This guest post was written by Timo Kiander who is a part-time blogger who blogs at http://www.timokiander.com
If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guest post guidelines here.
Many people build their blogs while having a 9-5 job. Blogging requires work and in order to make the most out of one’s free time, the blogger has to adopt certain productive habits.
I have made a list of the 7 habits I have used to maintain and develop my blog, while working 9-5, having a family life and certain time-consuming hobbies (marathons and triathlons) at the same time.
1. Remember your purpose
This is the most important point of all. In order to motivate yourself to keep on writing and building your blog, you need to understand why you are doing this.
Knowing, why you started your blog in the first place and what is your end goal are the things that push you forward – even in those times when you feel you don’t like working at all.
For example, you could be thinking, that the reason you started out was to become an authority in your niche and that you want to have a successful online business, working at home.
Or, maybe you want to escape the 9-5 and start doing what your passion is – full-time. That is another way of defining your purpose and why you started your blog in the first place.
Whatever the purpose is, remembering it motivates you and all of a sudden, you will find time for your blogging activities.
2. Know your priorities
When I work, I want to focus on my blog first and on other stuff later. For example, I have cut down the amount of TV time to minimum, because watching TV won’t unfortunately build my blog.
When you are a part-time blogger, you have to set the priorities right. You have to remember, that it takes work to grow your blog and make it successful. Because of that, you may have to give up on certain things (at least temporarily), that you used to do before.
3. Wake up early
I used to despise early wake ups some years ago. However, at some point I realized that in order to get all the important stuff done in a day (like creating content for my blog) I have to wake up early.
If you are a late sleeper, start waking up a bit earlier every morning. Eventually your early wake up is not a problem at all and it becomes your second nature.
Also, early wake ups mean that you have to get into bed earlier, so tweaking your going to bed times may be necessary too.
4. Prepare in advance
You should create a schedule to follow each day, so that you know what tasks you are doing on a certain day.
For example, on Mondays and Tuesdays, you could be publishing a blog post to your blog, on Wednesdays you could be promoting your post on social media, on Thursdays and Fridays, you could be writing a guest post to another blog in your niche and on weekends you could be working on other projects.
Not only is it important to create a schedule to follow, it is also important to have brainstorming and preparation sessions as well.
In my case, I tend to brainstorm new blog post topics and outline the coming posts on Sundays, so that when I eventually start crafting my posts, I’m able to get started and complete them as quickly as possible.
5. Sleep enough
It is crucial to have enough sleep for your well-being. If you are not getting enough sleep, your productivity will take a hit and producing quality content becomes harder.
We all have our personal requirements for how much sleep we need. However, in most cases it is between 7-8 hours a night. That recharges your brain enough to keep you creative and you are able to come up with quality content much easier.
6. Apply the 80/20 Rule to your content and promotions
When you are working 9-5, it is crucial, that you only focus on the essential parts of your blog. That’s why it’s important to apply the 80/20 rule to your content creation and promotion.
80/20 rule states, that focusing on 20% of something will bring you 80% of results back (for instance, 20% of your customers bring you 80% of sales).
When you apply this principle to blogging, you could decide to blog by producing text-based content only.
The same goes with content promotion. Although there are many ways to promote your content, you should focus on only the essential ones – not all of them.
How do you know which type of content to focus on or which promotion strategy to employ? You survey your audience, test different types of content and track the results.
For example, if you focused on podcasts, but they are not taking off, you have to figure out if there is a reason to continue producing those or is there anything else that could be done to improve the situation.
It is the same situation with content promotion too. You should focus on those places where your potential customers hang out (depending on your niche). It is useless to spread yourself too thin by promoting on every possible social media platform out there.
You can also see the raw figures of your traffic by looking at your statistics program (like Google Analytics), which tells where you get the most traffic from and maybe focus on those sources, which are sending you most of the traffic.
Finally, you can always figure out what your audience wants by asking them. For example, you could create a free survey at SurveyMonkey.com and then post a message to your e-mail list, asking your subscribers to fill-in the survey about your content.
You can also include a survey on your blog too and ask your readers opinions on your content and for instance the topics you should write about.
7. Cut down the training to minimum
Internet is a wonderful place, because there are so many experts easily available – offering their expertise.
