As a blogger, I am always trying to boil down the entire process. I don’t know about you, but it is easy to fill your day up with “busyness.” While time does fly when you are having fun, I often wonder if I am really being that productive.
I often have to pause midway through my afternoon and ask myself, “What have you accomplished today that moves you closer to your goals?” I am sure many of you have felt the same way at times.
What has helped me is to get crystal clear on the “big rocks” of what I want to spend my time on. As many of you know, I like to work in “time blocks.” On average they are 30-45 minute “focus” sessions with a 10-15 minute break that follows. In fact, here is an article I wrote that was featured on Life Hacker entitled: How I Doubled My Productivity with a Small Change.
I want to challenge you to work in “focus” sessions. Pick a time of 30, 45, 60 or 90 minutes and spend time on things that move your blog forward. I recently boiled down all my blogging tasks into 4 simple words. I hope this will give you greater focus and productivity.
One of the top blogging activities for me is the idea of “creating.” If I am not actively creating on a regular basis, I am not moving forward. In fact, creating is what I enjoy the most. It is what allows me to play with my passions, add value to others, and extend my influence. One of the first “focus” sessions of my day involve me creating something.
Things on my “create” list include:
- Writing blog posts
- Creating videos
- Recording podcasts
- Writing Kindle Books
- Creating products and blogging courses
- Writing a PDF or report
- Creating social media posts with BufferApp
- Posting forum posts
- Creating an email broadcast to a mailing list
The longer I blog, the more I see a need for connecting with others. Whether it is connecting with other bloggers in your niche or deepening the connection with your readers, connecting is vitally important. Do not hide behind your blog. Be willing to get out in front and connect with others. Both of the first two words “create” and “connect” are very public. You have to be willing to put yourself out there.
When I want to spend time “connecting,” I focus on tasks that relate to:
- Guest posting
- Answering blog comments with Disqus
- Answering email from readers and other bloggers
- Attending events & conferences
- Responding to social media comments and replies
- Responding to forum posts I created
These last two words are more “behind the scenes.” It doesn’t mean that they are not important because they are. I think for most bloggers the idea of “consuming” comes easy for them. I often say that bloggers are learners at heart. Bloggers should be reading books, trends, and blog posts from others in their niche. It is a good idea to spend time learning how to become a better blogger.
However, you can not “create” and “consume” at the same time. Just like you cannot drink and talk at the same time. Before I “consume” on any given day, I make sure that I have spend time creating and connecting first.
Below are a few ways you can spend time consuming:
- Read other blog posts via Google Reader
- Read PDF reports in your niche that you find online
- Listen to podcasts or videos
- Use Just-in-time learning to grow in a specific area
- Take online courses
- Read good books
4. Conduct (Manage)
The last area is one I am trying to improve in. Honestly, it is probably the area I am weakest in. However, learning how to better manage your blogging is a great place to grow your blog. I chose the word conduct because I want to convey the idea of conducting experiments, conducting keyword research, conducting accounting practices, conducting affiliate research, conducting customer service, etc.
Below are some ways to manage your blog:
- Improving old content
- Improving conversion rates
- Finding new affiliate products
- Improving Adsense earnings
- Managing freelancers (writers & designers)
- Fulfilling customer service requests
How to Apply the 4 Words to Improve Your Productivity
I have a super simple system I am using along with the 4 words mentioned above. I use five 3×5 cards. The first card has all 4 words written on it (see the picture above). When I sit down to work on my blogs, I want to be working in one of these 4 areas.
I also have a 3×5 card for each of the words above. Each word has its own card. On the card, I have written all of the blogging tasks and activities I wrote above. This helps me with my focus and concentration.
For example, if I want to spend an hour “creating,” I can choose to work on anything listed on that card. I have the ability to choose in a focused way with this system. You might not be able to adopt my system as is, but hopefully this has you thinking.
What do you do to increase your focus when blogging? Please comment below.