Many people are drawn to blogging because it’s a great way to make money from home while sharing your gifts with the world. But the trouble with blogging is that it requires time. And time is something that many of us have in short supply. Especially when you are receiving a guaranteed hourly wage or regular paycheck for your work.
Whether it’s meal prep, kids, household responsibilities, your health, your job, your spouse, or any combination of those things, there’s a lot demanding your time and attention. If you want to stay on top of it all, it’ll take a little bit of time and a few systems to keep you moving forward.
This is some of my best advice for how to blog when your time is limited. If you’re feeling time-crunched all the time, give each of these recommendations a shot and see what gives you the most mileage.
Just like anything else that’s important, you have to make time for blogging if you want it to turn into a source of income. If you treat blogging like it’s a hobby — something that gets done in your free time — you’ll have a hard time getting off the ground.
If you’re serious about blogging, you need to make serious time for it. Take stock of how you’re spending your “off” hours. Are you doing dishes and laundry? Are you hitting up happy hour before heading home? Are you zoning out in front of the TV watching shows you don’t even care about? Get off the committees that aren’t related to your heart-causes, and stop agreeing to events and commitments that you don’t want to do. In other words, find your time-related bottlenecks and then work to eliminate them.
Clearing your schedule of unworthy time-sucks will help give you time for blogging. But even if you don’t have much fat to trim, there’s still a good amount of blogging you can get done. You don’t need hours and hours every day dedicate to blogging (although that would be nice!). Instead, choose to make it a priority and find ways to shoehorn blogging tasks into your everyday life.
Your blogging won’t get done if you just plan to wing it every day. It doesn’t take much time to make a good plan, and it will save you a ton of time to have one. The single-best tool you can have on hand for this is a notebook that you can carry with you at all times. Use this notebook for planning, brainstorming, outlining, note-taking, and your to-do lists, and keep it on you at all times so you can be productive even when you have an unexpected pocket of time crop up. You can also use a cloud-based app like Evernote.
I also plan ahead when it comes to writing. If a great idea comes to mind, I open a document and jot down the topic along with the direction of the post I’m considering. If I have a few moments, I might also make a quick outline and grab a few supporting links or web pages to use for later research when I’m ready to write. This saves me so much time. And I no longer find myself staring blankly at my screen wondering, “what was I going to say?”
Pick one day to be your planning day. (I do this on Sundays.) Take stock of where you are and what you want to accomplish in the upcoming week. Make a list of the 5 most important things you need to get done, and then set your to-do list. Make sure these are 5 things you can reasonably expect to get done in a week, and write them down. It’s also a good idea to lay out your top-three-must-do items for Monday.
Then, when you’re packing up for the end of the day, pause for a moment and write down the top three things you need to get done tomorrow. These should be in support of your 5 goals for the week. It’s amazing how productive you can be when you know exactly what you should be working on!
You should also be aware of “time gaps” you might have in your day, big or small. If you have an hour-long lunch break, spend that time outlining new content or sourcing new images. If you’re stuck in traffic, use a digital recorder or even the voice recording app on your phone and dictate a new blog post. You can transcribe your dictation later, and then clean it up and send it on its way. When you’re waiting in line, brainstorm new ideas for posts or jump on your smartphone and respond to a few comments.
Batch Similar Tasks
When you don’t have the luxury of large chunks of time to do all your blogging tasks, work more efficiently by batching. Instead of doing one post from the idea stage all the way to publishing — with images, affiliate links, and social media promotion all rolled in — tackle multiple posts at a time.
Source images for several blog posts during one time chunk; create pins for several posts during another chunk; respond to all your reader emails during one hour you’ve set aside just for that task.
By batching, you’re getting into a groove and staying in it, rather than stopping and starting over and over again. You can stay in motion more easily, and therefore get more done. You’re also eliminating all the “shiny objects” and things that would otherwise distract you. (Just remember to jot down whatever you need to remember to do later!)
Offload Whatever You Can
There are a ton of useful apps and platforms that support your blogging, and many of these platforms can be automated. There are plugins like Tweetily that will auto-tweet your old content; platforms like Buffer to source and schedule social media content quickly; Tailwind to handle your pins; email services like ConvertKit to send out series of automated emails; canned responses in Gmail that cut down on your email time; and countless others.
It’s also easier to outsource these days than some bloggers realize. You can get really nicely done Pinnable images on Fiverr for not very much money, saving you potentially hours of time. There are freelancers who are available on sites like Time Etc and Upwork who can take care of some of the drudgery for you (like uploading your content into WordPress and formatting it) at surprisingly affordable prices.
There’s also the idea of outsourcing your non-blogging work to make time for blogging. Meal delivery services, online grocery ordering, and housekeepers are some of the obvious choices, but you can find a service provider for just about anything you need done. Think about what you can offload, and make it happen! Your blog will thank you.
Get Passive Traffic
One reason so many new bloggers feel so stressed is that they are only seeing results when they are active. If you aren’t posting and promoting, no one is stopping by your blog.
The earlier you can learn passive means of getting traffic the better. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, can have traffic coming to your blog day and night and to old posts and new posts alike. Your blog posts can live forever.
I use KWfinder for keyword research. Two of my favorite places to learn SEO as a new blogger are Kelly Holmes’ Sticky SEO and Elite Blog Academy. Both only up one or two times per year, so get on the waitlists now.
Social media can also be a great way to get passive traffic so long as you aren’t spending more time there than you actually are on your blog. Schedule your updates and forget it.
You should also make sure that getting your visitors’ email addresses is a top priority from day one. These people could be with you for years to come if you are doing things right. They can also bring along their friends. Set up a newsletter service with Mailchimp or AWeber and start sending your new blog posts out to those on your list.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of how to be productive at blogging when you don’t have much time, but if you can master the basics of prioritizing, planning, batching, and offloading, you’ll be miles ahead of where you are now.
What are your biggest challenges when it comes to finding time to blog? Sound off in the comments and we’ll do some brainstorming together!