How She Does it: Blogger Pip Lincolne Talks Finding Time to Write Books

How She Does it Blogger Pip Lincolne Talks Finding Time to Write Books on

As Darren said a little while ago, everybody has a book in them, but it’s probably more accurate to say every blogger has at least 10 ideas for eBooks inside them. If you’re a writer, you’ve got a lot to say. You might want to write eBooks, print books, memoirs, autobiographies – a thousand ideas, but realistically not a lot of time in your schedule for your one (or many!) overarching grand plan.

You may well set aside 15 minutes every day to chip away at it, or you schedule some vacation time and get a chunk done. You might stop blogging over a certain period, or you could burn the candle at both ends… the choice always depends on the person making it.

I was given a fantastic piece of advice lately, and that’s if you want to do something, you don’t find time, you make time. So I asked one of the most prolific bloggers I know how she makes time to do write more involved books in addition to all the other things she does. Pip Lincolne is the author of five published books and is a regular contributor to blogs, websites, and magazines.  She blogs at Meet Me at Mikes, and she graciously asked a few questions I had for her recently.

How do you make writing books fit into your everyday busy life?

I prioritize it. You know how you might insist on having a lunch break every day? (If you can!) I treat writing a book as seriously as having lunch and block out an hour or two each day to get the words down (let’s call that a long lunch, actually!) Some days are busier than others, but I always make sure that I spend at least an hour on the book I’m working on to be sure that I’m on deadline, but also to ensure I stay in the zone and keep things flowing nicely.

Do different styles of books take different times to write?

Well, I can only speak from my own experience here. I’ve written books with lots of craft projects in them, and more recently one with only a few craft project (and a more substantial observational-style writing element.)

The books with more instructional elements take more time, because not only are you ‘translating’ practical steps onto the page, you have to test those steps and rewrite and test again.

Although I got my start in publishing writing how-to type books, I much prefer the creative flow that observational writing offers.

Do you have a particular writing style now after writing so many? Is there a rough formula you follow?

I think I have a very consistent style, but sometimes, if I’m weary I might slip out of that story telling, chatty mode and into more of a documentary style. I much prefer the former and think that our writing uniqueness comes from writing in the same chatty way that we’d speak to a dear friend. Of course, if you are writing a more technical text, that might might not always be appropriate, but I’m lucky enough to be able to stay true to the voice that comes naturally for me.

I don’t really have a formula, but I do try to make sure that my work has clarity, flow and warmth to it. I triple check what I write for ‘sense’ because I often find that the sentences I conclude with often belong at the start of the piece (and things might need a brisk reorder and edit.) Often things write themselves backwards, if that makes sense!

I know you write a lot every day so how do you find the motivation to write extra on top of that?

I think that if you want to write well, you have to write often. I’ve certainly found that my writing has improved in leaps and bounds, not only via writing consistently, but also via reading great books and hearing other writers talk about their work.

I’ve always, always felt compelled to write regularly and prolifically. Apparently I have things to say! My great grandfather, Frank Boreham, was the same. He wrote over 50 books – selling millions of copies – as well as penning hundreds of editorials for The Age and The Mercury newspapers. I think my urge to write is in the genes! I can’t fight it! I thank Frank for that.

What are the lessons you’ve learned about the book-writing process over the years?

I’ve learnt so many things! I’ve always worked with wonderful editors, so I’m all about letting go a bit and letting the experts help me to tighten up and simplify my words. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with several great photographers (John Laurie, Tim James and Julie Renouf) and designers/stylists (Michelle Mackintosh and Ortolan.) They’ve shown me how wonderful the collaborative process can be. I think it’s easy to get hung up on having as much creative control as possible, but it’s very important to loosen up a bit sometimes and let others work their magic alongside your good ideas.

I’ve also learnt that it’s important to NOT wait until the night before your book’s publicity tour begins to read it from cover to cover again – especially if the first interview is breakfast radio – because you might be up half the night marveling at how your book actually isn’t half bad and a bit exhausted the next day! Better to do that first-since-published re-read as soon as it arrives in the post, I think!

I’ve learnt that I work best if I write almost every day. Five days a week, minimum, works well for me. It keeps me writing naturally and stops me from overthinking the words or writing too sentimentally.

What are the shortcuts you’ve figured out over the years?

