21 Time Management Tips For Bloggers

Underlying the constant search for tactics by bloggers out there, there is a huge perceived lack of time. You’ve got a day job. A family….

Underlying the constant search for tactics by bloggers out there, there is a huge perceived lack of time.

You’ve got a day job. A family. A life. How are you supposed to have enough time to create a successful blog?

Personally, I think our perceptions of time are completely arbitrary (more on that viewpoint on time here). A lot of our approach to time comes from within, so time management tips are usually ways to outsmart ourselves into getting more done despite our self-imposed limitations of how much we can get done.

So, prefaced with my strongly-held belief that it ultimately comes down to mindset, I’ve compiled a list of 21 tips to help you with your efficiency as bloggers.

  1. checklist Don’t check email first thing in the morning. Get some work done first since mornings are often when we function best.
  2. Switch to Google Voice. An invite is required, yes, but it allows you to screen your calls and have messages delivered to your email. Phone interruptions are the worst.
  3. Disown Your Phone. Set up a voice mail message which explains your schedule for checking messages, then disconnect the phone to avoid interruptions. Train others to work with you on this for enhanced efficiency.
  4. Limit Reading Time. As I covered before, you cannot consume and produce at the same time. So, limit the amount you ingest in order to be able to output more. Information overload is an extremely controllable problem.
  5. Use Evernote. It is a free and awesome way to take notes, tag them, categorize them, etc. Don’t keep ideas in your head. Free your mind and store the details in Evernote so you can get them when you need to. Get an idea while reading a blog post? Record it in Evernote – don’t keep it in your head.
  6. Use Remember The Milk for online task management. Get the premium option (only $25/year) and you can sync with your mobile phone. Very handy.
  7. Practice Inbox Zero. Your email inbox should be just that – an INbox. Not a big collective storage place for forgotten BS. Learn to handle, delegate or move emails and get them out of your inbox.
  8. Practice TRAF. This is trash, refer, act, file. These are the 4 choices you have when dealing with any incoming communication or action item.
  9. Assign Times To Tasks. When adding a task to your todo list, assign a time estimate to it on how long it will take. Then schedule it in accordingly.
  10. Reward Efficiency With Downtime. Your daily todo list shouldn’t be a list of things you HOPE to get done (if the stars align just right). It should be a realistic list of things you WILL get done. And if you get them all done with time to spare, take time off. Reward yourself for good work ethic.
  11. Work in Focused Batches. You’re not working when you sit at your computer and move your hands. 🙂 Instead of this long-winded work-day, break it up into focused batches. Work in 1-hour batches, with full focus on a single task at a time. At the end of that hour, go take a break. Then, repeat.
  12. Turn OFF auto-notifications by email. There is no reason why you need email notifications when somebody follows you on Twitter, or when somebody requests friendship on Facebook. Turn off all such email notifications. If you absolutely MUST have them sent to you, then at least filter them out of your inbox automatically so they are hidden from view and don’t take up any time unless you WANT them to.
  13. Work with a timer. Assign yourself a certain time block to get a task done, then use an actual timer. Have it count down to zero from the time you set aside for that task. Visually seeing that timer tick down makes a game out of getting things done faster and not screwing around.
  14. Use A White Board For Your Active Task. In combination with the timer above, use a small white board at your desk. Write down the task you’re working on then start the timer. Any time you start feeling distracted, that white board will remind you what you’re supposed to be working on.
  15. Think About Leverage. Any task that you do, how can you utilize the time spent working on that task to either accomplish another thing or alleviate the need to do that task again? For example, create a procedure list for a task while you do it. Might take a bit longer, but it is then outsourcable. Or, if you get the same question via email a lot, create a video with your answer, send it to the requester, then use the video as blog content.
  16. Lean Toward Outsourcing. Focus on what you’re good at, outsource the rest.
  17. Vary Your Workspace. Instead of always working in your home office, consider taking a laptop down to a local coffee shop instead. Often, just that change of environment can positively affect your efficiency.
  18. Schedule Fun. Life isn’t all about work. Actually scheduling in things you enjoy will have a positive effect for you. It will also lead you to being more efficient with the time you ARE working.
  19. Don’t Watch The News. It is pure negativity designed specifically to rob you of your life and instead keep you glued to THEM, to their ads, to their content. Pardon my French, but f**k those losers. Turn it off, take back your happiness and create the life you want rather than having those asshats remind you of other people’s problems. You’ll be happier and get more done.
  20. Dismiss Negativity. Doing anything positive for your life and your goals is always going to make other people try to suppress you. Perhaps it is fear on their part, or just outright animosity. It doesn’t necessarily make them bad people, for it could just be reactive on their part. But, learn to control it. If a family member is chastising you about your efforts to build up an online business, then confront them about it and get their agreement to knock it off. You have the right to control what enters your space via others.
  21. Treat Yourself Right. It is a challenge for all of us, but treating your body right is integral to having a balanced and efficient life. Your mind won’t be all there when you’re coasting on coffee and Red Bulls. Instead, drink lots of water. Start your day off with some stretches or light exercise to get your heart rate up a bit. Take walks. Eat well. The time spent doing those things will come back in the form of lighter mind and increased focus.

