It’s not easy to stay on task when you’re blogging. There are so many things to juggle and so many potential time-wasters online. Here are some of my top tips to keep you on track.
1. Resist info overload.
It’s tempting, isn’t it, to buy every ebook, read every blog or listen to every podcast about making your blog better? Remember that your time is valuable (and limited!). Every minute you spend “researching” is another minute you don’t spend blogging. And it doesn’t matter how many great tips you glean if you never have the chance to apply them. You must implement.
2. Don’t listen to the shoulds.
Any of these sound familiar? I should work on my SEO. I should write an ebook. I should reach inbox zero. I should promote more. I should fix all my broken links. I should post more. I should write better. I should learn how to take better pictures. I should be on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and Google+ and LinkedIn and…
Give yourself permission to operate outside of the shoulds. It may look like everyone else is doing all those things, but I assure you, they aren’t (or they have hired help). It is physically impossible for one human being to do all the shoulds – there just isn’t enough time in the day. Be free. This should be fun!
3. You will miss things. Accept it.
You’ll miss lots of things. Lots and lots and lots of things. More things than you even realize you’re missing. No biggie. It’ll all happen again tomorrow. Pick a few things you can manage and do them well.
4. Run at the right pace.
I’ve said many times that blogging is a marathon, not a sprint. A sprinter is extremely focused on every ounce they wear, every step they take and every breath they breathe because their race will be over in seconds. A marathoner looks at the big picture, settles into a good rhythm and thinks strategically because they’ve got a while to work it out.
A sprinter who runs like a marathoner won’t win and marathoner who runs like a sprinter won’t win either. Bloggers often realize they’re running a marathon but they act like they’re running a sprint. That makes it incredibly hard to win. Be realistic and pace yourself.
5. Don’t sit down at your computer without a plan.
If you don’t know exactly what you’re going to work on, the time will inevitably disappear into social media and internet neverland. What will you spend your time doing? Do you have a list of tasks you’ll tackle? What needs to be done? Plan it first, then get on the computer.
6. Flex to your season.
A new season of life can upset any well-planned schedule. Getting a new job, having a baby, participating in summer activities, starting school or countless other life changes often means huge adjustments to blogging time allotted. If you find yourself in a season that allows you less time to devote to blogging, do this:
- Ask yourself, “If nothing else, what is the ONE thing I want this blog to do for me (ex. make an income, help me connect, market a product or service, etc.)?”
- Write it down and keep it in front of you. Post it on the wall if you need to.
- Then, every time you sit down to blog, ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing right now helping me get closer to my ONE thing?”
- If not, do something that does.
7. When you get off track, step away from the computer.
There are simply too many things vying for our attention on the computer. Like I said, if we don’t have a plan, time will inevitably slip away. If you find yourself wandering, take 15 minutes to do the following:
- Review your daily to-do list. Did you complete everything on there?
- Look ahead. What’s coming up? What can you get ahead on?
- Revist your ONE thing. There is always something good to do online. Always. It never ends. But just because it’s good, doesn’t mean it’s the best. Stay your course.
8. Plan your time backwards from your goal.
The best way to spend your time is to define your goal (blogging or otherwise) and work backwards from there. What tasks today “fit” with that goal? Concentrate on those things.
9. Shun perfectionism.
Perfectionism has crippled me. Plus it’s so completely pointless. I’m making a conscious effort to shed myself of the habit. I have to constantly remind myself that I’m writing a blog post not a Ph.D. dissertation.
10. Write first, edit (and flesh out) later.
I think any good writer does this, but hey, it’s hard to do this when you’ve got a post that’s supposed to be published in, like, an hour and you haven’t started it! Whenever you get a post idea, jot it down without editing. Come back to it later to make it great.
11. Don’t be afraid to change course.
Most bloggers I know have changed course at least once since they started blogging. It takes a while to find a good blogging rhythm and as time goes by, you might realize some topics are more enjoyable to write about or are more well-received by your readers. Embrace the refining process. Don’t be afraid to revamp. Blogging is very forgiving.
12. If necessary, declare blog bankruptcy.
If you’ve lost all interest in your blog, or you yearn to start with a clean slate, delete your blog or simply walk away. It’s a drastic step for sure, but sometimes it’s just nice to start fresh. Before you do this, though, make sure you back up your posts so you can access them later if you’d like. Also, if you want to bring your readers along to your new online home, make sure you tell them your plans.