10 Simple Productivity Tips for Bloggers
Productivity itself is pretty unimportant. It’s what productivity allows us to do that matters. A productive blogging habit means more posts and more quality, and we all know what that means: more links and more traffic.
Productive blogging can also affect our day-to-day lives. It allows you to accomplish more in less time. That means: more time spent with the people that matter in your life.
Many bloggers, myself included, struggle to balance the needs of this hobby with the needs of our loved ones. Being productive can make that task a little bit easier.
Luckily for us, productivity isn’t complicated: it’s mainly based in common sense. The tough part is in being dedicated enough to change our bad habits and be productive, rather than simply reading about it. This post provides ten simple tips to help you start.
1. Write more than you publish. This seems counter-intuitive, but there’s a compelling reason to write, say, one post a week more than you publish. In a month, you should have enough posts saved up to run your blog on autopilot for a week, or to use on days when you’re feeling unproductive.
Productivity, like creativity, can be cyclical. It’s a good idea to write more than you need when you’re feeling particularly productive, to tide you over on days when you’re not. You might even save up enough posts to take a blogging holiday!
2. Turn off auto-notifiers. Whether it be Twitter, Email or Facebook your productivity will suffer if you’re frequently interrupted. When notified that you have a new message or email it’s hard to resist the temptation to read it as soon as you receive it. This will interrupt your frame of mind. Focus is something you develop over time, meaning frequent interruptions will hamper your ability to focus.
Let’s face it: you’ll never receive a message that can’t wait a few hours. Auto-notifiers are more trouble than they’re worth.
3. Check email less, deal with more. If you only check emails once or twice a day you’ll be able to respond to all emails within 12 or 24 hours, respectively. No-once could fault your for that. They key is to check emails less but process more. A good tip is to keep only emails that require action in your inbox. When you do check your email, take action on all the emails in your inbox until it’s empty. This isn’t a new idea. That’s because it works!
4. Write multiple posts when you’re feeling creative. You need to develop a writing schedule that works with your mental state. Are there certain times of the day or week when you’re most creative? Focus on writing during those times, even if it means writing multiple posts in one sitting. You’ll write better and faster.
If creativity is sporadic for you, make your writing schedule flexible. If you follow tip one and build a safety net of content, you won’t need to worry if, at times, the inspiration doesn’t come. You’ll always be more productive when you’re inspired.
5. Use your feed reader as an all-purpose inbox. A lot of time is wasted logging in to various web 2.0 services, checking statuses, updates and stats. Where possible, add these things to your feed reader. You can subscribe to your inbound links at Technorati, pages from your blog submitted to Digg (search your blog’s URL and subscribe to the feed) and a number of other services. Use your imagination! Then, when you go through your feed reader, you can perform a few different tasks in one go.
6. Process different tasks in batches. Most of us take hundreds of scattered actions throughout the day: check email, check Twitter, moderate a comment, read some feeds, check stats, and so on. This prevents us from becoming focused and tapping into any kind of flow state.
Think of your various actions like driving a car. You won’t drive very fast if you’re constantly shifting gears up and down at random. You want transitions between gears to be smooth and only occur when it’s necessary.
The same can be said for mental states. Processing different kinds of tasks in batches will allow you to focus on each type of task to the best of your abilities. You could read feeds, emails, comments and anything else you can think of in batches.
7. Develop a ‘To Post’ list. Sometimes we spend so much time trying to decide what we should do that nothing at all gets done. Luckily, it’s not too hard to change that habit.
Designate a day where you set out your posting schedule: what you’re going to post about and when. You’ll know what posts you have to write and how long you have to get them done.
8. Keep a reserve of post ideas. Blogger’s block is the arch nemesis of productivity. There are two key things you can do to cope with blogger’s block: accept it and fall back on content you’ve saved, or delve into your reserves of ideas.
It’s essential that every blogger have a healthy supply of post ideas saved up. It will minimize the amount of creative work you have to do when you sit down to write a post. Rather than having to innovate and be original (which can be hard sometimes), you simply have to write.
9. Spend less time reading feeds. You don’t want to spend more time reading other people’s content than you do creating your own. Cutting down your feed subscriptions seems like the obvious answer to this problem, but it could mean that you miss out on important lessons and ideas.
You need to become skilled at quickly deciding which posts will be worth your time and which posts will not. Scanning is another habit that will help you here. Do you want to know the secret to lightning-fast feed reading?
10. Sketch out your posts before filling in the detail. Another important place to save time is on how long you spend writing posts. A key mistake I see bloggers make is trying to write a publishable post the first time through. Trying to go from nothing to perfect is a sure-fire way to have you wringing your hands over every sentence.
One strategy I find works well for me is to divide each post into its key points and write them down. For example, when I started writing this post it only contained the sentences in bold. I fleshed out each point with the following paragraph, then wrote the introduction last.
Dividing each post into manageable chunks and tackling it one portion at a time can help structure your writing and make the whole process less intimidating.
Points to review
- Write more than you publish.
- Turn off auto-notifiers.
- Check emails less often, but deal with more when you do.
- Write as much as possible when you’re feeling creative.
- Use your feed reader as an all-in-one inbox.
- Process different types of tasks in batches.
- Work out a ‘To Post’ list.
- Spend less time reading feeds.
- Sketch posts before filling in the detail.
Over to you
What’s your number one productivity tip?
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82 Responses to “10 Simple Productivity Tips for Bloggers”
All excellent points. Lately I’ve been using Google Reader a lot more and it’s cut down on checking sites that haven’t been updated. I think #1 and #4 are most important, because they give you a little wiggle room when you’re crunched for time and free you up to be creative when you’re feeling creative without having to produce a publishable post when you’re not.
I recently posted on a simpple topic here.
Great advice, have serval children, so these tips are truly appreciated
There are certain periods when I have to use a dial-up connection while visiting my parents. Is is then that I write my best posts, away from any disturbing elements of the vivid online life.
This was one of the most informative blogs I have read in weeks, and full of great information that I plan on putting to action ASAP
work from home blog
“Write more than you publish” is nice tip.
Great tips! Thanks!
Thank you for the great post! Most of your tips can apply to general day-to-day productivity in the work place and they are a great reminder.
engtech @ internet duct tape
blog start page is still my biggest productivity tip… one click to see everything related to blog maintenance:
Skelly – these are great tips. I check my email as little as possible. But, I think my biggest downfall is writing to many partly finished posts.
Although they can be useful, I really should be trying to keep at least a couple of completed ones on stand-by for those times when I’m just too busy.
I would love to be in the position of having a heap of posts lined up for vacations, illness etc – if you have any great tips on how to achieve this please?
These are great tips and I FULLY agree. As a business owner I’m always aware of not just my own productivity but those of my team. With so much social media the daily distractions are endless. You really have to concentrate on organization and learning how to stay focused on certain tasks.
Useful tips for bloggers. Btw, can you share how you allocate your time to post more than one blog? Do you mind? Or you have your dedicate team to brainstorm for the new post ideas? Understand most of the bloggers post by timestamp and might caused delay of certain post in timing wise.
I have auto-notifiers always on,
but emails i check once a day.
“Keep a reserve of post ideas.” – really good tip !!!
I am here with a different opinion. Instead of hunting for news just to post on a particular topic you should try to create something unique. The key should be to maintain top quality and not to post just for the sake of posting.
In order to do this a detailed layout for a post should be made and a research should be done carefully.
thanks for the tips, realy helpfull 🙂
Great tips. I really needed some advice on handling email. But more importantly, your last tip will help me the most. I feel that my post quality can be significantly improved by just following this tip.
Good tips. The other idea I would add to the list is make a bookmark folder for stories, ideas you want to blog about. If you see an idea when you don’t have time to write you can add a bookmark that will remind you and then just go to this bookmark folder when you are in writing mode.
Great post! I really needed these tips right now.
Good tips. One must keep oneself continuously motivated to be productive. Zig Ziglar said, “People often say that motivation doesnâ€™t last. Well, neither does bathing – thatâ€™s why we recommend it daily.”
I never thought about setting up feeds to clear out your inbox.
The book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen really helped get more organized, accomplish more and feel less stressed too.
Great tips. Productivity comes for me in keeping a schedule. I do one thing at a time, sign out of messengers, and stay on task. If something interrupts my flow I handle it quickly and get back to work. Knowing, that as a Mom, I have little time… keeping a schedule ensures that I’m not only productive but staying on task at the right time.
Wise words. Ill try your tips.
My #1 productivity tip at the moment is to try to write before reading email or checking RSS. It allows me to focus much more on the task at hand without having my mind filled with distractions.
Great tips! I’m in the process of relaunching my own blog, and one of the things I’m out to battle is blogging block.
I agree that the first step is minimizing the distractions, second, staying in context, and third, work ahead.
It’s also a good idea to ask your readers for ideas. I’ve had a few visitors have question relating to my niche and I’ve answered them with a post or series of posts. It really helps to point you the direction the readers want to go.
Not John Chow
My biggest productivity tip is not to bite off more than you can chew! I have had to relearn this lesson several times in life. Make your strategy managable by breaking it down into smaller tactical pieces. Then schedule your time to include a lot of empty space that you know you will fill in because you have under estimated the time it takes to complete the tasks that you have already accepted.
Justin, that post was submitted by Skellie about 2 months ago :). Somehow I delayed to publish it.
those will sure come in handy
Wuau really good tips
Thanks for the tips. I do write more than I publish. Unfortunately I write most posts out first in longhand. Still a chance to put it off when it comes to type it out.
I swear to god, you are taking posts from my blog. I just published some of these exact points. Haha
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