of work in the next hour. If you are this tired, go to sleep. At that point sleep is a better use of your time.
What are your top tips for productivity? Anything new for you here?
Don’t forget all my other blogging related posts are on my Blog Club page.
Original image: Sebastien Wiertz