Not all bloggers have the luxury of blogging full time. Many (if not most) of us maintain our blog alongside our job or studies. We don't always have much time to blog, so when we do, we want to make sure that we're as productive as possible.
So how can we do this? Here are my top tips to make the most of your limited time and be a more efficient, productive blogger.
1. Know when you're most productive
When are you naturally at your peak? For most people this is at some point during the day, but for me it's either late at night or early in the morning. I find that being a little bit tired actually helps me to write better, I suppose because my inhibitions are lowered and I don't edit myself as much as I go along. It's always better to get the words out of your head and down onto the page; you can sort them into some kind of logical order later [case in point: now I'm editing this, I keep rearranging the order of these tips to make them 'flow' together a bit more naturally. This one was originally tip #3]. Experiment with writing at different times of the day to find out when you're most motivated and produce your best work.
2. Set aside time to blog
Once you've found out when you're at your most productive, you can then plan your blogging time around that. Yeah, it's a shame if you realise you write best at around midday and you're at work at that time so can't work on your blog, but just do what you can, when you can. Write the majority of your content on your days off and then on the days you're working you can do stuff like editing, scheduling social media content and replying to comments when you get home. I make sure I do something related to my blog every day, even if it's just creating a new pin or updating an old blog post. Obviously some days I have more time than others to dedicate to my blog, but working on it consistently gets you into a habit and you're more likely to stick with it in the long run. If you have a blogging schedule (which I still don't) this is helpful because it motivates you to get posts finished and up on time.
3. Have a designated blogging area
This could be a desk, the kitchen table, your bed, the local library or your favourite coffee shop. Have somewhere you can go to work on your blog and not be distracted by anything else. Minimising distractions is a must, although you could have something on in the background if it helps you to concentrate. I personally work better in silence - if the TV is on I'll just watch that instead of focusing on my work and if I have music playing I'll end up singing instead of writing, which is fun but not exactly productive.
Getting out of the house and to somewhere like the library often helps me focus on my writing - when I'm at home I always find things to do that keep me from my work. I have to make sure any housework is done before I sit down to write, otherwise those dirty dishes in the sink/pile of laundry to fold will be in the back of my mind the whole time and I won't be able to concentrate until they're done. I don't seem to have a very long attention span and while writing this post I've already stopped to make a cup of tea, create the Pinterest graphic, read someone else's blog post, text my husband and so far I've found myself on Twitter no fewer than four times. Which brings me to my next point...
4. (Try to) resist social media
This is definitely hard when you're a blogger. Staying visible and active on social media is important but you can't be on there all the time (says the person who often catches herself scrolling Twitter without even realising). If you want to make the most of your blogging time, you need to keep away from it while you work. This can be especially difficult if you've got to be online - maybe you have to do some research or check some facts for your blog post. Just try to resist checking your notifications for a few hours...but please don't ask me how (if you have any tips, let me know in the comments section).
5. Plan and outline blog posts in advance
Whenever a blog post idea pops into your head, write it down in a notebook or the notes on your phone. It might also help to keep a pen and paper by your bed to scribble down any ideas that spring into your mind just as you're about to fall asleep (trust me, this happens a lot). This will save you from forgetting your brilliant ideas by the time you wake up/get home, and when you finally get a chance to sit down at the laptop you'll have a list of topics to choose from and you won't waste time just sitting there trying to think of something to write about. Making an outline is also helpful, so the post is already planned out by the time you come to blog and all you have to do is write it, add pictures (if you haven't already) and then leave it for a few hours or days before re-reading, editing and publishing.
6. Take regular breaks
You might love your blog so much that you want to work on it every spare minute you get, but you won't be productive if you end up burning yourself out. Making sure you take breaks every so often will help you stay motivated and ultimately produce better content. Go for a walk, spend time with your family or just enjoy a cup of coffee before getting back to it. You have breaks at work so why wouldn't you do the same when working on your blog?
7. Be passionate
If you want to be a productive blogger, it's so important to be passionate about your blog and the things you're writing about. You won't be motivated to work on your blog if you're just going through the motions and producing content you don't care about. And it will show: your readers will be able to tell and will get bored. When someone is truly passionate about the subject they're sharing, even if they're not the best writer you can feel that enthusiasm shine through in their words and it's a joy to read. Think about what excites you, whether it's make-up, food, running, whatever. Then figure out how you can provide value to your audience by writing about it.
I hope this post has given you a few ideas on how to be more productive as a blogger. However, I think that's enough productivity for me today so I'm off for another tea and Twitter break!
How productive are you when it comes to your blog? What do you do to be more productive on days when you don't really feel it?
Related: How to Manage Your Blogging Time Effectively