I’ve got a snazzy shortcut for creating a framework for a book. This is helpful for people who want to try writing a book, but aren’t sure where to start. I used this method to write my most recent book. It goes like this:

  • Choose your subject or storyline.
  • Write ten or twelve MUST KNOW (or MUST DISCUSS) points or plot events to fit that subject or storyline.
  • Turn each of those points or events into a chapter title (they can just be working titles at this stage).
  • Write 1000 or so words on each of those chapters (or slot in writing you have already done where it ‘belongs’, under the relevant point or event).
  • Try to write for at least an hour, five days a week. Just get the words down, however they come out.
  • Re-read, rewrite, edit.
  • Repeat as needed!

What do you do with your blog when you write? Is it kept at the same frequency?

I do keep blogging pretty consistently when I’m writing a book, because the more I write, the easier it is to write. I find that when I don’t have a lot of writing work on, the words come less freely. This is part of why I love Julia Cameron’s writing exercise The Morning Pages (from her book The Artist’s Way.) The Morning Pages set the daily task of writing quite a significant amount, long-hand, just for the sake of writing.

I find it’s a great way to stay in shape during the ‘off season’, so to speak! It encourages me to get whatever is in my head (quite messily) down on the page and has a magical way of loosening up the cogs, making writing much easier and more natural for me. I recommend this method to all my blogging students too.

In short: if you want to write well, write more and write daily.

What about social media? How do you keep on top of that, given you’re a personal blog and you can’t exactly hire people to be “you”?

I tend to use social media for sharing others’ work as much as my own. I use CoSchedule to share my own posts to social media. It’s such a great plugin and I’m a huge fan. You can create your social posts and schedule them from within your WordPress post editing window. I do this when I’m finished writing my post, so it’s part of my editorial workflow rather than a pesky ‘extra step’. Then the plugin does the job for you – sharing to Twitter or Facebook in whichever way you’ve asked it to. So streamlined and simple to use! Elephant stamp in the time-saving department for CoSchedule!

I then make sure I check in and monitor/reply to anyone who’s nice enough to talk to me on Facebook or Twitter. It only takes a few minutes a couple of times a day and it means that followers aren’t just yelling into the void (to quote Grace & Frankie!)

When it comes to sharing great stuff other people are doing, I have all my favourite reads on Feedly so I can enjoy the in one time-saving window. I then share the best of my Feedly reading, loading them up in Buffer with a chatty comment, an image and a tag for the great-stuff-creator where possible. Buffer sends them out to my custom schedule and using Feedly and Buffer together is a great time saver (you can also share directly from within Feedly if you like but I prefer to share on the actual Buffer platform as I like the interface.)

How do you know when to say yes to a book?

I think a great publishing deal comes down to working with good people. If you have a great rapport with a publisher, if they’ve got a great track record, if they’re prepared to give you a bit of room to move (so you can have a bit of creative freedom when you’re writing) and a great royalty then chances are it’s a ‘yes’!

It’s also good to know what marketing and distribution ideas they might have for your book, as well as any design vision they might be considering. Then you can see if everyone’s on the same page (!) and if your book will have the support it needs to stand out from the pack.

I’d definitely go for a great royalty over a big advance if you have to choose. I’ve heard people splash around big advance figures – but you’ve got to earn that money back in book sales. A big advance = big pressure! So look for the best royalty rate you can get. The Australian Society of Authors (ASA) recommends at least 10% – but you may find that as a first time author it will be lower than that.

I’d also do my homework and ask for help – perhaps by engaging a literary agent (because they’re smart when it comes to digital rights and other ever-changing details) and joining the ASA so that you can find out more about what goes into making a great book.


Has it convinced you that you can make some time in your schedule around blogging to finally get started on that book? What are you writing about?

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

Reading Roundup: What’s New in Blogging Lately

Reading Roundup: What's new in blogging this week /

Your news – this week expanded, as requested! I hope there’s something here that you will find helpful.

6 Tips to Improve Your Facebook Posts // Social Media Examiner

And now I want a bread bowl filled with cheese.

8 Lesser-Known Strategies to Get More out of LinkedIn // Mashable

Have you had much luck with LinkedIn? You might now!

