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Some of these productivity tips for bloggers are going to seem downright weird to you, but I can guarantee you that there are at least a couple of tips on this list that you’ve never heard of before!
I know that it’s easy to look at other people’s success and feel like it must have just come easier to them. That they have a ‘knack’ for it or possess some qualities that you don’t have.
I know that because I thought the same thing when I started my first blog.
As we outlined in our stages of blogging success, there is what we call a “poop stage,” and we’ve all been there. It’s a right of passage in the blogging world.
You know what I mean… Those days (and months) spent in the trenches — plugging away for hours into the nights and weekends with nothing to show for it.
Not only did it take 6 months to make ANY money from that first blog, but there were also a LOT of failures and money down the drain along the way.
Oh and let’s not forget working a full-time job as tax accountant on top of all of that!
These are our best tips, tricks, and strategies that we learned over those first few dark months of hard work on the road to success — and throughout the multiple blogs we’ve started.
And don’t worry, y’all. This isn’t just going to be about working more and spending less, although that certainly can help.
But we did some super weird things to get where we are today, including surviving mostly off eggs and rice for a few weeks (more on that in a minute).
Do you know how much time and energy you can save by eating the same meals every day?
Yes, I mean same breakfast, same lunch, and same dinner. Every day. For weeks.
Okay, we’d rotate out a few other meals here and there to make sure we were getting enough nutrients. But I remember eating salmon for dinner almost every night for probably a month at one point.
As a previous health blogger, I’m not recommending this as proper diet advice… But I want to illustrate a point.
Deciding what you will eat every day and how you will cook it (on top of actually cooking it) takes a lot of mental time and energy that you don’t have as a new business owner.
Having these decisions made for you frees up a lot of time and energy to focus on your new blog.
Write down your top 2-3 favorite dishes for each meal that are relatively quick and simple to make and try to cook them as often as you can to simplify your life a bit.
This was a weird one that we picked up while living in Austin and it’s one that has stuck with me ever since.
We, as a society, also spend far too much time thinking about what to wear every day and far too much money buying new clothes when you get sick of your old ones.
Not to mention how bad fast fashion is for the environment…
We decided to limit our wardrobe to white, black, and gray plus one accent color — which turned out to be green for both of us.
But everything in our closets matched and it simplified the thought process for deciding what to wear every day. AND kept us from buying shit we didn’t need.
Now, I don’t apply this rule anymore. I’ve grown out of it as I’ve grown into my success.
But one area in which I still apply this principle often is when I’m traveling. Limiting the colors allows me to have more outfits to mix and match — without taking up too much space in my luggage.
One of the biggest problems with trying to blog with a full-time job is that you have to give up your most productive hours of the day to your other job.
Those first few, coffee-fueled hours of the day were my most productive hours and I felt like they were being wasted (on a job I wanted to quit anyway).
Now, if you’re a night owl, this may not apply much to you. But I’m personally pretty useless after 9 pm when it comes to work (or much else).
The solution? Set your alarm clock an hour or two earlier to work on your business BEFORE going to your full-time job.
This requires a lot of self-discipline, but it made the difference for me because I didn’t have a lot of flexibility at my full-time job.
It was important for me that I was able to dedicate a couple hours of deep, focused work on my blog every day.
If you’re a night owl, the same applies, but it means that you should work an extra hour or two in the evening before going to bed.
You can sleep when you’re dead!
4. Consistency and Convenience
Honestly, all of these time-management and productivity tips revolve around two things: consistency and convenience
The more decisions you allow to creep into your day, the more distractions and wasted time you will have on your hands.
Do your best to simply as much of the decision-making processes you can in your day.
I was able to do this mostly through consistency and convenience. I have a lot of repetition in my workdays and do what I can to keep food, transportation, workouts, etc. as convenient as possible.
I know that it sounds boring and I promise you that blog life is a lot ‘less sexy’ behind the scenes, but THIS is how we were able to achieve success so quickly.
And now that the success has been achieved, there is more than enough time to take back for personal things and decisions. It’s a temporary sacrifice that you make to help you stay focused and budget your limited time.
5. Social Life
It’s time to say goodbye to your precious social life. This goes hand-in-hand with time management because one of the biggest sucks on your time is your social life.
Weekends, when you’re off work, are prime opportunities to work on your online business. It’s also when all of your friends want to hang out and book trips.
This is a tough one for many, and you can try to balance it if you’d like.
But remember that 6 hours at brunch or the pool means 6 fewer hours of work put into your blog, which roughly translates into:
- A new post written
- Tons of Pinterest pins created
- An outline for a new product
- A series of marketing emails written
- 6 hours doing anything more productive than day drinking at the pool
It’s probably pretty obvious what stage of life I was in when I started blogging. But no matter what stage of life you are at, this still applies to you.
Skip that family BBQ or ask your partner if they can make the Saturday soccer game so you can stay at home and put in some work to create a better future for your family.
The point is that you must make SACRIFICES if you want success – especially if you want it QUICKLY.
The hardest part about this is that your friends and family likely won’t understand. They will put pressure on you to make time for them and they likely just won’t understand your priorities during this stage.
