Blogging great content consistently is not always easy – it may be difficult to you to figure out what topic you want to cover, you may have writer’s block, or you lack focused attention while researching your subject ( perhaps because you also have a million other things on your to-do list?). Over the years I found that the only way to get around this is to follow the tips below:
#1 Sit Down And Start Writing
Writer’s block is probably the most common reason why we are not fully productive when writing. Sometimes we don’t have idea of the topic we want to cover, or we simply don’t know where to begin. And not being able to start writing causes the problem. The solution is quite simple – just get started.
There’s a process known as free writing which writers have used for years for their problem with writer’s block. What you need to do is to open a blank document (or put the paper in the typewriter in the old days) and just start typing your ideas as they come to your mind to ignite the thinking process. While writing you’ll develop new ideas and connect them into an article or short story that you can publish on your blog.
When you write, do not stop to correct your spelling and grammar. It’s best to just write the sentences as you think of them, and not even worry about the flow of the information included. It will all come together in the end when you edit the whole piece. Do not throw away the paragraphs you decide to leave out from the blog post to be published. Save them for the days when you have no inspiration, – there may be some valuable ideas in all the “silly” stuff you wrote that managed to save you from your writer’s block problem.
Don’t stop writing no matter how hard it appears some days. With practice you will improve, and blogging gets easier and better. If you don’t start blogging, none of this will happen. You’ll probably still sit in front of a blank page trying to figure out how to start, if you haven’t already given up on your passion.
#2 Get Rid Of Distractions
I don’t know about you but I can get pretty distracted every time I have to pause my writing every time I look things up on the internet.” What started as a a fact-finding mission on Wikipedia will often disintegrate into reading about the list of Game of Throne characters which would lead to googling “list of top high-fantasy novels of all times” and on and on it goes. Your workspace may also lack the atmosphere a focused and effective writing requires.
One method I use is to put my phone on silent and turn off desktop notifications. I also write down a list of all the articles and blog posts that I have to write that day – this helps me focus my time as I would be less likely to go off on internet search tangents knowing I have X amount of time and Y amount of articles that I need to finish that day.
Some people just can’t stop checking their email. According to a study from Apex Performance, “more than 70% of 300 workers report they get more than 21 emails a day, and more than half say they check their inbox more than 11 times a day. More than one third say they check it every time a new email hits their box.”
I used to have this problem as well – but I have trained myself to only check my emails twice a day i.e. in the morning and in the evening. I also a) quickly delete emails that I have used, b) archive those that I have read but require no further action and c) flag those that needs action. Once I have finished my important work tasks , I get to the emails that I have flagged. This has helped me become more efficient in dealing with my inbox.
If you don’t (or can’t) do all these things you can maybe check the Inbox Zero email manager or some other similar tools. However, make sure to use an email service that features a quality spam filter.
The place where you write and do all the rest of the blogging-related activities is also important for your productivity. Get rid of distractions as much as possible. Some people work better while listening to music, while others need silence. And some believe it or not – enjoy the sound of the rain. If this is you try Rainy Mood.
#3 Plan Your Ideas. It Makes Them Simple
By planning your ideas you break up your writing into several smaller subtopics that are much easier to follow, write and complete. It makes the process a lot simpler when you have a topic that you want to cover and several specific subtopics to include into each post.
Plan your blog posts and articles particularly if they are longer. A well planned 2.000 words article suddenly comes down to an opening and conclusion of about 200 words total, and about four pieces of less than 500 words each. And if you don’t hit the word count it’s not that big of a deal. Some posts will be longer, some will be shorter than the word count you target, but that won’t make a huge difference. What makes difference is the quality of your blog content.
#4 Set Firm Goals And Follow Schedules
As with any work management, goals and schedules are very important for bloggers. Your goals tell you how much work needs to be done in a certain time frame, and the schedule helps you better organize your work time and exact writing hours so you’ll get those goals accomplished. Set firm goals that stimulate you but can be achieved, and if you find out you have a problem finishing on time look at what’s more important, goals or schedules, and make the necessary adjustments.
If you are like me and you work from home then you should definitely set a time in the day when you’ll do your writing. If you are most productive when you wake up while still in your pajamas then this is your work time, and if you are a night owl who stays awake from midnight till six in the morning you can set this day period as your work hours. See what works best for you, pick a schedule, and stick to it. Make it a routine. This way you won’t end up watching “just one more” episode of Mr.Selfridges during your work time, and “the boss in you” will be satisfied.
#5 Use Productivity Tools
There are lots of tools you can find online that work great for those looking to be more productive when blogging. Here are few that are worth trying:
Evernote: This tool is awesome for organizing information when you do your online research. Whenever you see something of value for your blog posts (on your mobile too) clip and save it under a separate notebook related to the particular project. Evernote lets you store web pages, text, images, and also tag your notes for easier search when you need them. Check this post to see how you can use Evernote to be a more productive blogger.
StayFocusd: It happens to all of us to just click a link a friend shared on Facebook and then notice you’ve spent 2 hours of your work time browsing on the site not doing any of the writing you were supposed to. StayFocusd is a free Chrome extension that will literally block you from those distracting websites. You can set the work hours for each day of the week, and determine the amount of time per day that you are allowed to visit certain websites, and when you use up that time the tool will block and remind you why you are there in the first place “Shouldn’t You Be Working?”
Trello: This is a collaboration tool. If you are not the only one blogging on your site, or if you share a project with someone, you can all use Trello and follow the progress of the other team members and adjust your part of the assignment to best fit the desired concept. For example, if you are writing and other person is doing a video for your blog, the video-maker can keep up with your writing to produce a video that supports the text-presented idea. Aside from this, you can also use Trello to organize your own writing and blogging, similar to Evernote and other related tools.
Maybe not all five tips apply to you. Maybe you are great at research and already use the tools, but lack focus, goals and schedules. No two people are the same, and this includes their productivity too. Find what works best for you and tweak and adjust the rest.
Tell us what you think of these blogging productivity tips. Do you have some of your own to share? Drop a comment below.