I’m a big fan of education, but there has to be a limit.
If the training fits well to your online business goals, then it’s OK to acquire new skills. However, if the training is eating your valuable time from content creation, relationship building or product/service creation, then something has to be changed.
Having one training course at a time, mastering it, applying it to your business and then perhaps going after other training is a much more productive way to proceed. This way, you are not overwhelming yourself and you can really take full advantage of your training investment.
There are other ways to improve your productivity when you are blogging part-time, but I wanted to cover the things I have experienced myself.
If you apply these 7 habits, you will see your productivity increase and you can focus on more essential things on your blog or in your online business.
Timo Kiander is a part-time blogger who blogs at http://www.timokiander.com. If you want to improve your
online business productivity, visit his blog and grab the free e-book: “101 Tips For Becoming a Productivity Superstar”
Dear Timo –
I like this story because it acknowledges that there are people who do not strain to put an article online every day.
I don’t think that makes them “part-time.”
My opinion is that your readers get used to your schedule. I post about every 5 to 7 days and I hope what I write on will be interesting.
I consider myself a full time blogger. Maybe I should think again.
Some post stuff just to get it out there. Most, not all, put up some boring stuff and wear their welcome out.
I liked all your points though. I like to read something that make me revaluate what I am doing – and where I think I am going.
Thank your for you comments.
I’m publishing one full-length post on Mondays and on Fridays I’m publishing a video tip. This schedule seems to work out just fine for me.
Great to hear that my post raised some thoughts in you 🙂
We believe Google likes to see a consistent pattern of regular posting. So once every 5 – 7 days is fine…as long as you stick to that.
I keep trying to get into a pattern like Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays but I often miss a day.
I really should take my own advice and stick to it.
Cut the training to minimum. I can relate to that. I have spent hundreds of hours learning stuffs which I never use but thinking I might need the knowledge some time in the future.
I used to be in that position too. I bought a training course after each other and I never used them.
Now I closely evaluate a training program from my personal needs. Other great way would be for example to figure out, if that’s something your business is going to need.
Either way, even if you have multiple courses you have bought and you decided to complete them at some point, going through them one at a time (+implementing them) is the best way to proceed.
You sound just like me!
I often buy books thinking I will read them I must have about 20 – 30 books left to read!
Thanks Timo for the great tips. When it comes to the posting you have to creat great post, not just something written down. i like to spend more hours on writing a good post rather than just posting something more often that really doesn’t help my reader. Hope i said that right. LOl
Thank you again for the tips to also get oganized with our blogging.
Thank you! Great to hear you liked my post 🙂
I agree – I rather spend a bit more time on my posts too before publishing them than just coming up with a mediocre posts without any value.
It’s the quality content that your readers are going to appreciate more.
Not only quality but a different spin to what most others say. Sharing your personal experience often gives it the difference needed.
Habits 2,3 and 4 Ditto. What do you want and what will you do to get it? Very good. Great reminder to everyone.
Thank you for your comment. Glad that you liked my tips 🙂
I’ve found not only do you have to limit the training, you have to unsubscribe from all the gurus who will try to sell you training you don’t need.
After awhile, you’re not a newbie and you don’t need newbie information. I find I need to focus on doing what I’ve learned instead of learning something new all the time. When a knowledge gap appears, there is training out there to cover it, and I go and get it when that happens.
Otherwise, I keep using those unsubscribe buttons in all those unnecessary emails trying to sell me on the latest greatest thing.
I’m not a morning person, though, so I tend to stay up late to write or promote, sleep later, and I don’t have to be to work until 3:30 in the afternoon, so it works for me. All I do if I get up earlier is drink more coffee and consume more morning news. I’m just not awake and my creative juices aren’t flowing at all.
Great post and guidelines,
Thank you for your comments!
The less “e-mail distraction” we have the better . And less temptations there are tobuy the next shiny thing 🙂
I remember when I started – I joined numerous lists. Email after email after email.
I quickly found out that you only ever hear from them when they want to launch something.
I only ever hear from Frank Kern (bless him) when he is launching something.
These guys do make it work though because they attract huge numbers of newbies irres[ective of the number of unsubscribers (like you and I).