So, would you like to add any advice of your own to this list?

About David Risley
David Risley is the founder of the Blog Marketing Academy, a 20-year veteran blogger and online entrepreneur. His focus? Building a reliable, recurring business around his "lifestyle" and the lives of his students. He has this weird obsession with traveling in his motorhome around the country with his wife and 2 kids. David also likes to talk about himself in the third person. In bios like this one. Read his full story.
  • Juan says:

    Thanks David, tips #15 and #17 are new for me.

  • Jason Taylor says:

    Great tips, David I believe #13 is essential for it helps limit wasted time and get more things done. It also helps stay focus on tasks and eliminate work distractions. I also use a timer at work and it’s called Timedoctor. Using this tool it helps me list my entire tasks, organize it depends on priority level and use it to set an estimated amount of time when working on each tasks. #21 is also great especially for the health, which can help you relax a bit and regain sanity.

  • Jimmy says:

    Guilty of the first one, and yes, checking emails first thing in the morning really eats up a lot of my time and energy. As for other tips, I do practice some of them most of the time, but I am still looking for ways on how to improve my time spent on updating my blogs and promoting them.

  • Time Clocks says:

    The tips you’ve given about time management are really helpful for me because i realize that i use repeat things again and again and wast my time that won’t gonna happen again 🙂

  • Awesome tips David!

  • Martha says:

    Thank you, David—especially the one re: voice mail message.
    Grateful coachwrite

  • MarkEValley says:

    Hey David,

    Great list of tips! Especially liked the last one on exercise and eating well.

    By the way, have you lost any weight lately? You are showing some telltale signs of getting hefty in front of the monitor.

    Warm regards,
    Mark

  • I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I think I will leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

  • banksy6 says:

    Great tips – Thanks. I've been following J.Gitomer the last year or so who has seemingly similar feelings to you on negativity and news.

    Look forward to following you from now on.

    Alastair

  • I'm guilty with numbers 1 & 4 hehe maybe I should try to control that kind of habit

  • I'm guilty with numbers 1 & 4 hehe maybe I should try to control that kind of habit

  • k0zm0zs0ul says:

    Great advice David, thanks! I often use Focus Booster as my timer…it allows a little bar in your screen and you can see it counting down from the corner of your eye as you work. Very motivating! :0) You just have to Google Focus Booster for the download.

    And I need to focus more on the treating myself right parts and scheduling fun parts. LOL Thanks for the reminder!

    OH, and that not checking email first thing in the am is HUGE…whenever I do invariably I end up sidetracked for at least an hour or more…ugg!

