If you are like me, you probably have a super long to do list running around in your head. Posts to write. Social media to update. Products to create. Emails to write. And yet, here I sit procrastinating, moaning I don’t have enough time to get all the things done that I want to in order for my blog business to continue to grow and prosper.
I thought that once I became a full time blogger, I would progress much faster than I did when I had to juggle a job and blogging but alas, it hasn’t quite worked out that way. I got waaaaayyyy more done when I had less time. Because I had to be more strategic and productive with my time. I am the first to admit I am lazy and waste a lot of time. There is always tomorrow. Am I right?
But tomorrow turns into next week, turns into next month and all of a sudden I am staring down another year, no further ahead than the last.
I realize it comes down to habits. Bad ones that I have created since I left the corporate world behind. And the funny thing is, it seems as though bad habits breed in the dark like bunnies. If I don’t separate these frisky pests soon, I will be overrun!
In an effort to re-focus and get a handle on my productivity, I had to become real honest with myself.
If you find yourself in the same state, here is what you need to do:
How do you spend your time?
My family “thinks” I blog too much. To them, I always have my phone or iPad or laptop open. And I thought so too. You want a real eye opener? Log your time for a week and find out.
No, seriously. I challenge you to write down on paper or log in your phone what you do every single day and for how long. Count everything. Even your non blogging time.
You will be shocked at how much actual time you have spent on blogging, and how much time you previously mentally logged as blogging when in reality, it was not.
Identify your time wasters
Where did your time go? Was it cruising social media? Watching TV? Or my favourite, chatting with other bloggers? (Count messaging and talking!)
There is nothing more eye opening than seeing that I spent 20 hours of my week on Pinterest or Facebook.
That post I said I didn’t have time to write or could not focus on? A BIG FAT LIE! The reality is that I could have probably written at least 4 posts in that time.
Cut the fat
This is going to be uber hard. Especially in the beginning. But you need to make a conscious effort to stop doing the things that are not moving your blog and your business forward. The exercise above should have made it really clear what those things are.
Here are a list of bad blogging habits that I need to stop doing today:
Cruising Social Media And Calling It Research
Social media, in particular Pinterest, is a tool I like to use to find new blog post ideas or products that my audience may like. The possibilities are endless!
But it is so easy to go down that rabbit hole for hours. All of a sudden, searching for blog post ideas morphed into what I should make for supper or how I should arrange my pictures for a gallery wall above my couch.
Ideas I could use on my lifestyle blog for sure but who am I kidding?
If I am not writing down ideas in my journal while looking through my social media feeds, I can not call it research anymore. Period.
Aimless time is wasting time. (I must repeat that to myself often.)
Finding Courses/Products To Solve Problems I Didn’t Know I Had
I subscribe to far too many emails from other bloggers. And don’t get me started on my Facebook feed. I’ll click on one sponsored post about “How to do X”, and all of a sudden I am seeing tons more similar ads from other bloggers.
It is so distracting. I do love to see what other bloggers are doing but dang, someone starts to talk about a new product, course or plug in and I start wondering if I am missing the boat and need it too.
In reality, I don’t.
It makes me stray away from my own goals and purpose.
Let’s be real here. Pretty much all of the big bloggers selling high priced products got to where they are all on their own. They didn’t buy courses because at that time, there weren’t any. They got to where they are through hard work and trial and error till they found their magic formula for their audience.
I personally have bought a ton of courses. And I am not saying they are all bad. But just like life, there is a time for learning and there is a time for doing. It is so easy as a blogger to get stuck in learning mode and never get to the implementation mode.
If you have courses that you have bought and have not finished or you have not used the information taught, you need to stop buying and start doing.
I have always considered myself to be a pretty good multi-tasker. Aren’t all mothers? lol
But when I looked at my time logs, I realized how much I jumped around.
I would start a blog post. Then jump over to answering emails. Jot down the things I need to buy at the grocery store. And then decide I have to create some graphics.
Nothing ever got done well.
Most of the time, very few items got done at all.
I can not deny the research that has proven that going from task to task actually robs you of focus and productivity.
It was very true in my case.
I literally force myself now to stay on one task at a time. It is hard. But just like we say as bloggers that we wear many hats, we can’t wear them all at the same time either. That would look stupid and obviously quite useless.
Shiny Object Syndrome
My time evaluation also revealed that I let my days be ruled by notifications. A ping here, an email there. Is that my Amazon delivery?
Instead of deciding how my time should be spent, I let the day/others/distractions construct my day.
Which leads me to my next bad blogging habit…
Having No Plan For The Day
Just like budgeting is learning to tell your money where to go, pre-planning and scheduling your blogging tasks is telling your time how to be spent.
Without a plan, multi-tasking and shiny object syndrome become your norm.
How many times during the week do you say to yourself, “I really ought to write a blog post.”?
Do you do it?
Probably not. Instead you find another week, month go by and nothing new posted.
Whatever you have on your to do list, has to be scheduled or it won’t get done.
For example, if writing 3 blog posts a week is at the top of your list, your schedule/plan may look like this:
- Monday: brainstorm blog post ideas
- Tuesday: pick 3 ideas and do keyword research
- Wednesday: write brief outline for each post with subheadings
- Thursday: write blog posts drafts
- Friday: edit blog posts
- Saturday: find/create graphics for posts
- Sunday: schedule posts and social media shares
When you break your big task, writing a blog post, into small, manageable tasks, it doesn’t seem so over-whelming. Work gets done efficiently as each task easily fits your schedule instead of trying to cram everything into one day.
I originally started this whole blogging thing in 2015 as a creative outlet. And that was super fun. I never worried about the time I spent on it because it really didn’t matter that much. It was just a hobby.
But once I made the decision to make it a business and make money while working from home, my main objective was to steal back time for myself instead of working for the man.
What I found out was that the longer in my blogging journey I got, the more hours I worked. More hours than I had ever done at a regular job. Instead of having more time, I ended up having incredibly less.
And that was mainly due to the bad blogging habits I developed on my way.
If you are struggling with time management and productivity, I strongly encourage you to track your time, eliminate unnecessary fluff and create a strong plan/schedule to keep your grounded.
What bad blogging habits are you going to change today?
Hey Elena. Just found your blog thru Pinterest and I LOVE your voice! You’re my kind of gal. Your articles are great, and I am finding info I haven’t found anywhere else, (as a blow thru my day with no plan, doing research on Pinterest!!!!). I too am a midlife Momma of 4 just beginning my blogging journey. I will continue to read your truthful articles.
Thanks for your kind words! Good look on your journey!
And if we really want to get meta about this topic, how about when I use blogging as excuse to avoid finishing my non-blog writing projects? Weeping, weeping.
These hit the mark. I find it all too easy to get distracted on social media, telling myself that it’s only a quick brain break only to have several minutes sucked up for nothing. A helpful post, for sure.
Great post Elena, so many bloggers must be able to relate to all of your tips. Especially like the one on spending too much time on social media, incredibly easy to lose track when you are doing that. Hours go by and you haven’t even started what you planned to do.
Even if you are not a blogger, social media can be a time suck. As bloggers, we need to keep that in check. Thanks so much for reading!
Thanks, Elena, I am trying to focus my time more on my blog this year. This helped me add a little more structure to my weekly plan. – Angie
I am so glad to hear that! Let me know how you make out.