The best plans are a wasted time if you don’t follow through. No one will make you do this.
We live in an exciting time where being your own boss is possible. Thousands have made successful careers as professional bloggers. And for many, the blogosphere has led to business opportunities that have changed their lives for good. Successful bloggers make it look easy. Think about a blog you follow. Have you ever wondered how they manage to publish interesting posts on a regular basis while juggling everyday life? I’ll let you in on one of their secrets: time management.
It seems uninspiring but if managing your blog seems daunting or if you can’t seem to find the time for your blog, assessing your time management skills could be the answer you’re looking for. Blogs are like babies. They need attention. If you neglect your blog by not posting regularly or not posting well-written content, your blog won’t reach its full potential. The truth is, if you don’t publish content there’s no reason for people to visit your blog. I struggled with this for years. I learned this lesson the hard way. And I realized that if I wanted my blog to reach its potential, I had to make some changes.
Budget your time
We all have 24 hours a day 7 days a week. But some people seem to accomplish more with the time they’re given than others. I used to say that I didn’t have the time to blog. But that’s not true. I make time for the gym, I make time for Netflix; so I should be able to make time for my blog. I simply wasn’t doing it.
Time is money. You can spend it, invest it, and waste it. Take an average day in your life and write down how much time you spend, invest, and waste. Be honest. It’s amazing how much time we actually waste. I used to waste hours on weekends instead of working towards my goals.
Next, re-assign your wasted time to your blog. Decide to be intentional with your time. For the past few months, I’ve had eight-hour rehearsals every Saturday. When I got home, instead of doing something constructive, I binge-watched series or fell asleep. Before I knew it, my weekend was over and I had accomplished nothing.
That’s not good enough anymore. I made a decision to repurpose my Saturday evenings so that I have space to work on my blog (since I’m too sore or tired to go out anyway). Once you carve out time to work on your blog, mark it on your calendar. Block it out and actually do something blog related during that time. For me, that includes reading books. Yeay!
Map your posts
Now that you have time for your blog, make the most of it. Mapping out my blog posts has helped me. Planning is my happy place. I love calendars, spreadsheets, to do lists, and all those organizational tools so this part is exciting for me. I found a lovely, user-friendly planner especially for blogs on Let’s Gab About Books. It’s meant for book blogs but its well-designed and functional, any blogger could use it.
Each month has a full calendar where you can plot post days. When I started using it I didn’t have ideas for all my posts but I marked the days I wanted to publish a blog post and the theme: is it a book review, a poetry review, something else? As I added the days. Ideas started to flow. I knew I didn’t want to follow the usual WWW Wednesday or Top 10 Tuesday memes that book bloggers usually do – it’s just not my thing. I wanted to write poetry reviews. I liked the idea of publishing fantasy or sci-fi reviews on a Friday (Fantasy Friday). And I realized that I needed something bookish that wasn’t a review (so I could actually read). That’s how the Behind the Scenes segment was born. Once you map out when you want to post you can play around with the what.
Write. Edit. Schedule.
If you’ve followed the process thus far, you should have a block of time devoted to your blog and you should have an editorial calendar. Now play around with potential topics. Think about the theme of your blog. What is your audience interested in? Sara Tasker gave a great tip on her blog Hashtag Authentic that I’ve found helpful. Look at your best post. This would be one of the highest views, likes, and/or comments. Then imagine your blog if every post was as good as that one. Use this post as your launch pad and then make a list of similar topics and add each topic to your calendar.
Writing down potential topics helps me focus. When it is blog time, I know exactly what I need to prepare for the following week. I might need to finish reading a book, write a blog post, or work on the images accompanying my post. Whatever the task is, I know my time will be well spent. Whether I’m there for an hour or 30 minutes, I can step away from it knowing I’ve accomplished something. And I can schedule my posts ahead of time so that they’ll be published on the right day, at the right time just in case life happens and I forget.
Next, be realistic about how much to post and how often. I know how much I read. Publishing a daily post is not practical. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself. Especially if you have other things to juggle. And all work and no play makes for a dull life. You don’t want blogging to become burdensome. Find a nice balance that gives you space to nurture your blog and attend to life’s other demands.
So your posts are mapped out. You know what you need to work on when. All that’s left for you to do is to stick to the plan and follow through. The best plans are a wasted time if you don’t follow through. No one will make you do this. Sometimes we need to adult and manage ourselves.
I hope you find these tips helpful.
What tools or strategies do you use to balance blogging and life? Do share in the comments below.
From Cape Town with love