Top 10 Wins for Getting Started Fast with Facebook Video // Buffer

With 300 hours of viewable video posted every minute, you’re going to need to know how to stand out.

Press Publish: Matt Thompson on The Atlantic’s Attempt to Breathe Life into Classic Blogging // NiemanLab

A podcast discussing the current conversation that blogging is going through a period of reinvigoration and what is to become of it. They say “It’s an interesting attempt to recapture some of the looser, voicier, more conversational structures of the early 2000s — some of which has been lost in the rise of social media and commercialized online news.” and I was interested to hear how it’s worked for them.

The Top 1o Ways to Make Money Online with Integrity // Lewis Howes

Do you do any of these? I like how Lewis advises to make money by doing it “the right way that both serves your vision and supports others”. That’s a win-win.

How to Stay Consistent // Chalene Johnson

Probably my worst habit is being inconsistent. I know everything would move a lot smoother if I did it properly, and cultivated good habits. But at least I’m holding myself accountable, which is her second point.

9 Ways to Improve your Pinterest Marketing // Social Media Examiner

I hear number 4 works exceptionally well, and it’s got me thinking about something I’ve been meaning to do for a while now. Number 9 is always good – I just wish I was that clever!

How to Simplify Your Blogging Life with Tsh Oxenreider // The Blog Maven

One of my favourite topics with one of my favourite people. Don’t miss this episode.

How to Self-Publish Your Own Books as a Business Model // By Regina

Don’t wait for publishers to come to you! There’s plenty of information available to help you DIY. This is a great perspective on making it part of your overall monetisation strategy.

The iPhone Will Finally Get a Taco Emoji with iOS 9.1 // Mashable

And all my emoji dreams have come true.


What have you read this week that’s caught your eye? I’d love to hear!

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

How To Create Great Content For Your Blog – Q&A, Part 2

How To Create Great Content For Your Blog – Q&A, Part 2

Episode 43 of the ProBlogger podcast is part two of the Q&A series I’ve been doing on how to create great content for your blog (episode one is here). In it, I answer your most recent questions from the callout I put on the ProBlogger Facebook page about:

  • What are my three best blog posts ever and why they worked
  • What type of content I find most resonates with my audience, and whether I think video or the written word is more important and why
  • When I first started taking on paid writers, how I recruited them and how I added them to the schedule
  • What I think the pros and cons of outsourcing blog content are
  • Whether or not I believe there an optimal length or word count for a blog

I hope the answers are useful to you – I cover the post I almost didn’t publish but garnered more than 700,000 views, posts that get high traffic and how I keep them going across social media over time, my thoughts on video and audio content (especially in terms of audience and SEO), how I feel incorporating writers both brings value and dilutes your brand, the system we use for hiring new writers and editors, and the length of posts we’ve been publishing that make the most impact on our readership.

You can find episode 43 and the show notes at – would love to get your feedback.

Further Reading:

5 Tips for Optimising Facebook Ads Campaigns

This is a guest contribution from Luke Moulton.

Blogging about something you’re passionate about? chances are there are others just as passionate as you, and chances are, a high percentage of these people hang out on Facebook and share the stuff they’re passionate about. Using Facebook ads to reach your target audience can get people Liking and sharing your content, and kick-start your traffic if you’re just starting out.

If you’ve dabbled with Facebook ads and not seen much success or traction, here are a couple of techniques to try to improve performance.

1. Laser Focus on Your Target Audience

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make with Facebook ads is to go too broad with their audience targeting. You probably have a good idea of your target demographic. For example: new mums living in Los Angeles. So when you setup a Facebook Ad Set, make sure you target your audience accordingly.

5 Tips for Optimising Facebook Ads Campaigns

Recently I was helping an Australian e-commerce client with his Facebook ads campaigns. He has a range of items that are season and weather-dependent. Digging into his campaigns, I found that performance varied for cities in the north of the country compared to the south. Given it was winter in Australia when he was thinking of advertising, he was wasting money trying to promote warmer climate items to those in the southern states (remember, we’re in the Southern Hemisphere). Segmenting his campaigns down into regions (such as cities or states) help him to target products according to the weather in that region.

2. Boost Facebook Posts that are already getting traction

You may already have a healthy bunch of Facebook followers who share and like your content. When you notice a new piece of content you’ve posted getting more traction than usual, this is a good indication that the content could be popular to a broader audience.

