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Time Management for Ridiculously Busy Bloggers

This guest post is by Stepfanie Cuevas of The Lady Bloggers Society.

I used to be a huge multi-tasker. I was always taught that you can juggle at least a dozen projects at once, and that it was an art form that you could boast to the rest of your blogging buddies. I spent nights writing blog posts, getting assignments turned in, tweeting, Facebooking, and replying to emails. After a whole day’s (and plenty of nights) of work, I was completely exhausted. After all that juggling, the list of things still needing to be done had only grown not shortened whatsoever.

Blogging was something that I loved to do not only to connect with people, but was the perfect way to work from home doing what I loved. So when I found myself sorting through hundreds of comments while trying to figure out what to make for dinner and who was going to take the dog to the vet, I knew something had to change. I’m proud to say, gone are the days of multi-tasking. I learned to embrace the new rules for time management for ridiculously busy bloggers like myself.

Multi-tasking is dead: set time aside

When I tried to juggle several items at the same time, I ended up completing a bunch of crappy work, or sending out tons of insensitive emails. Committing myself to one task at a time resulted in amazing blog posts and personalized emails and tweets. Complete with flowers and butterflies.

Not only did I break up my tasks, but set a timer for each item I was working on. Say I wanted to reply to emails in the morning, I set a timer for 20 minutes, and when that time was up, moved on to the next task on the list.

Schedule blog posts, tweets, and your favorite pizza man

For a long time, I turned my nose up at scheduling blog posts and tweets. In addition to my blog for blogging women, I also have a parenting blog, where I pride myself on spontaneity and creativity. Little did I know that I would be so flustered and busy that my time for creativity would almost disintegrate.

I learned to batch write, take guest post submissions, and schedule out a majority of what I wanted to say. With all blog platforms, you are able to schedule blog posts. I also use Twuffer to schedule all of my tweets. Craig is also scheduled every Thursday evening to deliver two large pizzas to our home. Yes, he knows this as well.

Take advantage of mobile apps

In connection with scheduling blog posts and social updates, I keep on top of everything using the golden iPhone. With the WordPress app, I can quickly scan comments and reply. The Mailchimp app lets me easily see how many new subscribers I have, as well as keep up with my email reports. I can also quick reply and DM anyone using the simple Twitter and Facebook apps.

It usually takes me about ten minutes to scan through everything without opening up my laptop whatsoever. I do this about two or three times a day, and then I’m off enjoying the rest of my day laptop-free.

Eliminate the unnecessary

Take a look at your blog. What are you using and what are you not? Is your blog filled with ad networks you no longer use? How about your email? How many mailing lists are you on that take 20 minutes to delete?

Spend a half hour going over your blogs and your email, and get rid of all the unnecessary items that take up your time, space, or crowd your mind. When these things are gone, you’ll have fewer things to manage, and more time to actually blog.

Focus

Last but not least, I’m caught red-handed when it comes to taking on too many projects at once. There was one time when I was working on two of my own blogs, writing for three other websites, all while freelance writing for parenting and entrepreneur magazines. I had to take a step back and re-think what it was that I really wanted to do. I had to choose and focus on what was worth my time and cut back on what was not.

Take a break and see where your time and energy is going. Does the work you are doing right now reflect where you want your blog to go? Instead of ad building, maybe you should be participating in communities to network with other people. Instead of applying for all these blogger opportunities, maybe you should try guest posting on blogs to gain more credibility.

Focus is the ultimate tool when it comes to time management. Have you found this in your blogging?

Stepfanie Cuevas is a blogger and social media enthusiast. She is the founder and editor of The Lady Bloggers Society and writes for many different parenting, entrepreneur, and social media sites. Stepfanie is also organizing this year’s Social Online Conference for women bloggers. Visit her at Stepfane.net

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Comments

  1. Will Marlow says:

    This is a great post, and I agree with your premise that setting time aside is better than multitasking. However, I would also suggest that in addition to scheduling posts, a lot of people would benefit from taking the time to simply write out a nice editorial calendar for their blog, twitter, and even comment strategy. Simply map out a rough outline for what you plan on writing/tweeting/commenting about over the course of a week or even month. An editorial calendar shouldn’t be seen as something that limits creativity — rather, it helps take the pressure off by helping define the majority of your topics. This never occurs to a lot of bloggers, and I think it contributes to the stress they feel.