Nice article, with some useful tips. However I disagree with #3 – I love working late, or relaxing late and unwinding from the day when it’s peaceful. Mornings are hectic and rushed, catching up on emails, urgent requests and planning the day. I don’t mind it, but getting up early only happens when my son wants me too 🙂
In understand your point.
We all have to find the right rhythm of working – and what works the best way is the right way 🙂
As a part-time blogger, I certainly need these tips to improve productivity. I always spend too much time learning.
Great to hear that you found these tips helpful!
Yes, I think that cutting down the learning can free up your time for other things – like creating a free report for your audience or building your e-mail list.
I agree David, I recently made a resolution to not watch any webinars or buy any new ebooks until I create an ebook of my own and take care of my blog SEO.
Buying too many products can be very overwhelming.
My advice: Don’t keep buying ‘shiny new object’s!
I love the article! It motivates me to do more blogs in spite of a busy schedules. If you have the passion, you will prioritize things. Putting First things first, minimize unnecessary or unproductive work, lessen idle time and Time is considered as precious. Therefore, every clock tick counts.
I’m happy to hear that you got extra motivation out of this article 🙂
I agree; if you are passionate about something, there is always time for your passion!
Great Post on an important topic!
It´s a good idea to write down your goals from time to time. This helps to keep the right focus on the thinks that really briong results!
Yes, I agree. Having goals clearly in your mind helps to focus the right things and to filter out the things that are not essential to reaching that goal.
Great tips Timo!
Wake up early is one that I used to struggle with a lot since I am a night owl.
But, I have been doing the exact same thing you mentioned (waking up a bit earlier each day and going to bed a bit earlier) and now as you said, it has become like a second nature.
I used to sleep in til 11-12, but now even on the weekend I get up no latter than 10.
Where I come from (Persia) we actually have a saying(more like a poem) about waking up early, which basically says:
“Wake up early to be both healthy and successful”
(sorry when you translate it, it doesn’t sound much poem-y!
@Satrap, we have a similar one in English:
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”. — Benjamin Franklin
Great poem! I think that that the translation of yours captured the essence of it.
I liked that last one. I ended up dumping some blogs I was reading faithfully just because I found that they were echoing what I had read before with a little variance. They were saying that they could teach me whatever but some things I can learn on my own quite bit quicker.
That is true. Every once in a while we should use some critical thinking and stop reading something (blogs, newsletters …), because it doesn’t resonate with us anymore.
Also turn off the social media site, browser and IM’s, it is really time killing to check ’em every minute. Nice post!
You are correct. When you are trying to focus on something, you should cut off all the distraction sources if possible.
I really admire and appreciate your firm and well fabricated thoughts,i loved your 7 habits which you have described here for any part time blogger to become productive.Purpose and Priorities are two extremely important things to be consider because without these two things no one can accomplish any task whether it is blog or any other thing.We should know and remember the exact purpose of the task for which we are planning or doing it already and giving the priority is like something that if we want fruits in a future from any particular tree then in the present we have to show our priorities to it as providing it proper care and nourishment.I am highly impress with your 7th point which is “Cut down the training to minimum”…I do agree with you,mostly i have seen people wasting there time only for collecting books and decorating there book shelves,they feel privileged in doing that,they have an appetite for grabbing knowledge and it is good too,but the thing is that they don’t know how to apply it or i can say they get afraid whether they know enough for the start or not.I wanna confess one thing in front of you Timo,awwww i don’t take proper sleep,that is my bad…..But i’ll promise you,from today i will add this point also in my TO-DO LIST.I have enjoyed reading your post dear friend.Thank you for sharing such a great,valuable,informative,considerable and educational content with us.
Good Luck and God Bless!!
Great to hear that you enjoyed my article!
Yes, I have been struggling with enough sleep at times too. I have realized, that when I don’t get enough sleep, I feel pretty unproductive.
I have a white borad (that I often rave about). I add my daily tasks and just love ticking themk off.
The white board makes me focus!
Very nice article. What I believe is that if you have clarity, everything will come to you. The last weeks I can’t sleep. It is a weird emotion that I’ve never felt before. I can’t sleep because “I know where I am going”. I thought it was difficult in the beginning, it was like a big mountain I have to climb! But when you do one thing at a time and focus on what will give you ONLY results, it starts being real and it feels fantastic!
