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In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m doing a series of posts on blogging success tips. You can check out all the posts so far over on this page.
Does anyone else struggle with time management? While this post is geared towards bloggers or wannabe-bloggers, it deals with a subject near and dear to the hearts of many people: how can I make the most efficient use of my time?
I’d like to preface this post by saying that you can blog with any amount of time. Obviously it’s easier to grow your blog more quickly if you have more time to work with, but you can adapt your schedule to your own needs. That’s the cool thing about blogging: it’s on YOUR time schedule. YOU decide when the posts go up, and YOU decide if you just plain need a day off.
All that being said, I’m going to give you some of my tips for using time efficiently:
1) Work in blocks of time whenever possible. By this I mean that you should set aside a certain amount of time and use that time exclusively for blogging. Doing so is MUCH more efficient than grabbing 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there to write/edit/share. It’s kinda like when you’re sitting on the interstate in traffic…traffic will start moving again much more quickly if people just stay where they are instead of trying to change lanes.
2) Decide how much time is feasible for you, then stick to that. If you have an hour, try to find a time where you can sit down at your computer for a whole hour and do as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to prioritize and just hit the high spots on days that you don’t have as much time. Also, and perhaps most important, don’t be afraid to prioritize your life in general. Blogging might not be very high up on the totem pole, and that’s OK. I am personally a workaholic with obsessive compulsive disorder, and I’ve found that if I don’t limit myself, I will work on blog stuff for HOURS just to try to get everything done (when it doesn’t really have to be done…like three weeks in advance). I often use hours I don’t have and then have to cut other important things short, like spending time with family. That’s not good. Know when to tell yourself to stop.
3) Multitask. This is especially easy with food blogging. In plain English, blog about the things you make for your family, and gear your meal prep towards blog-worthy dishes. This way you kill two birds with one stone: feeding your family and creating blog material. And I’ll give you a hint: recipes that are easy to make and family friendly will be recipes that go over well with the general public. It’s a win-win.
4) Work ahead. For food bloggers, creating recipes before the day of posting is a great idea for several reasons. a) It gives you time to fix things if they need to be fixed. b) You won’t be as apt to post something that still needs tweaking (it’s easy to call something “good enough” if you need something to write about). c) Sometimes you have inspiration and sometimes you don’t. When you have it, use it. d) Sometimes you have time and sometimes you don’t. When you have it, use it. It’s like Joseph storing up grain in Egypt to prepare for the coming famine.
Working ahead for specific occasions is also a good idea. For example, I am currently residing in Holmes County, OH, working for my grandparents for the summer. That’s 600 miles away from home and kitchen. Not much cooking is happening in my life right now, but I prepared about 30 recipes before I left so now I just have to edit pictures and put posts together. Which is a good thing because I’m working full time and don’t have nearly as much time to blog as I used to. Prepare ahead for times when you know you’ll need some extra help.
Schedulers are helpful tools for time management. I normally schedule all my posts at least a day in advance, preferably more (unless it’s a bonus post I came up with spur the moment). That way if something comes up, I know it’ll go out on its own and I don’t have to worry about it. I might wait to share it around for a day or two if I’m otherwise occupied, but at least I know the post is up on my blog for my email subscribers. Facebook has a scheduler too, and I use that quite frequently, especially for Thursdays when I share posts from my blogging buddies. But that’s a subject that I’ll deal with more later when we talk about using social media to our advantage.
I’ll close with this. It’s amazing how little time it actually takes to blog if you only HAVE a little bit of time. And practice helps you get faster. Having a certain format for everything helps you know exactly what you need to do when putting a post together, so you build efficiency. Same for sharing things on social media: have a to-do list in your head of places to share a post, do it the same way every time, and eventually you’ll remember it and cut down on the time needed to promote your material. Have a system, use it consistently (oh look! There’s that word again!), and you will build efficiency.