When I left my job and decided to start blogging full-time, I suddenly found that I had a lot of time on my hands. I had to quickly teach myself how to be more productive so that this blogging thing could actually be a solid source of income for our family.
It can be hard to manage your time when you’re an entrepreneur working from home. And especially when your work requires that you spend a lot of time on the computer. Distractions are everywhere so you have to practice good time management skills in order to be successful.
1. Have a designated space and time to do work.
You don’t necessarily have to have an official office. I work from our dining room table on my Macbook. There isn’t any extra space in our little house with 5 people, so the dining room does double duty as my office space. I have power nearby, good lighting, and a bookshelf behind the table serves as storage for all my office goodies.
Even though the space is in my living room, I designate time to sit and work. I don’t try to work and stream Netflix. Or do work and surf for recipes for dinner. I don’t have ‘work hours,’ but when I sit down to do work, that is the only thing I am doing.
2. Eliminate distractions.
This is probably the easiest and the hardest time management tip I can give you.
Put away your phone and turn off notifications on your computer.
Close all your open tabs and windows and put your phone in a drawer.
Don’t check Facebook or Pinterest just because you’re curious if your latest post is going viral. Only spend work time on social media when you are completing tasks for your website.
When you do go on social media for work, have a task list next to you so you can stay on track. And set a timer so you don’t spend an extra 30 minutes just reading through your feed.
Be assertive with people who interrupt you.
If you have to deal with someone who interrupts your time, don’t be afraid to let them know that you only have a couple of minutes to dedicate to their concern.
After a couple of minutes have passed, you can tell them that you need to get back to work and schedule a time to come back and deal with the issue further if needed.
Don’t let others drag you into their drama. If it’s not something that you have to deal with immediately, put it off for when you are not working.
3. Always have a plan for your day.
Using your larger goals as a guide, make sure you know what you need to do in your day. Is it writing a blog post? A guest post? Emailing your list?
Prioritize your tasks with the most important 2 or 3 and make sure that you finish those first before you tackle new projects.
Don’t set yourself up for failure.
Your daily to-do list should only include things that you can actually accomplish in one day.
Don’t try to squeeze in 3 days worth of task into one day. Eliminate all but the 3-5 most important tasks, and then if you finish those you can move to less urgent matters.
4. Prioritize Your Time
There are billions of people in the world, and billions of things that have to get done each day. But there’s only one you and you can’t do it all. So you have to prioritize what gets done and what gets moved to another day or delegated to people you work with.
Finish the most important things first!
If you’re prone to get distracted or pulled away from your work, then make sure you dive into the most important task for the day first. Force yourself to focus just long enough to get that one task done, and you’ll feel better about your day.
Get the hard stuff out of the way first.
What I mean by that is that you have to finish the things you don’t want to do first. Make yourself do this.
It’s easy to allow yourself to be distracted to avoid doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re not careful you could spend an entire day flipping around on Facebook.
Force yourself to finish whatever it is that you don’t want to do. And then give yourself a few minutes to indulge in whatever distraction was pulling you away.
Set a timer, satisfy that urge, then move on.
Don’t take on projects that do not get you closer to your goals.
When you get involved in blogging communities, you might be tempted to work on projects with other bloggers like giveaways, linkups, and affiliate opportunities.
Even if it seems like an amazing opportunity, you have to make sure that it fits in with your goals.
Don’t join in on giveaway offers that don’t fit in your niche. Hosting a blog hop might not be right for your readers and could steal your time away from other things you need to accomplish.
Make sure you choose to participate in opportunities that demonstrate a benefit to your blog or personal life.
You might also like: “10 Best Productivity Tips From Pro Bloggers“
5. Take care of yourself.
Don’t forget to let yourself rest.
Tagging along with not over-committing yourself, sometimes you have to force yourself to take a break. I tend to focus in so intently on a project that I will work on it for several hours straight.
Your body, as well as your mind, needs time where it has absolutely nothing it “must” focus on, and your family and loved ones are often great sources of inspiration.
This also means I can’t sacrifice my sleep in order to do work. Sometimes it is necessary to stay up late to make a deadline, but it shouldn’t become a daily habit to sacrifice sleep for work time.
Take care of yourself in other ways, too.
Make sure that you are eating healthy food and getting the exercise that you need. Being healthy improves your focus and keeps your energy levels high. Increased focus helps with productivity and saves you time in the long run.
Plus, taking a break and getting some exercise gives your mind a chance to be refreshed, and you can come back with a fresh outlook.
6. Realize that you don’t have to be perfect
It’s okay if you can’t ‘do it all.’
Over time it becomes easier to learn what you can accomplish on your own and what you need to hire out to a virtual assistant.
If you are a successful blogger you’ll eventually need to bring on some help to keep up with all the tasks you have to do. Figure out what it is that you just can’t make yourself do so you’re always late or forgetting and pay someone to get that done.
Don’t be afraid to pay someone to help you with your blog. A business has expenses and you have to be good at figuring out what is the best use of YOUR time.
You’re the boss. Where should you be working to increase the bottom line? Don’t waste time on the other stuff.
Start time blocking now.
If you haven’t heard of time blocking, it’s a great tool for managing your time to be more productive.
The idea is that in addition to setting yourself a list of tasks to carry out, you schedule out your time to specific tasks. So 8-10 is writing time, 10-11 is gym time, etc.
Working under a time crunch will also drive you to be more productive. If you know that you need to finish a blog post by noon and you don’t have any other time to work on it later, you’re bound to be more productive with your allotted time.
Schedule time for switch tasks.
Sometimes it will take a few minutes to switch gears when you transition from task to task so give yourself a few extra minutes to get your groove going.
7. Organize like a boss.
Keep all your important papers where you can find them. Put things away when you are done with them.
When your workspace is cluttered, your mind is cluttered.
Keep your work area neat so that you don’t have to fight with not knowing where things are. But don’t overcomplicate your organization system.
Invest in simple solutions and watch how it transforms the way you manage your time.
Use an editorial calendar to plan your posts.
An editorial calendar helps you keep track of which posts should go out when so you’re not scrambling to have an article written on time.
You can use your editorial calendar to plan out posts for specific dates, reminders to update and share seasonal posts, and to plan out your keywords.
Keeping an editorial calendar helps you remember to complete posts on certain topics or keywords, and it relieves your fear of forgetting to write them.
Hang a calendar in your office.
Or wherever you work and will see it every day. You don’t have to keep your to-do list on this calendar, this is just a visual reminder of things that you have to do for the week or month.
The bigger the better. Having the calendar to remind you of where you are in your month will help keep you on track. Consider hanging chalkboard paper on your wall for jotting down ideas!
8. Reevaluate your time management practices as you get better.
As you go along you’ll find that you are better at some of these things than others. Always be evaluating your techniques and using your strengths to your advantage. Ditch any ideas that aren’t working for you.
You are the only person that can hold you accountable for this business.
So you have to find the ways that work for you and just keep doing those things. Modify and adapt as you need to so that all of these tips fit in with how you work best.
Related reading: 10 Best Productivity Tips From Pro Bloggers
What’s your best tip for managing your time to be more productive?
Leave me a comment below!