We bloggers have funny lives. Blogging means so much to us yet people think we waste time on blogging. We virtually live in two worlds, and both these worlds can be very demanding at times.
So how do you manage time to cope with the duties in both worlds and still have plenty of time left to enjoy yourself?
Trust me, I’ve struggled to manage time just as you do, and I know your pains. So without further ado, here are five time saving tips that I have come to rely on to get the best of both worlds.
1. Write batches of posts
This is the most useful technique I have just come to appreciate. Write when you are most prolific, have a lot of free time, and there are no disturbances around to break your concentration. Write till your fingers hurt. You won’t even feel bored or worn out once you get into the flow.
Currently, I can write up to 5 posts in a row, and then my eyes start making out faces in the words.
With so many posts written beforehand, you’ll feel immensely relieved later on when you are supposed to churn out posts under pressure. And, of course, if you are very prolific and have plenty of free time everyday, you can write so many posts in 15 days that you won’t have to write a word for next three months!
2. Cut down the time you waste on seeing your stats go up and down
I am sure most bloggers are addicted to seeing all kinds of stats about their blog, just as I was until a week ago. I would sometimes feel the urge to check my traffic stats right in the middle of writing a post, and after fiddling around with stats for a while, I’d check out new referrers, and, ultimately, lose track of time in hopping from one link to another.
This is highly unproductive and absolute waste of time. I’ve learned to keep myself from checking stats every 10 seconds, and now I hardly have any urge to peek at the stats more than twice a day.
Stats are not going anywhere. They accumulate while you do something more productive. You can always delve deep into your stats at the end of the day and explore them to your heart’s content.
3. Keep a schedule
Similar to above, we bloggers are also prone to checking email and our hourly earnings, diving into feed reader to see if there has been updates, and doing all kinds of useless stuff. As a result, we waste precious hours and hardly get anything done.
So, you have to sort this mess by tidying up your routine in a time-saving yet effective manner. Here’s how I manage my schedule after logging into the Internet.
First thing I do early on is check my inbox for new emails. Then I go on and check out my traffic stats and my AdSense earnings. When done, I go to my blog’s dashboard and check new comments and new incoming links, and then close down the browser. I don’t do anything that might capture my attention unnecessarily. The whole process takes 15 minutes to complete.
Now that I’ve satisfied my urge to see what happened during the time I was sleeping, I move on to do real life or virtual life work.
Next, I come back at noon and reply to emails, comments, and conversations on other blogs and forums I am active on. This usually takes just above 30 minutes.
I, then, move on to check out my social media profiles and browse around for a while on StumbleUpon and Digg. This can take an hour or more depending on the kind of content I come across.
Then I come back at night and go straight into my feed reader, and in a fifteen minutes or so I am full of inspiration and new ideas. So I settle down to write and keep on writing until I have written two or three posts. This can take a lot of time if my creative juices refuse to flow for some reason. But who cares? Nights are long and peaceful, and I am bound to put together at least one post in an hour or two.
If you add up the time I spend on all the above activities, it amounts only to 4 hours per day, on average. Compare this to 8 to 9 hours of my post-organization life and you’ll clearly see how much time I’ve managed to save just by restricting myself to a defined schedule.
4. Organize your tools of the trade
- Organize your desktop – Keep the most used tools right on your desktop, and delete all other shortcuts that do nothing but add clutter. Similarly, if you are on Windows, keep your start menu and quick launch tidy by removing and uninstalling the unwanted shortcuts and programs.
- Organize your browser – Keep all the toolbars turned off unless you need them. If you are a Firefox user, make use of bookmarks toolbar and keep your most visited pages organized in separate folders.
- Use an offline post editor – Usually, you don’t want to be distracted when your are focused on writing. Writing in the web browser is a distraction in itself. You know, the usual urge to load up another page in a separate tab is sometimes quite irresistible. Using a desktop blogging client such as Windows Live Writer can be used to avoid such unnecessary distractions.
5. Post every alternate day
Finally, if you are really pressed for time, consider cutting down your post frequency. Posting an article everyday is not necessary. On the contrary, I believe posting less often is much more beneficial for most bloggers.
How do you organize your blogging life, and, as a problogger, do you find it hard to keep a balance between your online and offline life?