How to Blog Smart When You Only Have 3 hours a Day: 8 Simple Hacks to Build Your Blog

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how-to-blog-smart-when-you-only-have-3-hours-a-day-8-simple-productivity-hacks-to-build-your-blogYou’ve got kids. A full time job. Or both.

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?

Sound familiar?

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.

Stage 1

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.

Stage 2

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.

Stage 3

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
  • Marketing

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
  • Tools/Plugins/Apps
  • Video
  • Statistics (for social media updates)
  • Case Study
  • Guide
  • Infographic
  • 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.

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How To Blog Smart In Just 3 Hours A Day - Focus On What YOUR Blog Needs Right Now! Blogelina How To Blog Smart In Just 3 Hours A Day - Focus On What YOUR Blog Needs Right Now! Blogelina

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56 thoughts on “How to Blog Smart When You Only Have 3 hours a Day: 8 Simple Hacks to Build Your Blog”

  1. This article really hit home for me! I work from home blogging and do the bulk of my work in the morning and evening hours when my little ones are asleep. I always feel behind the 8 ball with my goals and tasks – very frustrating!

    I’m going to give these tips a try – tips #4 & #5 I think will be especially helpful.

    Thanks so much for sharing your process Meera! Off to share 🙂

    Reply
    • Candis, I can totally relate to the pressures of blogging around the schedule of little ones! So glad Meera’s post is helpful!

      Reply
    • Candis, I’m loving #5 too!

      Somehow the hours in the day never seem enough…totally hear you on that!

      These steps are definitely not a magic process, but can help to rid burnout and overwhelm. Thanks for popping by to comment yet again. You’re like my cheerleader today 🙂 Appreciate it so much!

      Reply
  2. Thank you Meera for these great ideas! I especially like the idea of working backwards.

    This quote though stood out to me “There are only 2 types of tasks you can do: (1) tasks that grow your blog or (2) tasks that maintain your blog”

    It sounds so simple but we make it harder don’t we? This is a good reminder for me to put my time on what I really need to do right now which is grow!

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment Jen! I find it especially useful to work backwards…I do that all the time these days especially when I’m stalling on something.

      And a lot of us fall into the trap of spending hours on maintenanace tasks that don’t quite give an ‘ROI’. I certainly used to do that. I’m happy this post resonated with you! 🙂

      Reply
  3. I like your point about determining which stage the blog is at before determining what you are going to work on. My particular project is transferring content from an old blog to a new website – lots of maintenance for now, but big plans for the future!

    Reply
    • That sounds very exciting, Kim!! the maintenance phase may not be the most fun, but it is definitely worth it in the long run. Good luck!

      Reply
    • Kim it’s so important to do stage appropriate tasks. Of course it’s harder said than done when there’s so much pressure to be everywhere and do everything.

      Best wishes for your new project. Sounds interesting! 🙂

      Reply
  4. Helllo Meera

    Here is my situation.

    Hanged up with the job of my parents choice (In India, many of us do not have the freedom to choose what we like or good at), which I can’t leave simply, while blogging is my passion. I just can’t give up on none of them.

    Certainly I can relate a lot of mine with your writings. I am grateful to you for showing up with such essential tips.

    Reply
    • Hi Sameer, it is hard to blog when you have a full time job. There’s no easy way around this and if you try and carve out even focused hour or 2 a day, you’ll start to make progress. All the best and appreciate your comment!

      Reply
  5. Great advice. I hope we can really start to focus on what’s working and become more efficient. So many times, people will say you have to do a +b +c and yet there is not enough time to do it all!

    Reply
    • Maria, love your comment. Exactly! There’s so much pressure to do everything. You actually don’t really need to. You’ll get a lot more traction by just focusing on a few things. But no denying it’s hard to block off shiny object syndrome.

      Reply
  6. These are very useful tips. Time management is a real challenge when someone work from home and had to look after blogging as well as other activities. Thanks for sharing this tips.

    Reply
  7. So many people love to do blogging but because lack of time, they can’t give proper time to blogging. This is a helpful post for them. Interesting post with great information.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Bharat! Time management and blogging is definitely a tough one to conquer, but it is possible with the right tools. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  8. This blog is really informative. I gained more knowledge by reading your post. Thanks for providing us the useful information with us. Your blog is really helpful for me in attaining my knowledge in a right way.

    Reply
    • We love hearing this, Haritha! We’re so glad you are finding our posts so useful. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

      Reply
    • You’re welcome, Chantal! Managing our time as momma’s is so tough sometimes. We hope these tips help you!

      Reply
    • Chantal, as a mum with a toddler, I know exactly what you mean. I think as mums, once we accept reality that we only have certain time blocks to work with we get a lot more productive because we ‘learn’ to use those few precious hours wisely. All the best!

      Reply
  9. Great Information provided Meera….
    The information you categorizes and summarizes to display i Like it.
    This will helps people lot who are facing time lacking problem to run a blog…

    Reply
  10. Time is important to productivity. Going to the market takes time out of your productivity. Have it delivered. Same applies for ordering amazon instead of driving to wal mart. Better yet, use amazon fresh and have good food delivered right to your door.

    Reply
    • These are fantastic tips, Andrew!! You’re right, the online world leaves us able to maintain productivity, even when we have our daily chores. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  11. Great post, Meera! As a project manager and work from home mom, I do many of these things and advocate them to others. You’re so right, they’re fantastic! Batching is something I’m a huge fan of that has completely changed my productivity. I like how you also mentioned quarterly goals for your blog. I tend to have monthly “themes” and goals to work on, but I’m gonna try the quarterly thing to give myself a bit larger span of time to play around with. Also, I absolutely love how you put it when you said to stop giving yourself choices. It’s totally true that there are growth tasks or maintenance tasks, end of story. Thanks for laying it all out in this great post!

    Reply
  12. This article is just what I needed to read today! What a sign! I can relate to almost everything on this post. Especially the multi-tasking and the 2-minute tasks. I have found myself so overwhelmed lately with starting this blog that I feel like there is too much to do and not enough time, exactly like you said. I need to take this post & read it over & over until it gets stuck in my head. With being new to this and nobody to talk to your posts, guidance and advice has been so helpful. Thank you!

    Reply
    • I’m so glad it’s helpful, Brittney – and remember to keep in mind that You Are Not Alone! Staying focused is a struggle many of us bloggers face!

      Reply
  13. Thanks for this – even though you know things in the back of your mind those other voices drown it out. It helps to hear someone else say it once in a while LOL

    I struggle often with not multitasking – I have 6 kids so it seems like it is hard to get anything done without it… I plan on making it my new focus this month 🙂

    Reply
    • Eva, I hear ya! We have 6 kiddos in our home right now, too, and I am constantly having to balance the idea of multi-tasking! I find that having a list of the top 6 things I want to get done on my blog each day to be very helpful. It helps me to focus knowing what my next step needs to be – rather than wasting time sitting in a daze staring at the computer screen. 😉

      Reply
  14. OMG #3 !!!

    Whadayamean I can’t watch season 3 of Reign on Netflix while writing a blog, reading a book, and eating a massive hoagie?!?!

    I’m so guilty and I *know* better.

    Preachin’ to the choir, toots.

    Reply
  15. OMG! You know how you know something, but then someone comes along and says it in a way that truly makes you get it? You may even learn new things you didn’t think were there?
    That’s this article. I have a blog and all the responsibilities of a single mom with 2 kids who works both inside and outside of the home. But I also have a vision of a movement for moms to rise above their own guilt and shame.
    Thank you Meera for being the one to guide me where I need to go so that I can get on with my passion of empowering moms!

    Reply

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