Have you ever felt like you were fighting a losing battle against time?
Wanting desperately to make meaningful progress with your blog’s growth – only to constantly run out of time?
No problem. I’ve got your back.
In this post, I’m going to share some harsh truths that you need to hear and some important lessons that will allow you to make the most of your time.
Lesson 1 – Time is your friend (not your enemy)
If you always think you don’t have enough time – you will never have enough time.
Because thoughts become things. Not physical things of course but how we think about something can impact how we feel about it.
And this is extremely true about time.
Here’s the deal:
Time is a constant. It’s not bad or good. It is what it is – an immutable force.
And if you stop trying to fight a losing battle against time, you will be far more productive.
So what’s the solution?
Stop saying “I don’t have enough time” or “I’m too busy” – accept time for what it is.
This might sound a bit ‘out there’ but it works.
Once upon a time I was running around like a lunatic constantly uttering the words ‘I don’t have enough time’ – usually being preceded or followed by ‘aaaaah!!’
Ultimately my productivity declined and my stress levels went through the roof. I was always fretting because I couldn’t accept my time-based limitations.
Something had to give so I took a step back and reframed how I thought (and spoke) about time.
Eventually, my stress levels decreased and my productivity levels increased. I was calmer and less resistant. As a result, I started to see my business making progress quicker.
Once you stop framing time as some sort of problem in your mind – you’ll feel calmer, less resistant and progress will come more naturally.
Lesson 2 – Set realistic expectations
Time is finite. And while I’m going to share some strategies for making the most of your time, it’s important that you set realistic expectations.
Unless you’re Dr Strange, chances are that you won’t be able to warp space-time through sheer force of will.
You can only achieve so much. So, try to give yourself some breathing room when you set goals.
Building a blog and making it successful takes time. And, I know, it’s easy to see crazy impressive income reports and think “well, surely I can do that?” Then get discouraged when progress is slow.
But the reality is that these people have been grafting for years to grow their blog. Some of them have published thousands of blog posts, videos and other types of content.
And, sure, there are others that may show fairly quick progress but they often forget to mention their 10+ years marketing experience.
So pace yourself. Give yourself enough time to grow your blog and you’ll be more likely to retain that motivation.
And as a result, you’ll be more likely to succeed. Most people don’t succeed because they quit too soon.
Lesson 3 – Get clear on your end goal
Before you can craft your blogging strategy, you need to know where you’re heading.
You need a clear end goal in mind. Something to strive for.
I won’t talk too much about goal setting here – we’ve got an entire article on that but it’s important to figure out as soon as you can.
A lot of bloggers tend to aim for a monthly dollar amount which works well because it’s specific and measurable.
This amount can be as high as you want, but remember what I said earlier – be realistic with your expectations. The important part is to have something specific to strive for.
If the goal is too loose and open ended, you’ll never reach it because you’ll never be 100% certain what you’re aiming for.
If your goal is to earn money from your blog, just fill in a monthly dollar figure. Even if you reassess your goal in the future, it’s critical to have one regardless.
Lesson 4 – Map out the most efficient way to reach your goal
Once you have your ultimate goal in mind, you need to plan a strategy that will allow you to attain that goal in the most efficient way possible.
Some growth strategies will enable you to get there quicker.
For example, monetizing a blog with AdSense is probably going to be pretty slow if you compare that to a blog monetizing with courses + affiliate links. Especially because you can recruit affiliates to sell courses for you (cha ching!)
You should also consider the effectiveness of traffic strategies in relation to your monetization strategies.
And, SEO will be a great traffic driver for affiliate offers but this type of traffic will be less likely to click on ads.
So, be sure to consider this when planning your strategy.
On a related note, I discuss this concept in a bit more detail in my article on Why Most Blogging Advice Fails (And What To Do Instead).
Lesson 5 – Give yourself less time to complete tasks
This ties in with what I mentioned earlier.
While you do need to be realistic with your expectations, you also need to avoid giving yourself so much time that you lose a sense of urgency.
Work expands to fill the time we give it. Give it less time and you’ll get your work done quicker.
Lesson 6 – Use time-batching to make more progress in less time
I know some bloggers that spend an hour or two on their blog every so often.
There’s nothing wrong with that. You’ve got to go with what works for you.