Thank you for your comments 🙂
Yes … it’s all about clarity and knowing who you are.
I have been doing this same kind of searching myself and I feel that I have finally found my thing 🙂
Content promotion used to drive me crazy because I tried to put my links everywhere. Now that I’m content with just using a few places, as you mentioned, my blogging time is less frenetic. Excellent post!
You are right. Focusing on just certain places is much better way to proceed than trying to be everywhere.
It takes some testing though, to figure out the best places that bring you most of the results.
That’s a good approach. I think when we start out, we want to be ‘everywhere’.
Then we realize just being seen in a few good quality places on-line works.
Excellent to the point tips/strategies for successful blogging.
I’ve been blogging for a couple of years now and for the most part I learned most of this the hard way…
But I finally seemed to have come to grips with how to blog and now I am determined to turn it into a full time living…I really love it!
I will keep your list close at hand…may even post it close to my computer as there are a few things on that list that I fall back into…creatures of habit I guess 😉
Managing time is of utmost importance…but getting focused in a certain area is paramount to moving forward consistently…and sticking to one thing/course at a time is so important and one that helps me tremendously.
Thank you 🙂
As a part-time blogger myself I want to take the most out of my free time and these strategies have worked for me quite well too.
When I started working online full-time 5 years ago, the hardest thing for me was working on a 9-5 schedule. I think it’s important for full-timers to also be disciplined and balanced. If not, you will pay for it with your health.
Good stuff and thanks for the advice.
Great to hear that this post was helpful – even when working full-time online.
Nice post Andrew! I do work full time and blogging is another thing, tip for bloggers who have a 9-5 commitment. Have a 30min everyday to write a post, until you finish the article. This way it’ll be less time and more work done.
Thank you 🙂
Especially for improving my writing productivity, I work with a timer. It gives me a total concentration and I get lots of stuff done this way.
Knowing my priorities is what I picked
put from this list. Once we ascertain
our top priority, focus is enhanced. Thank
you for sharing this.
That is true. Priorities are important – otherwise you could be wasting your energy to less-valuable tasks, which do not take you closer to your goals.
Thanks for this concise post. I am just starting out on blogging and find time really precious. There never seems to be enough time to do everything for my blog. Its fun to create content and make the blog better, but as a part-timer, there just seems to be so much to do. Your tips are great to encouraged me to stay focus. BTW, do you have effective advice on promoting the blog?
Thank you 🙂
I have tested different methods of promotion and I’m now getting more and more into guest posting and YouTube.
Also, when it comes to social bookmarking sites, I try to pick one site to focus on (which in my case is BizSugar). Being involved in too many sites just burns your energy.
Being involved in any bookmarking site is much more thank just promoting yourself (you should be involved with discussions too) so you should rather pick one or two and focus on those communities only.
What I do as well is commenting, although I don’t look at it from link building’s perspective.
I find it to be a great way if creating relationships with other bloggers.
One thing to consider are question and answer sites (like Quora). By answering people’s questions, you are able to build your authority on your niche and eventually people will find you 🙂 Also, it is a great way to learn what are the problems of your potential readers.
I think your advice is spot on and effective. Will get to trying a few of these. Cheers
That “getting up early” thing is such an important one. We’ve been much more structured with mornings around here, and I’m seeing the benefits all day long.
I’m glad to hear that!
I feel that changing my daily rhythm (later riser -> early riser) has made all the difference.
Many blog posts and couple of e-book have been born this way 🙂
Such a great detailed post. I can highly recommend sleeping enough yet sleeping early for much active mind and productive results (good thing I work out every morning so I get used to this) plus the 80/20 principle where I take out 80% of the time consuming work to my outsourcers while I do 20% of the strategizing for the income-producing part of my online business.
Thank you very much!
I agree. If I sleep too little, I have a headache and my day is ruined.
It’s all about respecting your body too – giving it enough rest because it truly deserves it!
Love your 80/20 strategy too! That’s the right balance – let others handle routine stuff while you focus on valuable things on your business instead.
i totally agree with u.. being a part time blogger i have to sacrifice my sleep. moreover i m posting this comment at 5.am