I am excited to share with you my first guest poster on Women Winning Online! Emily McGee of The Adaptable Career is sharing with us 15 lessons she learned about time management her first year blogging. I know time management is something that is a battle for us all, me included. I am grateful that Emily is here to share what she has learned and how her experience can help us manage our time more effectively!
I’ve been blogging for just over a year now, and it’s taken me almost that long to get a handle on my schedule and to do list. If you’re new to blogging or struggling with time management, you can learn from my mistakes! Here are 15 time management lessons I learned in my first year of blogging.
1. Done is better than perfect.
I’m a perfectionist, and I used to wear that title with pride. But it recently dawned on me that my perfectionism is just a form of procrastination. I could spend days perfecting one blog post, or I could spend 2 hours on a post. With a new baby and an international move on the horizon, I’m focusing on “good enough,” and not “perfect.” It’s the only way I’ll get all my blogging work done!
Takeaway: Your audience doesn’t expect you to be perfect, so focus on getting things done and not making them perfect.
2. There’s never a “right” time to do anything.
My mom once said to me, “There’s never a right time to have a baby.” Yes, she wanted to be a grandma, but she also had a point. There is never going to be a perfect time to have a baby, or launch a blog, or create your first e-course. In fact, the perfect time is probably now, so stop waiting and get moving!
Takeaway: Take the plunge on your big blog project. If you wait for the perfect time, you’ll be waiting forever.
3. Keep your goal front and center.
One of the best and worst parts about blogging is that there are a million different things you could do. I’m constantly battling FOMO and shiny object syndrome, especially when I hear about a new tactic that worked for some other blogger. In 2016, I didn’t have a clear goal for myself, but this year I’ve written my goal down and hung it on the bulletin board over my desk. Now that I see my goal daily, it’s much easier to stay focused on the daily tasks that will help me get there.
Takeaway: Get clear on your big goal, then write down your goal on a notecard and hang it over your desk.
4. Say no as often as possible.
There will always be tons of “opportunities,” for guest posting, for promoting in FB group promo threads, for collaborations, and for taking new courses, but my time is limited. Last year, I said yes to a lot of projects that didn’t lead anywhere. This year, I’m saying no to everything that doesn’t directly help me reach my goal.
Takeaway: You’ve only got 24 hours in a day, so learn to prioritize and protect your time by saying “no.”
5. There are no shortcuts.
I often tried to save time or be more productive by following other blogger’s advice. Guess what? Nothing magical happened. Lots of people promise amazing results or a fast track to blogging success. But the reality is that even with the right strategies and tools, it still just takes good old fashioned hard work to reach your goals.
Takeaway: Stop looking for shortcuts and do the work that will get results.
6. Energy management is the secret to great productivity.
I got pregnant the same week I started my blog. Between the morning sickness and the exhaustion of pregnancy, I learned pretty quickly that I only had a few hours of productive work time each day. By doing the hardest work during those high energy times, I was able to get so much more done then when I tried to push through my exhaustion.
Takeaway: Figure out when you have the most energy and make it a priority to work on your blog during those times.
7. Be realistic about how much time you have for your blog/biz.
I’m pretty ruthless about tracking my time, and it’s been really helpful for me to see that I only worked about 10 hours a week last year on my blog. Knowing how much time I really had for my blog has helped me come up with realistic goals for each week, month, and year.
Takeaway: Don’t compare yourself or your accomplishments with bloggers who are doing this full-time. Your goal has to match how much time you have available.
8. Get used to feeling like you never have enough time.
In other jobs this would stress me out, but when you have your own business, it’s a reality. On the plus side, I’m really motivated and I’m never bored!
Takeaway: It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, but see if you can turn that into a positive thing, like motivation to get even more done with your blog.
9. Busy is not the same as productive.
I’m very good at staying busy. I’ll pin, and work on my editorial calendar, and schedule tweets and fill my day with all sorts of blog-related tasks. But one of the biggest lessons I learned in my first year of blogging is that not all of these tasks are created equal. This year I’m trying to be less busy and more productive. I’m focusing my energy and my limited work time on the tasks that will actually help me earn money from my blog: things like creating a course, creating new lead magnets to grow my email list, and writing and revising my sales funnel.
Takeaway: Make sure that every single thing you work on is getting you closer to your goal.