This is a great opportunity to broaden you follower base.

5 Tips for Optimising Facebook Ads Campaigns

The trick that will ensure you get maximum engagement for you spend is to boost your post to “Friends of people who like your page” AND share a similar interest to what you blog about.

Doing this means that the “Friends of people who like your page” will see a little social proof on the ads that appear in their news feed. And social proof is a powerful motivator.

5 Tips for Optimising Facebook Ads Campaigns

3. Test vastly different images

Facebook is a very visual medium and the right image can make a huge difference in engagement and clicks to your ads. When you setup a new campaign, make sure you test at least 2 different ads that are identical except for the image.

Try adding a call to action to your image, making sure you your copy takes up 20% or less of the image space, as specified in Facebook Ads terms and conditions.

4. Setup Facebook conversion tracking

Wether you’re building an email list or selling product, Facebook conversion tracking gives you the ability to see which audience segments convert better, therefore giving you the ability to focus on getting more of those people to your website.

Running a Facebook ads report with Conversion metrics will show you (for example) which age range are converting best.

5 Tips for Optimising Facebook Ads Campaigns

In the example above, Women aged 55-64 are converting the best and costing the least. If you see something like this as an on-going trend, it can be worthwhile separating this audience out into their own Ad Set so you can try to better tailor your ads to this demographic.

5. Rotate your ads

If you’re targeting the same audience on an ongoing basis, eventually they are going to get sick of seeing the same ads week in week out. Try to set a monthly schedule to refresh your ads, or focus more on promoting your better performing posts.

Luke Moulton is a digital marketer specialising in Facebook Ads campaign management. Checkout more tips on his blog at Plankton Digital.

Behind the Scenes of our Latest Six Figure Product Launch


In today’s episode of the ProBlogger Podcast, I discuss the behind-the-scenes view of our latest product launch, which made $US120,000.

On my main blog, Digital Photography School, we have more than 30 products, and the Lightroom Presets Pack was our most recent. Today I go through the complete life cycle of the product, from how we came up with the idea, how we marketed it, how we launched it, and how it went.

I also describe how I learned about great marketing and launch strategies, and also what kind of things my audience would respond to by first promoting someone else’s product as an affiliate. Not only do you get to see for yourself the strategies other people are using to sell a similar product, but you can also gauge the reaction of your own readers to things like price points, email frequency, and interest in the product.


Today I discuss:

  • how long our Lightroom Presets Pack took to produce (and how we go about deciding what to produce in general),
  • our marketing system, how it works (and how this particular system was slightly different),
  • how we launch,
  • how we priced the product,
  • the discount we gave and why,
  • the competition we incorporated into the launch,
  • what kind of email campaign we usually run, and how we deal with it if the campaign isn’t working well, or if it is successful and needs extra time,
  • how often we send emails,
  • what was in the emails

I also talk about how we promoted this sale outside our email list – on the blog, on social media, etc , and how well that worked.


Of course it’s not always enough to retire on the launch success alone, so I also include our plans to continue sales after this initial run, how we incentivise affiliates to sell, what happens when affiliate sales aren’t as strong as we hoped, and what percentage they each make per sale.


I would love to hear your feedback on this process – what do you differently? what do you similarly? what kind of products do you have in development at the moment? feel free to leave a comment here, on the show notes, or on Twitter – I’m @problogger.

Further Reading:

Super Niching: The Dirty Little Secret Of Successful Bloggers Everywhere

Super Niching The Dirty Little Secret Of Successful Bloggers Everywhere - on

This is a guest contribution from Michaela Clark.

It’s the one thing most bloggers avoid talking about the most. A shameful, hidden secret we keep from each other.

It’s the old way of defining a ‘successful blog’– your website traffic numbers.

I’m here to combat the stigma of low readership and show you how having the right kind of targeted consumers of your content is the best thing you can do for your blog and how you can still make money blogging no matter what your audience size.

So here goes.

I’m Michaela. I write a blog for trades and building contractors.  I have less than a 1000 visitors a month and I still make money from blogging.

I am proud of every single one of the readers that I get and I’m not ashamed to admit it.   I work hard to inspire and connect with each and every one.  How amazing is it that a few hundred people a month actually want to read and listen to what I have to say? I wished my husband was as keen to hear what I have to say as some of my readers are.

