Finding time and increasing your blogging productivity can be a challenge but deciding what's really important along with some additional planning and productivity tips can set you on an easier path.
Or at least that’s what my father used to tell me when I was in elementary school. Back then I was spending my time reading Nancy Drew novels instead of finishing my homework. These days I seem to be spending my time being active on social media and checking emails more than anything else.
For the past few months I have been stuck in productivity rut. I’ll sit down to work at my computer, perhaps with a cup of tea, with the intention of getting a blog post – right after I check my email… and my Twitter feed… and my Facebook page. The next thing I know three hours have flown by, my teacup is empty, and I haven’t started my post yet. What the heck did I do for three hours?
Can anyone else relate? I can’t be the only person who gets sucked into the “Internet Twilight Zone”.
I decided to take the advice of chef Kevin Patricio, from my Terroir article, and identify the cause of my problem. Is it that I haven’t planned or scheduled my time efficiently? Well, yes… but that’s just a symptom of my problem.
The root of the issue is that I haven’t decided on what’s important.
Of course I need to reply to emails, and be active on social media, but should those tasks get more time and attention than my blog posts? If not, then why am I starting my day with those tasks?
How to Identify What’s Important:
I attended a time management seminar at my day job a while back, and the presenter showed us how to draw out our daily schedule as a pie chart. This is a good way to help you visually identify where your time is being spent.
Here’s what a simplified day would look like:
A pie chart for someone who blogs part time, and works a full time job, might look something like this:
Here’s what my pie chart currently looks like:
Daily tasks include things like commuting, cooking, eating, cleaning and hygiene. Engagement, Promotion and Responses includes email, social media, and responding to alerts on my computer and phone.
I can see from this chart that I’m spending too much time on things that aren’t important to me. Getting seven hours of sleep is a priority to me, so I won’t be cutting that down. What I can do is reduce the time I’m spending on engagement and promotion, and add that time to creating content instead.
Take a few minutes and create your own pie chart. Are you wasting time on things that aren’t important to you? If the answer is yes, think about what you can cut back on so you can allocate more hours to the things that are important.
How can you change your habits?
Once you’ve decided on what’s important to you, it’s time to prioritize these items in your daily routine. Your most important or time-sensitive tasks should be done before anything else.
For example, if your priority is to test new recipes every day then you should put that on the top of your daily to-do list. It might be your most time consuming task of the day, but don’t be tempted to get small tasks (i.e. checking email) done first. If something comes up or you run out of time you will have accomplished (or at least started) your most important task of the day.
Yesterday I decided to count how many times I responded to notifications that popped up on my phone and computer. In total, I responded to 36 notifications! Each one of these distractions took me away from my work for at least a minute or two, and that can really add up throughout the day. If you’re finding yourself in a similar situation, turn off the notifications and alerts on your phone and computer.
Another way to eliminate distractions is by scheduling down time into your day. We all have our limits, and some people’s attention span is shorter than others. Try to reward yourself for completing a task by taking a mental break. This could be a making a social phone call, watching a TV show, reading other people’s blogs for fun or anything else that might distract you from being productive.
Allowing yourself to have these breaks will help to ensure that you can focus on your task when it’s time to get back to work.
Put Time Limits on Tasks:
This tip is really important, especially if you’re finding yourself spending too much time on things that don’t matter. I can easily waste an hour looking at all the pretty things on Pinterest, even though I know that’s not a good use of my time. To prevent myself from doing I’ve decided to set an alarm on my watch that will go off after 15 minutes. When the alarm tings, I’ll know it’s time to move on to another task.
You might not know how much time to allocate to certain tasks at first and that’s ok. It’s your schedule, so just make adjustments as needed while you figure out what works best for you.
Bad habits are hard to break, so don’t get frustrated if you have trouble making these changes at the beginning. Over time your productivity will improve as you make positive changes to your routine.
Do you have tips to increase your productivity or deal with distractions? Share with us in the comments!
Decide What's Important: 3 Tips To Increase Blogger Productivity was written by Shareba Abdul. Shareba is a food blogger and freelance writer from the GTA. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Applied Arts in Media Studies, a Diploma in Journalism, and has a passion for writing, photography, and blogging. You can check out her yummy discoveries at InSearchOfYummyness.com or connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and G+.