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Managing your creativity, productivity, home business and personal life as a content creator can be tricky.
If you are juggling entrepreneurial and creative hats and weekly publishing schedules, it is natural for bloggers to go through blogger burnout. Having been a blogger for seven years, here’s a few of my time efficiency tips and productivity tips for working from home. It will help scale you to be more productive as a blogger.
10 Sanity Saving Ways to Be a Productive Blogger
1. Write down your daily and weekly ToDo list.
Spending a bit of extra time jotting down a daily and weekly To Do list on your calendar or a notebook, helps blogging productivity and efficiency. Sure, writing things down takes time. But I promise, it helps!
I used to think I was good at keeping mental lists, but when my blogger/video editing work grew and I began working scrambling and working on many tasks at once, my mind quickly drew blanks towards the priorities on my task list. The mental blanks resulted in me, getting easily distracted by a lesser priority and each new rabbit hole task, which developed while working (believe me, more tasks surface as you work!). A written list prioritizes your tasks, keeping you on schedule, paving the way for a more efficient and productive day.
2. Use a project management tool.
You might think that project management tools are for salespeople or for companies with big teams; content creators use them too. I’ve used project management software like Asana or Trello to keep ideas, assignments and work tasks organized. They both do the same thing but Trello is my favorite, because it has templates to help organize my multi-faceted projects. The free versions have been enough for me. But if I ever grew my team, I might consider upgrading to the paid versions with more features.
I also use a free gmail tool Streak – CRM Gmail. I get a lot of emails into my inbox and Streak lets me categorize emails by priority and project. I can also set reminders for followups. Above all, it helps me find important emails faster!
3. Use template responses
Answering emails gets exhausting and if over half of my inquiries do not have budgets, then crafting original responses costs my business valuable time, energy and money. Also, I get a lot of business emails which ask me similar questions. Rather than craft and re-craft original responses, I set up template email responses. A cool hack I learned is to copy and paste your email template into your Apple Mail (this is for Mac users; sorry, I don’t have a PC version) as swappable signatures. Go to Mail > Preferences > Signatures and copy and paste! Voila, enjoy this one!
4. Create an office space that matches your work style
Having a home office/studio where I store all my camera and tech gear in one place is helpful for time efficiency. However, committing to one office spot is virtually impossible for some folks. if you’re like me, you might be a roamer, who is continually searching for power spots in your house to work from.
I have a home office and I work from it occasionally, but when I’m writing a blog post or editing video, sometimes, I like to roam to different pockets of the house. I’ll work standing or taking my laptop out to the yard (I recently bought a foldout lawn Zero-gravity chair for this very purpose!).
5. Track your sleep and workout times with a Fitbit.
A content creator’s list of To Dos can easily grow into one long and endless stream. It’s easy to forget about taking breaks. To physically extract myself from that habit, I own a Fitbit Charge and a dog who knows her walking time! For some of you, a Fitbit is more manageable. My Fitbit :
- Vibrates periodically to let me know when it is time to get active.
- Tracks my sleeping patterns (it even tracks my REM cycles- I am in looooove with this feature! )
- I can set a daily goal of 10,000 steps (aka 4-5 miles) to make sure I’m on track with my diet.
- Has a two minute meditation program which vibrates to let you know when to breathe.
- Tracks my steps, hiking and workouts when I’m on vacation.
6. Plan a social media schedule
Scheduling your social media blasts really takes a load off that weighted feeling of chores. Hootsuite is the multi-tasking scheduler preferred by a lot of bloggers and it has a free version offering three accounts.
Instagram and Facebook Pages however, don’t care for third party auto-schedule apps and can foil some of your links and videos if you’re not paying attention. The auto-schedule alternative I use is Facebook Creator Studio. You can auto-schedule photos, blog posts and videos to your Facebook Page. The Facebook Creator Studio has analytics and a copyright match to let you if someone has stolen your video content and re-uploaded it to their feed without permission. It has a newly rolled out Instagram scheduling section, but I haven’t tested it yet.
7. Limit time on social media or do a detox
It is easy to waste your day slipping down rabbit holes on social media. From coronavirus to politics, protests, anti-mask wars, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, stressed and depressed. Left unchecked it can also lead to an insecure and toxic world and mindset you do not need to deal with. Thus, I have guidelines to discipline my time on it. I spend about 45 minutes pre-scheduling my content on it and then around 15 minutes going through my feed in the morning and 20 minutes at night.
It is also necessary to take a social media detox every now and then. When you feel like you’re going to start hitting that unfriend button on a lot of people, stop and take a break from social media.
8. Create a weekly framework
Without a weekly framework and structure, it is easy for each day is a blur of tasks ; days can feel like they lose their importance. Although my daily schedule is continually changing as my task lists grow, I’ve built a basic framework and rhythm around my publishing deadlines. Here’s a few examples:
- I publish my YouTube each Thursday, so typically Wednesday and Thursdays are locked off for working on video and publishing it…
- Monday (I’m still working on this one) is my Monday-morning-meeting with myself, where I spend an hour thinking about strategy. Before Covid-19, I was taking myself to a local Starbucks with my laptop on an Daily Planner (see tip #7) to mind map and set goals for the week and month.
- Sunday is the day I work on my social media schedule for the week. Sometimes, I fall off the wagon and post at the last minute, but overall, pre-scheduling any content helps.
- Tuesdays – I reserve for anything blog-related.
Obviously if a more important project were to turn up in the week, it trumps every day of the week.
9. Mind map your projects on a Passion Planner
Writing my task list out is an important ritual for me, especially when goal casting. I use Passion Planner. I’ve been watching YouTube motivation coach Brendan Bouchard and he inspired me to get a Passion Planner, where I mind map my projects and keep brainstorming ideas organized. Passion Planners are brilliant – they are notebooks created to help you reflect on your success strategy and how to scale it. I love it– it grounds me to see my strategies in tangible drawings.
10. Buy a $25 virtual assistant
These days, we all need a virtual assistant, but not everyone can afford one. The Echo dot and Google Mini have your back. For a travel blogger like myself, I have both and use my Google Mini the most. It helps me source quick travel information while writing my blog. Whether it is food facts, destination information or even address locations it will dictate what I need it for and that way, I can easily write it down without clicking back and forth between browser tabs for quick information.
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Share you time efficiency tips and productivity tips for working from home! What are your ways to be a productive blogger?