Do you want to blog but fear you don’t have the time? Do you love blogging but are frustrated that it’s cutting into many other activities? Are you considering blogging less or abandoning your blog altogether due to time constraints?
While these questions are directed at bloggers, anyone who feels a time crunch can benefit from them. They will not all be about blogging, and those that are can be tweaked to help everyone save time.
Tip 1 Don’t drive your car.
Hey, I live in California, we drive here. I’m originally from New York where I go back to visit and see plenty of taxi cabs or people walking. We Californians, we drive, plain and simple, so how can I be giving this advice? Again, plain and simple. (Is this my expression of the day? Am I keeping you in suspense wondering the answer?) The answer is clear. I didn’t tell you not to get in a car or other forms of transportation. I suggested that you not drive it. Whenever possible–be a passenger.
Your hands will be free if you are not operating a motor vehicle. Bloggers need their hands free to check their Email to see if they have comments from bloggers they can return while someone else is driving them. I also use my hands to go into my dashboard, get my link, and promote my blog while someone else is driving. Last, we bloggers need to catch a power nap when we can, and if someone else drives, we can.
Tip 2 Manipulate traffic patterns in your favor.
Program your car GPS to “fastest route” not “shortest route”. Take the fast lane when alone, and, of course, the carpool lane when with a driver (remember, you should be the passenger). Listen to the news to hear upcoming traffic problems and avoid them before you get there. I hear there’s an app or two for that. The technology in my husband’s car warns him of slow traffic on his route. You just don’t have time in your busy day to get stuck in traffic you can avoid.
Tip 3 Multitask.
In my post How to Avoid Holiday Burnout I suggested pacing, prioritizing, and scheduling as ways to save time. Today I offer you a fourth suggestion–multitasking. Think of activities you want to do and creatively figure out how you can do those activities simultaneously.
For example, I want to spend time with my husband, watch television, and eat dinner when I’m home. I do all three simultaneously. (See, I told you not all of my Reflections would be about blogging.) Let’s try another example. When I’m home I want to spend time with my husband and blog. (Is attempting to combine these a more daunting challenge?) I bought my husband headphones. He watches television while I sit next to him with my laptop and blog. I don’t hear the television, so I can focus. Since we are together, I still get to be in his company, and he can’t feel neglected.
Tip 4 Do your shopping online.
I explained this in depth in one of my other holiday blogs How to Avoid Holiday Shopping Burnout. The bottom line is you don’t have time to go shopping. Get what you can online. Other than trying on clothes if sizes and brands fit differently in different stores, I can’t think of any reason you need to spend the time it takes to drive to the store, park, walk, shop, and go back to your car, and drive back home again.
Tip 5 Prioritize.
Make a list of everything you want to do in the course of your day. (I know this will take time, but it will save you time in the long run.) Now, number your list starting with #1 as the most important. How many can you cut from the course of your day? The bottom three? The bottom 10%? The bottom 50%? If you can’t cut the beloved activity out of your day, limit it to the weekend.
For example, I am still teaching myself Canva. (The above picture was made with Canva.) Since I’m still learning, using a picture I’ve made with Canva takes longer than using pictures I get from other sites, so I only use Canva when I am not under a time crunch.
Tip 6 Change Your Mindset About Blogging (Sorry non-bloggers, I’ll return to you soon.)
Tell yourself you need to blog. My most common saying is applicable here. Do what you need to do before you do what you want to do. People make time to do what they need to do; there is no option.
However, when you blog, listen to your favorite music that will enable you to focus. I love upbeat music as some of my previous posts have shared, but I can’t focus on my writing while listening. I made an instrumental playlist on my Iphone that I listen to when I blog. Pretty background music that enhances, but doesn’t distract from, the experience of writing.
Tip 7 Anticipate your needs before you start blogging.
Work in an area that’s yours alone. Anticipate what you will need while blogging and have it there before you sit at your screen. You just don’t have time to get up and start walking around looking for items you might need. Plus, it will break your focus. You don’t necessarily have to use the items. Just anticipate you might want to use them and have them there before you start.
I’ll tell you what’s in front of me right now if you don’t judge me badly.
- Coffee–I might get sleepy without it.
- Water–I might get thirsty.
- A snack–I might get hungry.
- Gum–I may feel like eating but not be hungry.
- Tissues–I might sneeze.
