Bloggers, Are You Wasting Time?
October 2, 2007
There’s 24 hours in a day. There’s 60 minutes in an hour. There’s 60 seconds in a minute. All day long, time ticks by. Are you making the best possible use of your time as a blogger? Or are you getting stuck in the temporal vortex of the internet – surfing, reading blogs, going off on tangents. all while the clock is ticking away your valuable blogging time?
The Trouble Is –
Where we blog is also where we do all our other internet related things. This isn’t like home and work, where you have a journey in between the two to separate your work from your play. Your home computer is also your blog work space. It is so easy to get distracted. So here are 5 quick and easy techniques you can use to manage your time a little better.
1. Focus In –
If you want to write, set aside some time where that is the only thing you do. Turn off your email. Turn off your instant messaging programs. Rather than using your browser which can provide tempting distractions, use a text editor or word processing program. Work like you’re not connected to the internet at all.
2. Plan Ahead –
I have begun to plan my blog, rather than let it be something that happens organically. I’m using Google Calendar to keep track of what I’ll be blogging about for the next two weeks. It doesn’t necessarily have to turn out the way I have planned it however it gives me a good starting point and I can write the articles ahead of time – this means they will generally be better quality and more polished.
3. Use One Writing File –
Rather than having bits and pieces all over the place, I keep all my writing ideas and posts in progress in one single text file. There’s a reason to my madness there – you can easily open that file when you have a spare 5-10 minutes and polish, edit, jot down new ideas for posts. If you spent 5 minutes a day doing that, over 5 days that is 25 minutes of writing time – half of which you normally might have wasted opening your browser and finding the draft you wanted to work on. Every second counts!
4. Use Check Lists –
Yes, it sounds lame and boring. Yes, It might even seem a little obsessive compulsive, even anal retentive. However having a check list right in front of you at your computer is one way you can keep yourself focused on what you should be doing rather than surfing around the internet.
Before you reach for that mouse in order to surf you should think – can I use this time more efficiently? Once you have ticked everything off on your check list, that is when you can surf.
I have two check lists. One contains daily tasks that I do every day (reply to comments, check, reply and close emails). The other one is a day planner. Each day I write down the specific tasks I would like to get done and when I have completed them, I can tick them off the list. It may be something as simple as a phone call or an email or adding something to my blog. Ticking things off that list is extremely satisfying to me.
5. Reward Yourself For Good Behaviour –
I like rewards. There’s a reason they have those frequent flyer programs, you know. It inspires you to be loyal to an airline because you get rewards. The best way to be loyal to your blog is to reward yourself for putting effort in.
So if you spend 30 minutes focused in and writing, give yourself 10 minutes of internet surfing time – but set a timer so you know when play time is up! If you spend a couple of hours wrangling with a difficult bloggy issue, allow yourself to take 30 minutes of time to yourself as a reward.
How you spend that reward time is up to you. Me personally, I like a cup of coffee and a piece of Lindt chocolate, but to each their own. ;) You might want to play a game, watch tv, take a walk, whatever floats your boat.
Make A Commitment –
You can improve your writing and your blog, if you are prepared to put in the time and effort. Surfing around the web for a couple of hours when you sat down to write a blog post is probably not the best use of your time, but we all have done it.
The question is, will you keep doing it? Or will you say – enough is enough. I’m wasting time I could be using to improve my writing, to improve my blog design, to comment on other blogs, to network with other bloggers and to build my blog into something I am truly happy with.
Further Reading –
On Checklists –
On Writing –
On Creating Positive Changes –
More About Snoskred –
Snoskred is 32, from New South Wales, Australia. Snoskred’s blog “Life In The Country” covers many topics. The word Snoskred is Norwegian for Avalanche but Snoskred has never seen real snow in person. Yet.
Over To You –
Do you have any tips for managing your time better? Feel free to post them in the comments.