You also have a blog that’s tugging at your heart. A flicker of hope in a side-hustle that could get you out of your 9-5.
Between commutes, and home-schooling, feed and nap times, you’re only left with 2-3 hours a day. You feel sorry for yourself.
What can you achieve in 3 hours?
If that’s you, you’re not alone.
As a stay at home mom and freelance writer with a toddler, I was desperate for time. When I had those precious couple of hours in the day to work on my blog, I was a mess.
I was straddling between writing blog posts, updating social media accounts, doing WordPress fixes and trying to launch an e-course all at once. I was doing so much and nothing at all. At the end of each week, I had little to show for.
The problem wasn’t with the lack of time, but with how I used the time.
After much struggle, I’ve found 8 simple ways that help you pack more into your 3 hours. But it all starts with getting your base right – giving your blog a check to determine what stage you’re at.
Determine what stage of growth your blog is at
There is so much to do when it comes to running a blog. But, it’s important to focus only on activities that are crucial for the stage in which your blog is at.
If you’ve just started your blog, you shouldn’t be thinking about creating an e-course. You can have a monetization plan in place. But your priority should be building your list and gaining the trust of your subscribers. Give exceptional value through your content and lead magnets.
You should also work on getting quality backlinks to your website. You can do this through guest posting at authority sites with an audience bigger than yours. This is how you build authority and expertise in the eyes of Google as well as your peers and audience.
Once you have established trust and authority, as well as built a sizeable number of subscribers, you can start to implement your monetization plans.
Remember, the number of subscribers isn’t as important as much as how engaged your list is. You’d rather have 1000 engaged subscribers who believe in your brand than 10,000 people who never open your emails. Build one revenue stream and add more as you grow.
You’re already making income from your blog. You’re now ready to expand on your existing products and services.
None of these stages are cast in stone. But they keep you focused on stage appropriate tasks that grow your blog.
After you’ve analyzed and determined the stage you’re at, you’re ready to set blogging goals for the quarter.
1. Determine your blogging goals for the quarter
Depending on the stage you’re at, there are several possible goals. Here are some examples:
- Guest post at 5 blogs
- Build a relationship and network with influencers by commenting on their blogs
- Increase your traffic through Pinterest
- Build a targeted twitter following of 1000 people
- Grow subscriber base to 1000 through Facebook ads
- Host a giveaway to increase subscribers
- Work on e-book content
- Build anticipation for launch through email teasers and Instagram
While you may feel like you need to dabble in all of them, don’t! Pick only 2-3 for the quarter. While this may seem limiting, your blog will gain more traction because of your focused effort. You will not spread yourself thin.
2. Stop giving yourself choices
This is why Mark Zuckerburg typically wears the same grey t-shirt and jeans and President Obama wears the same grey or black suits. This article by Elite Daily, calls it the art of avoiding decision fatigue.
You’ve only got a couple of hours. You don’t want to spend that time debating what to do.
Think about it this way. There are only 2 types of tasks you can do: (1) tasks that grow your blog or (2) tasks that maintain your blog
Blog growth tasks are:
- Creating content
- Repurposing content
- Research for product creation
- Creating products
- Writing blog posts
- Engaging with your audience
- Networking with influencers
Maintenance tasks are:
- Website and theme updates
- Website and visual design
- Social media scheduling
- Book keeping
- Brand Audit
The tasks will vary with the specific type of blog that you have as well as your goals for the quarter.
If you run a food blog for instance, photography will play a major role as a growth task. If you do design or branding as part of the services you offer, visual design will be a growth task.
You determine what grows and maintains your blog.
Once you fit your tasks into these categories, it’s easy to keep track of your time. You do one task from one category each day. The mistake that most of us make is to fill a day with tasks from both categories. We think multi-tasking is productive but it ends up being a major time drain.
3. Stay away from multi-tasking
According to an article in Psychology Today by Dr. Susan Weinschenk, “it takes more time to get tasks completed if you switch between them, than if you do them one at a time”.
If you think that your energy and resources are split 50-50 when you work on 2 different tasks, you’re wrong.
Switching between tasks sucks up time and energy because the brain has to recall instructions on how to do a previous task before getting into the swing of things. Our brains are simply not able to cope with this context switching and it can “add up to a loss of 40%” of our productivity.
