I know you know the feeling.
When you’re a blogger, there’s always something to do. Because blogging is oh-so-much more than just writing. Promoting your posts, building community, sifting through email, making tweaks to your site. The to-do list never quite vanishes. And your productivity always seems lacking.
Instead of spending MORE time working, a time trick can be just what you need to actually get more accomplished within the same amount of hours you usually spend. Here are three simple tricks that really do work.
1. Follow the Two-Minute Rule
I can’t even remember where I first learned this rule, but it comes from a book called Getting Things Done. If you’re like me, you like making lists. Even better? Crossing stuff off lists.
But sometimes you have to-dos that don’t take much longer the time it takes to actually find your paper (or open your to-do app) and jot it down on your list. If something pops into your head or is right in front of you and it will only take two minutes, DO IT NOW.
That something could be answering a simple email, updating a link on your blog, responding to a tweet, adding a new widget to your site, and so on. Get it over with and save it from your ever-growing to-do list. You’ll feel accomplished and be ready to move onto bigger tasks.
I’m putting this trick into play every single day and boy does it work. And if you really must write your task down on your list, just for the satisfaction of crossing it off. I won’t judge.
2. Set Your Timer with the Pomodoro Technique
The technique name sounds all fancy, but at its core, this time trick is as simple as it gets. We all know it’s super hard to work for hours straight with no distractions. Actually, it’s not hard so much as IMPOSSIBLE. So break up your blogging time into 25-minute work periods, then take a 5-minute break. If you only have 25 minutes, you end up working harder to get to the break at the end.
Each work period is called a “pomodoro,” (that’s the Italian word for tomato). The creator of this technique used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer which gave the technique its name. I use my iPhone timer, but that doesn’t sound as fancy as
Although I’ve only used the technique as a simple 25-minute timer, you can dive into the complete technique by reading the book by the same name or taking an online course on the Pomodoro Technique website (plus, they have a cute video explaining it all).
3. Find Your Best Time to Work
Let’s be honest here, mmmkay? How often do you work during a time that’s not really optimal for you? For example, maybe you’re a morning person but only seem to do blog work in the late afternoon. Or even worse (and this is me), you KNOW you work best in the morning, but yet day after day end up working late at night.
Time to flip the switch and work at the time you know you do your best work, even if it’s painfully early. Don’t know when your best time to work is? Spend an hour at a time testing out various times to work and see when you feel most accomplished.
Whether it be kids or work (or both), sometimes you don’t work during the “best” time for you because you can’t. That just means you need to find your second best time. Even churning out thirty minutes or an hour’s worth of work during that best or second-best time beats dawdling for two hours at a non-optimal time.
I’ll be honest. This is the hardest one for me. My best time to work is right after school drop-offs, but I work for Burt’s while my youngest is in pre-school so I rarely do lengthly blog work during that time. However, I KNOW I’m also productive from about 6-7 am. In that single hour, I get more done than I do in two hours late in the evening, sitting on the couch with a computer in my lap and the TV on. But I hate getting up early! Ironic, isn’t it? But I’m working on getting up early three times a week. That seems reasonable enough.
Have you tried any of these productivity techniques before? If not, which one are you gonna try first?