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18 Time management tips to make you insanely productive

18 Time management tips to make you insanely productive

It’s fashionable to multitask nowadays; it’s what I was taught was the status quo. Unfortunately, multi-tasking is much like doing lots of things badly. Increasing my productivity was top of my list when I decided that I wanted to monetise my blog. It was time to impart these time management tips to you.

My medical conditions mean that I don’t have a lot of energy so the time I do have, is precious.

I know that is the same story for Mum bloggers too.

The people who tend to multitask subscribe to the idea that “staying busy” means you’re working hard but being busy isn’t necessarily working hard.

You want to work smarter and not harder.

This is especially true for you if your time is precious.

I’ve known for a long time that multi-tasking does not work. You tend to achieve very little and what you do achieve, tends to happen very slowly.

 

Working Smarter, Not Harder

It’s an oldie but a goodie.

When there is something that I need to achieve, I write it on a post-it note and put it on my productivity matrix**.

Seeing the task on a post-it note helps me to determine whether or not it’s an urgent task, what the ROI will be if I should delegate the task or schedule it for further down the time.

Managing my time isn’t about squeezing as many tasks into my spare time as possible. Otherwise, I would get nothing done.

It’s about simplifying how I work, doing things more efficiently, and relieving any potential stress.

I compiled this list of tips to help you become an efficient blogger

There are a plethora of books and tips for you to organise your world so that you can be made more effective in work and life but these tips are things that help me personally.

Read through the tips and figure out which may be very helpful for you to do and try them out.

On A Daily Basis, I might have a list of 10 things on a To Do list, but I aim to achieve 3.

If I don’t achieve any more than 3, I don’t beat myself up about it.

There are enough hours in a day for everything you’d like to do; you just need to figure out your most important tasks first.

 

How do I improve concentration and increase my productivity?

 

1. Complete most important task first.

Considered a golden rule of time management.

Also known as ‘Eating That Frog’ by the King of productivity – Brian Tracy.

Eat That Frog! is all about overcoming procrastination and learning to manage your time.

It’s perfectly normal to feel drowned in work, but when you learn to “eat your frogs” – meaning do your most important tasks first – you’ll work more efficiently and be happier too.

2. Forgive Yourself

My husband was always creating To Do lists of things he wanted to achieve; sometimes there were about twenty items on the list, and if he didn’t achieve them all in one day he would become furious.

I watched him becoming angry one day, and I was scowling as he ranted.

“Wha?!”

“How long would it take you to do each of the tasks on that list and do them properly?”

The answer was… longer than 24 hours if you plug in eating, showering and sleeping.

This was when I taught him the all important lesson of aiming for 3 of those things and forgiving yourself when you don’t do more than 3.

He became much more efficient with his time and to do lists after that and a lot kinder to himself.

3. Get A Good Nights Sleep

Because of my medical conditions, if I don’t get a deep sleep and wake up naturally, I become completely useless and have to write the day of completely.

If I write on a day like that, nine times out of ten, I have to rewrite on another day.

On those days I do tasks that require very little brain power and just give into it in the hope that the next day will be much more productive.

The number of times I read about people staying up to 3 am to work on a post or a product.. it baffles me.

Arianna Huffington has tried her best to wake people up to the power of sleep in her series of books.

When you are well rested, you become much more efficient and productive in your output.

I cannot emphasise enough, how much you need a good nights sleep.

4. Learn To Say No.

When I was diagnosed with my condition, it was obvious from the beginning that my energy levels were little to non-existent.

I didn’t have a choice about whether or not I said ‘no’ to things.

Physically, if I did something, I would become so exhausted my body would shut down completely.

Saying ‘no’ is one of my favourite things to do.

I don’t mind being selfish because when I’m looking after myself, I’m investing in my future and the future of my family.

Regarding productivity, saying no to things that will just waste your time can give YOU more time to work on the things that you want to work on!

5. Eliminate distractions

There are a lot of things in our lives that make us insanely unproductive and can distract easily.

