We can’t make time.
And I’m not even sure if we can manage it. We can’t make it go forward or backward. We can’t make it go faster or slower. We can’t turn back the clock.
24 hours a day — that’s what we got to work with. And goodness knows your days are jam-packed. Eating, sleeping, caring, laughing, writing, talking, creating, and (bleh!) even folding laundry.
Even though we can’t control time, we can decide how we spend our time. And from the results of yesterday’s poll, it looks like a lot of you choose to spend part of your time blogging.
Great! Blogging is a fab way to connect with people and learn new things. It can be good for your business, and it can even be good for your health!
But blogging takes time. A big old chunk o’ time.
And if you’d rather spend your time creating in the studio than punching the keyboard in front of the computer, we need to figure out a way to make blogging more efficient.
Lay waste to your time-wasters.
In the spirit of sharing, I’ll tell you the top three time-drains I face when preparing a post:
- I’m not sure what to write.
- I don’t know how to start.
- I interrupt my writing by spending time on the “extras” (like adding pictures, links, and metadata).
But I’m working on breaking down these barriers. And I want to share with you what has been working for me.
1. The “what” time-waster.
What should I write about today?
This seemingly simple question is a major time-waster for me. Trying to write a quality post and publish it on the same day is draining. When I’m put on the spot, staring at an empty computer screen, I have trouble coming up with the right words. How about you?
The Fix: Brainstorm your topics when the inspiration strikes you, then plot them out on an editorial calendar. Once you choose a topic, and then schedule it, you’ll have a much easier time producing top-quality content.
For example, one of my not-that-secret weapons in laying waste to time-wasters is a simple notebook I keep on my computer desk. (It is also my mouse-pad, lol.) I keep it open during the day, and anytime I think of an idea for a blog post, I jot it down. Usually it’s just a headline and a few supporting details, but it’s much easier to make a quick outline when the idea is fresh.
Then, when it’s time to write, I can flip through my notebook for post ideas. It’s a simple technique, really. But for me, this list of blog ideas helps me catalog those fleeting bits of inspiration that come and go throughout the day. And bonus: I almost always have an answer to the question, “What can I write about?”
2. The “when” time-waster.
When are you going to blog? In the morning, before everyone else wakes up? Or at night, after they’ve gone to bed? Do you write in one long marathon stretch, or do you scatter your blogging in little bits throughout the day?
I’m not here to tell you when the “The Perfect Time” for blogging is. What I will suggest, though, is once you find a particularly productive time for you, commit to it. If you self-identify as an “early bird,” you might find you write best while drinking your morning coffee. On the other hand, you might find that you are most productive in the evening, after you’ve watched Glee and had a glass of wine.
The Fix: Capitalize on those times when your fingers really fly across the keyboard. Once you find a time that works for you, stick with it. Schedule it in your day-planner, if it helps. See if you can make blogging a habit.
Another note about “when.” I want to be clear that your daily (or weekly) blogging appointment doesn’t have to be the only time you think about your posts. One of the ways that I make blogging more efficient is by taking advantage of those periods of “down time” throughout the day. If I find myself waiting in an exceptionally long line at the post office, I might try to sketch out the first paragraph of a post I’m scheduled to write later that night.
Figuring out how to start a blog post is one of my biggest hurdles. So if I can get the opening sentences out of the way first, I can make the rest of my blog-writing more efficient.
3. The “how” time-waster.
Sometimes, the things about blogging that take the most time are not related to the writing itself. I can spend more time searching for that “Perfect Picture” than I do writing the actual post! Does that happen to you? Finding images, coding links, and adding metadata can be time consuming. And if you let them, those “extras” can be a way to procrastinate finishing your post.
The Fix: As tempting as it is to spend your blogging appointment browsing through the gorgeous pictures on Pinterest or FFFFound, try to leave it to the end. Write your “naked” post first, and add the extra stuff later. This way, you’ll limit distracting time-waters, and make blogging more efficient.
So that’s all for me. What are some ways you’ve found to limit time-wasters and make blogging work for you?