Do your best to explain as much as you need to and be firm in your decision to make your blog the priority right now.
6. The ONE Task
This is an important one because as a blogger, you are a one-man or woman show and responsible for all tasks that need to be done at any given time.
The problem is that if you work on multiple projects at once, nothing ever gets finished and it’s half-assed at best when it does finally get completed.
To avoid the overwhelm and failure involved in this, get organized. Write out a to-do list of all of the most critical tasks that you need to work on. Then, prioritize them based on what is THE most important.
Work on that ONE most important task to the success of your business first, and do NOT move on until the task is completely finished.
And I will give you a little clue here… That one most important task isn’t related to making your blog look prettier.
Everyone and I mean everyone, spends DAYS on this task first and foremost when they first start. I know because I did it and I watch some of my students do it despite my warnings.
This is why it’s important to get some help in the beginning. Find bloggers that will teach you the ropes without all the mistakes.
As a new blogger, you literally have EVERYTHING ahead of you, including:
And it’s not just about the what to do – the timing of when you do these tasks matters just as much, if not more.
7. Saying No
On that note, it’s super important to learn how to just say NO to people. Whether it’s asking you to blow off work and do something fun or someone needs a favor…
Get better at knowing the value of YOUR time and when you need to just politely say NO to someone because something isn’t worth your time.
Don’t let anyone give you a hard time for spending time indoors on the weekend.
And don’t feel bad about not offering up help every single time you’re asked. You deserve to put yourself first from time to time.
If people truly love and support you, they will understand.
8. Deep Focus
Once you have prioritized your tasks and you know what you need to work on and when you need to work on it, it’s time to shut out the world and find your DEEP FOCUS.
Think of ‘deep focus’ like deep sleep. It’s those few hours where you’re basically dead to the world.
It can be really hard to get into this place, but once you do, it’s like productivity on steroids. You’ll get so much done and feel so accomplished.
Everyone will have a different place for ‘deep focus,’ so try out a few different things to find yours.
For some, it’s having a quiet home office. For others, it’s working from a cafe with headphones on. Find your work groove and get in it as much as possible!
The best work to be done in deep focus are things that require a lot more mental thought and energy: blog post writing, product creation, writing emails, etc.
Some tasks that are better to prioritize outside of your deep focus are image creation (like social media images), blog design, etc.
I also find that my deep focus generally happens in the morning but if you’re a night owl, you may be the opposite!
Bottom line: Do whatever you can to minimize all distractions when in the precious little time you do get to work on your blog!
Let’s be honest… We could all be a little better about managing our money. Always.
I know for a fact that many of you that tell me that you can’t afford the $9/month for ConvertKit are spending the same amount on all kinds of non-discretionary items.
We make space in the budget for the things that matter to us.
The problem is that we generally have our priorities all out of whack and end up spending our money on the WRONG things.
How is this related to productivity?
The right investments in your blog will make you more productive and save you a ton of time and headaches.
If you’re trying to begin with a free blog and get by as cheaply as possible, you will get cheap results. If you don’t invest a penny, you will never make a penny.
It’s as simple as that.
For all of you out wanting to say: “But I don’t have any money to invest in my blog right now,” I have to tell you that a career in blogging might not be for you.
Or maybe it is, but you will need to set your expectations accordingly. It will likely take you a lot longer to succeed.
I’m certainly not here to sell you on some get-rich-quick scheme or make this look easy, but it certainly isn’t easy.
But you aren’t willing to spend any money on your new blog/business, the life of an entrepreneur is not for you.
I don’t mean to discourage any of you either. I just want to make sure that you have the right expectations going into this.
You CAN start with free options, but you cannot expect to make any real money with those free options.
We honestly spent several thousand dollars over those first few months learning everything we could, implementing the strategies that we learned, and mostly failing.
But through all of that trial and error, some things stuck. We eventually found something that worked and were able to double our revenues for those first 5 months of business.
And the rest is history!
I’m not asking you to invest thousands of dollars in your new blog. Most people don’t have the income to do that and it would be wasted if you didn’t invest in the right things.
You can read our article on expected costs to start a blog if you want to set your expectations properly, but you don’t have to have tons of capital to invest in your blog when you’re getting started.
But also don’t allow yourself to believe that you can’t afford literally one of the best investments you can make for your blog (again, ConvertKit) but then turn around and buy a pair of $70 shoes or keep up with your weekly Starbucks latte habit.
The little things add up and it comes down to whether or not you want to make your blog a priority or not.
We chose to make it THE most important priority in our life, and our experiences speak for themselves here.
I was in credit card debt at the very early stages of the discussions about starting a blog, and the idea of starting and running my own business was what finally motivated me to get the damn debt paid off once and for all.
I’ve been debt-free ever since.
I also once ate eggs and rice for dinner every night for a few weeks at a time to save money because I was investing so much into my business.
Again, as a health blogger, I am NOT advising you to take it to this level of extreme.
I just want to show you how far you can take your dedication if you are so inclined.
If you have any questions for us on how to blog with a full-time job or anything else we discussed in this article, please feel free to leave us a comment below!