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Blog Wise Tip 1: Diagnose Productivity Problems

Over the coming days, we’ll be presenting a series of pro blogging productivity tips that we’ve compiled using the advice of nine A-list bloggers we interviewed for Blog Wise, our new ebook on blogging productively.

Today, let’s consider the question, “do you have a productivity problem?”

In the blogosphere, it’s pretty easy to compare your blog to others, and feel like you’re not doing enough.

But how can you identify areas within your own blogging work that aren’t as productive as they could be? These productivity problems may not be easy to spot, but they can really hold your blog back.

The bloggers we spoke to had a few pointers.

  • Emotions: Heather Armstrong from Dooce.com admits that when she ends the day in tears, she knows something needs to change. “That’s usually my body saying, ‘something’s out of whack… the balance is off.’”
  • Energy: Darren keeps an eye on his energy levels, and those of his readers. “If I’m doing certain things and people are responding well to them, then that’s a signal that I need to do that more,” he says. “And conversely, if I’m doing something and there’s no reaction or a negative reaction, then I’m questioning, ‘Is this something that I want to put time and energy into?’”
  • Quality and results: Amy Porterfield, of AmyPorterfield.com tells us “If you’re not meeting deadlines, if you’re not actually producing great work that’s getting great results, you have to look at that and think something is broken in your process.”
  • Progress: Brian Clark of Copyblogger.com has experienced that first-hand. Before he merged his five companies, he had, he says, “these separate satellites, and they didn’t share together in knowledge or expertise or teamwork or profits … I saw that the only way I was going to get to where I saw as a possible future vision, was to put all these smart people together.”

What about you? Do you have a productivity problem? What are its symptoms? Let’s share them!

Tomorrow: Motivation and productivity

About Georgina Laidlaw

Georgina Laidlaw is a freelance content developer, and Content manager for problogger.net. You can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Hi Georgina,

    I love Darren’s advice.

    Common sense stuff combined with energy work. If people respond well to what I am doing, I keep doing it. If I note a big shift and waning responses, I stop doing it.

    Be mindful that you will experience fluctuations in readers, opt-ins, etc, from day to day. The idea is to observe a pattern developing. You can usually just feel it though. You feel good working, and people seem to respond in a high energy way, and the good vibes continue if you do not abandon your strategy.

    Heather also nails it. Straining and striving is not necessary, not for creative beings like ourselves. You can be wildly successful and enjoy the heck out of the experience. Yep, we have down moments but when the moments lead into days, weeks, etc, something is wrong. You need to shift you energy, and move into higher energy acts consistently so you can enjoy this thing we call blogging, or prospering online.

    I am pretty disciplined with moving into effective acts. Taking frequent breaks helps me immensely in this department. By pulling back I see when I spin wheels, when I move into effective, inspired acts and when I need to drop everything.

    On that note, time to take a break ;) Thanks Georgina!

    Ryan

    • Georgina Laidlaw says:

      Hey Ryan, thanks for giving us your thoughts! I think your point about feeling is a really good one: the more you know your niche and your audience, the bigger the role that gut feeling and intuition have to play :)

      Thanks!

  2. I have found that my health and energy plays a HUGE role. When I am eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis, I tend to have more energy and thus produce more. Sounds obvious, but when you spend long hours in front of a computer, it is very easy to lose sight of what you eat and you can gain a couple of pounds

    -AlexG

  3. Chris says:

    I have noticed that emotions play a big part in my productivity. If I am having a bad day, sad, or angry about something I am VERY unproductive.

    I also sometimes have noticed that when I am unproductive I try to fill my time with “something”. To avoid this I now use a little trick, i ask myself if my current activity is a money making activity. When the answer is no too many times in a row I know that I need to re-evaluate my current track.

  4. That is a great way to look at productivity. Interesting to see how everyone manages it slightly differently. I guess the key is to discover how we manage our own

  5. Justin Mazza says:

    Hi Georgina,

    I have found that partnering with other like minded people has helped me with productivity. Having to do everything myself weighs me down and makes me less effective and creative. Team efforts rock!

    • Georgina Laidlaw says:

      Ooh an interesting point, Justin—and one we’ll be addressing in a post later in the week :)

  6. Maria Wendt says:

    These are very good tips to keep in mind as I am getting ready to start my own blog. I am looking forward to the next few days’ posts. Thank you very much, Georgina.

  7. I actually bought the book and read it yesterday, and found it to be truly fascinating.

    My productivity problem is procrastination. “I can do it later” or “I’ll just do this a second” are usually the things I say to myself. But I’ve thankfully found that using deadlines like Amy really helps. I have to have my post up by 5pm, I have to comment on, and read blog posts before my Buffer feed runs out, etc.
    My other trick is tweeting out what I’m going to do for the day. I’ve only done this once or twice but I found that I really did not want to fail, and because all of the “tweeples” were holding me accountable (thankfully there’s no “X people read this tweet” feature), I really want to stick to it so I can show that I have actually done it.

