Time is a limited resource, but we still have 24 hours in a day. You have a job that takes some 9 hours. You probably sleep 7 hours. It leaves you with 8 hours a day for housework, friends and family, and hobbies.
That is plenty of time. Being busy is just an excuse. It’s all a matter of evaluating your priorities. You have to learn to control those hours better. These tips, tools and principles will help you remove distractions and become a productive blogger.
Remove the noise, pause the input
There is too much noise online. It’s a skill to be able to shut out the distractions and choose what, when and how to consume information. To filter the noise from the signal.
Our brains are hard-wired for social media. We’re curious about the new and unexpected. We constantly refresh news feeds, review notifications and mindlessly click on links. This makes us restless and easily bored. We’re easily interrupted and distracted. It reduces our capacity to absorb and retain information. Information gathering becomes a shallow distraction and a waste of time.
Pause the input. Be more purposeful about your habits online. Let go of that curiosity need. Don’t feed it all the time. Don’t do FOMO. Curate your sources better. Limit the time you spend following political scandals, breaking news, celebrity gossip, sports. Time spent TV-watching and game-playing. Block websites that waste your time.
Cancel meetings. Turn on the airplane mode. Don’t let others force their goals onto your schedule. Gain back the hours these suck from your life. Be a producer, not a consumer.
Stop planning and take action
Planning is essential, but only to a point. Many spend too much time thinking, instead of taking action. The more time you devote to planning, the more fears and doubts you start having. Don’t fall into this analysis paralysis. “Just do it” usually works.
Taking action produces the appetite for more action. Focus on the output. Turn ideas into reality. Set up your working routine with tight but realistic deadlines. Limited time makes you more focused and productive. Without constraints, tasks may end up expanding to fill the unlimited time available for their completion.
Break the unreasonable big goals into smaller and more manageable tasks. Have a brief and prioritized to-do list every day. Set reminders. Stop trying to multi-task and get into the habit of ticking items off that list. Send that email. Reach out to that person. Finish recording that video. Publish that article.
You show up every day. You dedicate your every blogging moment to creating the best work that you can. You have the discipline to always keep going at it, work consistently, never lose the focus and never give up on your dreams.
You don’t need anyone else to push you to do this. The motivation, desire, and work ethic come from within yourself. To become great at something you need to have the fire within you. The internal drive and determination. It helps you show initiative, drives you to do more, keeps you committed to putting in the effort and the hours needed to succeed.
The 80/20 principle
Knowing the best uses of your time is much more valuable than trying harder, working longer or complaining about not having time. Work smart, not hard. Everything else can be delegated and automated.
Excellent prioritization skills are critical for a blogger. You need to distinguish between what needs to be done and what doesn’t. You need to know the difference between make work and real work.
Do things that are worth doing and let go off things that are not. 80% of your best blogging will come from 20% of the things you do. This is the Pareto principle.
Figure out which of your chores are those 20% tasks that have the highest impact on your goals. Then spend most of your time doing those meaningful activities. Stop wasting time on unproductive tasks that are irrelevant to your success. Use the Pomodoro technique to block off your time and do intense sprints of uninterrupted work.
Don’t be led by perfectionism and other fears
People have a phobia of the “publish” button. There’s always something to add, change, polish, more research to do. It never stops, and you drag the process on and on.
Fear leads a lot of people. Fear of being ridiculed. Fear that you’re not good enough. Fear of what others might say. Having no readers. Lacking talent. That others have a better way of doing things. All the uncertainty is unsettling. You should accept and learn to live with things that are beyond your control.
Overcome your fears. Don’t wait for a masterpiece. Be positive. Free yourself to just write, write, write. Write fast, constantly, anywhere at anytime. Don’t allow your mind to have the opportunity to wander. Let your thoughts flow. Get the ideas down quickly. Don’t worry about spelling and grammar errors. Spit first, shine later.
Ultimately, you have to ask your own questions, try out things and find the best way for yourself. Close your eyes and click “publish”. Your content is now online for the world to see. You’ll realize how silly it was to have any fears and how you should have published a long time ago. Your first post may suck, but you will become better.
The best way to get better is to practice. Find your sweet spot and start publishing content. By practicing in public, you get feedback, and that improves your work. Measure, learn and improve as you go along. Write something, get feedback, write something more, get more feedback and round and round it goes.
Optimize your health for maximum energy
Your passion is what drives you. You do your work out of love. If you love what you do, you won’t be able to fall asleep because you would want to do more of it. You’ll wake up very early and energetic to get out of the bed to do even more.
But it’s important to take care of your body too. Your health has to be your priority. Help your mind be focused, and your body have the energy to go through all the tasks in your list.
Eat real food. The right diet gives you physical stamina, patience, focus, and a positive attitude. Don’t skip meals. Make sure you are hydrated throughout the day. Always have water next to you no matter where you are and what you are doing.
Take frequent micro-breaks to rest your eyes and mind. Stretch and move your body regularly. Do some push-ups and sit-ups. Exercise harder. Sleep longer. A good night of sleep helps you recover from the long day, improves your body and gives you energy for another important day.
Disconnect from your day-to-day sometimes
Following the principles in this post, you will work more productive when you’re in the zone. But you cannot be in the zone all the time. Disconnect from your day-to-day activities frequently. Get away from the computer and the smart phone screen. Do something else. Read books and magazines. Listen to the people you are speaking to. Relax. Recharge.
Be curious and open-minded about the world around you. It’s full of inspiration. It’s in those “not so busy” moments that you have time to think, reflect and that inspire your new adventures. Take the best ideas from these different experiences and apply them to your work. Don’t accept that there’s only one way of doing things. Learn and improve continuously.
Cherish and respect your time. Then get back to work. Living an interesting life improves your energy levels, gives you clarity and reduce your stress. Both your mind and body will appreciate it. It will put you in control of your life, work and dreams. You’ll be fresh and focused for work. It will improve your productivity and will win you quality time. Suddenly there will be enough time in a day for you to achieve your goals.