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Blogging is a busy business. There is always so much to do in what seems like a very small amount of time. For many bloggers, blogging time is an hour snatched here, 15 minutes snatched there, or an evening at the local coffee shop that offers free wi-fi and those much needed caffeinated beverages that keep the words flowing. We cannot always find more time in our day to dedicate to our blogs, but we can create a system that lets us be super productive with the time we do have. There are five simple steps you can take to help you have a super productive day.
5 Steps to a Super Productive Day
My definition of productive and yours might not be the same, but following the simple steps below are sure to help you create super productive days.
1. Create a Great Evening Routine
They say that a good morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day. I’m not disagreeing, but I think a solid evening routine is even better. The benefits of prepping and the planning the night before are great for starting your day off on the right foot. And a good evening routine won’t just benefit those who need to get out the door in the morning, there are plenty of things you can plan and prep for the night before even if you’re going to be at home the following day. Here are a few ideas for you:
- Prepare snacks and lunches. When snack or lunch time rolls around you don’t need to think about what to serve, it’s all ready and waiting for you.
- Set out your clothes. Getting dressed in the morning can help give you motivation later in the day
- Transfer unfinished items to a new to-do list so you’re starting fresh the next day. Star or highlight any important or time sensitive items that need your attention.
- Clear your desk of today’s work and set out what you need to tackle your first task of the day.
- Maybe most importantly, take time off for yourself. Spend at least 30 minutes doing something for you before you head to bed. Read a good book, (for enjoyment) have a bath, catch up on your favorite tv show. This will give you a chance to wind down from the day.
Take a little time to think about what you need to do each day, and try to find ways to prepare for them the night before. Creating an evening routine is not only a great way to wind down the day, it’s a great way to kick start tomorrow on the right foot.
2. Make a Prioritized Plan
Spend some time in the morning creating and prioritizing your to-do list by urgent items, need to do items, and if I have time items. Time sensitive and important, urgent items should be handled first, or when you have the biggest chunk of time to deal with them. Then move onto the need to do items.
By focusing on the most important and time sensitive items first, you leave yourself more wiggle room for the other items on your list. You know best how long certain tasks take you, so allocate your time accordingly. Prioritizing your to do list in a way that highlights the items that absolutely must be done that day, allows you to focus on the tasks that matter most. If you have time left over to get to those lower priority items, great. If not, you can end your day knowing that you accomplished the most important items.
3. Limit Distractions
Distractions are productivity thieves. It might not seem like it at the time when you quickly check that Facebook notification, or retweet your friend’s awesome post, but they start to add up over time. Your focus has been pulled from the task you’re working on and your brain needs time to refocus when you come back to it. Do yourself a favor and close any open browser tabs that you don’t need, turn off the notifications on your phone, and if possible, ask your family to leave you alone for a certain amount of time. Set the kids up with a snack and a movie, or if they’re older, tell them when you will be finished. Giving yourself a time frame to work in can really help you focus on what’s important.
4. Streamline Repetitive Tasks
In the blogging world, there are many tasks that we do over and over again. Finding ways to streamline those tasks will help make our work time easier on ourselves and is a great way to boost productivity. Think about the way you write a post, or the different kind of posts you write. Is is possible to create a template for them so you don’t have repeat the formatting every time? Create a checklist for things you do daily, that way you don’t have to think about them, you just go the list ticking items off as you complete them.
One way I’ve streamlined my working time is by creating photo templates in Gimp. You could do the same in photo shop. I created a blank canvas for each size photo I need, added my watermark and saved it that way. When it comes time to do up the photos for my post, I open my template files, add the picture and text if needed and I’m done! The sizes are done for me, the watermark is there, I don’t have to think about it. If I’m sharing a lot of photos in one post, I can simply open the photos as layers and hide and show as needed. It’s saved me a ton of time.
If you don’t use a photo editing program on your computer, you can do something similar in Canva or Picmonkey it just takes a little creative thinking. Check out How To Save Valuable Time Creating Your Blog Graphics for more tips.
5. Change How You Look at Your To-Do list
Typically, a to-list is a list of things we need or want to do in a given time. When we complete a task we cross it off the list and move on to the next one. As bloggers, our lists can be long, sometimes daunting, and almost never ending. After all, a blogger’s work is never really done. Instead of looking at your to-do list in a typical way, look at it as a guide for how to allocate your time. There are many tasks we do that take up much of our time, and time is one of our most precious commodities. Rather than seeing everything in black and white – to-do and done – look for items that would benefit from a little bit of grey. Things like:
- Linking up at link parties
- Commenting on other blogs
- Responding to every notification on all social media networks
- Personally answering each and every email from your readers
- Sharing and promoting on social media
are just a few examples of items that we can benefit from changing how we look at them. These are tasks that can easily take our time away from other, more urgent areas and have no real beginning or end. Instead of setting specific values to these items, such as linking current posts to 50 link parties each week, consider using a time limit approach. Use step number 2 to help you determine which of these grey items are most important and which are least important, and work on them when you have time.
For example, perhaps you’re working on promoting more of your own posts on Facebook, and it’s a pretty high priority for you. Rather than trying to schedule out 20 posts, you could set aside ten minutes mid-morning, set the timer and work on nothing but scheduling your posts on Facebook. When the time is up, you’re done. Move on to the next task, guilt free. That’s the big part, don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for not being able to do everything. There will always be link parties waiting for you to link up too. There will always be more blog posts to leave comments on. There will always be more to share on social media. Acknowledge that and use that to your advantage. Celebrate that you got spent some time on it and move on to your next task. You’ll find get a little bit of everything done each day rather than all of one thing and nothing of anything else. Productivity isn’t about getting everything done, it’s about moving forward.
Having a super productive day doesn’t have to take a lot of time and effort, just a little bit planning and a little bit of thinking outside the box. It may take some trial and error, but take these steps as suggestions and make them your own. Put your own spin on them so that they work for you. Before you know it, you’ll be rocking the productive days in no time.
Do you have a tip or trick you use to be more productive? I’d love to hear it!
For more tips to help you organize your day and your blogging check out How to Organize Your Busy Week in 4 Easy Steps and How To Create An Editorial Calendar That Makes Blogging Easier.
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