So stop worrying about volume and look at how you are making a difference – even if it’s just one person you have an effect on. Isn’t that worth it?  That you can change one person’s life for the better with your words?

Without massive readership, how do I make money from my blog?

Well it’s actually really easy.  It’s all in the power of super niching.

A blog about cooking is a niche. A blog about cooking with tomatoes is a super niche.

The world will open up once you build authority in a clearly defined super niche.

How it all started:

Just over 12 months ago I went looking for online influencers to connect with to help promote my virtual assistant support business for trade contractors.

Sure there were lots of blogs about small business but I couldn’t find anyone that had built a following online around business advice for small, trade business owners. 

Spotting a ‘first to market’ opportunity, I decided to become the online influencer I had been searching for.

My first concern was that if no one else was doing it then it simply mustn’t work.  Even my mother said, “Surely there are people smarter than you that would have thought of this before now?” Geez mum, thanks for your vote of support there.

However with over 400,000 tradespeople in Australia alone, I knew there was an influencer gap there somewhere, just screaming to come out.

Straight away things began to change once I focused on delivering highly relevant and regular content to this area of the market.   I began to blog more and started to produce a bi-weekly business podcast just for trade contractors called the Tradies Business Show.

In less than 12 months and with only a handful of readers, I now have over 10 different revenue streams that are all a direct result of the content I am producing.

This additional revenue has been gained through sponsored posts, event sponsorships, podcast sponsorship,  affiliate deals, a membership site, product integrations, speaking and consulting. This is all in addition to the core VA services my business offers.

The key point I quickly realised was that potential partners and sponsors weren’t too concerned with my seemingly ‘low’ traffic numbers but rather the opportunity I gave them to speak directly to a highly relevant and engaged section of their target market.

Relevancy to the readers, not quantity of visitors, has become the new measurement of a successful blog.

Being relevant cuts through the noise, makes connecting easier and builds authority quicker.

Once you have authority you can achieve just about anything.

The power in super niching lies in the fact that it makes you relevant to those readers that matter– the ones that need your help the most.


It’s not about how many readers, but the right reader, that will make you money.

Recently I had someone ring me after reading my blog and watching some dodgy old videos of me on YouTube I had forgotten about.

I soon discovered this reader was actually the founder of a national company that has one of the biggest databases of trade contractors in the country. He rang to pitch me on how we could possibly partner together.

That one reader alone could potentially be worth millions to my business.

That only happened because of the niche content I was producing online.

Super niching will help you to attract the right reader and that is where the magic (and money) happens.

Do you have a super niche blog that you make money from?

Michaela Clark is the founder of Tradies VA,  co-host of the Tradies Business Show podcast, and Event Director of Podcast Revolution happening on the Gold Coast Nov 2015.

How to Create Great Content For Your Blog – Q&A, Part 1

How to Create Great Content For Your Blog – Q&A, Part 1

Today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast is a melting pot of your inquiries – really diverse topics, such as:

  • Should I share personal posts on my business blog?
  • How often should I be posting on my blog?
  • How do you develop compelling content?
  • What days of week/time of day are best to post?
  • How did you come to have the great writing skills that you use to blog? Did you ever get any formal training?
  • What have been your most effective techniques for engaging readers? What types of posts have generated lots of authentic comments from your readers?
  • Where do you get your ideas for content? Do you have any techniques/tips to share?

I’m sure these questions are ones that more than one person has, so I’ve given quite extensive answers to each.

You can find episode 41 of the ProBlogger Podcast “How to Create Great Content For Your Blog – Q&A” at, along with show notes and extra reading.


I’m also planning on doing a part two to this series of Q&A podcasts, so feel free to head to the Facebook page and submit your question here.

Further Reading:

How to Write Brilliant Blog Posts: 5 Tips from Psychology

How to Write Brilliant Blog Posts 5 Tips from Psychology - on

This is a guest contribution from Ellen Jackson of Potential Psychology.

Are you ready to rock a brilliant blog post? Do you want to write faster, think more creatively, just do it all better?

Writing is a thinking task. It requires creativity and problem solving. We need to process information, retrieve things from memory, read, develop ideas, research, plan and review. We’re considering the next word as we’re writing this one, and we’re managing our own thoughts and feelings about the process and results as we go. On top of all of this we’re typing or handwriting and probably flicking back and forth in different browsers and applications. Your brain is working hard here, people.

