Let’s rewind to a year ago – that’s right I’ve been doing this shiz full time for A YEAR, which means I haven’t been working 60 hour weeks as a teacher FOR A YEAR, but let me bring you back to that time…
I was writing blog posts in my notes apps whilst walking to the train station.
I was scheduling tweets on my tea break.
I was replying to emails during my lunch break.
And I was uploading photos and hitting publish on my train home.
Guys I had to get GOOD at time management because I had NONE of it spare but I wanted to grow my blog.
And I know that’s what you struggle with a lot – finding the time to keep your blog moving forward when life gets in the way and you run out of spare hours. So this episode is all about how I did it, my best time saving hacks. I hope it’s useful!
First of all, I almost want to say, don’t pay any attention to me. Because I know the way I manage my time isn’t usual. I am the person to have 6 spare hours to achieve something and then rush it all whilst I’ve got a spare 2 minutes waiting for my microwave rice to ping.
I have bursts of energy where I can work solidly and get 8 hours of work done in an hour and then I have energy lulls where a ten minute job will take me two days.
I feel like I’m alone, but maybe you’ll tell me otherwise!
Anyway, due to my haphazard time management plan, I had to get good at doing blog tasks each day to keep my blog moving forward that didn’t need hours and hours in front of my laptop.
And you know, everyone thinks you need a fancy camera, a laptop, 6 hours in a cafe and a coffee IV drip to get everything done but let me tell you – I grew my blog the most when I was trying to upload a blog post, with a shitty iPhone photo, no subheadings and no SEO whilst trying to access WordPress in my phone browser, OK.
Now I know the content creator world has moved on since then but it definitely taught me a few hacks that still come in use today. So are you ready to hear them? Let’s go.
Number 1 – Schedule a month’s worth of tweets
Yep, it takes a solid hour or so, depending on how quick you are, to schedule 6-10 tweets a day for a month. But you’ll be glad you did. I use Buffer Pro which let’s you do that many and that far ahead. It’s about £10 a month I think and totally worth it. This means if life gets in the way and your boyfriend breaks up with you, or Take That lose another member and you need space to grieve, then at least you know that your blog posts are being promoted without you having to think of it.
The difference in my daily traffic from when I Buffer tweets to when I do not is outrageous.
So if you have a spare hour on the first weekend of a month – do it.
Or, if you’re like me – what I used to do was use the Buffer mobile app and spend LITERALLY 30 seconds a day rebuffering previous tweets to go out that day.
Number 2 – Schedule a month’s worth of pins
In the same vein as above, it’ll take a good hour or so to get this going but you only need to schedule 5-10 pins a day to make a difference. And if you’re a bit Pinterest clueless and feel like I may as well be speaking Belorussian, then I’ve got 2 podcast episodes allll about Pinterest that teaches you how to do this.
Pinterest is now my biggest social traffic referrer and it drips me new visitors each day without me having to worry.
If you’re a more spare of the moment kinda person, like me, literally pin whilst you poo. No joke. You take your phone to the loo right? You’re in there at least 2-5 minutes right? Depending on the health of your bowels, I get it. Use those minutes each day to pin 5-10 new pins and mix in a few of your own content too.
Number 3 – Airtable it up
Ok this is a new discovery for me, that Dani my VA introduced me to but CRIKEY it is a life saver.
I’ve created a blogging to do list ‘base’ which is essentially a sexier Excel spreadsheet where I break down all the tasks you need to do to get your blog moving forward. And I’ve broken it down day by day, weekly and monthly.
It’s all there in front of you! So when you have a spare minute – dive in and look at a task you could do for that day, week or month.
I’ve made the Airtable template as a free download for you, so check the show notes for it and honestly, LIFE SAVER.
Number 4 – Stock images
I don’t know where the memo was that said all blog photos must be taken on 83463 pounds worth of camera equipment with lighting as bright as Simon Cowell’s teeth with props that cost more than your monthly salary. Like who started that rumour?
For me, your blog’s imagery should reflect your brand and that’s it. So if you’re pushed for time and need to download a stock image of the recipe you’re whacking up or a casual laptop on a bed image scenario for this month’s think piece, then bloody do it.
Too many of us use the excuse, ‘I don’t have time/light/money/ability/patience’ to take photos’ as an excuse not to blog.
