This guest post is by Timo Kiander of Productivesuperdad.com.
What’s the one similarity between these blogging tasks?
- approving comments on your blog
- proofreading posts
- writing and preparing your post to be published (finding images, SEO, setting tags and categories, and so on)
- keeping yourself up to date with social media
- writing guest posts
- recording a video and uploading it to YouTube.
You don’t know?
All those tasks are recurring tasks and you do them again and again. Unfortunately, no matter how tedious these tasks may sometimes be, they just have to be done in order to keep your blogging wheels turning.
On the other hand, these recurring tasks eat valuable time from other blogging-related tasks, for instance, from building your email list, creating relationships with other bloggers, or creating your own products and services.
A tricky situation, isn’t it?
Do you know what you did today?
The feeling of poor productivity—even if you work a lot—can be strong if you don’t know what blogging tasks you did, when you did them, and how long it took to do them.
If you don’t have any stats on how long, on average, it takes to approve the comments on your blog, write a guest post, or record a YouTube video, then your blogging habits aren’t as effective as they could be. Also, planning your next day’s blogging task list is going to be difficult.
This knowledge is crucial if you want to make a steady progress with your blogging and get the tasks done on time. Especially if you have a very limited “time-budget” available (you’re working full-time, you have a family, etc.), you should know the best way to spend your time.
Having those tracking stats in a document in front of you is a real eye-opener for many people. If you don’t know how you spend your blogging time and you still feel unproductive even if you work hard, then you should change your attitude towards time tracking—right this very minute!
Put your productivity into the fast lane
Time tracking is, first, about gathering raw statistics. Gather the time you spend on various blogging tasks for a several days.
Second, do some detailed analysis on the data you’ve gathered. Analyze the tasks and how much time you spend on each, on average.
Third, use that data to plan your next day.
For instance, if you are going to write a post for your blog tomorrow, then take a look at the stats you have and see how well that time block fits your next day’s schedule.
Very quickly, you’ll learn how to be realistic about your next day’s planning. It’s useless to have ten tasks on your list if you’re only able to complete four of them by the end of the day.
With the data showing you how much time you spend on the common blogging tasks, you’ll become more realistic with your day planning.
3 steps to a sense of accomplishment
1. Stop assuming you know how you work
Gather the facts that show how you spend your blogging time. I bet you’ll be surprised to learn more about your blogging habits when they’re right there before you.
2. Log the time used
To gather an effective time log, take the following steps.
Make a list
First, list your common recurring blogging tasks and create a document that contains them all.
For instance, I have various tasks in my document, like writing a guest post, writing posts for my own blog, recording a YouTube video, uploading a YouTube video, approving comments on my blog, replying to comments on my guest posts, proofreading posts, and so on.
Track your time
Write down the following for the next seven days:
- the type of task
- the date when you did the task
- the amount of time it took you to accomplish a task
- any special conditions that helped you to do the task faster, easier, or better.
Once you have the data gathered, count the average amount of time for your different tasks.
For instance, if you write guest posts, you could see the pattern how much on average you’ll spend on the writing. When I take a look at my time log, I see that it takes approximately an hour for me to write a guest post.
Understand that there are certain tasks which you can do faster
For instance, I listen to music when I write, when I approve comments on my blog or on guest posts I have written. Why? Because my time tracking experiments have shown that that helps me to do those tasks more quickly.
With simple improvements like this, you can make your recurring task faster (and easier) than before.
Set time boundaries
You can also decrease the time it takes you to complete tasks by setting clear boundaries on them.
For instance, I’m using a 15 minute time block for my daily Twitter usage. This means I’m not spending hours on Twitter or on Facebook and then wondering where my hours went.
Why not automate your time tracking? Try using a tool like RescueTime, which keeps track of how much time you spend on productive activities, what applications you used on your computer, and which websites you accessed during your work.
this is just my recommendation, but there are plenty of tools out there. Just give one a test-run to see if it’s a good fit for you or not.
Your time is valuable
Recurring tasks are usually tedious—yet mandatory—tasks that have to be taken care of.
To make your time usage more effective, track these tasks and understand how much you time you spend on them.
When you track your time usage, it is much easier for you to plan your days—and sometimes even decrease the amount of time you use for those tedious blogging tasks.
Do you track the time you use for repeating blogging tasks? What tools do you use for that activity? Have you found tracking to be effective way to improve your blogging productivity? Share your experiences with us in the comments.
Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, teaches WAHD superdad productivity for work at home dads. If you want to improve your blogging productivity, grab his free e-book, 61 Ways for Supercharging Blogging Productivity.