You focused on growing your email list. You networked. You guest blogged on some awesome websites.
You made a conscious effort to respond to every single blog comment. You thanked people on Twitter. You happily said “yes” to any interview or roundup request.
You put in the time. You worked hard. You went above and beyond to make your blog successful.
That plan you mapped out for your blog months ago…
The milestones you hoped to reach…
Those goals you prayed would come to fruition…
They’re starting to happen.
It’s more than great. It’s amazing.
There’s just one problem…
You take a step back and notice the incremental improvements your blog made over time have grown into an unstoppable force of nature. It seems like only yesterday your blog was a tiny snowball sitting on top of a hill.
Now it’s a giant ice boulder careening towards an unsuspecting hipster wearing a scarf.
You see, what you didn’t understand when you began your blogging journey — what I didn’t understand — is the fruits of your labor are often laborious.
It was easy to respond to every blog comment when each post only received a small handful.
It was easy to thank everyone who shared your content on social media when few knew your content even existed.
It was easy to respond to every email when you received one once in a blue moon.
But because you responded to each and every comment, posts began receiving more comments.
Because you thanked everyone on social media for sharing your content, more people began sharing your content on social media.
Because you responded to every email you received, you began receiving more emails.
The more time you put into your blog, the more successful it becomes. The more successful your blog becomes, the more it demands of your time.
It’s a wonderful, vicious cycle.
How Do You Keep Your Head Above Water?
That’s the question, isn’t it?
How do you find the time to do all the activities you need to do?
How can you stay on top of your to-do list?
How do you keep your sanity?
The answer is both simple and complicated…
You need to manage your time better.
As your blog grows and you have more demands of your time, it’s imperative you use that time the most efficient way possible. You no longer have the luxury of being disorganized. You can’t “wing it.”
You need to embrace time management.
Thankfully, the blogosphere is filled with sharp minds with helpful advice.
If you have an obstacle, a question in need of answering, or a burden from which you need to be relieved; there are bloggers out there who have faced the same obstacles, required the same answers, and desired to be relieved from the same burdens.
And the best part?
They’ve blogged about it.
You just have to go find what they wrote.
Then you’ll discover why it’s so important to…
Have A Plan
Don’t sit down at your computer without a plan. If you don’t know exactly what you’re going to work on, the time will inevitably disappear into social media and internet neverland. ” [tweet this]
We bloggers are often our own worst enemies. We’ll sit down at a computer with a cup of coffee ready to “blog.” That’s good. But the problem is “blogging” isn’t a singular activity. It’s many activities.
It’s promotion. It’s commenting. It’s bouncing between different social media platforms. It’s answering emails. It’s reading. And, yes, it’s writing.
If you sit down at your computer without a plan, you’re inevitably going to waste time. This wasn’t a big problem in your blog’s early days. Now it is.
Now, you need to know what you will work on each time you sit down to “blog.” You need to schedule each activity. And then you need to…
Stick To The Schedule
Whatever the activity, the principle is the same: What gets scheduled gets done.” [tweet this]
Schedules shouldn’t be treated as suggestions.
We dismiss suggestions when they don’t fall in line with whatever we want at that particular moment. And if we what we want to do at that particular moment is watch cat videos on YouTube, any suggestion to “write 1,000 words” or “respond to 5 emails” will be ignored.
Write schedules in pen, not pencil. Stick to them. Unless an emergency or something unforeseen happens, stick to your schedule. True, it’s going to take…
When it’s time for me to blog, I’ve learned to shut off ALL distractions — especially email! — and just write.” [tweet this]
There’s a knock at the door. A child scrapes a knee. The fire alarm goes off while your husband is cooking his famous “Ramen Noodles with Hotdogs” recipe.
Things happen. You can’t predict them, and you can’t control them.
“Life” is going to throw distractions your way. It’s inevitable. Which is why you should do everything in your power to eliminate the distractions you can control.
Turn off the TV. Sign out of your email account. Tell your husband to order pizza.
When it’s time to “blog,” don’t let preventable distractions keep you from doing it. Focus. Dedicate yourself to the task at hand.
And when you’ve got it…
Know When To Stop
There is really no such thing as ‘perfect’ in this universe. So why pursue it? Just get the thing to a point that it needs to be and then move on.” [tweet this]
Yes, you should proofread. Yes, you should edit paragraphs and get them as tight as possible. Yes, you should do your best.
But there comes a time when need to let it go, click PUBLISH, and move on to your next task. Gone are the days where you can spend an absorbent amount of time on any one blogging activity.
You have only so much time in a day. The sooner you accept this reality, the better.
And while you’re at it…
Accept Your Limitations
Don’t stress out about being a perfect blogger. You have to remember that you are doing this part-time.” [tweet this]
This doesn’t apply to everyone (and I hope it won’t apply to me one day), but blogging isn’t your full-time job.
Maybe you get up and go to work everyday. Maybe you have a house to maintain and children to raise. Maybe you’re going to college.
Whatever your situation, you’re unable to devote as much time to blogging as others. You can’t wake up at 9 o’clock, grab a cup of coffee, and write a blog post. You can’t respond to emails throughout the day. You can’t respond to comments minutes after readers leave them.
Of course, this doesn’t stop you from comparing yourself to bloggers able to do these things. And this is a problem.
When you compare yourself to bloggers who blog full time, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
You don’t have the resources they do. You don’t have the flexibility. You don’t have the time.
Does this mean you should give up? Of course not! Does it mean you shouldn’t keep working harder than other bloggers? No.
It simply means there’s only so much you can do, and that’s okay.
Don’t be so hard on yourself.
You Have Big Dreams For Your Blog
We all do.
Some of these dreams are big, some are small.
And reaching those dreams becomes more difficult the closer you get to them.
Time, which was never on your side in the first place, begins to mock you. As your blog grows, it can feel as though you have 60 hours of work to do each week, and only 20 hours to do it.
The question is: what are you going to do about it?
Are you going throw your hands up in the air and give up? Or are you going to roll up your sleeves and get serious?
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to get serious.
The “winging it” era of your blog is over.
Let’s do this.
Creative Commons Image via Sean MacEntee.