“How to get shit done when you’re unmotivated” was one of the most popular articles on this blog. So I decided to go deeper with more actionable tips in this post with my time management and productivity tips.
Create a daily theme.
I came up with this idea when I had trouble maintaining a publishing schedule about a year ago. Back then I was only publishing one post per week on this blog, but my output has increased since then.
When there isn’t a cue to do something, you probably just won’t do it. It’s easy to just put off something if it seems slightly difficult. To lock myself down every week to write and publish one article, I set myself a “writing day.”
What does this mean for you?
It means you can tell yourself, “today is going to be writing day.” It use to be Saturday for me, but it can be any day for you.
Since there are seven days in a week, you can set your other days for other important blogging activities. A few ideas are:
- Pinterest marketing and designing pins day
- Writing my newsletter day
- Email list building day
- Personal development day (take an online course)
- SEO-ifying my blog posts day
This daily theme method is perfect for action items that need regular maintenance. For me, writing articles and designing pins are ongoing activities on my blog.
Kick it with Trello.
My entire blogging life is pretty much on Trello. This tool doesn’t help you reach your subscribers like Active Campaign does or help you reach a new audience like Pinterest does. But it keeps everything on the back end of your blog running smoothly.
Trello has a few features that are totally awesome:
- Create unlimited boards for each major endeavor you’re doing with your blog: editorial calendar, list building, weekly newsletter, Pinterest marketing, etc.
- Sort your cards by date so you get a bird’s eye view of what you need to focus on next
- Use the “calendar” power-up to get an editorial calendar view of your publishing calendar
- Set notifications to check up on your analytics every two weeks
When you set goals, you’re more likely to take them more seriously. Notice I said goals, not dreams. When people say they’re unmotivated, I believe they’re still in the dreaming stage. When you’re not clear on your goals, you don’t know what action to take next.
But once you know what to do, you also know what to say “no” to. For example, let’s say your goal is to double your traffic in the next 30 days. This means you’ll say yes to designing more pins because you know A/B testing your pins is important to your blog growth.
Contrary, you will say “no” to a friend if she invites you to a weekend brunch. You have nothing against the friend or brunch, but it’s just that her goals didn’t align with yours. (P.S. I really miss my brunch days!)
When you block time, you don’t let anything else get in the way. It helps to block off that time frame on your Google calendar just so you get a visual view of what’s going on.
Tackle and be mean about it.
If you’re someone who has trouble saying “no”, then blocking time out will be the challenge for you.
On the other hand, if you have trouble launching into action, then “tackle” will be the challenge for you. But to increase your productivity, you will need to tackle, tackle and tackle more.
If you have trouble tackling and getting things done, chances are you’re probably overwhelmed by the weight on your plate. Take a moment and start with a goal you want to meet. I recommend that this goal is quantifiable. For example, don’t just say, “I want more readers to my blog.” Instead say, “I want to double the traffic to my website from last month.”
You see in the first scenario, the goal is nothing more than a wishful dream. But in the second scenario, it becomes more tangible. Now that you know you want to double your traffic from the month before, you know how to approach this.
To double your traffic, you first look at last month’s traffic. Let’s say you have 500 pageviews. So your goal this month is to double it, which means it’s going to be 1000.
With a quantifiable goal, you can go about doing more of what already works and doing less of what doesn’t work to gain traffic. Now you might not even meet that goal sometimes. Other times, you will surpass it. The point here is for you to have a direction to head in.
Don’t wait for motivation, create it yourself.
With a feedback loop.
Once you’ve done a task or implemented a strategy long enough, you have enough experience to go back and review it. Is this working? Or should I make a tweak somewhere to make this even more effective?
The feedback loop tip has been especially motivating for me when I check my Pinterest analytics to see which pins are responsible for 80% of my traffic and which ones… FLOPPED. When I see that a pin is performing so well, I re-schedule it on Tailwind more frequently than I do any other pin.
These small wins can motivate you to try new experiments.
On the other hand, if you never take a few minutes to review what you’re doing at least every week or two, you can find yourself running on a never-ending hamster wheel that will never see the day of light.
Take small breaks and reward yourself.
Let’s face it, you’re human and you can only do so much. We all need to reward ourselves when something we did goes right. Taking short 25 minute or 1 hour breaks is a good idea.
Your mini reward can be something as small as a glass of water (self care anyone?). I find that walking away from my desk for a few minutes really helps to clear my mind.
Maybe the same can work for you too?
Batch same-ness together.
A few months ago, I told someone that “batching doesn’t work for me.” Little did I know that I’ve always done it with different aspects of my life without even knowing it. I just didn’t call it “batching” or anything for the matter.
These days, I swear by batching. If you want to know how I write up to 20+ articles each month, check this post out. I don’t do this every month (that would be cray cray!), but it’s helpful if you’re starting a blog and you need to write up a bunch of articles at once.
A few things you can batch are:
- Your weekly email newsletters
- Writing social media posts
- Taking blog photography one month at a time
- Designing social media posts
See clear with the famous 80/20 rule.
80% of my traffic for this blog comes from 7-8 articles that readers continue to adore. That kinda shucks at the same time because I spent 80% of my time writing the other 30 posts that aren’t as popular. (But to be fair, I didn’t know what was going to do well until I’ve tested it.)
The 80/20 rule can be applied to pretty much anything:
- 80% of your traffic is just going to come from Pinterest and 20% from Facebook groups, yet you spend 80% of your time talking to people on FB groups (This one happened to me btw. Boo.)
- 80% of your sales are going to come from 20% of your ideal clients. The other 80% of clients are probably complaining about your prices or something else
Knowing what and where to focus your efforts on is critical. This is why the feedback loop is so important. When I realized that FB groups brought in 80% of the drama and only 20% of the traffic, I banned myself from those groups.
Run a weekly review.
By now, you probably know how much reviews matter to me. No seriously, I really had a blog back in days where I reviewed books and TV shows.
But I digress.
If you keep “tackling” and never review, you’ll never know if what you’re doing is worth your time. I do both weekly and bi-weekly reviews.
For the weekly review, it’s less formal. I check if I’m at least meeting my goals halfway. Then for the bi-weekly goals, I sit down and get serious about reviewing my goals on paper.
I do recommend that you write down your goals on paper to solidify things. You can record this on Trello or on paper.
Get enough rest.
There is a reason they say your first few hours of your day are your “golden productivity hours.” Okay, maybe the name isn’t something official, but you know what I mean.
You can do your best work after you wake up from a good night’s sleep. Do your most difficult tasks first — and before lunch.
Don’t work when you’re tired.
I consistently have this problem. If I had a problem that I couldn’t think through before bed, I will be in bed shifting back and forth, coming up with a solution. That means even when my eyelids are droopy and I’m DEAD TIRED.
Don’t be that person. It’s better to go to bed when you’re tired or take a quick power nap if it’s in the middle of the day.
Good self-care, right?
Don’t try to go all at once with these tips. Pick 1-2 that are useful to you right now and start infusing ‘em into your schedule. Then weave whatever works for you into your routine so you can start kicking butt!