    Warm regards,
    C

  • ProLire says:

    Thank you for this tips.
    I already know some of them, but the main difficulty is to take the habit to do them

  • I pay someone to answer my telephone for me, either in-house or outsourced depending on whether someone else is in the office.

    That way, my clients will always have someone to talk to during normal office hours, and only hear the answerphone in the evenings or the weekend.

    More people seem prepared to leave a message with a VA than with an answerphone.

  • Steve says:

    I am beginning to outsource as much as possible and the results have been very good. Some outsourcing costs me money through eLance while other types like guest posts don't costs but allows others to receive links on my sites.

  • Wow! This is a goldmine of helpful tips. The last one was a great reminder because lately I've been working on releasing my first e-book and have neglected my usual healthy habits.

  • I keep my email open all day, and my phone on all day but usually when one of those go off it involves a customer so it happens to be top priority for me. I keep my inbox at zero always because I am anal about everything having a folder (Outlook) and a lot of emails that are not important immediately go to folders instead of my inbox, so newsletters, family etc.. don't get my attention for the most part of the day.

    I am still old fashioned and use legal pads to make my to do lists, I currently have 4 online businesses so I keep a separate list for each one.

    I do watch the news periodically during the day (lunch and other breaks) but I do it because I am concerned about where our country is headed, and I pay close attention to who is doing what so mistakes aren't made come this election year 🙂

    I will probably check out Remember the Milk and see if I can somehow move from my prehistoric ways….

  • Julius says:

    If you aren't able to find another work area apart from the one you have in your home, I suggest moving your desk and chair to another specific place and removing the unnecessary things. This small change has worked for me. I also like the idea of using Evernote and will try it soon.

  • David says:

    Everything Im with you on. What I would like to add is that I break up work into batchs and give them a letter. Like a= blog content b=link building c= product creation d= time off e= email. and then i populate a calander week before hand so for example, tuesday is a A,B day etc. Helps to stay focus and get things done for me.

  • Kimberly says:

    Rule # 1 above about not checking e-mail first thing in the morning is absolutely key! I will get off on ten other tangents if I check e-mail first thing, and before I know it, an hour and a half has passed. So, if my “no matter what” activity for the morning is to get a blog post written, I sit down at my computer, open a Word doc, and get to work. I don't sign on to the Internet, period, until that draft is completed. Works for me! : )

  • mookie says:

    I'm not one to comment on blogs with wanky “this was the best post ever” posts in order to get backlinks and such.

    So when I say that this is the best post I've ever read from you David, I mean it.

    Great work, David.

    PS Another tip, for all of you commenting needlessly on blogs with “this was great, <generic blah blah>”, just stop and think if your comment will help anyone or yourself. Comments like that are NOT the way to get yourself noticed and following David's 80-20 principles, they're something you could cut out. Remember, this tip will save you time and save other people time, so that they can read comments that actually matter. </rant>

    — mookie

  • deborahshane says:

    Amazing that there are 21 different, effective, useful and collaborative things we CAN DO! I have always been pretty disciplined and organized, but today, multi-tasking is more like massive-tasking! I really like the prioritizing, time blocking, discipline and fun suggestions. They help me stay focused on completing my goals and tasks, on time. Great tools! Now let's use them, consistently! (that's another post, right?) Thanks DR.

  • Donny Gamble says:

    I definitely need to manage my time a little bit better because I am not doing all of the most important things that i should be doing. I should be concentrating more on providing quality content for my blog readers

  • Leon Noone says:

    G'day David,
    All very good advice, particularly No. 21. In a previous life as a corporate trainer and consultant, I used to run time management courses. I learnt a couple of useful things.

    If you employ staff, delegation and time management are inseparable. If you don't-or wont-delegate you can't manage your time effectively. If you don't manage your time, your delegation will be poor.