To get into the writing zone in which the ideas come easily, you’re not distracted by every little thing and the brilliance flows from brain to fingertips, it helps to provide your mind with the right setup. You need to give it the time, space and environment to work at its best.

Here are five tips from psychology to get you in the blogging zone.

1. Keep things quiet, but not too quiet.

Different people cope better with different levels of noise but we know from studies that if you want to get creative you need just the right amount of background sound.

If the ambient noise in your work space creeps up above about 85 decibels (about the sound of a large truck passing close by) your brain is too busy and distracted for fresh ideas and ‘a-ha’ moments. You can’t think creatively with that kind of sound.

If it’s too quiet though your brain doesn’t make it into the creativity zone. We need some sound to kick the brain into gear and get those ideas flowing. Too quiet and we tend to be distracted by our own thoughts.

The ideal ambient noise for creativity is around 70 decibels. That’s the sound of the shower running, the dishwasher humming or maybe a lawn mower out in the yard. A bit of background sound without it getting in your ear.

Different people will find different types of sound distracting. I’m writing this in a busy café surrounded by plenty of chatter and background noise. It’s perfect for me. My mind feels cocooned by the ambient noise and I can focus fully on my ideas.

Others might find the content of close conversation distracting and be better off with white noise like distant traffic, bird song or kids playing (as long as they’re not yours and on their way to disturb you).

Tip: If you’re trying to find the right noise type and level for you, play around with it. Think about when and where you’re at your creative best. What type of noise surrounds you? Turn the music up. Turn it down. Change rooms. Change locations. Try a white noise app. Experiment and find what works for you.

2. Get the timing right.

Every one of us operates on an internal body schedule known as circadian rhythm. These rhythms roughly follow a 24 hour cycle and they respond primarily to light and dark in our environment. Some of us function better in the morning and others work at our best in the evening and at night. (Not sure whether you’re a morning or night person? Try this questionnaire).

There’s some research that suggests that morning is the best time for creativity for everyone, regardless of whether you’re an early bird or a night owl. Your willpower is stronger in the morning (it’s a finite resource and may not stick with you all the way til an evening writing session) and the creative connections in the brain fire more readily in the early hours of the day, just after sleep.

If you want to get analytical, however – the type of thought required for editing – you can leave that til later in the day when those neurons have settled down and are ready for more methodical, structured thought.

Tip: Keep a journal of when your best ideas come to you (waterproof notepads do exist for the shower creatives). Do this for a week or more and look for patterns. Find ways to capture the ideas when they land. According to some research, morning people might get their best ideas at night and night owls in the morning. It’s something to do with the brain being better at creativity when it’s a little fuzzy.

Take note of your best times for editing and other blog tasks too. If you can plan your day around when your mind works best for each type of task you’ll improve your efficiency.

3. Engage in rituals.

Legend has it that Victor Hugo, to avoid procrastination and get down to writing, would strip off and instruct his valet to hide his clothes so that he couldn’t leave the house. This may or may not work for you depending on the availability of a valet but you may have other rituals that get you into the writing frame of mind.

Maybe you always use a particular pen and notebook, or you like to be seated by a window with a view of the street. You might work best after exercising or in your PJs. I get my writing mojo in my favourite café after a yoga class.

Rituals are important because they serve as ‘cognitive cues’, signals to the mind that a particular activity is about to take place and it needs to get into the zone. It creates an association between the steps you take as part of your ritual and a preparedness to knuckle down and get stuff done.

Tip: The key to creating a successful blogging ritual is consistency. You need to enact and repeat the same steps over and over to make it work. Some of you might write every day. Others will only write in a certain location. Your task is to create your writing ritual, put it into practice and repeat it again and again.

4. Ditch the phone.

As any practised procrastinator will tell you, distraction is the enemy of productivity. When you’re sitting at your desk ready to write there is no end to tiny tasks that loom up and demand your instant attention. Junk mail is fascinating. Desk items require rearranging. You may even be tempted to work on your taxes.

To write a brilliant blog post you need focus and attention. You need to train that brain on the task at hand and resist the urge to be distracted by the many little items tempting you, particularly the technology that goes ding and beep, calling you with a message, notification or email.

