As bloggers, we all learn something rather quickly. Blogging can take up quite a bit of time. Having time management skills will not only make blogging easier but you will be kept on task and blog more efficiently. All of these things will get you out from behind your computer and enable you to use your time to pursue other interests. This week’s Blogging Basics topic with Lindsay and I is time management tips for bloggers.
Time Management Tips for Bloggers
First and foremost, you need a planner or organizer of some sort. It can be as simple or elaborate as you want to make it. It can be paper or one that you keep on your phone (and hopefully it syncs across all of your devices). Being able to see your deadlines and knowing your time frame for projects and deadlines is imperative. My planner is always by my side when I am blogging and it is my starting point each day. I can easily see what tasks need to be completed first and what my upcoming tasks are.
Many bloggers opt to use templates when it comes to blog graphics. This is a huge timesaver and creates consistency and cohesiveness with your brand. Think about the time that goes into creating each blog graphic. For each of my posts I do a main graphic and a pinnable graphic. That means I have to find a photo that can be used in a bigger sized graphic as well as a vertical sized graphic. It may take a few minutes to locate a photo that fits into the idea of the post. I then have to resize each photo, add overlays and text and then optimize it for my blog. Graphics alone can take me 10-15 minutes if I let them.
Creating templates saves you the searching and sizing. All you have to do is plug in the wording you want on the graphic and you are good to go.
Canva has recently made it easy for bloggers to create consistency with their brands, therefore saving bloggers time. When you upgrade from a free account you can add your brand’s colors and fonts. Each time you open Canva your brand’s elements are there waiting for you. As you can see below, my 2 fonts that I use on my blog, as well as my blog’s colors are saved for me.
Remember when we discussed creating link ups? Inlinkz allows you to create templates for each link up you host. Simply go in and change the date and your link up will be scheduled.
Email can be the bane of a blogger’s existence. Within hours your inbox can be taken over and become unwieldily. Luckily there are three things that can be a huge timesaver for you.
1. Unroll Me
I was introduced to Unroll Me by Nina. Our inboxes can be inundated with sales, newsletters, and alerts. Unroll Me bundles everything up nicely for you and sends you one an email a day.
2. Email Templates
Creating and using email templates is a huge timesaver and one that I can not stress enough. They are ideal for sponsorship programs and pitch emails as well. Once you write the email, save it and it is ready and waiting for you whenever you need it.
Boomerang is such a great service and one that is worthy of its own post (coming soon!). Essentially it allows you to write emails and schedule them to be sent at a later date. Where does this come in handy? Let’s say you are offering sponsorships. Ideally you would send your new sponsors a welcome email detailing their sponsorship as a well as a thank you email. By using Boomerang you can write your email and schedule it for the start and end dates of their sponsorship.
It also allows you to open emails at later date. You can read an email and boomerang it so that it comes back to you at a date of your choosing. This allows you to deal with it when needed and you won’t run the risk of forgetting about it.
Schedule Social Media Promotions
Where would we be without social media? It’s used to promote ourselves, our sponsors, and as a means of connecting with others. I can easily lose track of time on various social media platforms. Using social media scheduling tools ensures that I can do what I need to do and saves me immense amounts of time. I can take care of the task at hand, schedule a bunch of promotions in one sitting and free up time. Below are some of my favorite scheduling tools for social media.
Coschedule is a WordPress plug in that is worth every penny. From my WordPress dashboard I can create a post and schedule my social media promotions without ever having to leave that page. It is a HUGE timesaver.
I use Hootsuite to schedule promotions for my sponsors (it can be done in CoSchedule as well). I can sit down and schedule tweets and Facebook updates for each sponsor ahead of time. I also like that I can use it to schedule Instagram posts too (it actually can’t post for you as Instagram does not allow it but it sends you a notification so you can post your photo at a scheduled time).
3. Board Booster
If you are on Pinterest you need to give Board Booster a try. Board Booster allows you to schedule pins throughout the day to as many boards as you wish. I can spend 20 minutes pinning to secret boards I create through Board Booster and be confident that I will have a Pinterest presence throughout the day even when I am nowhere near Pinterest. You can read more about Board Booster here.
The simple act of removing distractions will save you so much time. Leave your phone in another room. Close all the tabs but the one you are working on in your browser. Close the door. Turn off Netflix. Once the distractions are gone you can focus on the task at hand and get it done in a fraction of the time that it would have taken.
Block scheduling is something that I will be implementing soon. As a mom that works full time blogging can get lost in the shuffle. If I schedule time to work on certain things I will be so much more productive. For example, I tend to write a majority of my blog posts on Sundays. That frees up time during the week to take care of other blogging necessities. Wednesdays can be for replying to comments that I haven’t answered yet. I like to dedicate some time on Thursdays to catch up on Bloglovin’ in preparation for the Blogger Love link up that takes place every Friday (shameless plug: join me as I am now hosting it while Meagan gets settled in after her move to Texas). If I know that I have a schedule that I want to stick to and just not some open ended tasks I will be more productive. I will actually be scheduling these tasks this month in my planner. For example, I may schedule 2 hours on a Sunday to write posts. After two hours I will step away and close my computer. Knowing that I have an end time will make me work more efficiently.
Have a To Do List
I am a huge fan of to do lists. I like to know what I have to do. What I like even more though is crossing off items once they are completed. That can be such a motivation for me. Create a daily list and keep it short and attainable. If your list gets too long it can be overwhelming and you may not know where to begin. If you feel the need to have a longer list prioritize and pick three things that are a must do. This will ensure that at least those items get done.
Keep Your Work Space Organized
This one goes hand in hand with removing distractions. If my office and desk space is clean and organized I won’t be tempted to get distracted by other things. Clear the clutter! Get rid of those miscellaneous papers, bills, ads, magazines, and whatever else will keep you from getting your work done.
Working nonstop is no fun. You lose your steam and your productivity decreases. Clearing your head and stepping away from the task at hand may seem counterproductive but it’s not. Rewarding yourself with 10 minute breaks will refresh, revive, and rejuvenate you. This will spill over into your work and you will be more focused and efficient.
Start a Drafts Folder // Ideas Folder
You never know when blogger’s block will strike. You can get hit at any time and find yourself sitting and staring blankly at a computer screen for what seems like hours with no ideas as to what to write about. Keeping a drafts folder on your computer or a note in your phone with blog post ideas will save you so much time.
This past summer I shared something with my readers. It was a simple brainstorming printable that I still use to this day. I printed several copies and spent an hour one day thinking of blog topic ideas. I then expanded on each of these ideas. I now have several posts outlined and ready to be written should the need arise.
What time management tips do you recommend? Comment below as I am always looking for ways to be more efficient. Be sure to check out Lindsay’s tips.