10. It’s okay to take a nap.
I was pregnant for most of 2016, and then had my baby in October. My word of the year: tired. I was tired all the time. I tried pushing through the tired, but that just made me cranky. Plus, blogging felt so much harder when I was doing it tired. Eventually I just gave into napping in the afternoons. And you know what? I got the same amount of work done. I pushed myself harder in the mornings, when I had the energy and knew that I finished my task list I’d be rewarded with a nap. Then I’d take a nap with my toddler. We would both wake up refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the day. From my time management research, I also learned that naps can make you more productive, so now I nap guilt-free!
Takeaway: Even if naps aren’t your thing, remember that taking a break is good for you. Don’t push through fatigue, the quality of your work will suffer.
11. Limit input to maximize output.
I’ve noticed that I get more done when I have less stimulus coming in. With this in mind, I try to limit my non-work screen time. I don’t watch T.V. or movies (we don’t even own a T.V.). I use social media to network and promote my business, but rarely for personal reasons. When I was creating content for my course, I didn’t even read, which is normally my favorite hobby. Limiting these distractions freed my mind and increased my creativity and productivity.
Takeaway: What distractions or mental clutter can you eliminate from your life?
12. Momentum matters most.
Momentum is an important but often overlooked aspect of time management. For me, nothing can ruin the day faster than feeling like I got nothing done. I found that I could build momentum by keeping a realistic schedule and to do list. The more successful I felt at getting things done, the more motivated I was to keep working on my blog.
Takeaway: Don’t overschedule yourself. Write an achievable goal, make a plan you can stick to. Creating positive habits and experiences around your blog will motivate you to continue.
13. There’s a balance between planning enough and overplanning.
I’m an overplanner. I love using my paper planner and could spend hours creating the perfect schedule for myself. With blogging, there is always more planning I could do, too. I could plan my editorial calendar! I could plan my newsletter content! I could plan my guest post pitches! Seriously, I could spend all my time planning, and none of my time doing. In 2017, I’ve resolved to spend a little less time planning so I have more time to actually put those plans into action.
Takeaway: Make sure you’re not procrastinating by overplanning.
14. Carbs are not your friend.
Don’t worry, I’m not pushing some strange diet. But this summer I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and put on a regimented diet that included a lot more fat and protein and much fewer carbs than I was used to. And even though I was in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy, I had so much more energy than normal. Since having the baby I’ve stuck with higher protein meals and snacks and I continue to have a lot more energy throughout the day.
Takeaway: If you’re trying to be more productive make sure your lifestyle choices are supporting you.
15. Sometimes you gotta hustle, and sometimes you gotta coast.
Have I whined enough about that pregnancy yet? 😉 During the first trimester of my pregnancy, I was completely exhausted and overwhelmed by morning sickness. I did the bare minimum to keep my blog alive and tried to take good care of myself. It was my time for coasting, not for growing my blog.
On the other hand, when I was getting ready to launch my course I usually woke up at 4 or 5 am to take care of chores and household stuff so that I could devote the whole morning (aka preschool hours) to working on the course. I stopped reading and exercising and turned down social invitations so that I could use every spare moment to prep for the launch. Did I sustain this hustle indefinitely? Heck no! That’s the benefit of running your own business. You can have periods of intense work and periods when you back off a little.
Takeaway: Hard work and showing up every day are important, but it’s also important to be realistic about what season of life you’re in. Don’t feel bad if you’re not able to hustle as hard as the next person, taking care of your own physical and mental health should come first.
What a great post filled with golden nuggets of information! Thank you Emily for this excellent post!
To recap, Emily shared with us these 15 tips and takeaways about blogging and time management:
- Done is better than perfect
- There’s never a “right” time to do anything
- Keep your goal front and center
- Say no as often as possible
- There are no shortcuts
- Energy management is the secret to great productivity
- Be realistic about how much time you have for your blog/biz
- Get used to feeling like you never have enough time
- Busy is not the same as productive
- It’s okay to take a nap
- Limit input to maximize output
- Momentum matters most
- There’s a balance between planning enough and overplanning
- Carbs are not your friend
- Sometimes you gotta hustle, and sometimes you gotta coast
What was your favorite tip from Emily or do you have something you would like to add? Please share it with us in the comments below!
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Emily McGee is the founder of My Adaptable Career, where she helps busy bloggers and solopreneurs manage their time better so they can reach their goals faster. If you ever think to yourself “If only I had more time, I’d get so much more done!” then sign up for Master Time Management, her free 5-day email course for bloggers and solopreneurs.