One question I get asked often is how do I do it? Namely have a full time job while also running this blog, my photography blog, commenting, taking the manual approach to Twitter, writing tons of guest posts all over the place, and working on extra-curricular projects. So I’d like to take this time to share with you how I do things.
But first, I want you to know that my system is not without its flaws. I get behind sometimes. So don’t look at this as a guide to productivity. It’s more like an inside look at what I do to get things done and keep my life somewhat balanced.
1. Get up early!
Probably the most important change I have made in the last month that has really increased my productivity by a ridiculous amount is getting up earlier every day. I used to get up, go to work, and then cram everything I had to do in the evenings, and once I started my photo site, that was no longer going to work.
Enter an awesome eBook by Steven Aitchison entitled How to Become an Advanced Early Riser (aff link). When he almost lost his job because he was routinely late due to oversleeping, he started training himself to wake up one hour earlier every day. Soon he was getting an extra four hours a day to get things done, just by getting up earlier.
While I haven’t gotten down to only getting five hours of sleep just yet, I am doing pretty good on somewhere between five to six hours of sleep, using the extra time for commenting and other blogging work I need to accomplish before my day job begins. It has made a HUGE difference!
2. Go with the creative flow.
Some would consider juggling multiple projects as a bad thing, but I like to look at it as having the freedom to do what I’m in the mood for when I’m in the mood to do it. So when I’m tired of writing about one topic, I can move onto another one. If I’m tired of writing, I can process some photos. And if I’m tired of being in front of the computer, I can go take some photos. All in all, having so many things going on is a great fit for my scanner personality!
3. Set early reminders in Google Calendar.
I haven’t been on top of this one lately, but I figured by writing about it, it would get me into the groove of actually doing it. Any time I have a new due date, whether it’s an article, guest post, advertising expiration, etc., I add it to my Google Calendar.
What I’ve found works for me is to set two reminders – one three days ahead of the due date, and then one day ahead of the due date. I’m making it a habit to look at my calendar on a daily basis, but if for whatever reason I don’t, I still have the email backup reminders.
4. Write and schedule posts ahead of time.
Whenever I’m in the mood to write, I just do it. This way, I have a little stockpile of posts that I can schedule for my site anytime I need them. I especially like to have my main site and photo posts for the week ready to go by Sunday evening, that way I can spend the week focusing on comments and social media, plus any guest posts that are coming up.
5. Get organized.
A big part of productivity is organization. I keep the blogs I want to comment on, for example, organized in Google Reader. It makes is easy to scan through my list to see who has new posts and who doesn’t.
I do my best to continually create new filters in Gmail to sort incoming emails into appropriate labels to keep my inbox as decluttered as possible. In fact, I love the new feature where you can set your labels to only show if there are unread items – this way I can see labels when there is something new to read in them, or hide them so I don’t feel too overwhelmed. And it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you have somewhere around 300 labels to choose from.
6. Keep a “rewards” board.
As much as I like to write, I have to admit one of my goals is to earn some extra income for a bevy of items I have on my wishlist. But keeping the wishlist on Amazon isn’t so motivating if you don’t have it open on your computer all the time. That’s why I have all the items I want on my “Wanted” board near my desk, also known as a less creative version of a vision board. Whenever I get discouraged or demotivated, taking a look at that helps boost my spirits!
7. Don’t neglect your health.
No one should be glued to their computer 90% of their waking hours. I like to mix up my routine with some workouts and especially tennis – this way I don’t feel like I’m always working, working, working. Staying healthy is important – if you get too stressed or too worn out, your immunity goes down, and if you get sick, you’ll lose a LOT of productivity time.
8. Don’t neglect your loved ones.
As much as we’d like to think so sometimes, we’re not going to live forever. The Last Post is a reminder that you don’t want to live with regrets, and you don’t want to miss out on time with those you care about most. No amount of money or things in this world will make up for precious moments with your family, friends, or pets.
Your Guide to Productivity
So those are the things I do to keep motivated, productive, and somewhat organized while also keeping my life as balanced as possible. Now I’d like to hear your thoughts about how you keep up with everything, including blogging!