  2. Bella says:

    I totally agree that setting time aside is the right way to go but when you are a parent it’s even harder to stick to a schedule. Thanks for the tips- which I plan on following to the T, time permitting.

  3. They say women can multi-task better than men
    Jokes aside, setting time aside and scheduling to blog is certainly a no brainer and very good advice. Problem is that sometimes life happens.

    It’s all about priority. Family first, or blog first, paying clients first or blog first, etc. It’s all relative.
    But certainly these points you raise do not only apply to blogging.

  4. Marie Noelle says:

    Great post Stepfanie! I’m a big fan of scheduling posts… not so much a big fan of scheduling my social medias interventions…

    I use to write my blog post daily… And I was feeling bad whenever I didn’t have enough time to write a good one… Now I have an editorial calendar (a plugin on WordPress) and I plan and write my posts in advance… I can plan some writing times during my week but I don’t have to sit and write (and be stressed) every morning!

    I agree with Will Marlow, an editorial calendar does not limit creativity… I change mine often… I move post around… accept last minute guest posts… It’s never set in stone but it helps me a lot!

  5. Great post! It is way to seldom when we hear- do not multitask- and there is so much truth in concentrating into doing task and managing the workload efficiently. I realize, after reading this post, there is few things I want to work on for myself.
    Thank you!

  6. Twuffer link got a page not found error.

    I would like to hear more about this topic! Appreciate the tips you have already presented.

    Particularly since a lot of people who are interested in this have a day job, there are precious few hours to do devote to blogging between family and fulltime job.

  7. Kat Eden says:

    Thanks for writing this Stephanie! I am SO on board with using a timer. Actually I got into a great habit of doing this a year back, and really felt on a roll in terms of my blogging productivity.

    Yet somehow along the way I forgot about this and convinced myself that multi-tasking was the answer after all!

    Just last week I knuckled down with the timer again (I go with 25 minutes ‘on’; 5 minutes ‘off’ for Facebook/email etc), and not only have I churned out MUCH more content than usual, I feel in control and productive. Which is really important to me; perception definitely is reality for me when it comes to blog/life balance.

  8. I like this article. It is exactly what I am teaching my clients. A lot of them complain about the advice I give them about blogging and social networking; however, it is an evil that we must deal with. People marketing themselves or their businesses need to be on the SN sites and posting something at least 3 times a day — even if it’s just a short blurb, like I’m doing an open house right now or I just did a blog posting. Check it out. For blogging, we should be doing it no less than three times a week. Because my clients are busy professionals and small start-ups, I educate them on how to do this with little effort. This is a good article.

  9. I strongly agree that multitasking is really not optimizing the time I have.. great idea on using a timer and scheduling blog posts.. it reminds me that I should do that too as I’ve not been being that productive lately. .

  10. Daniel says:

    Great post Stephanie! Eliminating multi tasking is something I’m trying to implement at the moment – it’s SO unproductive alt tabbing between different things you’re doing, and much much slower. I used to find myself opening one thing at the start of the day, working on it for five minutes, going to something else – then finding it still sitting there at the end of the day as I’m closing things down! Crazy..

    On the time thing – you said once time’s up you move on to the next thing, what do you do when you’re not finished with the original thing though?

    Cheers
    Dan

  11. sokun says:

    What usually works for me is that i just allocate time for all my daily activities and don’t go over them.

  12. Slim Jackson says:

    Awesome read and timely. This is my life right now. What you mentioned about the timer reminds me of the pomodoro technique. I will be passing this post along!

  13. You are right. Time management and organization are really necessary if you want to be perfect, and feel fine. Putting a limit on the time you’ll spend with each task is a good idea. The only problem is that sometimes you cannot follow your program because there are many unexpected factors that oblige you to forget your plans. However, having a program is a good idea even if you cannot follow it everyday. You have to be persistent.

  14. CheyAnne says:

    Great ideas and you are right on the money. “It’s more about spending time well, than spending more time just cause”
    peace n abundance,
    CheyAnne

  15. CheyAnne says:

    the lady blogger link doesn’t work

  16. Cathy Lanski says:

    My biggest challenge is working my blogging schedule around the rest of my life. It’s getting a lot better lately and my more frequent blogging seems to be increasing my traffic.