- Hand Lotion–Hey, it’s winter, my hands are dry.
- Screen Cleaner–My screen may get dirty.
- Reading glasses–I’m wearing them, so they’re not technically in front of me.
- Scratch paper and post it notes–I may get an idea I want to jot down.
- Red pens and black pens to write on the paper
- My notes for this post
If you have an area you can call your own when you blog, no one can complain you’re cluttering up their area.
Tip 8– Take Echinacea (See non-bloggers, I’m back.)
Look at me, suggesting what you should put in your bodies. This is a first. I am a teacher. I am exposed to germs hourly. Usually the classroom door is closed to keep in the air conditioning. I am trapped in with germs every hour of my workday. I take Echinacea daily to boost my immune system. I use to get sick all the time until I started. It’s herbal and sold over the counter.
You can’t blog effectively if you’re sick. Of course, the downtime in bed would give you more blogging time, but it would be hard to blog effectively with cold symptoms or if your head is pounding.
Tip 9 Read other people’s blogging tips. (Thank you for reading mine today.)
Don’t reinvent the wheel. There’s so many tips that will improve, as well as expedite, your blogging. In addition to all the tips that currently exist elsewhere, I have found Pinterest a pretty good source.
Tip 10 Get regimented
Have a schedule to ensure everything gets done. I am a full-time history teacher, and my class is in charge of making a 100-page color yearbook. Here is an example of my blogging regimen. I am at my laptop at 6:30 am promoting the previous day’s blog post. I get home from work at 5:15 and walk my dog. At 5:30 I write my blog which takes until dinner. At 9:30, I take my dog out. While waiting for her to come in, I respond to commenters. Find a schedule that works for you.
Tip 11 Socialize
Is it contradictory to tell you to get out of the house when I’m trying to save you time, and I’ve already suggested not driving your car? No. By socializing you’re accomplishing several things, for example, relaxation. A relaxed blogger can let creative juices flow. Next, you might get ideas for blog posts which will save you time thinking of them. Observing and listening will accomplish that.
Case in point: A group of my friends wanted to take a yoga class. I’d never taken a yoga class nor had I ever had any interest in it. However, I heard it was relaxing, good for me, and I’d get to see my friends (multi-task, remember?), so I went. The result–not only did I accomplish all those things, but I got the idea for my blog post Quick Guide: Genetics since I wrote a human-interest story about the instructor.
When you socialize, meet at a place convenient for you. If you can’t, meet in a place that’s convenient for both of you. You don’t have time to travel long distances that can be avoided.
Tip 12 Do what you can the night before.
Check the weather, get your clothes out, make sure you know where your car keys are, and make your lunch. Really, make your lunch. You don’t have time to eat out.
Tip 13 Don’t buy pencils that need sharpening.
I would tell you to sharpen makeup pencils–eyeliner, lip liner, and concealer stick–but you don’t have time to sharpen them. You could be promoting your blog instead!
Tip 14 Wear pockets.
If you write blogging ideas when you think of them, stick them in your pocket. You’ll see them at the end of the day when you take the contents of your pockets out. You can also bring your phone with you easier if you have a pocket (see next tip). I also leave notes on chairs I know I will sit on and keyboards I know I will use. I have also put post-it notes on the mirror.
Tip 15 Don’t be too proud to ask for help.
Supportive people are happy to support you by doing what you need.
Tip 16 Don’t be too proud to pay for help.
Blogging is a hobby if you’re not getting income from it, and hobbies cost money. Golf is an example of a very expensive hobby I hear.
Tip 17 Bring your smartphone with you everywhere.
I really mean it, everywhere. I always bring my phone into the bathroom with me. Yes,we are talking about the bathroom now. I am blessed (I really mean it!) to have readers from all over the world. I don’t care what you call it–the potty, the john (is that inappropriate?), the loo, the bathroom–bring your phone with you. You don’t have time to just sit there waiting for nature to call. I get many of the best ideas sitting there. No pen or paper? Smartphones have voice recording capacities. If you have to drive and get an idea for a blog post, record your voice.
Some of these ideas will save you seconds of time. (Sharpening a pencil, really?) However, if you add up all the seconds that some of these ideas could save you, you’d be saving a chunk of time every day.
Readers, do you have any other time-saving tips that work for you? Have you tried any of these tips and care to share feedback? I look forward to your views.