    Whether you employ staff or not, the key to time management is setting priorities. In other words, it's not just a question of “doing things right.” It's a question of “doing the right things.” You can save all the time you like.If you fail to use the “saved ” time effectively, it's just an elaborate method of time wasting
    Eventually I stopped “teaching” time management. I concentrated on helping managers set priorities and delegate. I still do.
    The best time management tip that I ever found originated in the thirties. I can't remember who said it, but it was this: write down the six most important things that you must get done each day and don't go home until they're done.
    Even that requires you to have clear priorities.

    Anyway, I'm off to apply your recommendation No.18.

    Regards

    Leon

  • These are great tips, not only for bloggers, but for everyone. Practice Zero Inbox is key and along with that is creating folders and rules for those emails that can be read at your leisure, such as blogs, and information relating to your industry. Have them automatically forwarded to a folder. Thanks David

  • very..very….good informations fo me…thanks…thanks….my friend

  • alexes says:

    Thanks for reminding me that one really does have to manage your time in a better way and that includes making time for life away from the computer screen.
    There are a couple of other suggestions I would add to this list and they are:

    1. Manage the amount of food you eat. All too often it is easy to fall into the trap of snacking or ( as in my case) drinking coffee by the gallon, while sitting at the computer. So be aware!

    2. Limit the amount of lists you join for reading. Its not just other blogs you read that can slow you down, but the sheer amounts of subscribing to other news letters etc. can be overwhelming. I had to get really tough on myself and unsubscribe over 60 newsletters and the relief to my inbox was ( plop plop fizz fizz… oh what a relief it was…)

  • alexes says:

    Thanks for reminding me that one really does have to manage your time in a better way and that includes making time for life away from the computer screen.
    There are a couple of other suggestions I would add to this list and they are:

    1. Manage the amount of food you eat. All too often it is easy to fall into the trap of snacking or ( as in my case) drinking coffee by the gallon, while sitting at the computer. So be aware!

    2. Limit the amount of lists you join for reading. Its not just other blogs you read that can slow you down, but the sheer amounts of subscribing to other news letters etc. can be overwhelming. I had to get really tough on myself and unsubscribe over 60 newsletters and the relief to my inbox was ( plop plop fizz fizz… oh what a relief it was…)

  • DIY Extra says:

    Hi, I have never commented on here… But… Wow that was a good list and something for me to take in… I think I will print it and put it on the wall….

    Many thanks
    Chris

  • Melvin says:

    Some of the things you suggested here are “new” to me.. I would definitely try them all as well and see if I can get to become more productive,.

    Thanks.

  • susan says:

    Great tips thanks – I especially live the “evernote” as I am always getting ideas writing them on scraps of paper and then forgetting all about them (well I am a 50+ woman and that's what happens to us at that age)

  • debchitwood says:

    I think these are some great tips. I definitely need to work on avoiding information overload. The tip about treating yourself right is something that helps with everything. In particular, if I work out for an hour 3 times per week and at least 5 minutes each of the other days, I have enough energy to manage the rest of my tiime better.

  • Rohit Sharma says:

    Nice! I'll try to observe these points in my schedule.

  • lisakweber says:

    I love this list. I am printing it now. … and I recommend number 19 to help cure fibromyalgia 🙂 You couldn't pay me to watch the news.

  • Phil Jackson says:

    Great Tips. I especially love the white board idea. You're absolutely right. I practice the one hour blocks and sometimes it's great to have something REMIND you what it is that you're supposed to be working on. I'm getting one.

  • cumalu says:

    Rather than assigning a time value to a task (#9), I would use the Pomodoro Technique to use your time as efficiently as possible. You set a timer for 25 minutes and work on nothing but the task while the timer is ticking. When the timer goes off, you stop doing that task no matter how far into it you've gotten.

    You take a 5-minute break to unwind, doing anything BUT that task. You then set the timer for 25 minutes again, and repeat until you've finished. After three Pomodoros, take a longer break – 30 to 45 minutes. I've found that to be infinitely more effective than setting aside a 4-hour chunk of time to work on something.

