5 Productivity Tips for Overwhelmed Bloggers

productivity tips bloggers

I’m not going to lie – I’m feeling overwhelmed right now.

The start of the year is always busy with tax and VAT returns, and new annual contracts. Then there’s chasing up all the things that didn’t get done in the pre-Christmas craziness.

On top of that, I’ve got two major new projects at work, and I’ve taken on a couple of professional courses. Oh, and there’s the teeny matter of single parenting a busy 11-year-old.

When you’re a single parent, the toughest thing is having nobody to hand over to. Running your own business is, I’m realising, just the same. When things get super busy, you just have to find more time, because there is nobody else. It’s tough.

Just to be clear – I do realise I have a great job, and I’m fortunate to be able to earn a living doing something I enjoy.

But I don’t enjoy feeling overwhelmed. I feel stressed, and run down. Mentally, I don’t perform well. When I’m overwhelmed, I can easily waste a whole morning panicking and not getting anything done.

I start reading an email and need to look up some information to respond. But then I spot a Facebook thread that needs attending to. Or I see a post on Facebook that I need to share with a client… is it just me? There’s so much to do, my brain seizes up, and I do nothing.

This past week or so, though, I’ve been in the office solo and working on my techniques to GET SH!T DONE. So in case you’re a mental flapper like me, here are 5 top tips for getting things done when you’re overwhelmed.

 

1 – Make a List

There’s something about the action of writing a list that helps me to focus. We have a whiteboard in the office with a daily task list, but I also find a blank page in my notebook, write the day at the top of the page, and do a list, so I can cross items off. As a bonus, this is a valid reason to buy new stationery.

2 – Start Simple, then Go Hard

Mentally, I’m like a small puppy, in that I’m motivated by rewards. So I’ll start my day with one of the easiest jobs on my list – usually sending out new opportunities to bloggers via the website. It takes just a couple of minutes but means I can tick off a couple of items on my list in minutes. Feeling I’ve done something productive for a client makes me happy.

Once I’ve done that I’m a lot more inclined to focus on something trickier, so I’ll take on the hardest job on my list, while I’m still mentally sharp, and the coffee on my desk hasn’t gone cold yet.

3 – Organise your Email

When I’m trying to focus, the thing that’s most likely to derail me is email. Always. You can waste so much time flicking through emails, thinking, “I’ll get to that later,” or “I know what I’ll say to that.”

Firstly, I use auto-responses to reply to emails. This saves me typing the same thing over and over. On a PC you can do this in QuickParts, on a Mac, I use template signatures.

I spent some time last week updating my auto-replies to add some new responses to my repertoire. This now means I can easily reply to common emails about media packs, payments and the like.

Second, I am ruthless about having a one-touch policy for email. This means if you open an email you must deal with it right there and then. Reply to it, forward it, file it – and don’t move on until it’s done. This feels like a hassle but overall saves so much time! Try it and you’ll be a convert.

4 – Make a Social Media Routine

Like everyone, I can easily fall down a Facebook rabbit hole and be lost for an entire morning if I’m not careful. What I have found is that scheduling content makes it a lot easier for me to resist the lure of social media when I’m working.

Since using Buffer to schedule Twitter content, for example, I am perfectly able to keep my social Twitter use to mornings and evenings. Similarly, I have two evenings a week when I know I’m editing and scheduling YouTube content, so I have less reason to go onto YouTube on other days.

With Facebook, I have separate accounts for work and personal so that if I’m working, I’m logged into my “work” account and don’t see tags from friends and family.

It’s not perfect, but it helps.

5 – Take Time to Exercise

Maybe it’s just me but as I get older I’m physically more affected by stress. My heart pounds, my head aches, I don’t sleep well. It’s not good.

When I feel like this, I can’t tell you how hard it is to persuade myself to get to the pool. Besides, who’s got time when I’ve got 20 things to do as soon as I get to work in the morning?

But honestly, the hour it takes me to get changed, swim, shower and get to work? Invaluable. For 30 minutes I can’t focus on anything other than my swimming stroke, and the sound of the music on my walkman. Afterwards, I feel mentally more alert, and physically more relaxed.

I hope these tips help next time you’re over-worked and overwhelmed. Do you have your own tips that work for you? 

 

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

6 Comments

  1. 28th February 2017 / 7:27 am

    Thanks for these good tips. I’m am not running a business but I totally get that brain seizing up thing when there’s so much to do you don’t know where to start. The danger is not starting at all. My tip is to block time on the ‘To Do’ list. For example on a work at home day: 8 – 9 a.m. School run, home, tidy – beds, dishes, bathroom; 9 – 10 a.m. College work (grading and emails, etc); 10 – 12 Housework (clean x,y,z, prep supper); 12 – 2 p.m. School prep; 2 – 4 Supermarket and errands; 4 – school pick up; etc… It means that at least two hours of everything gets done and even if something is not quite finished when the time is up, I make myself move on to the next thing. I often have to finish up some things later but by that time it’s just finishing up.

  2. 1st March 2017 / 2:57 pm

    Thanks Sally – some great tips there. Totally agree on the one touch email rule —- and the signatures on mac as a hack for auto responses is brilliant!

  3. 2nd March 2017 / 7:42 am

    Good tips Sally, they seem very simple but it’s so easy to lose half an hour on social media when it was only meant to be 5 minutes. Like now for instance! I’ve just been given a new (rather large) alarm clock but it’s actually sitting on the table next to my laptop – there’s something about it’s analogue face that makes me more aware of time passing than the little digital numbers on my phone!

  4. 2nd March 2017 / 11:10 pm

    Oh gosh do you really focus on your swimming stroke when you’re in the pool? I’ve always swam, when I was a child it was twice a day, these days it’s more like once a week if I’m lucky. But I’ve never manage to think about what I’m doing. In fact, swimming and running are my thinking times. If ever I write a half decent blog post, I’ve thought it through in the pool or on a run. I get the list thing and the social media thing though, it’s so easy to just get swept away with social media. Plus, this post has been sitting in my inbox for ages and I knew I wanted to read it because I thought it would be helpful (it was) but I haven’t managed to find the time. I think perhaps I’m beyond a list, I need a miracle.
    Nat.x
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