My favourite website is Unsplash.com – it has tons of free stock photos. I also love Creative Market where you can buy sets of specifically styled ones. Honestly, let someone who knows their way round a lens take the headache away from you.
Number 5 – Repurpose old content
Alright, something’s happened in life, Netflix have released a new true crime documentary or there’s 16 Easter eggs to work through and you know you haven’t got time to write a new blog post. Sex up an old one! Yep. I bet you’ve got blog posts from 6 months, a year ago or yeeears ago that you still love, that still gets traffic but is looking a bit dated.
Rather than spend an hour or so whacking together something new, pull that one out from the bushes, give it a lick of paint, add some extra updated or new paragraphs in with fresh information and republish it! I’m sure there’s an SEO issue with changing the date or URL etc so don’t do that but it means you can schedule it out and promote it as if it’s a new blog post.
As if your 4 readers from 2014 are going to care you’ve popped it out again! You’ve got loads of new ones who might not know about it.
Number 6 – Get an editorial calendar
You’re probably sick of me banging on about the WordPress plugin called WP Editorial Calendar by now but it’s such a timesaver. My friend Ghenet introduced me to it and it’s revolutionary. Install it, click on a free date, write the title for a post you want to write and BAM it’s turned it into a draft post. How quick is that? You could use the 30 mins you have when inspo strikes to get all your ideas straight into drafts instead of onto your iPhone notes and then maaaaaybe into drafts that you never look at again.
Number 7 – Automated emails
This is another one of those tasks that yeah, might take a couple of hours to set up, but once it is you rarely have to worry about it again. I bloody love me some automated emails. Hopefully by now you’ve set up your email list, and if you haven’t I’ve got an episode coming to walk you through it, and if you have – you can set up automated sequences. This means when someone signs up, they get automatic emails you’ve pre written.
So spend a few hours getting a sequence set up so that they receive regular emails from you and in those emails you can tell them where else to follow you, which blog posts to go back and read and any other general updates. Saves you having to sit down every week to think of something new to send them!
Number 8 – the 55/5 rule
The most important thing with time saving is about having purpose and I’m going to get onto that in a sec. But too often we are wasting time we should be being productive by scrolling, comparing, consuming and then scrolling some more.
So implement the 55/5 rule. For every hour you sit down to do some blog work, 55 minutes of that should be dedicated and purposeful with 5 minutes at the end for a bit of scrolling. Trust me you’ll get so much done.
I think sometimes I can be a bit unsympathetic with people who say they don’t have time for their blogs. Because in some cases, what they either really mean is that they’re not that dedicated OR they prioritise other things.
Like some people take 2 hours to get ready. I’d rather take 30 minutes and spend 90 minutes on my blog shit because I’m serious about trying to grow it.
I think because I’m the type of person that will use my spare 2 minute toilet breaks to engage on Instagram, whack up a few pins or schedule a few tweets that I don’t understand why everyone isn’t like that – so please excuse the rigidity of my thinking. It’s not my fault! Haha
But anyone out there who is struggling for time with their blog, I want you to reflect. If your iPhone is telling you you’ve spent 6 hours on Instagram that week, could you cut that down to 2 and give yourself 4 hours to complete every other task?
If you’re finding that researching, writing, editing, photo taking and publishing posts is taking a really long time – could you look at parts of that process that you could cut down?
This is where I go back to purpose. If your purpose is to grow your blog and social channels because you want to reap the rewards, how much purposeful time are you spending on it? Not umming and ahhing over which photo to use or scrolling Instagram for an hour after you’ve uploaded a new post but actual purposeful time where you’re completing tasks that will move the needle forward for your growth?
And it’s absolutely 100% OK if your blog isn’t your priority. If going out, spending ages getting ready, scrolling Insta, reading the Daily Mail sidebar of shame or spending time with friends is taking up your free out of work time – that’s all absolutely fine and great! But just don’t kid yourself otherwise you know? Because if your blog is your priority, you’ll make time, and if it’s not – you won’t, and it’s fine if it’s not!
But hopefully the above tips will give you something to get working on so that you can still feel like you’re working on your blog and getting it moving when you’re strapped for time.
I know this is a big thing for lots of you so I’ll be making more resources and hacks to help you keep on top of your blog shiz soon.
As ever, don’t forget to rate, review, subscribe and pleeeease share you listening on stories and tag me! Tell allll the time poor creatives you know to listen in!
Until next time, byeeeee