  • Dotcom Note says:

    Here is another tip: Use a separate email whenever you sign up for free stuff from internet marketers who are collecting opt-in emails to fill your inbox for pitching sales and blog posts. I call it a black hole. Open that only when you need to confirm your free goodies. Otherwise, never open it.

  • David, I can definitely see you have taken into account all the input you received in your previous poll! Thanks for that. Time management is definitely an issue for me.

    I'd like to add a point. “Plan your week with the big rocks first”. I learned this from Stephen Covey who explains that if you start by planning your week with important (but not urgent) task which will help you achieve your goals, you will always find the time to execute the other small and urgent task that pop up during the week. But the opposite is not true. If you fill your week with only urgent tasks you will not be able to complete your important tasks.

    Maybe sounds confusing but there's a video on YouTube to illustrate covey's point. Just search YouTube on “Do the big rocks first”.

  • Roezer says:

    If I watch the News I will believe that there is a Recession.If I think with this Mentality I will not Try to Make Money Because of the News about the Economy says I can't Make Money. I think this is one of you best pieces of Advice you have given in this Article as it will help us feel happy and a happy Blogger is a Productive Blogger.

  • Toni says:

    You are very generous to share your great tips with all of your readers. I appreciate that and thank you for it. There are some super tips here. Thanks again.

  • suereddel says:

    Thanks David. Lots of common sense ideas and ones we know we should be doing but sometimes get too caught up in the day to day. My two favorites: schedule fun and treat yourself right. This reminds me to read the Four Hour Work Week again. Love your positive outlook.

  • TwtrCoach says:

    Great tips here David.

    Though I have reading emails on the top part of my list. Just something that is stuck with me from working in management in the Hospitality industry. So it works for me.

    #2 I need to add to my list.

    #7 I know .. 🙂

    #8 adding to the list.

    #11 .. shoot are you looking over my shoulder or.. 🙂

    #12 great advice.. adding to list..

    Bummer .. look like I still have some actions points I need to add to my list.

    Thanks for posting this list David..

    Cheers.. Are

  • alberthallado says:

    Hi David,

    Hey! Bud, Great post and thank you for sharing it. I am guilty to most of them 🙂 like the email thing but after reading this I will make a little bit of adjustment… Thanks again.

    Blessing,

    Albert

  • Some great tips here. I have to get control of my business, I am not getting everything I need to done very efficiently. I am getting a whiteboard and timer today!
    Thanks.

  • clivemg56 says:

    Brilliant! More concise, actionable, bulleted points in a quick read than you'll find in 250 page Time Management Tome. I have some of these in play already but making my email check the LAST thing to do rather than the first is my greatest hurdle. I intend working on those I don't follow, or action half-heartedly and will explore those Apps.

    As author John Twelve Hawks promotes: Avoid 'The Vast Machine' that is constantly trying to seduce us with inanity, fear and trivia and get focused on what's important.

  • cfagbata says:

    Great tips David, the distractions just keep increasing….. Thanks!

  • markaylward says:

    David
    As I unsubscribe from many a list and pair down my Reader subscriptions, your post is pretty
    timely!
    BTW, you are staying on both my lists
    Thanks for the great content
    Mark

  • Danielle says:

    Great post David! And just what I needed today!

  • JR Griggs says:

    Great post bro, been working on organizing more. I tried out Remember the Milk but was not happy with. Started using Toodledo. Been much nicer. Although site is kinds ugly it gets the job done.

  • Nlonghini says:

    I think it's always a good idea to review time management tools on a regular basis. Sometimes you get in a routine or slump and develop bad habits, like the 'pile' in the inbox.
    I try to keep a mental rule of 'touching the paper once'.

    The white board is a great idea! You can also write positive and motivational tidbits to keep yourself inline. I know that for myself, I'm always working on SOMETHING to improve.

    Getting out and walking is a big one for me. Gotta feel some nature around me……….It clears my head, I get great ideas and makes me feel grounded.

