How To Be A Super Productive Blogger
“I don’t have time to blog”
“I struggle with consistency”
“I feel like I’m always behind on blogging”
“Managing my time is the biggest challenge with blogging”
I hear all of these worries very single time I do research amongst my e-course participants and blog training attendees.
And they are totally valid and relatable concerns.
In fact, I’d say almost every blogger suffers with blogging productivity issues at some point.
It’s easily done. One minute you’re pottering along nicely bashing out 5 posts a week then some life stuff happens and before out know it a fortnight has passed and everyone forgot you existed.
No one will forget you if you miss 2 weeks of blogging,. But it sure does feel that way.
So how can we stay super productive with our blogging? What great habits can we adopt to ensure we are sticking to the three pillars of blogging – content, creation and consistency? Is it even possible to maintain without burning out?
Well, you’re in luck my friends. I have spent A LOT of time researching and testing productivity techniques. The good news is, there is a way to be a super awesome blogger and have a life (kind of). The bad news is, you need to put a bit of work into getting your productivity systems in place.
How To Be a Super Productive Blogger
1. Block out time in your schedule
Grab your diary and actually schedule in a block of time to work on your blog. Stick to it like you would any other work or social commitment.
2. Be realistic your tasks
When you plan your time make sure you’re realistic with your time. It’s all well and good to say “right, I’m going to write 10 blog posts in 2 hours” but if the average post takes you 2 hours to take from draft to publish then you are setting yourself up for failure at the outset. So be realistic with how you work and plan accordingly.
3. Group tasks together and work in batches
One of the most effective ways to produce content is to work in batches. By that, I mean … write all your copy in one sitting, then take your photographs in another sitting, then maybe schedule a bunch of social media updates in another sitting. The idea is that you are much more productive if you work on one type of task at a time rather than flitting between many.
For instance, sometimes I will plan my recipes posts so that I can have one big cookathon on a Sunday and take all the photos at once. Then I will come back to the recipes at a later time to write them up, etc.
4. Try the Pomodoro technique
If you are struggling to focus on your blogging tasks and end getting distracted by your latest Facebook notification then try the Pomodoro technique. It’s a time management technique whereby you divide your tasks into 25 minute slots and separate them with a short break.
I’ve found this technique really useful for ploughing through blog posts and forcing myself to stick to one application on my laptop at a time. I have been using this Tomato Timer website which times your intervals for you. It’s really worked!
5. Schedule in advance
The more I schedule my posts in advance the less stressed, and thus more productive in general, I am as a blogger. So do plan ahead and get your blog posts scheduled in advanced, at the very least get your blog posts for the week scheduled.
6. Have breaks so you don’t burnout
To be an effective blogger you don’t need to be ‘on it’ all the time. In fact, I highly recommend you take regular breaks from blogging, social media and the interwebs so you can live in the physical world a bit. I’ve found that if I’m too connected for too long I get burnout, fatigued and generally down-in-the-dumps. Plus, the ugly green-headed monster can rear it’s head. So a good break every now and then helps keep you grounded, and often provides a whole lotta inspiration.
7. Create a dedicated workspace
To avoid unnecessary distraction or interruptions try to carve out a blogging space in your home. It’s all too easy to chill out on your sofa watching NCIS:LA whilst you casually type out your latest blog tome. But let’s be realistic, you’ll probably produce much more engaging content if you’re sat in your own workspace, however that might look.
8. Surround yourself with inspiration
I love to decorate my workspace with inspiration. Wherever it is my favourite artwork, photographs, beautiful homewares, trinkets, scented candles, music, blankets or anything that sparks my imagination. It keeps my brain engaged and helps me stay ‘in the zone.’
9. Turn off devices
At the very least turn off your notifications or put your phone on silent. These constant notifications and checking of emails is not only distracting but it’s not conducive to efficiency and productivity.
10. Get into the zone with no interruptions
Tell you partner, kids, pets, significant others when you need to have a some time to work on your blog and that you’d appreciate no unnecessary interruptions.
