Underlying the constant search for tactics by bloggers out there, there is a huge perceived lack of time.
You’ve got a day job. A family. A life. How are you supposed to have enough time to create a successful blog?
Personally, I think our perceptions of time are completely arbitrary (more on that viewpoint on time here). A lot of our approach to time comes from within, so time management tips are usually ways to outsmart ourselves into getting more done despite our self-imposed limitations of how much we can get done.
So, prefaced with my strongly-held belief that it ultimately comes down to mindset, I’ve compiled a list of 21 tips to help you with your efficiency as bloggers.
- Don’t check email first thing in the morning. Get some work done first since mornings are often when we function best.
- Switch to Google Voice. An invite is required, yes, but it allows you to screen your calls and have messages delivered to your email. Phone interruptions are the worst.
- Disown Your Phone. Set up a voice mail message which explains your schedule for checking messages, then disconnect the phone to avoid interruptions. Train others to work with you on this for enhanced efficiency.
- Limit Reading Time. As I covered before, you cannot consume and produce at the same time. So, limit the amount you ingest in order to be able to output more. Information overload is an extremely controllable problem.
- Use Evernote. It is a free and awesome way to take notes, tag them, categorize them, etc. Don’t keep ideas in your head. Free your mind and store the details in Evernote so you can get them when you need to. Get an idea while reading a blog post? Record it in Evernote – don’t keep it in your head.
- Use Remember The Milk for online task management. Get the premium option (only $25/year) and you can sync with your mobile phone. Very handy.
- Practice Inbox Zero. Your email inbox should be just that – an INbox. Not a big collective storage place for forgotten BS. Learn to handle, delegate or move emails and get them out of your inbox.
- Practice TRAF. This is trash, refer, act, file. These are the 4 choices you have when dealing with any incoming communication or action item.
- Assign Times To Tasks. When adding a task to your todo list, assign a time estimate to it on how long it will take. Then schedule it in accordingly.
- Reward Efficiency With Downtime. Your daily todo list shouldn’t be a list of things you HOPE to get done (if the stars align just right). It should be a realistic list of things you WILL get done. And if you get them all done with time to spare, take time off. Reward yourself for good work ethic.
- Work in Focused Batches. You’re not working when you sit at your computer and move your hands. Instead of this long-winded work-day, break it up into focused batches. Work in 1-hour batches, with full focus on a single task at a time. At the end of that hour, go take a break. Then, repeat.
- Turn OFF auto-notifications by email. There is no reason why you need email notifications when somebody follows you on Twitter, or when somebody requests friendship on Facebook. Turn off all such email notifications. If you absolutely MUST have them sent to you, then at least filter them out of your inbox automatically so they are hidden from view and don’t take up any time unless you WANT them to.
- Work with a timer. Assign yourself a certain time block to get a task done, then use an actual timer. Have it count down to zero from the time you set aside for that task. Visually seeing that timer tick down makes a game out of getting things done faster and not screwing around.
- Use A White Board For Your Active Task. In combination with the timer above, use a small white board at your desk. Write down the task you’re working on then start the timer. Any time you start feeling distracted, that white board will remind you what you’re supposed to be working on.
- Think About Leverage. Any task that you do, how can you utilize the time spent working on that task to either accomplish another thing or alleviate the need to do that task again? For example, create a procedure list for a task while you do it. Might take a bit longer, but it is then outsourcable. Or, if you get the same question via email a lot, create a video with your answer, send it to the requester, then use the video as blog content.
- Lean Toward Outsourcing. Focus on what you’re good at, outsource the rest.
- Vary Your Workspace. Instead of always working in your home office, consider taking a laptop down to a local coffee shop instead. Often, just that change of environment can positively affect your efficiency.
- Schedule Fun. Life isn’t all about work. Actually scheduling in things you enjoy will have a positive effect for you. It will also lead you to being more efficient with the time you ARE working.
- Don’t Watch The News. It is pure negativity designed specifically to rob you of your life and instead keep you glued to THEM, to their ads, to their content. Pardon my French, but f**k those losers. Turn it off, take back your happiness and create the life you want rather than having those asshats remind you of other people’s problems. You’ll be happier and get more done.
- Dismiss Negativity. Doing anything positive for your life and your goals is always going to make other people try to suppress you. Perhaps it is fear on their part, or just outright animosity. It doesn’t necessarily make them bad people, for it could just be reactive on their part. But, learn to control it. If a family member is chastising you about your efforts to build up an online business, then confront them about it and get their agreement to knock it off. You have the right to control what enters your space via others.
- Treat Yourself Right. It is a challenge for all of us, but treating your body right is integral to having a balanced and efficient life. Your mind won’t be all there when you’re coasting on coffee and Red Bulls. Instead, drink lots of water. Start your day off with some stretches or light exercise to get your heart rate up a bit. Take walks. Eat well. The time spent doing those things will come back in the form of lighter mind and increased focus.
So, would you like to add any advice of your own to this list?