    A big YAY! for zero negativity………I just started a 10 day mental challenge (courtesy of Tony Robbins) to be solution oriented and mindful of negative crap I allow myself to dwell on…………

    Thanks, David!

  • Ben Collins says:

    Nice List David,

    Worth a mention to the readers that Evernote (love it) has a excellent iphone app too that syncs perfectly with your PC. Woo HOO!!

    Thanks!

  • mzeroa says:

    Put my phone down! Dave you're killing me. haha

  • Nell says:

    I love all of these tips, but I am with everyone one else when it comes to “Don't watch the news”. I watched my local news last night for 20 minutes and there was not one single positive story. I also like using a timer at work and then using the leftover time for rewarded downtime, then starting another task. Thanks for the tips!

  • angelinajoliefan says:

    Great advice! Information overload and the blissful pursuit of all things informative is my downfall. So is the tangled web I call e-mail. Your post reminds me that I need to take control of the situation instead of allowing it to control me. Thanks!

  • Rhonda Hess says:

    This is the best time management tip list I've seen in a long time. Leaving email to later in the day after taking high payoff actions first really works! Thanks David

  • Dave Soucy says:

    Great tips, especially 19 & 20. Everyone should practice those, no matter what they do in life.

    ~Dave

  • Working at home can be challenging, especially with family. They think that since you are there, you can be interrupted any time they have a question or issue. Choose one room, preferably with a door. Close that door and set strict rules about not being interrupted, either by them coming in or excessive household noise, until you come out. Their reward will be more time focused on their needs.

  • cadilacjax says:

    Found a really great timer the other day. google tick tock timer and you will find it easy enough or check out a recent blog article at Lees Shizzle. I started using it and agree it's worth every second, no pun intended.

  • Bradley says:

    “19. Don't Watch the News”

    I have been doing this for about two weeks now. It is very nice to not think about all the badness in the world. I have more time to think about positive things and what I need to be getting done. Or actually doing something.

  • Srinivas Rao says:

    If there's any one thing that is a complete time suck it's email. The day I turned off auto-notifications and email altogether I wrote 4 blog posts, edited podcasts, did design updates and finished everything in two hours. Using a timer is the second best thing you've written here. I've noticed if you use a timer while writing blog posts you can actually write a blog post in 20 minutes. Sounds crazy? Try it.

  • brettburky says:

    You gave me an idea for the weekend. I think I am going to get myself one of those old school kitchen timers. I use Paymo to track my time and time block. But a beat the clock game would be kind of cool. I have the iPhone app digital timer and that seems to work well, but I think the old school timer would get more use, because it isn't hidden in my phone.

  • Devthom1 says:

    Thanks for sharing these, as a newby to Blogging, they're very useful. Not only will they help with blogging, but in other areas as well.

  • These are great tips, the Inbox one gets me, though, I actually have 73 unread messages as I type this.

    In positive news, I've been setting a stopping point each day-a time I'll stop working, no matter what. It's done tons for my productivity and motivation!

  • Eric says:

    I like this list and especially like what you say here about doing things for yourself and having fun. I do this every day. I also really enjoy what you said about NOT watching the damn news. If I want to know what's going I'll find out. I'm not just going to watch the news to stay updated… Obviously if the universe wants me to know it will get the message to me.

    Awesome list dude!

  • constantfocusapril says:

    it's really interesting. Do you know of any other sources for this information?

  • everydaytips says:

    This is advice anyone can use. However, I just recently started on being at home full time again, and there are some great tips for me specifically. I have a couple blogs I have started up and I have had a hard time properly allocating my time. Thanks for sharing these ideas.

  • James Delong says:

    Great tips and I wanted to tell you how important Practice Inbox Zero is to me. I always try to keep it to just a few and will get it down to zero.
    Thanks, these are very helpful!

  • Thank you for sharing these tips, David. I have surveyed my readers and found that the biggest perceived constraint in achieving more in *married life* is also time. I am working on some resources to help address that, and I appreciate getting your thoughts through these 21 tips.

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