Cruelly, the part of your brain that you need most to focus your attention and do all of the complex thinking that writing entails (the pre-frontal cortex) is also the part of the brain that is most easily distracted. Your pre-frontal cortex loves a distraction, particularly if it’s offering something novel and entertaining. Cat videos come to mind.

Don’t think you can multi-task either. Every time you are distracted from your blogging task you lose focus and productivity. It takes longer and longer for the brain to switch back into work mode. Studies have shown that there is no such thing as muti-tasking as far as the brain is concerned. It can’t do two things at once. It can only switch quickly from one task to the other and this is inefficient and exhausting.

Tip: To increase your efficiency, remove as many distractions as you can from your work space. Switch the phone off or leave it in another room. Use only the apps or programs that you absolutely need to or set yourself up with a program like StayFocusd that locks you out of websites that you have nominated as time wasters.

To manage distracting thoughts or a busy brain trying paying attention to your attention. Acknowledge that your mind will wander and you will be distracted, particularly when your blogging task is challenging. When you notice yourself thinking about something other than the task at hand or looking around for distraction, remind yourself that it’s just a normal brain doing its thing and gently bring your attention back to where it’s meant to be. Now get back to work.

5. Find your flow.

There’s a psychological phenomenon called ‘flow.’ You might have heard of it. When you’re in flow (known also as ‘the zone’) you’re in an optimal state of consciousness for getting stuff done with the added bonus of feeling great. You’re not thinking, you’re just doing. Time disappears. Nothing distracts you and the quality of your output is unparalleled. When you’re in flow, you’re on fire.

The beauty of flow is that when we’re in it we lose self-consciousness and inhibition about what we’re doing. A segment of that pesky pre-frontal cortex deactivates and quietens our inner critic. We are free to be more creative, to think more expansively, to worry less about what we’re writing and whether it’s any good.

The experience of flow also causes of a whole avalanche of happy hormones and neurochemicals to release into the brain which further enhances our productivity and makes us feel good at the same time. It’s a great place to be.

Tip: To find your flow you need to get the balance of challenge and skill for the task just right. Challenging tasks increase the likelihood that you’ll drop into flow and stay there. If you’re not challenged, you get bored and boredom leads to distraction. If you’re too challenged and your skills aren’t up to the task, that’s when anxiety sets in and you can’t work effectively when you’re anxious.

Training your focus and attention when you’re blogging will also help. Avoiding those distractions and staying mindful and focused will improve your chances of getting into the flow state.

Finally, do what you love as much as you can. ‘Good work’ as it’s known by positive psychologists aligns our strengths, out interests, our values and our sense of meaning and purpose. It’s the kind of work that fully engages us. When you’re doing something you love you’re in the right zone for flow and you’ll be rocking those brilliant blog posts in no time.

Ellen Jackson from Potential Psychology is a workplace psychologist, blogger and author who specialises in well being, positive mental health and helping working parents to flourish.

7 Productivity Tips for Bloggers

7 Productivity Tips for Bloggers on

If you’ve been listening to recent ProBlogger podcasts, you’ll know the last two episodes featured questions I asked listeners: how are you? (as part of the biggest lesson I’ve learned in blogging in 2015), and what is your why?

In today’s episode, I ask a third question: how are you using your time?

Knowing your why gets you started on the road to success, but how you you use your time is how you’re going to get to your destination. Over the years, I’ve realised I need to do some analysis on how I spend my time and come up with some strategies to use my time more effectively.

Today’s podcast is all about the 7 productivity tips I’ve used, particularly over the last year, to help harness my time and stop wasting it.

From getting an overview of your working habits initially, to what I’ve learned about how I spend my time, the tools I’ve used to track my online habits, and how I’ve figured out what the best use of my time actually is, these 7 tips should get you on the right track to your destination. I also share my new, revised weekly schedule, how I devised it, and give you ideas about how you can create your own.

We also discuss the workflows, systems and routines that help me automate small, achievable steps. I’m less overwhelmed, I’ve eliminated decision fatigue, and I’ve learned to delegate or outsource where necessary.

You can find episode 40 of the ProBlogger Podcast “7 Productivity Tips for Bloggers” here.

Further Reading: