Darren has started a group writing project over at Problogger titled “Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers“. Now, I’m not the most effective blogger in the world, but I know how to be effective, it’s just sometimes I’m easily distracted (or as she who must be obeyed would say…nearly always distracted). Sometimes I wonder if I was a child today whether I might suffer from ADHD somewhat, only because focusing over long periods of time can be difficult, but with such an amazing resource such as the internet and blogs, lets face it, its easy to be distracted. (try visiting Wikipedia, if I end up there looking for something sometimes I can spend an hour there looking at other interesting stuff….because its interesting 🙂 ).
The key of course to being a highly effective blogger is discipline, and discipline required structure. Structure of course leads to habbit, and habbit is a natural tool that can make anyone more effective if its focused in the right direction.
After my week off, and having moved house and laid floors before that (a huge time out and distraction in itself) I’ve come back with a zeal to get back into the habbits that will make me a more effective blogger.
These are the steps I’d recommend in becoming a highly effective blogger.
1. Set yourself up a daily plan
I work on a Monday to Friday plan mainly because the family is at home on weekends, so I’m always going to have distractions on Saturday and Sunday. This is my rough plan for effective work, the times may differ some what everyday depending on external factors:
7am: first read of email, maybe 5-10 minutes prior to breakfast
I use this time to delete email, read email I need to read, maybe the odd quick response for anything urgent, but basically getting my head around what I need to deal with in the day a head.
8:30-11:30am: In this order: email, forums, feeds, blogging.
Email is a distraction at the best of times, so it’s important to get on top of it ASAP so you can clear your time for the rest of the day. Sometimes emails refer to blogging. I’ll open up a new window for the email and come back to it in my blogging time. I progress to forums because I’ve become an active participant in a few smaller forums, and I find this is important for networking, although I try to spend maybe only 15-20 minutes on forums. After this it’s catching up with my feed reading in Bloglines, then blogging.
My blogging is split into:
personal blog first being my main blog
my b5media blogs
personal projects (including non blog sites)
These all including posting, basic maintenance (including deleting spam) and other matters that need to be attended to.
11:30am-12:30pm: lunch. I usually eat in front of the computer, so I’ll take this time to read the Sydney Morning Herald, check out a few sites, do some reading.
12:30pm-4:30pm: b5media work, including site maintenance, designing new sites etc. Usually I aim to take a break for maybe 30minutes during this time for some exercise, a bike ride, walk etc.
4:30pm: family gets home.
5:30pm-evening: In between family matters I’ll keep up with email, occasional post that sort of thing, and the occasional conference call usually after my son goes to bed.
Dont forget in any plan it’s important to have some time out. I’ve started doing a lot less a night recently so I can relax some more, spend some more time with she who must be obeyed. Burning out doesn’t help….and I should know 🙂
The key to a daily plan, or even if you’re only a part time blogger, is putting aside time to focus on particular areas you need to focus on.
2. Repeat it daily
I cant emphasise enough the importance of keeping to your plan. It’s easy to walk away, it’s hard to stick to it. If you fall off the horse, get back on it. I’m just getting back on my horse now after falling off it maybe 4-6 weeks ago.
3. Don’t be afraid to change it
Things change over time, don’t be afraid to change your plan, because a plan that doesn’t work…doesn’t work. You’ll know by your output how well it’s working for you.
I hope this advice is of some use. The book is called 7 habbits of….for a reason. Habbits are the key to being an effective, and even a successful blogger. It’s a long road for anyone, but one well and truly worth going down.