Balance. Such a hard thing to find when it comes to our time. There are two truths in my current life when it comes to time. First: as a blogger, it is vital that I spend time writing content, doing research, studying, & staying on top of the latest news in my industry. Without spending the time to know what is going on, I am not able to stay current and relevant. And without spending time blogging I lose readership.
So, my current truth #1: Time is Money. If i don’t spend time on my blog, and sometimes lots of it, I don’t make money.
But, with that being true, it is also true that my wife, house, etc still need attention. This truth is much simpler to explain. Really it comes down to this: my current truth #2: A Happy Wife Makes for a Happy Life. It’s as simple as that. Whether you have a spouse/significant other or not, it is still necessary to spend time on things other than just your blog.
So, back to balance. With these two very important aspects (my blog and my family) drawing needs from my time, how do I find time for both? It seems my blog could take up my entire life if I let it. It has done that many times before! So how do I continue to put the necessary time into my blog for its growth/sustainability, while still spending time strengthening my relationship with my wife? Well, I’ve found “Time-Hacks.” From using these time-saving hacks I’m slowly getting closer and closer to that ever-elusive BALANCE in my life.
Here are the 8 time-saving hacks that I use on a regular basis:
1. Listen to Audiobooks while Driving or Daily Chores
Audiobooks have become a very important resource to me. Research & learning are things that can often get put on the backburner. But as I said, they are so crucial to the success of your blog (or any success in general, really). So, I started buying audiobooks on iTunes. Really it’s all about multitasking here. Everyday while I’m driving, doing the dishes, or working out, I will throw on my headphones and listen to an audiobook. This allows me to get my studying in, while doing another necessary task. Think of it this way: any activity that you would usually listen to music to while doing, listen to an audiobook instead.
2. Blogging Drafts while Watching Movies with Significant Other
In an ideal world, I would have time to watch a movie every night with my wife. But it can be hard to justify spending two hours just sitting on the couch. So, we’ve come to an agreement. We’ll watch movies together, but I work on blogging drafts while we watch. I don’t dive into writing a complete post… the draft doesn’t take up as much of my attention, so I am still alert to what is going on in the movie.
This way, we are both happy. I get to spend that quality time with my wife that we both need. But I’m not antsy the whole time, feeling like I should be doing something more productive.
3. Save Every Article You Find Useful into a Categorized Spreadsheet
How many times have I wanted to reference an article that I read a few months, or even days, back, but I can’t remember quite where I found it? So, I spend the next hour searching and searching for it. Or, even worse, I give up and just don’t use the reference. It’s impossible to remember every bit of information you’ve ever read, and it is also impossible to always guess just what information you will want to recall later on.
So, I save myself future time and frustration by saving every article that I find useful into a categorized spreadsheet. That way, it is extremely easy to find whatever information I need whenever I need it.
4. Speed Reading Other Blog Posts
As stated, I am a busy person. And I feel like blog posts have gotten longer and longer lately. I just don’t have time to read through every blog post I come across. But there is still very beneficial information out there, that I want access to. So, I’ve started speed reading blog posts. Most of the valuable information can be found in a post’s titles, sub-headlines, bullets, and bold points.
If you scan blog posts for these items, you’ll get the gist of what the author is trying to say. Every once in a while I’ll come across a post that really grabs my attention and is full of useful information, and then I will read the whole thing. But usually I’ll read those major points, save it to my articles spreadsheet, and move on.
5. The 30-Minute Sprint
I focus on 30-minute sprints when writing. When my 30 minutes is up… I get up and away from my computer and get something else done besides blogging. For me, this is usually cleaning. I write for 30 minutes, then I clean for 30 minutes. The 30-minute sprint serves two purposes: more creativity and more productivity. On the creativity side, I am not sitting there for three hours with writer’s block. On the productivity side, this is also two-fold. First, when I know that I only have 30 minutes to work and then
I’m off the computer, I am much more productive with that given 30 minutes. If I knew I were going to be sitting at the computer for the next 8 hours straight, I might be more inclined to browse YouTube, Facebook, etc. But, when I know I only have 30 minutes to be “in the zone,” I use that time much more wisely. Second on the productivity side, I am able to do other things with my time than just blogging/computer work. I am also much more productive/quicker in my “off-computer” time, again knowing that I only have 30 minutes before it’s time to get back to work.
6. Keep Notes On Your Mobile Phone Using Evernote
Often my best ideas come to me while I’m away from my computer. Instead of pushing that idea aside because it came at an inconvenient time (and then trying to recall the idea later which I’m usually not able to do), or stopping what I’m doing to rush to my computer (which usually ends in me getting stuck at my computer for the next few hours, never returning to what I was originally working on), I started taking notes on my phone.
I use Evernote for this. Basically, it is a note taking app that has a very good mobile app. You can do pictures, text, audio, and video. That is my note-taking app of choice, but really the idea here is to keep notes on your mobile phone: take notes down when you have a genius idea, and then get back to that idea when you actually have the time for it.
7. Write Drafts Out on Paper While Doing a Task Away from Your Computer
Again, this is all about not losing out on great ideas just because they come at inopportune times. It just takes it one step further than just making a quick note. Say you’re doing the dishes, or you’re at a family event, and you have a sudden stroke of creativity.
You don’t want to lose the idea, but you don’t want to completely stop what you’re doing. Keep a notepad next to you so you can sketch out your draft as ideas come to you. Then sit down and write out the post when you have more time. You don’t have to ditch out at what you’re doing, but you also don’t lose the wave of creativity.
8. Create Content based on Objectives or Tasks You Plan on Completing
I use this one all the time. If I am wanting to learn about video-editing software for my blog, I keep notes of my research and write a blog article about it. If I am researching new plugins to make my blog better, I do my research in the form of a blog post. If I am doing a redesign on my blog, I document the steps I take and why. Again, multitasking is one of the best ways to use your time wisely. And in the blogging world, this is one of the best ways to multitask.
If you are already planning on doing the research/completing the task, then kill two birds with one stone and write a blog article about it! Let that work/research do double-duty for you: learning and blog traffic.
I use each of these Time-Hacks on at least a daily or weekly basis. As a blogger, these time-saving hacks have made it possible for me to keep my blog AND my family (and sometimes even my sanity). Try out a few of these, and see if they can help you save time, and make time in your life for things other than just your blog.
Check out our previous articles:
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