Every once in a while (read: all the friggen time) bloggers feel a bit crunched for time. You’re working a full-time job, and after 8 hours of work, plus your commute, plus assembling a bunch of items from IKEA, you just feel exhausted by the idea of running your blog, let alone growing it.
Not that I’m talking from experience here or anything.
So, how does one find the time to blog in an endless world of busy? Well, unfortunately you can’t just whip extra time out of thin air, so you’ve got to prioritize.
My favorite way to enforce those priorities? Time blocking.
I do this all the time at my full-time job. Every single hour of my workday is blocked off with my tasks. Whenever a new task comes up, I find the next available slot in my calendar and mark off a chunk of time for it.
But this can be done outside of work, too. Here’s how time blocking can help you grow your blog.
1 | Time blocking reminds you to actually write.
Sometimes it can be hard to remember to write. You fall out of a routine, and suddenly you haven’t written a blog post or newsletter in months.
Time blocking helps remind you that blogging is a commitment, and therefore you need to devote some hours to it!
Bonus points if you add reminders to your calendar so your phone goes off when you need to start.
The key here is to only move the calendar event around if you really need to. It doesn’t help much if you just keep pushing it back a few hours, a few days, a few weeks.
2 | You’re more inclined to keep writing.
One of the hardest parts about writing is starting. So, once you’ve started (because your calendar and phone have told you to), you’re way more likely to keep going.
Instead of constantly forcing yourself to struggle with starting a blog post, newsletter, course lesson, etc., cut down the number of times you’re starting.
If you can, set aside a bigger chunk of time (like, say, two hours instead of one) to really devote to writing. You’ll have worked through a ton of content before you know it!
3 | It’s easier to reward yourself, even when you’re not feeling like it.
It’s also totally possible for the bulk of the writing to be just as difficult as the start. I’ve been there. Writer’s block is in full force, you’re uninspired, and Gossip Girl sounds way more fun than writing.
Well, good news. Time blocking is awesome for rewarding yourself.
Once you make it through the hour you’ve set aside to write (or work on other monotonous blogging tasks), reward yourself with some ice cream, a beer, or an episode of Gossip Girl. You’ll feel like you’ve earned it way more!
4 | It allows you to stay on task.
We’ve all been there: you’re in the middle of writing a blog post, and suddenly you realize you have to change a graphic in your sidebar, schedule some social posts, and fill in your bookkeeping software with your latest purchases.
Funny how it never works out the other way around, right?
While these tasks are 100% important, they’re not the most important right now. Your blog post is.
Instead, block off some time after your writing session to get these things done. Adding it into your calendar tells yourself that you will, in fact, get these things done, while still allowing yourself to stay present with the task at hand.
5 | It forces you to switch to your next project.
On the other hand, it’s also a good way to force yourself to start working on something else. For example, at my full-time job, we’re creating fun little illustrations of middle-school Girl Scouts to use on social media, flyers, etc. (See an example here! They’re super cute!)
While it’s definitely productive to create more of these girls as well as a master file where we can sort through all of them, it’s not my highest priority. So, setting aside an hour or two once per week lets me exercise my creativity with them. But once the reminder goes off that I need to start my next task in five minutes, I know it’s time to exit out of Illustrator and start on something else. Otherwise my entire day would be gone and I’d only have 10 Girl Scout illustrations to show for it!
6 | It’s harder to get burnt out and overwhelmed.
We’ve talked about this before, but a key way to prevent overwhelm, especially with a new project, is to break it down into actionable steps. Time blocking allows you to take this one step further and plan out when you’ll cross those tasks off your to do list!
Plus, putting it in your calendar makes it harder to continue putting it off. Just don’t allow yourself to move those calendar events around!
7 | You’re able to track how much time you spend on something.
One thing I love about time blocking is that it allows me to track my time. As long as I’m keeping my calendar events updated (for example, changing the times around based on how long I actually worked on a task vs. how long it was scheduled for), I can pretty easily see how long I’ve spent on a particular project.
The more detailed you are in your calendar, the more you’ll be able to track! If I just write Blog Writing, I won’t necessarily be able to tell how long I spent on one post. But if I write down “Write 1/2 of Time Blocking Blog Post,” I’m going to be able to see how long one particular post took me.
Tracking your time will enable you to see when you’re most productive and make you more accountable with your time. No more scrolling through social media during your writing time! (Bonus points if you use a program like Forest to literally block those sites from your browser!)
8 | You’re less likely to forget about something.
If you’re using your calendar like a to do list, you’re way less likely to forget about something. Once you learn of a new task you’ve been assigned or a new project you need to work on, simply add it to your calendar and you’re good to go!
I also recommend adding some details about what you need to actually accomplish into the body of the calendar event, otherwise you might forget what the heck you were planning by the time it comes around!
9 | You walk away feeling accomplished.
And finally, time blocking allows you to feel so accomplished. It’s seriously awesome looking at your calendar at the end of the day and being able to easily see how much you got done. Just make sure you’re updating it to reflect actual time vs. planned time. Otherwise you’re cheating. 😉
Time blocking is an awesome way to grow your blog, as long as you know how to use it!
Ready to fill up your calendar? Go go go! And if you’re stuck, simply drop a comment below and I’d be happy to help.
Love this! I started blocking off time for REAL in January and saw a HUGE increase in productivity and feeling accomplished. It helped me make more time for myself too!
That’s awesome! Do you block off time for yourself, or just leave gaps when you do whatever you want?
Last month I was way better at blocking off time. No matter where I was with a task I’d stop and take the last hour to read. This month has been harder because I’m in the middle of a big affiliate launch and I’ve been letting it eat up my time… so instead I’ve just blocked off one day a week where I do nothing work-related!
I love that! I might need to implement something like that…
Randi Shaffer says
This is genius. Time blocking is something I’ve always been really, really bad at. I always try to do too many things at once, and I end up getting so distracted by switching back and forth that I lose all my productivity and end up getting nowhere. I never though about how you could use the records to keep track of how much time you’ve actually spent working on a single project. I really need to start thinking about doing something like this.
Oh my gosh I’m ALWAYS switching back and forth with my time at home. It’s bad (and means nothing ever gets entirely cleaned… but everything gets like, half cleaned). I should probably time block at home, too.