Starting a blog is hard work, but maintaining is even harder. Curating posts and graphics on time while following up on your web development and SEO knowledge can be stressful. Keep your workflow and mental health in check with these productivity tips.
Fair warning, some of these tips work better for some people and situations than others. Be sure to find what strategies work for you.
Write down your goals
Working on something is difficult if you don’t envision the end result. For the visual enthusiasts out there, create a board or a space to place your goals for motivation. Clarifying or describing your goals is another great step forward. This tip can take an hour or a minute for someone to finish, but it will focus your work on accomplishing one thing at a time which can save time in the long run.
Make a list of priorities, not tasks
Many people make the mistake of mapping out a mile-long, absolutely terrifying To Do list. While this is a great tactic for calming anxiety or brainstorming, it can be overwhelming if you have a timeline to meet. I, myself, am a To Do list addict. In the past, I would wake up and make a list of things to finish by the end of the day. I didn’t know, though, that I wasn’t asking the most important question in productivity.
Tasks become priorities when you have a deadline. By listing projects and errands with this factor, it forces you to pay attention to items that need to get done, and it fights the urge to procrastinate on intimidating tasks. So, make a list of tasks, and reorder them. Cut out the unimportant ones if the list is so long that it makes you anxious, and focus on what is the most important and can make the most impact.
Become a [temporary] hermit
I’m not asking you to leave your friends and family to jump of the grid to eventually become a survivalist in the middle of the wilderness. BUT, by being distraction free, you’re giving your brain space needed to work properly without having to process unnecessary information.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat and other social media can present social situations that will divide your attention. Put your phone on airplane mode and logout of social media. I don’t know about you, but conversations make me nervous anyway.
Next, this will sound weird, but bare with me. Don’t listen to any music with words in them.
“But Lindsey, I really like listening to Bruno Mars! Plus, silence is more distracting that a low volume sound.”
Alright, I enjoy some Bruno from time to time as well. Also, when I’m alone in my apartment I always hear weird, subtle things that make me panic that it’s haunted, but listening to music with human voices will actually distract a person more than just listening to a quiet ambient sound. Think of it this way, instead of just interpreting the music within a song your brain is also interpreting speech. We can also be more prone to being attracted to focusing on human speech rather than other tasks at hand.
Make a schedule for your work
Block out time in a planner or with an online calendar to plan out when you’re going to work on certain tasks and priorities. I use the calendar app on my phone to visually see what I need to do and when. This is great for anyone who feels overwhelmed (even though a first it can be daunting).
Think of it this way, once you have the item written down don’t worry about it until it’s time to. You have a space dedicated to that thing, and by telling yourself that, you’re allowing yourself to focus on the other tasks needed to be done first.
This is also a great idea for planning around weekly tasks that seem to get lost to items that pop up in the moment. Stick to your plan, and even set time aside for dealing with emergency items if necessary.
Let yourself feel productive
Repeat after me, “I am not a robot.” Good. Ok. Don’t ever let anyone (including yourself) tell you otherwise.
Motivation is just as important as organization when it comes to productivity. Be sure to reward yourself with positive thinking and ten minute breaks every hour you spend on the computer (your eyes will thank you).
Also, on days when things are hectic or you don’t feel like you’re getting enough accomplished, apply this rule: Did you successfully finish three things today? And by things, I mean anything no matter how big or small: editing some pre-written content, reading one article on SEO, or even making that list of goals I mentioned before.
I practice this daily, and no matter what is going on I have never failed in completing at least three things. That way, I never fail, and I never make myself believe that I have failed. In turn, that is motivation to keep moving forward.
What productivity hacks do you turn to? Describe in the comments below!