Personally, I find that I make more progress if I block out 4-8 hours at a time for working on my blog.
If I’m spending 30-60 minutes every few days, it takes me too long to get into what I’m doing (unless it’s something easy like social media management, etc.)
Note: be sure to take a break every 30 minutes.
Lesson 7 – Sort out your work environment
Have you ever noticed that your stress levels increase with the amount of clutter in your work environment?
Back in my marketing agency days, I thought I had to keep my foot to the floor (so to speak) and go flat out 100% of the time. Working as hard as I possibly could.
As a result, my work environment would become rather messy and disorganized – this led to diminishing returns in terms of productivity.
One day, my boss told me to take the morning off and get my work environment sorted. Organize paperwork. Clear up the millions of post-it notes on my desk, etc. etc.
At first I thought my boss was crazy. I already felt like I had way less time than I needed to complete my agenda for the day…
Here’s the crazy thing:
Despite taking the morning off, I got all my work done and more.
Lesson 8 – Don’t let tasks turn into gremlins
Several years ago, there was a blog post that I started writing. My plan for the post got out of control. I ‘scope creeped’ myself and I hit a creative roadblock.
The post became a bit of an issue for me and it turned into a bit of a gremlin article.
Looking back, it was completely irrational to see it as some sort of issue.
So, 18 months later, I went back to the post, rewrote it and finished it in an afternoon. And I wondered what the heck I was actually avoiding.
Here’s the lesson:
If you ever feel like you’re putting something off – tackle that task as soon as you can.
Lesson 9 – Jump off the hamster wheel of ‘endless planning’
As bloggers, it’s easy to get sucked into information overwhelm and get so distracted by all of the strategies that we could use, that we make very little progress.
The easiest way to tackle this problem is to create a simplified plan and just go for it.
Don’t second guess yourself. Avoid distractions and take action as soon as possible.
The more progress you make, the less overwhelmed you will feel.
Note: We’ve got an article dedicated to overcoming information overwhelm. Check it out if you want to learn more.
Lesson 10 – Maintain a healthy work-life balance
If you’ve spent much time looking on Instagram you’ll probably have come across those accounts that promote grinding and hustling over any sort of work balance.
Personally – I believe this approach can be unhealthy over the long-term.
Why? I’ve done the grind and hustle for far too long.
In the early days of Blogging Wizard, I was working as much as I possibly could.
I’d recently landed my dream job at a marketing agency and I was drunk on excitement.
In the week, I’d leave the house at 8am, open up the office for the team, deal with clients, etc. I’d usually get back by 7pm, cook myself garbage food because I was exhausted and then work on Blogging Wizard.
At the weekends, I’d split my time between Blogging Wizard and a video game blog I was running with some friends.
There was no work-life balance whatsoever.
I had one gear: Go. And I thought I was winning, right until the moment I wasn’t.
Take it from me: don’t neglect your health and personal life.
Lesson 11 – Outsource to scale faster
One of the best ways you can free up your time is to start outsourcing.
Sure, this is not something you can typically do when you’re just starting out.
But, as soon as you can justify it, outsourcing is a great way to save time and make quick progress.
You can outsource almost anything these days:
Content writingBlog managementBlog creationProofreadingGraphic designContent promotionSEO
And the list goes on.
Outsourcing was something that I found difficult in the early days. I liked doing things myself and I hated spending money.
But I wish I’d done it sooner. For example, I am terrible at graphic design. I used to spend almost an hour creating a featured image and Pinterest image for blog posts.
And they’d look terrible.
Spending so much time on something I disliked and wasn’t good at didn’t make much sense. Now, I outsource graphic design work to DesignPickle. I spend a few minutes writing out a brief – send it over in an email and get images sent back the next working day. Easy.
But you can outsource more than just the tasks you dislike.
For example, If you want to grow your blog into a digital publication, you’re going to need other writers to help you.
So, how do you outsource these tasks? You can go down the route of hiring an agency but you’ll get more for your money by hiring freelancers. Check out our post on freelancing job websites.
Wrapping it up
Building a profitable blog isn’t easy but it can be done with a smart approach, patience, and dedication.
Work your way through these lessons and use them to optimize your approach to time management.
These lessons have had a tremendous impact on me, and I’m sure they’ll do the same for you.