1. To write without being distracted, I start with a clean desk.
2. Turn off notifications
3. Close your email provider (infant, try checking your email once or twice a day, you will be amazed how much more productive you become)
4. Set your daily priorities in the morning, or better yet, at the end of your day for the next morning.
5. Try to make your computer a distraction-free place; empty the bin, organise your folders and install an extension to ensure you are only able to open about five tabs at a time. For Chrome, you can install XTab https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/xtab/amddgdnlkmohapieeekfknakgdnpbleb?hl=en
6. Use Pomello and Trello or a regular timer set to 25 minutes.
7. Listen to binaural beats (check Spotify or youtube) and listen using headphones
8. Close the door
9. Make sure you have plenty of water to stay hydrated
10. Get up every 25 minutes and stretch your legs

How to become insanely productive with these tips that are proven to work.

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How To Write Super Share-Worthy Content In Under An Hour

Before you even consider launching your blog, you need to create at least ten pieces of content, so people have the option of perusing and not leaving immediately. For that, you need to learn how to write share-worthy content without losing your mind. The very first tip I have is; always remember to be as authentic as possible. Use your voice to share your advice and opinions and don’t be afraid of using it! I learnt the hard way that by trying to please everyone, you end up pleasing no-one.

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How To Create An Editorial Calendar With 7 Possible Tools To Use

How To Create An Editorial Calendar With 7 Possible Tools To Use

Are you overwhelmed at the idea of having enough content to fill your brand new blog? Or how you’re going to keep it all organised?

Have you ever wondered how all the pro bloggers manage to do it? Spoiler alert, they use an editorial calendar. Which is why I decided to teach you how to create an editorial calendar for your blog.

For Heart Handmade, I use CoSchedule as my editorial calendar, but for StartACraftBlog I’m using Trello as my editorial calendar for now.

Trello is my absolute secret weapon for staying completely organised in all aspects of my life, and now, I’m using it for my biz.

Keeping all of my To Do lists in trellis keeps me on top.

I use a desktop app for my Mac called Pomello, which uses the Pomodoro technique to keep me as productive as possible.

I’m skipping ahead though.

In need of an editorial calendar? And editorial calendar templates? Want to know why you need to use a content calendar for social media? And what programs and tools you should use? Let me show you how to create an editorial calendar with any of these 7 toolsLet’s go back to the beginning.

What is an editorial calendar and why do I need one?

We know that the number one way to get traffic to our blog is by being organised.

All editorial calendars will be different and tailored to how you work and what you’re working.

An effective calendar will contain:
  • Post Ideas
  • Upcoming Posts
  • Social Media Posts
  • Guest posts (for other sites and your own); including details of post author and location
  • Sharing schedule for other websites (linky parties etc.)
  • End goal of posts and how you will measure success

The best way to get started with an editorial calendar is to look what other bloggers are using effectively in their businesses.

If you’re struggling to start out, using a paper editorial calendar is a great way to help you get into the habit of using one.

Eventually, you’ll realise that using paper and converting to digital is wasting time as you’re inputting details twice.

I love to use paper and find that I write better on paper, but I’m wasting time when it comes to writing and then having to type it out.

How To Start An Editorial Calendar:

CoSchedule advises that a good calendar creation process is a three-step process:

1. Start with an annual review
2. Begin collecting ideas
3. Plug the content into monthly calendars

The reason being is, so you think about the big picture.

What is your end goal?

Knowing your end goal allows you to create content accordingly that will help you reach said goal.

If your goal is to make more affiliate sales for different programs, then you would divide your content into the various tools you want to promote.

Make sure the content is scattered, so you aren’t posting too much of the same content in a short space of time.

What are my options?

If you want to start with paper, coschedule have printable editorial calendar templates available.

Several solutions are:

  • Paper
  • Trello
  • Asana
  • A spreadsheet
  • Google Calendar
  • A WordPress plugin
  • Web based app + Premium Plugin like CoSchedule

Obviously, each of these options has pros and cons. Let’s explore them together.

