Do you have great time management skills? Most people wish they could do a better job staying focused on a task and eliminating distractions. If you find yourself sitting in front of the computer surfing when you shouldn't be or you sit in front of the computer struggling to get started to write, you're not alone. To get a better grasp on your time, I suggest time blocking.
Time blocking has been used for years in business development to maximize selling hours. However, now that I’m writing and consulting full-time, I find it even more valuable. Essentially, you block your calendar by color and only allow yourself to do certain activities during that time. Here’s how I suggest bloggers color code their day.
This is your money-making time. For a blogger, this is the time that you're putting together your editorial calendar and writing. Period. Since most of us work from home, it's easy to get distracted so I suggest that green time is when the kids are in school and you can be uninterrupted for a couple of hours at a time. I also suggest that you build a half hour of time in the morning and late in the day to check your social media accounts and interact with your followers. Sticking to a schedule will allow you to interact without getting sucked into the drama of Facebook. If you are freelancing or you're a virtual assistant, this is the time that you'd schedule those tasks as well.
Tasks I include in green time:
- Planning your editorial calendar
- Writing and Scheduling Posts
- Cooking and crafting time for posts
- Editing images
- Update old posts (adding images and links)
- Social media strategy (not posting)
- Interacting with social media followers (not scheduling)
- Crafting weekly email blast
- Freelance or VA work
- Client appointments/phone calls
Here's a sample schedule. Yes, I do everything by Google calendar. You can do this old school with highlighters in a planner.
This is the time that you look for other blogging opportunities and schedule your social media, I highly recommend that you use some sort of scheduler to help lighten the load. Over the years, I've used Hootsuite, however, I've transitioned the majority of my scheduling to Meet Edgar and so far, I'm liking it. Also in blue time? Checking email, posting in linky parties and activity for blogging task groups.
Tasks I include in blue time:
- Check email
- Apply for blogging opportunities
- Research for posts
- Schedule social media
- Post in blog hops and linky parties
- Blogging task group activity
- Website maintenance
This is when you do all the tasks that are necessary for business- bill clients if you're a virtual assistant and put your expenses in a spreadsheet for taxes. Red time for me is doing all the things that are tedious and I hate (hence, why it's red) but I have to get them done. By time blocking, I make sure that things stay on track.
Tasks I include in red time:
- Update social media numbers
- Check Google Analytics
- Check dashboards of ad and affiliate networks
- Update tracking spreadsheets
- Log-in to Pay Pal to check payment status, transfer funds etc.
- Bill clients
Other things I recommend:
- Block off time for you. For me, it’s magenta time. That’s when I play tennis or take a walk. I learned a long time ago that if I don’t plan for me-time, it doesn’t happen.
- If you are a working mom, make sure you merge your schedule with your kids. My daughter’s feeds right into mine in purple and I put all the activities that I can into a calendar before the school year begins. That way I don’t miss anything and there are no surprises.
- Schedule your social media on the weekend. Take an hour on Sunday and just get it done. You’ll eliminate some of your wasted time that you surf online during the week.
Time blocking is easy but it also takes discipline. Try it for a month and see how it goes. Come up with a system that works for you. You’ll see more production and less time wasted. I promise!
How do you manage your time? What other tasks would you add to the list?