Here We Go: Time Saving Techniques
Today we’re talking about your time (probably something that you value) and how you can fit blogging into your busy schedule. It’s tough. I currently work 60-70 hours a week (juggling my day job and all my freelance work) but I still prioritize blogging. I’m motivated by all your lovely comments, the other incredible bloggers that I’ve met as a blogger myself, and it really is enjoyable. It’s something that I love to do and never feel pressured or tied down by deadlines. I’m going to share a few things that I do that make it a bit easier to fit into my schedule (and PLEASE share your own tips and advice below because there are some weeks where I’m like, “AHHHH.”)
Plan out your posts in a calendar:
Get a calendar. It doesn’t matter what kind. I know bloggers that use an editorial calendar plug-in through WordPress, some have a physical calendar journal, some use iCal. I use my Google Calendar because:
- I can delete or alter ideas instantly.
- I can access this calendar anywhere. On someone else’s computer, on my iPhone, etc.
- I can still use my iCal for my personal life (Adam and I sync ours together) without all of my blog posts clogging up my days
- I already have too many notebooks and journals with random notes jotted everywhere. It’s clean, easy, and in one place.
- I can see the variety of my future posts in one glance. No flipping pages or weekly breakdown. I want to see the big picture.
I included a screenshot above with my calendar from March. As you can see, towards the end of March I had two posts per day because of sponsor spotlights. When you’re working with other people (collaborating, allowing people to guest post, or featuring sponsors) it’s really important to stay organized. Be courteous of others’ time and so when I know that I’m going to start featuring sponsors on the 19th, I know that I should probably send them an email asking for content around the 12th (at the latest). Even if I’m not physically writing up the posts and scheduling them all out a month in advance (because I totally don’t do that), I feel better looking at my Google Calendar before the week starts and knowing what I have on my plate.
Schedule your posts ahead of time:
Technology makes it so easy. I can write all of my blog posts on a Sunday night and have them auto post throughout the week! When I first started blogging in college, I remember people asking how I wrote up my post and found time to publish it while in class. I assured them that I wasn’t blogging during class (but I probably was doodling). I tend to only schedule posts a week in advance (and nothing further). Since I’m trying to write and post relevant content, I like to take it a week at a time and not get ahead of myself. If I can’t remember what I’ve physically written and scheduled within WordPress, then I turn to WordPress Editorial Calendar (screenshot below). Unlike my Google Calendar, it’s only showing things scheduled in WordPress.
Document your ideas:
I get ideas for blog posts at the most random times. Sometimes it’s while I’m sifting through my Google Reader, sometimes it’s on Twitter because everyone that I follow is amazing, and sometimes it’s when I’m reading a magazine. I don’t stress about trying to get all my ideas jotted down into one perfect list. I “star” things in Google Reader, I’ll favorite the tweet that sparked the idea, I’ll scribble in my Moleskine but I don’t stress. It’s not worth stressing. If I can guess, you’re probably not making a year’s salary by blogging (I’m definitely not) so let it happen organically.
Once a new month rolls around, I’ll go through everything that I’ve bookmarked and I’ll start really thinking about concepts. Usually half of the stuff doesn’t end up here on my blog at all but processing it is just as useful. Once I get an idea that really sticks…I write. Step away from the computer when you’re creating content. I don’t sit at my computer and design the perfect logo. It starts offline. These concepts might feel like they’re taking up more time but it will lead to less frustration (or writing and re-writing posts several times).
Organize your files and folders:
It probably seems irrelevant but I guarantee you…it’s KEY! If you’re like me, you’re working with a lot of images, content, text, and files. Between the different series that I host here on Show + Tell, sponsors, and collaborations…I’ve acquired quite the file collection. It’s easiest for me if I have folders organized and if I keep the files (even if I feel like I’m done with them). After my blog got hacked last month, I had to re-upload a few days’ worth of content because the image links had been broken. I was so glad I didn’t just trash them. Even my media folder wasn’t displaying them correctly. Here’s a screenshot of how I keep my folders:
Like all my colorful watercolor backgrounds? It makes screenshots look less like ugly screenshots. Needless to say, organization is crucial if you don’t want to feel like you’re swimming in the abyss that can be blogging. I hope those tips helped because they really help me keep this place enjoyable.
If you have ANY other tips, pieces of advice, or methods please comment below! These Here We Go posts are meant to be a great resource and the comments section is an important part.
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These are great! Thanks for sharing. I’ve started a schedule but definitely need to get better at writhing posts in advance. It all comes together somehow though :)
Love this post. I use GCal to get the big picture too (and I agree – so much easier than cluttering up my main calendar, since Zach hears enough about blogging as it is!).
I really should start writing some posts out on paper, though I have a tendency to write slower than I type. So for getting down my true thoughts, I actually find that writing in a text file helps me the most since I definitely do not think and write at the same speed. Way easier for quick capture (for me).
Here’s a quick video demo of the Editorial Calendar plugin I did last year:
I’m a huge fan of the editorial calender plugin too!
I just started using google docs to capture my recipes because I had a plugin break and lost the recipes. :( I like your idea of keeping all files off wordpress to have them for future reference.
I am on wordpress.com but now having seen that snappy calendar plugin (and about a zillion other things) I need to switch. But I love my theme! I guess I could roughly replicate it and personalize it in the process.
I just recommended this whole series to a friend considering blogging. It’s great.
Hi Allison! I just discovered your blog through your feature @ blog brunch and I’m glad I did! I’m fairly new to blogging and your tips are precious precious to me! Thanks so much for sharing-cheers!
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I do all of these things! I need to work more on scheduling, but I take a day and type up all my posts so that they are ready to go during the week. I use Google Calendar right now but holy crap thanks for linking to that plugin!
I had no idea something like that existed, and that’s amazing! Admittedly, I’m a little biased and so I mostly just use Scott’s plugins or have him make me something (spoiled) so I don’t research too much. But this is great and I’m going to test it out!