Creating and maintaining a blog is not an easy job. At the beginning, you’re very motivated and have a clear idea on the big battery of topics that you would like to write about…. but as time goes on, you realize that behind each article there is a minimum quality to reach and you have to carry out the following tasks:
- doing research on the subject to be up to date,
- planning and deciding what posts to write and for when,
- reading references related to the article you’re writing,
- writing the article (including the research or creation of images or graphs, as well as references…),
- revising the article and perhaps translating it to other languages (also revising the translations),
- promoting the article on social networks,
- never stop networking.
On top of all of that, you’re job may not actually be the exclusive maintenance of a blog and so you will probably have many other pending tasks…? well, the day only has 24 hours and the more productive you are, the better.
Be more efficient
I remember when I started reading on how to increase productivity, despite the great patience he had with me, my thesis director recommended that I read the book “Getting Things Done” (GTD) by David Allen, possibly desperate with my procrastination skills. In it, the author proposes a strategy to be productive without stressing out (you can find more information on his blog GTD Times).
His strategy summarised consists on continuously applying the following 5 steps:
When you have a lot of different concerns and a great variety of things to do, this strategy is very useful to lower your level of stress, and I say it from experience (when I started writing my thesis, my four kids were between 1 and 8 years old).
It may seem stupid, but I remember that writing each task on my diary was enough not to be constantly worrying about getting it done. On the other hand, the sole fact of having a list of tasks organized by priority of fulfilment forced me not to start something else until I had finished the previous task. And I’m happy to say the thesis was presented in a reasonable period of time ? and the kids have grown up ?.
David Allen’s strategy is thought for any field, and easily applicable to all the tasks of maintaining a blog. In fact, I hope the initial list of this post helps as basis for the first point Capture.
Another strategy that’s well-known amongst bloggers to increase productivity is that in Nathan Barry’s Productivity Manifesto.
The manifesto starts with an impeccable quote by Paul J. Meyer:
“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to
excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. — Paul J. Meyer
So no excuses are valid! If you want to increase productivity, have strategies to be organized, be rigorous with excellence and focus your efforts. Only this way you will achieve great quality results.
The manifesto includes 10 rules that you should always keep in mind in order to maintain a blog and not die in the attempt:
- Focus on the right things: don’t obsess with being or not efficient. Start by focusing on what will move your business forward and will contribute to the fulfilment of your objectives. This is closely related to David Allen’s 4th point: prioritize what to do next.
- A little bit each day: if you’re consistent and progress each day, you will get much further. To do so, make small daily commitments and try to complete them early in the morning; for example, say each day I will write 1,000 words for the blog.
- Create and consume on different devices: while you write, it’s very easy to open new windows to check social networks, the news, mail, etc. Avoid distractions. Nathan decided that, in order to be more efficient, your computer should be exclusively used to write or program, but never to check information unrelated to this work.
- Focus for a fixed amount of time. Use the Pomodoro Technique which proposes to use a clock to divide the time dedicated to each task in 25 min intervals (called “pomodoros”), separated by pauses. To do so, it is advisable to use an app (such as Clockwork Tomato) that will keep showing these interval periods. Thus, your list of tasks should include time intervals.
- Never miss publishing a blog post. Plan the posts that you will publish in a calendar and make sure you don’t have to be ashamed of not publishing them. It’s been demonstrated that having a time limit on the finalization of a task is one of the best motivations to really ensure it gets done.
- Spend purposefully. Decide what your priorities are and be coherent in spending your time and money on them. If you love watching your tv show every night, you don’t have to give this up, but make sure you have previously spent your time and money on those things that should really have been finished that day.
- Flip a coin. Don’t get stuck on making a decision. If you have two options and don’t know which one to choose, don’t waste your time thinking: flip a coin and get down to work with the task that came up.
- Stop waiting for the perfect tool. You don’t need an elliptical to start exercising, or a new computer to start programming, or a big musical instrument to learn how to play it. It’s the same thing with your blog, first start writing to prove to yourself you will dedicate the time your blog needs before having the “perfect blog“.
- Managing ideas. Clear up your mind. It’s awesome that anything you’re working on generates new ideas (I admit my partners get a bit desperate sometimes since this is my speciality), but they’re also a powerful weapon for distraction. To avoid chaos each time you come up with a new idea, stop for a moment and write it down. You can then go back to your work. And later on you’ll be able to review your list of ideas.
- Focus on finishing. For each task you do, make sure you complete it or “kill it”. There’s nothing more stressful than simultaneously having too many open fronts. If you start something you’re not going to be able to finish, get rid of it, but don’t spent too much time beating around the bush.
Personally, from the whole manifesto the technique that I don’t use is the Pomodoro technique. I’m sure it’s very useful for many people, but dividing one’s time in such a strict way seems to rigid or artificial to me.
Nevertheless, the rule that works best to be efficient is number 5. Never skip the publication of a post. At Nelio, with the editorial calendar of Nelio Content, we always plan the posts that we’re going to publish in advance. Having a deadline for publishing a post in this calendar is the perfect guarantee that by this date, the post will be written and reviewed, and all the messages of promotion on social networks will be planned.
Blogs on productivity
Going back to how to increase productivity to maintain a blog in an efficient way, apart from what I have talked about so far, you can find many other strategies, techniques, and tricks. For instance, you’ll also find interesting articles on Better Productivity Blog, a blog in which Rami Rantala writes exclusively about this topic. From this blog I would like to highlight a list that is often updated of the 50+ blogs on productivity. So if you’re passionate about this topic, you will find more than 50 references that will help you be a productivity pro.
But make sure you don’t spend too long reading them if you’ve got work to do… ?. Instead, I recommend you to read a post by Toni: 7 Awesome Tips to Increase Your Productivity. Very practical and easy to follow!
Featured Image by Cathryn Lavery.