    • Christina says:

      I love the idea of tweeting out what you plan to do that day! I have a terrible time with accountability to myself. I’ve tried to get my husband to “manage” me, but he’s much too nice, lol. But, if I told someone else that I’m going to do something- even anonymous tweeple- I’m much more motivated and less likely to procrastinate. Thanks for the tip!

  8. Sheyi says:

    Mine is not really problem. I guess it has to do with my internet. There are times when I am on top of the world and I feel like writing (with the great strength in me) but the internet will not be available!

    Sheyi

    • Jason says:

      That strikes me as an excuse to yourself rather than an un-solvable problem – write offline and publish when internet becomes available, or see if you can pay more for reliable access.

      If you want to blog you should be able to solve this problem easily.

  9. I feel that my productivity problems lie in feeling overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. Content to be created, networking, promotion/marketing, planning future content, organizing current content, and analyzing what works and what doesn’t. If I don’t write everything down in concise, organized lists, my thought processes break down and I end up making very little progress. Trying to tackle everything at once is my biggest downfall. Baby steps are key.

  10. Guy Hogan says:

    Since I retired I have no production problems. I read. I’ve become a news junkie. I sing karaoke. I blog.

  11. Ferb says:

    Hi Georgina,

    I got two productivity problems. the first one is just like you mentioned above “Compare to others and work isn’t hard enough” and the second is distracting. when I decide to write a blog post, I can’t finish the post straight to the end.

  12. Bill @ carpet cleaning orange county says:

    Energy is a huge factor for me. I work a lot of hours within my business Carpet Cleaning Orange County and find it hard to find time or energy for creative writing on my company blog. I think for me it’s because what I write about is what I do for work. I am considering starting a blog about things I do away from work for fun. Then, I will find creativity and energy I believe.

  13. Hi Georgina, I do have productivity problems sometimes when I can’t just seem to produce anything (at least not anything I’ll be proud to tag my name onto). When that happens I know it’s time to just chill. I go watch cartoons with my kids and play with them. It helps a lot.

    • Georgina Laidlaw says:

      Sharon, a lot of the bloggers we spoke to mentioned taking a break—and taking your mind off the pressures of the day’s To Do list—as a great creativity booster :) Sounds like a pro tip to me!

  14. Daniel says:

    I sometimes overwork on my site, doing plenty of seo related research.

    The problem with this is that it can lead to occasional times where you feel burnt out.

    I need to get back to the more balanced approach that I was doing previously.

  15. I take a break. When I’m finding that I’m just not feeling it, then I read a book (not related to blogging, SEO, or social media), watch a movie, walk the dogs, talk on the phone, or go window shopping. I allow myself some time to recharge. I’ve also stopped working all weekend. I work during the week at my day job then I work 2 hours a day on my blogs and over the weekend. Can you say “burn out?”

  16. Surminga says:

    Energy and health plays a huge role within Blogging, also a good nights rest. Working many hours Blogging and online marketing can be repetitive but having an outlet to exercise then recharge is needed to balance it all out.

  17. Sometimes we may feel that we are not being as productive as we can but we are just not sure why. There may be some factors that you aren’t taking in consideration that could be affecting how productive you feel. The way things are structured, set up in our lives and our lifestyle directly affect how much energy we have, how focused we can be, how organized and in turn Productive we are.

  18. Top Reviews says:

    Nice post describes everything ,and i completely agree Energy and health plays a huge role within Blogging

  19. Tams says:

    It is easy to lose track of time while working on your blogging skills. I find myself saying, “One more thing then I’ll go to bed” then it turns out to be several things and the sun is rising.
    I believe it is imperative to set a schedule and do your best to stick to it.

  20. One of the things I find challenging…and madly disappointing…is being productive in things that don’t matter. Wasted time is wasted productivity.

  21. Christina says:

    I have such a strong tendency to do everything else before I do my blogging work, especially the writing. I know that’s based on a deep-down fear that what I’m putting out somehow isn’t good enough, and I’ve really been working on dealing constructively with that fear.

    I also have a huge to-do list that’s related to blogging, but not about writing posts- migrating to our own domain and WordPress, updating all of the links and posts, doing SEO, finishing a related book, and on and on. I haven’t been very good at managing my time so a bit of everything gets done consistently.

  22. Passi says:

    Really nice tips explained and it will surely help me improve my blogging career.

  23. Thank you for the great share! I will surely help in my blogging career!

  24. Jon Loomer says:

    Great tips, Georgina! You’re certainly tapping into an issue that I’m sure many of us have. It tends to be clear when something is “off” or “broken,” but the key is finding what is broken in the process and fixing it.

    For me, it means having a flexible routine. Be structured, but be prepared to change based on results and reactions of readers.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  25. Ryan Cripps says:

    I definitely have a productivity problem. Some days I feel like blogging, some days I don’t, other days I know I have to write and I just don’t feel like it.