How To Create An Editorial Calendar + 7 possibilities to get you started

The Paper option:

Pros:

  • Sometimes the best tool isn’t the most expensive or complicated.
    You can get free printable editorial calendar templates almost everywhere.
    It’s easy to get an at a glance view of your content.

Con’s

  • You have to input your information into post drafts manually.
    It’s not possible to get an ‘at a glance view’ on the computer once you have typed them in
    It can be hard to stay on top of if you don’t make a habit of checking it regularly
    No group usage capabilities unless you scan or take a photo and use Evernote and Skitch (to annotate)

 

Trello:

I’ve included screenshots of my Trello calendar set up to show you the various features.

Calendar View in Trello
The Calendar View in Trello

Pro’s

  • Rescheduling is easy too. Just drag and drop in the calendar view.
  • Easy to use
  • There are lots of list capabilities so you can include social media sharing & newsletter scheduling as well as blog content
  • You can share with a team
  • Due dates
  • It’s possible to add comments
  • You can add custom colour labels (there’s a colour blind friendly mode)
  • Treat it as an all in one calendar
  • It’s free (there are premium options and business options available)
  • It has Google Docs and Dropbox integration built in which makes for easy content sharing.
  • You can subscribe to any updates made by team members
  • It’s possible to add descriptions to cards
  • Power Up’s exist. (Like enabling the calendar option, adding stickers custom backgrounds)
  • Can access easily on multiple devices
Custom backgrounds in Trello
Custom backgrounds in Trello

 

Custom Labels in Trello
Custom Labels in Trello

 

Checklists in Trello
Checklists in Trello

Con’s

  • No WordPress integration
  • Doesn’t delete things, just archives them
  • Calendar doesn’t have custom backgrounds, just grey (the board has custom backgrounds)

Find a template you can copy here  or here

You can do the same with Asana.

A Spreadsheet:

Pros

  • Track the types of content you’ll be creating,
  • Different types of assignments
  • SEO Keywords
  • Teammate tasks
  • You can make cells into custom colours
  • Can have multiple workbooks per spreadsheet but that isn’t ideal (you want to consolidate everything into one calendar)
  • You can access easily on multiple devices

Cons

  • No monthly overview option
  • Too many workbooks and too much detail in different places can be overwhelming

 

 

Google Calendar:

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Can collaborate with people quickly
  • Custom colour labels
  • Google Calendar is free
  • You can attach images
  • Drag & drop items quickly
  • Can access easily on multiple devices

Cons

  • No WordPress integration
  • WordPress integration is possible but it looks terrible

See how to integrate Google Calendar with WordPress via Elegant Themes
WordPress plugins are useful because they integrate with software you’re already using, and they usually include a calendar view. Functionality is typically limited.

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5 Niche Choosing Strategies If You’re Entrepreneurially Challenged

You might have noticed the title and thought one of two things;

  • What the fudge is a niche?
  • Isn’t my niche ‘Crafts’?

My answers;

 

A niche (pronounced neesh or nitch if you’re American), is the overall ‘category’ your blog would fall under. Some people have the belief that a ‘niche’ is a set of demographics. It’s actually both.

 

defintion: “denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.”

Technically yes, but today I’m going to explain why you should narrow your focus even further.

 

What are the Niche Choosing Strategies? 

 

Should I create a personal, niche, or general blog?

Thanks to Jeff Goins, my basic rule of thumb for blogging now is this:

The more you narrow your focus, the more you broaden your audience.

Jeff Goins also wrote an article that said “Why finding your niche is bad advice” which you can read about here. Generally, I agree with most of what he writes in that article, except the title. I aim my content for a customer avatar (read about how you can do that in this post), but my audience is broad. Not a set of strict demographics. Just under one category, liked by a lot of ages in a lot of areas.

According to my most popular content, which I wrote two years into my crafts blog, my blog should be about handwriting. Doesn’t sound too handmade to me (for a blog called heart handmade uk). My biggest regret with my craft blog is that I did not define my niche early on and I didn’t define my target reader as much as I should have. It has been a complete nightmare to create content for one person because I now have a large audience that is tricky to monetise with products.

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