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These three basics to balance hinge on this last element of TIME. We could all learn to manage our time better, and producing anything of quality requires focused time. How dedicated are you to this blog? Your calendar will reflect how intentional you are about this passion project or business venture.
It’s not always about the quantity of time, it’s about the quality: how you make the most use of the minutes you have. The longer I blog, the more intentional I’ve learned to be with my time, and the more efficient I get.
The thing is, you have to stick with this for longer than a few months. It’s a discipline that will pay off in the long run, and make you better as you learn faster ways of doing things because you’ve built upon old habits.
You can do it, keep going! Here are some time management tips to keep in mind.
Break up your project into mini projects, bite-sized, and checklists within those areas. Cutting down your tasks to smaller tasks will help you to gain momentum as you watch yourself complete the small things quicker.
Tools I’ve used to help me organize tasks:
Google Calendar / Drive- schedule appointments & interviews, save files, file share with team mates.
Evernote – write drafts of blog posts & series ideas to build out later (can link to Trello)
Apple Notes – jot down ideas on the go through my iPhone (can also do this with Evernote app)
Trello – I currrently compile all of my project lists her, excellent for networking and file sharing. Manage larger projects with many people.
What are the most important things that need to get done first? Have you scheduled yourself to send a weekly email to your subscribers? If not, you may forget about it and your consistency will get spotty as time goes on.
My rule is, if it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done. I can’t afford to hold dates and times in my brain anymore. They will fall out and that’s why I need my calendar.
If you only have a couple hours after the kids go to sleep, that might be the best time to buckle down in silence and write great content instead of browsing Facebook or catching up on shows.
By the way, I use to think that I could write and watch a show in the background. Nope. It splits my concentration like no other and the work takes 2-3 times as long to get done. Speaking of getting things done…
I tend to be what you call a discouraged perfectionist. If I can’t do an excellent job the first time, then I put it off. This way of thinking can be so counterproductive because you’re putting all your eggs in one time basket instead of being satisfied with building something great a little bit at a time.
Remember the phrase, Rome wasn’t built in a day? Well neither is your blog. It’s a beautiful, living, growing organism that will take time to refine.
Work smarter, not harder. Try the Pomodoro Technique: Work in 25 minute increments and rest for 5 minutes. Download this free app here called the Be Focused timer, based on this proven method of focused work time.
Curse of Shiny Things
Otherwise known as… “I’ll do all the fun easy stuff that distracts me from the real mission I set out to do that’s harder because it takes more concentration.” I fight this one all the time. My shiny things are social media or “hey, I want to research that,” instead of finishing the important task that I started.
Recognize your distraction triggers and reward yourself with something fun after you’ve completed the task at hand. Close those extra email or Facebook tabs, maybe even turn off your phone until you’ve checked off that next item.
Eat that Frog
This is a weird phrase that Mark Twain used regarding time management. He said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day,” or “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
He was basically saying, do your worst task first; the one you’ve been dreading to sit down and concentrate on. Get it out of the way and your day will seem to run smoothly after that.
For me, this is often what I’m doing right now: sitting here and coming up with the best way to explain something I’ve learned. Honestly, I would much rather talk it out (that’s probably why I started a podcast, hehe). But I find that I’m more satisfied with my day when I’ve taken care of an important task at the start.
Probably my most important piece of advice – you cannot neglect your family at the expense of this blog. Take care of them first, and then work on your content. As a homeschooling mom, my day starts with their feeding, care, education, and exercise. In between I try to pick up the house and keep on top of dishes & laundry, but part of their learning is to help with that, too.
I will schedule myself an hour here and there to work on specific tasks, and you know what? That limited time frame forces me to get more done. It’s actually a beautiful thing. Putting my family first keeps my priorities straight and helps me to be thankful for the time I do have to blog instead of resenting my family for takin up my precious blogging time. See the difference?
REALITY: You are most likely not going to be making money right away (if you want to monetize your blog at all) until you’ve built your fan base of loyal subscribers and are consistently producing quality content. So do the best you can with the time you have.