  17. Andrew says:

    This is actually a great article. I never manage my time properly, I know what to do, but never seem to do it. Your timer idea is perfect. It seems that I spend all my time thinking about what to do/how to do it, but never actually get it done. Thankfully my personal blog gets love on a daily basis. My other websites barely see much attention and I think I was affected in return. =/

  18. ub3y says:

    schedule blog posts really help me. expect the unexpected

  19. Megan says:

    Your life sounds a little like mine…I am up at 6am to get in two hours of work before the school run, followed by another few hours work and another school run, more work and dinner and possibly a bit more more work in the evening…

    What with my freelance writing, the blog (which is just getting off the ground and needs lots of commitment and doesn’t pay much) and the fact I have just added an import/export trading company to my list, my time is stretched.

    Having said all that, I have never felt as fulfilled in a job as I do right now and I would never go back to the old 9 to 5.

  20. James Greg says:

    Multi tasking is no easy job, in fact it’s no job it a spoiler. I have faced a similar situation and used to try juggling all items at once and my results were the same as you defined “crappy stuff”. But I think we all learn from our mistakes. In an attempt to please our boss we try to do all things at once and feel the glory to be honored only to receive a “NO” . This broke my heart. I say now multi tasking is way out of my list now.

  21. Hi Stepfanie,

    Super timely post.

    I re-thought some of my blogging/business plan today. Take time to think why you do, what you do. Move forward with an intelligent plan.

    We typically do things to feel accomplished, to complete a certain number of acts, to say we worked hard after we are done working. This makes no sense.

    The number of acts you complete means nothing. The effectiveness of each act means everything. Cut down on clutter, make room for clarity. Clarity means releasing a ton of stuff to make room for better stuff, and better stuff usually always arrives in a more simple, easy to digest format.

    Let go and grow.

    Thanks for sharing your tips Stepfanie.

    Ryan

  22. Karen Lange says:

    I need to be a little more structured with my time; setting a timer seems a good way to go for certain tasks.
    Thanks for sharing these tips!

  23. Maria says:

    Wow, Stepfaine, great article! This article shows me just how new I am! I just started blogging and I’m currently reading through Darren’s book on getting started. There are so many tips, so many things to think about and decisions to be made, it can make you feel overwhelmed before you even get started! It is a great idea to schedule posts. I’ve currently scheduled on my blog (it is focused around productivity and simple solutions for moms) Wednesday to tackle home organization and Tuesdays for Inspiration, but have not yet scheduled any other blogging activities, such as getting the blog the “look” I want or monetizing. I’m completely in the dark with my Blackberry and plan on getting the IPhone in September – THANK YOU for the help with the apps! This article has given me lots of great tips and a roadmap to follow. Thanks again.
    Maria

  24. Amit says:

    Really great post ,I think writing plan is very important which I missed in My blogging career first but now I am used to it!!.

  25. Hi there,

    Great blog plenty of insights. On top of these rules I would placed Planning. It is my belief that Planning in advance is the most powerful rule to save you time. Only when you have a clear picture of what your day, your week,… will be you can manage your time on your behalf.

    Thanks for your info,

    Salva

  26. Cathy Lanski says:

    You know what I have been doing recently is every time I have a blog idea, I create a draft blog post. I use word press which I have on my phone, so it’s always with me. I currently have 5 or 6 posts ahead that are started. I just have to pick one to flesh out when it’s time to write.

  27. Adarsh says:

    Great article.

    P.S: Most links don’t work. I think you hyperlinked without including the “http” part which makes wordpress think that the link you embedded is a part of problogger itself and hence it redirects as an inner page.

  28. I have to agree about multitasking and taking on too many projects at once. I feel so much better now that I’ve cut down on the number of sites I try to run, and keeping focus on one thing at a time is really helpful for getting things done. Can only do so much of that with young kids at home, but all the more reason to not multitask on business.

  29. Hi Stephanie,

    What a fantastic article on time management! I love to blog too and I can never quite get myself focused enough to complete all the stuff I have on my blogging to do list.
    Thanks for the great tips…my favorite is probably the one about using mobile apps. I already use some for my phone (although not an iphone) and plan to look for the WordPress app asap.
    Karen

  30. Run DMT says:

    Great tips! When I was younger, I prided myself in being a multi-tasker. With three kids, my brain won’t let me multi-task anymore. I thought I was a slacker for doing one task at a time. Good to know I’m managing my time better. ;-)

  31. Although multi-tasking does sound great and all, and I will wholeheartedly agree that it is doomed for destruction – burnout is around the corner. Scheduling your blogging is a really good and productive way to go.