As business owners, we have a lot on our mind because, let’s face it: we do A LOT! When you’re not working on client fulfillment, ideas for new programs come seeping in or you suddenly remember that old accounting issue that has to get cleared up.
Yep, we deal with a lot. From my position as The Blog Babe, I’ve noticed something that’s pretty universal in the world of entrepreneurship: when business owners get busy, blogging is usually the first thing to go! (By the way, Hubspot recently released a report of data gathered from thousands of entrepreneurs and online marketers (get it here) revealing that businesses who invested time into blogging as a marketing tool made more money than those that didn’t. So… yeah, it’s not really a good thing when blogging falls to the wayside!)
Alright, so how do you keep your mind clear when you’re super busy so you can STILL write fantastic blog posts that your perfect potential clients will eat up? How can you more easily juggle your workload while still making time to nurture a lovely, informative and fun blog? Here are 5 tips to stay on track.
1. Regular Brain Dumps are Vital
I’m so grateful to Dallas Travers, who taught me about the “Brain Dump.” You know those moments where you start to feel like you’re going to go crazy because there’s so much information rattling around your brain? I have good news: there is a FANTASTIC solution that’s free and really easy to do.
Sit down with a pen and paper. If you have a giant white board in your kitchen, like I do, this is also a great place to conduct this exercise. Start writing a list of all the things that you need to do. Don’t stop until you feel like you can’t think of anything else: let it all out, even the things that seem really simple and obvious, like putting away your socks. If the thought takes up space in your brain, it gets a space on the page!
I like to give myself a couple minutes after doing the dump, maybe get a glass of water or take a deep breath. When you come back to the list, look for things that are similar and put them into groups. For instance, one group might be “Current Client Fulfillment,” or “Personal Activities.” When they’re organized, they’ll seem much easier to break down and tackle (and you might even find a few things that don’t really need to get done. When that happens, strike them off the list entirely!).
Finally, note which tasks are the most urgent. Which ones need to be done right away or suffer consequences? When you can see what needs immediate attention, you’ll be able to structure your work day much more easily because you know what needs to get done first.
2. Schedule Some Time
Okay, once you know what needs to happen when, it’s only a matter of scheduling. Put it on your calendar! When I know that I have already scheduled time to work on a certain project, I have so much more peace of mind the next time it pops up in my head when I’m driving to the grocery store. “Oh yeah, I scheduled a time slot to work on that on Wednesday, so I don’t need to worry about it right now.” Awesome.
Everyone will have a different preference for scheduling, and it’s important that you find what works best for you. Personally, I prefer to spend Monday and Tuesday working on internal projects like blog writing or program development. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are days for phone calls, which might look like speaking to current clients or reaching out to people with whom I would like to work.
It’s totally up to you, but when you can schedule it, you can relax knowing it will get done!
3. Editorial Calendar
Remember that big ‘ole brain dump you did earlier? I’ll bet when you were scribbling down all the things you had to do, there were other issues that came up. Issues that might make excellent blog posts because they’re right at the forefront of your mind. As a general rule of thumb, every very time you have an idea for a blog post, make sure and jot it down! Trust me, I’ve lost too many great topics because I thought to myself, “I’ll remember that! How could I possibly forget a great idea like that?”
These spontaneous topic ideas are so important because not only are they the very issues you’re dealing with in your business or life at the time, but chances are your perfect clients are dealing with the same issues.
Creating an editorial calendar will work wonders for your productivity. Remember, the key to a good calendar is one that aligns your blog topics and the projects that are going on in your business. For instance, if I’m launching a program on Friday, it’s good practice to blog about it the Tuesday before. See what I mean? This way you’re keeping your clients up to speed with your offerings and activities. Your blog is a great tool for that.
Plan out which posts will be videos and which will be text, which day you’ll post (hint: make sure it’s the same day and same time each week!) Sometimes I even like to go as far as writing bullets under each title so I know what sub-points I’m going to make (by the way, this will make it so much easier when you actually sit down to write the darn thing).
4. Schedule Your Shares
Social media can be so much fun. We all love poking around Twitter and Facebook, but guess what? Chances are that sitting at your desk posting to Twitter isn’t going to generate more income right NOW. Sure, social media is a great way to nurture relationships with your audience, but it’s not the best use of your time (unless you’re just taking a 5 minute break… but who can take just 5 minutes on Twitter? If you can, tell me how!).
Use platforms like Buffer or Hootsuite or SocialOomph to schedule your tweets and Facebook posts ahead of time. This way, you can work on a project that will actually generate income for your business and still know that your social media presence is being maintained. Peace of mind? Oh, yeah!
A little tip about scheduling social media posts: take it just one week at a time. When I went crying to Twitter genius Phil Pallen that trying to write a month’s worth of social media posts was killing me, he reassured me that NO ONE has the stamina to do it all at once. Set aside an hour once a week and just get it done. Phil wrote a great and easy-to-read book about Twitter mastery that I highly recommend, called Shut Up and Tweet!
When you’re scheduling posts, Buffer will even make suggestions for you – let it be as easy as possible (and also make sure that your WordPress site is set up to automatically send out your blogs once they’re posted!).
5. Take a Day Off
There’s an unfortunate mentality in the entrepreneurial world that glorifies hard work with no break. Have you noticed friends kind of… well… bragging that they’ve been working “so hard” with no break?
Listen, I’m all about showing up to work because you said you would and getting the job done no matter what. But there’s this little thing called your sanity that needs to be top priority! If you’re seriously suffering from overwhelm and mental fatigue, take a look at your last month: did you spend any time at all relaxing and enjoying your life? Or were you hopping from one task to the next in the name of “getting it all done”?
There’s a funny reality that I’ve noticed. Sometimes, when you’re the most stressed about getting everything done, what you actually need to do is take a break! If you’re getting that worn-out feeling, close the computer, put on your sunglasses and go outside for a walk. Or make dinner with your friends or partner. You started your own business because you wanted to be able to make your own schedule and live the life of your dreams, right? I hereby grant you permission to do just that.
Alright, ready for some homework this week?
Conduct your brain dump. Right now. Seriously – as soon as you finish reading this blog post, put a pen to paper and dump it all out! Bonus if you post a comment in the area below.
By the way, every person who tweets about their homework assignment to me @allisonvolk will be entered to win a Full Ride Scholarship to my upcoming program #BlogStar. Pretty rad if you ask me! Remember, you have a unique position to share with the world. Don’t be shy about getting out there and connecting with the people who really need your help: you rock!