Guest post by Thanh Pham. Here are some time management tips for bloggers. Blogging involves more than just writing good content. In order to be an effective blogger you have to know where you should spend your energy on and where you shouldn’t, for you to maximize your time.
Besides writing, you have to get a nice design, moderate your comments, promote your blog, and more. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to blogging and it can be overwhelming up to the point where you are not productive. Here are 5 time management tips for bloggers to maximize your time and productivity.
1. Maintain an idea list
Brainstorming on what to write about can take up a lot of time. Oftentimes you already have the topics but you can’t recall them. You will also get random moments in your life where you come up with a great topic but you are not anywhere where you can immediately start writing about it.
The solution is maintaining an idea list and making the capturing process really easy. Whenever you have a new idea for a blog post, capture that idea as soon as possible. Write it down somewhere so you won’t forget. That way next time you want to start writing, you have a whole list of topics you already know you want to write about.
I personally use a smart phone for capturing. I always have it with me so whenever I have an idea, I can write it down straight away. My favorite tool is Evernote because I can access the list from any computer, tablet, or smart phone (it uses the cloud for storage). Some people prefer to carry a small notebook with them. Find what suits you, but the idea is to make the capturing process as easy as possible.
2. Do what you do best, outsource the rest
Most bloggers are good at writing, but aren’t as good at other things that comes with blogging. Especially when it comes to technical stuff like maintaining your blog or adding new features to your blog. To maximize your efforts and time, do what you do best: writing compelling content. Anything else in relative is not that important for your blog.
There is a reason why people say that content is king, so you want to focus your efforts on your content creation processes. The rest you should outsource. Delegate tasks to someone else so you free up time that you can use for writing more content.
For brand new bloggers I would suggest to not outsource anything yet. You should learn the process of having and maintaining a blog. After you have done that successfully, you will be much better at assessing what you can outsource and what not.
For people who have been blogging for a while already and bloggers who make money of their blog, start outsourcing. It is actually not as expensive as you might think it is. You can hire someone for as cheap as $4/hour in Asia. They can do technical things for your blog or you can find someone to aid you in your writing. Here are some examples of tasks you can outsource:
- Gathering data for research or posts.
- Searching and gathering images, diagrams, or illustrations to be used for posts.
- Transcribing your audio podcasts (also a great way to get more searchable content for your blog).
- Technical support for your blog.
- Comments moderation.
There are so many things you can outsource. The main idea is to focus on your writing, because that is what people on your blog are coming for. The rest you should outsource as much as possible.
3. Plan first, then write
The first couple of minutes you plan your content will save you many minutes later on. Planning simply means knowing when to write, what to write and having your main ideas outlined. Doing a couple minutes of planning will also prevent you from procrastinating. We often procrastinate because we don’t know exactly what we are supposed to do. Planning will make your writing a lot easier too. When you have an outline of what to write about, all you need to do is fill in the gaps.
Outlining can be done in many ways. You can use your favorite text editor, decide on a topic, and start writing down bullet points you want to cover. My favorite way is mindmapping. It’s a graphical way of outlining ideas where you have the topic in the center of your mindmap and your branches represent the major bullet points.
The great thing about mindmapping is that you can have arrows between branches so you can visually see relationships between them. From my experience, mindmapping is quicker, faster, and gives you more information in one glance than regular text outlines. Once you have finalized your mindmap, writing becomes simply a process of putting your words behind the major thoughts.
4. Write at your peak times
There are certain times of the day where you get most of your writing done and you are most creative. Identify those peak times! For a lot of people it’s somewhere early in the morning and/or late at night. Once you know your peak times, that’s where you should get most of your writing done.
For me, I know that my peak times are between 9-11am and 8-10pm. I love the mornings because that’s when I have the most energy and the least number of distractions. Late at night is also the time when it’s quiet and I feel most relaxed. Everyone has a different peak times and you want to find out what yours are.
5. Go airplane mode
Once you start writing, go airplane mode. This is a term I’m borrowing from my smart phone and my experiences of writing during flights. On most smart phones you have a feature that will allow you to put the phone in airplane mode. That means all the connectivity features are turned off: you can’t call, text or surf the web. That’s a great thing because it also means you cannot be disturbed by others. Likewise, when you are flying by yourself there aren’t other people there to disturb so you can get a lot of work done.
Apply the idea airplane mode to your times when you are writing. Literally put your phone in airplane mode (or turn it off), turn off your email notifications, instant messengers and close the door. Set it up so you cannot be disturbed when you are doing the most important things for your blog. That’s why having an office or room with a door is such a great location for writing because you can isolate yourself and not get disturbed by others. Once you start writing and you reach a nice flow state where your creative juices are coming out of your fingers, the last thing you want is to be disturbed.
Guest author Thanh Pham is a gadget lover who blogs at AsianEfficiency.com about time management and productivity. You can also follow him@AsianEfficiency.