Hey guys! I don’t know about you but I’m already in big time planning mode for what 2016 has in store for me and I’m excited to announce that The Blog Planner 2016 will be available in just a few short weeks! (And there’s a giveaway…more details at the bottom of this post.)
I have a ton going on at the moment (including a rebrand of TinySidekick that I’m super psyched about) and it got me thinking a lot about what has helped me the most when it comes to growing my blog with the limited amount of time I have to dedicate to it.
So I came up with a short list that I hope will help you when it comes to making the most of your blogging time.
Even if you aren’t a blogger, I think that some of the things on this list will help you divide and conquer projects both big and small.
Create a work schedule
When I first started out I would work on my blog when I felt like it or when I had time. But when I shifted from dabbling to taking it more seriously I knew that I had to set a schedule to get everything done and stay focused. And because I’m a bit of a nerd I call it my “productivity plan”.
Of course my schedule has to be a bit flexible cause I’m a stay at home mom of 2 kids and my husband doesn’t work a traditional 9-5 job, but having my schedule helps ensure that I will have enough hours set aside to do all the things necessary to grow my business. For me that means a lot of working during nap times and after the kids are in bed at night but I’ve been able to find a consistent 17 hours a week to dedicate to my blog and have seen great growth as a result.
Work in bulk
This one took me awhile to figure out but it has been a life saver when it comes to cranking out content. I schedule at least one project day a month and in that day I do anywhere from 3-5 projects. Of course the big renovation or build type projects are a different story but for the smaller projects working on all of them in one day is key. This way while I’m waiting for the paint or glue to dry on one project I can be starting or finishing another, taking final photos of another.
This means that I create one giant mess that day but since I use a lot of the same supplies from project to project I’m really only getting them out and putting them away once. This also allows me to get an area set up for photos once (which often means getting my lighting out and set up only once.)
Having days set aside for projects also means that I have to plan ahead to make sure I’ve ordered or purchased all of my supplies which also means that I’m typically taking less trips to the store because with a list of projects to tackle I grab everything at once.
Schedule your big stuff first
During the last week of each month I take some time to look ahead and plan my schedule for the coming month. I start with my big projects or goals and schedule time in to work on those first. I leave the smaller tasks that don’t require a ton of concentration or planning ahead to fill in the little bits of time I have here and there. Since it is the big stuff that typically propels me forward the most I have to make those things a priority or they will never get done.
Schedule one big chunk of time each week
Some things just need your absolute full attention and they are best done from start to finish. And it seems that the more I get into this world of blogging the more of those big ideas pop into my head and require my time.
So each week I have a day scheduled in that allows me to work for 5 or more hours straight. This often means that I have to get creative when it comes to my kids but it is so necessary for growth. So far my mom has wanted to have a chunk of a day each week with my sweet kiddos so that is when I schedule this time in. On weeks where that doesn’t happen the hubs plans to take over all kid duties for at least half the day.
*Tip: So this doesn’t eat too much into family time on days my husband is home I sometimes get up and get started really early so that I’m done and ready to play before lunch time. Or the reverse, we will go out and play in the morning and I’ll take from 1:00 on, leaving dinner and evening fun to the hubs. #jugglingact
Treat your calendar/ planner like your boss
Being your own boss has definite perks, but you also don’t have anyone to answer to which means that if you miss a deadline no one will ever know. I’ve definitely been guilty of looking at my to-do list on a given day and walking downstairs and starting an episode of teen mom instead (#isaiditoutloud.) If this happens too often it’s like a snowball effect and I’m so far behind I pretty much have to scrap awesome ideas and make them wait till later.
This goes back to creating a work schedule. Putting something down in my planner means that I’ve scheduled in time to complete it and I treat it as if it is an appointment that I can not miss. That said, creating a work schedule also means that you haven’t scheduled yourself to work during every hour of free time you have. You need to make sure that you have some down time or you will burn out. Which leads me to…
Take a day off every week
Most of us are blogging “on the side” around other obligations in our lives so to take those precious free time hours and not use them to grow your business can feel very irresponsible but it is so necessary.
I try and take one day a week where I don’t do any work related to the blog. Ok I might check Instagram but I don’t have any scheduled work to do. We all need a break even if our job is really fun.
Close all other windows and turn off notifications
When it’s time to focus on bigger tasks like writing a post or even editing photos I find that if I have no other windows open I work so much faster. Being connected at all times can be so distracting so I also have notifications on my phone and on my computer turned off during these times.
Set a timer
You’ve probably heard this one before, but have you ever actually done it? I work according to my work schedule for my big to-do items which means when my time is up, it’s up.
When I’m working on social media related to-dos though it is so easy to get distracted! This is where setting a timer comes in handy. If I have 30 minutes scheduled for social media I will literally set a timer for 10 minutes so that in 30 minutes I can hit Pinterest, FB, and Instagram. Having the timer set ensures that I don’t get distracted and off task.