This is where batching comes into play. For instance, if you’ve written a solid, lengthy blog post on 1 category from your blog, maximize that opportunity. The research and keywords are still fresh in your mind. Think of ways you can repurpose your content.
Here’s a simple formula you can use:
What is the problem or pain point –
What does the reader want –
Based on your answers above, you can create the following types of content from a single source.
- How to
- Statistics (for social media updates)
- Case Study
- Slide-Deck (for use on Slideshare)
- Quotes (for use on social media)
These pieces can fill your editorial and social media calendar. They can also enter various parts of your sales funnel. There are lots of other ways you can utilize batching:
- Do your social media schedule for two weeks at a go.
- Take all your Instagram photos in a day.
- Schedule a website maintenance day and do nothing but that.
You’ll start to see that you get a lot more work done than when you were juggling a few things at a time.
4. Determine what’s your 80/20
According to this principle named after Pareto, an Italian Economist, 80 percent of your outcome comes from 20 percent of your input. The numbers may not be exact, but the idea is to spend your time working on tasks that give you 80% or a majority of your output.
Put simply: Do more of what is working for you.
- Has a particular lead magnet received lots of great feedback and subscribers? Think about other ways you can market it. Get it in front of more people.
- Has a particular blog post received several views and shares? What about it has worked? Is it the style of writing? How can you create more of such content.
5. Work backwards and eliminate overwhelm like a pro
When I first wanted to launch my blog, I was overwhelmed.
There were too many things to do and too little time. But once I broke the seemingly insurmountable task down into tiny steps, it didn’t seem all that scary anymore. It also gave me clarity as to what I should do first to make progress.
If you want to launch a product or a new service, work in every single step that will lead you to your end goal. Work backwards till you can’t go any further.
Once you reach the first step you need to take, determine if this is something you can do yourself, something you need help with or something you can outsource.
Often the reason we don’t follow through or stall on our plans is because the first step to move us forward is something we’re not comfortable with. It’s either tedious, technical or doesn’t fall within our core skill set.
If you’ve been putting away the launch of an ebook, work in all the steps leading till your launch. Determine what step is holding you back. Perhaps you’re not comfortable setting up a payment system? Or you don’t know how to go about designing your cover or delivering your ebook.
You now know exactly where you’re stuck. You can either move forward by getting help or outsourcing it.
6. Let it go if you need to
Website maintenance tasks are important and necessary.
But let’s be honest. They are a major time drain. If you could channel that time into tasks that grow your blog business, then by all means do it.
Fiverr gets a bad reputation for quality but it’s a great resource for offloading tedious tasks. Here are some tasks that you can use Fiverr for.
- Collate quotes you need for social media
- Source images for social media
- Data Entry
- Simple layout and formatting of lead magnet or ebook
- Simple WordPress issues
It may be painful to spend that money. But if you channel the extra hours to activities that grow your blog, it’s money well spent.
7. Do the sprint
A sprint is where you concentrate on only one activity over a short period of time. This works when you want to deliver a product or achieve a goal with a tight deadline. It’s intensive but you get massive returns for that period of tremendous hard work.
As they say: What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
Here are things that benefit from the sprint technique:
- Creating a lead magnet or ebook
- Working on a short email course
- Crafting your launch marketing emails
- Writing a guest post and submitting a pitch
8. If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it immediately
In his bestselling book Getting Things Done, David Allen speaks of the 2—minute rule. He says that if a task takes 2-minutes to do, to do it immediately.
The day is littered with 2-minute tasks. Tidying up your desktop, sending an email, paying a bill…
We procrastinate and let 2-minute tasks pile up till they reach such mammoth proportions that it leaves us feeling overwhelmed and dejected.
Write these tasks down and complete them. The small win you experience is a psychological boost. And once the task is done, it doesn’t weigh down on the rest of your day.
Take tiny steps today
With these 8 ways, you’ll get a better grip on how to handle your precious few hours. With focused effort, you will make progress and this will keep you energized and inspired to continue working on your blog dream.
What other tips do you have that have helped you blog smart?
Please share in the comments below.
Meera is a writer, blogger and tad bit of a nerd who loves supporting busy solopreneurs and bloggers find focus, build authority & stand out online. Steal her Swipe File of 105 content hacks for emails & blogposts + 16 productivity tools that add hours to your day.