11. Plan your posts 1 week, 1 month, 3 months in advance
I really can’t stress enough the positive impact that planning ahead can do for your blog. I highly recommend using an editorial calendar to plan your content at least 1 week ahead of time, and if possible sketch out a plan for the coming month. Ideally you want to get to a point where you can confidently plan up to 3 months in advance, it really will make you life easier. When you know what you’re going to blog about you can plan and schedule your time accordingly.
12. Create a schedule around topics
If you’re struggling with an editorial calendar perhaps try creating a blog schedule around the topics/categories you’d like to blog about. This can then provide a nice guide to help keep you inspired and aid your planning process.
13. Write drafts whenever you have 10 minutes spare
I always have a notes app on my iphone so that if inspiration strikes, or I have a spare 10 minute in my day when I’m out and about, I can jot down a bunch of ideas or a rough draft for a post. It means I always have a rolling list of potential blog topics at hand for when I have writer’s block, and I have already started the blogging process.
14. Always be creating
Being a blogger is a creative pursuit and as such it pays to always be creating something. Creativity is like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. So whatever medium it is (I love to cook) always be creating something new.
Google Calendar (website)
I live by this tool. I use different colour coded sub-calendars within it so I can manage various projects and my time AND I can schedule in my blog content so I can clearly see what’s going live when AND when to create that content.
The boyf loves this app and swears by it. It’s a free app that synchronises between your various calendars and devices. It has a beautiful clean design, provides useful reminders and colour codes your tasks.
WordPress Editorial Calendar (website)
This visual content calendar plugin for WordPress totally changed my blog planning processes. It is simple and effective. It allows you to visually drag and drop posts, add drafts and quick schedule content. Highly recommended!
I love Evernote. I really do. It’s such a fantastic tool that has evolved over the last few years to be such a useful part of my work processes. In essence it’s a note tool. But it’s so much more than that. You can sync it between devices so you can access you notes anywhere. You can create notebooks within which to organise your notes. You can save articles from the web into a note. You can take photos of your notes, drawings, anything at all and save them as notes. You can use a chat function to collaborate with others. You can create checklists for follow your tasks. The possibilities are huge.
Buffer is a great scheduling tool for social media. You can set a schedule, preloads updates, find new content to share and use the Chrome extension to share webpages to your social media.
I mostly use Hootsuite as my day-to-day social media management tool. I like being able to view multiple streams of my Twitter at once (e.g. timeline, @mentions, DMs, hashtag chats). It’s super useful if you have more than one Twitter stream and also works well with Facebook and Google .
IFTTT (If This Then That) (website)
This is one of my fave ever tools for productivity. IFTTT allows you to link up anything digital and use one command to trigger another action, thus taking out the leg work for you. For instance, you can set up a ‘recipe’, as they call it, to automatically publish an Instagram photo to your Twitter as a native photo rather than a link. Or you could build a Twitter list based on a specific hashtag. The possibilities are huge.
Rescue Time (website)
I’ve been using this free tool for the past month and it’s FASCINATING to see how I spend my time. It’s basically a piece of software that you install on your computer, set up a profile to assign you most productive and least productive programs/websites and then it tracks your activities. Each week it sends you a report detailing just how productive you’ve been and where you used your time on your computer.
Ultimately, you need to form a habit.
Once you have the right tools, plan and system in place just be disciplined enough to do it regularly that it becomes a habit. You want it to be second nature. You want it to become less of a chore and more of a daily necessity.
Trust me, it might be sucky to start with if you need to get up at 6am to squeeze some blogging out before work. Or you might have to forgo the latest I’m-A-Celebrity-Here’s-My-Boring-Life episode to spend time on photo editing.
Your efforts will go rewarded in the long run, you’ll have a blog you can be proud of and your readers will keep coming back for more.
Do you have any top tips for being a super productive blogger?
What tools do you swear by?