learn the business of blogging – always free
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome as a content creator is how to increase your blogging productivity. Something that always resonated with me as a student was that Bill Gates has the same 24 hours in every day that you and I do. It’s just a matter of what he chooses to do with his time that puts him on a different trajectory than most people.
Ok, so I may be oversimplifying Gates’ success, but the point still stands: We all have just 24 hours (ok, 16 after sleep) every day to be productive!
How can you save the most amount of time and increase your output as a blogger?
I’d like to share some of the blogging productivity tips I’ve learned over the years. I’m still not as productive as I’d like to be (who is, right?) but these hacks have definitely increased my working output.
1. Optimize Your Working Space
It may seem obvious, but a simple dedicated work desk made a huge difference in increasing my productivity.
You see, when I started blogging, it was just a side hustle for me, and I didn’t know if I would succeed at making any money. So I worked from my bed, from the couch, from the dining room table, and anywhere else I felt like!
Then I happened to rent an Airbnb with a desk and office chair and noticed how much more work I could get done just by having a dedicated office space!
Still, I couldn’t afford a desk when I was just starting out, so I ended up buying a cheap foldable desk from Amazon at the time! That made a world of difference, as did the chair I picked up from a goods exchange site.
If you can afford it, I’d also recommend purchasing a good mouse and external monitor.
2. Asana Calendar
I treat Asana like my “boss.”
If Asana says I need to get these three tasks done today, well, I better get hustling. If only Asana yelled at me when I didn’t get my work done on time!
But seriously – since you don’t have a boss, you need to either be your own boss OR find a tool that will serve as your makeshift boss!
Whether you use Asana, ClickUp, or AirTable, find a software tool that works for you to visualize the tasks you need to complete in an easy way.
I use Asana Calendar to visualize my blog editorial calendar and check posts off as they are published.
3. Magical Text Expansion for Chrome
Magical Text Expansion (formerly Auto Text Expander) for Chrome browsers is such an amazing tool for blogging productivity. I don’t know how I lived without it before I installed it! You need Google Chrome for this plugin, and it’s truly a gem.
The way Magical works is it will replace a short string of letters with a longer text of your choosing.
For example, I have the keys ;w replace with the full string of my website (blogambitious.com)
I have ;e replaced with my email address. I have ;a replaced with my full address. You get the idea! Save time typing out repetitive snippets with this awesome Chrome plugin.
4. Voice Typing
I recently discovered this blogging productivity hack and I have to say it has changed my life. Most modern computers have a way to enable voice typing on the settings. The way voice typing works is once you enable it, you just speak to your computer and the words type in front of your eyes. You definitely have to pronounce words clearly, and speak any punctuation that is needed, but overall it’s an amazing system that has greatly increased the rate that I can put words onto paper!
Dictation can be up to seven times faster than typing words manually with your hands. According to Mobius, doctors type about 30 words per minute, but they can speak up to 150 words per minute. Voice recognition software is clearly the winner!
There are a few major voice typing systems to consider and the good thing is most of them are free. I work off of a Mac laptop so I’ll be sharing the Apple solutions for voice typing as well as some other options that don’t require a Mac.
You can enable the default Mac Dictation program by going to General Settings, clicking Keyboard and finding the tab all the way to the right which says Dictation. Click “on” and choose your language and shortcut keys. (I have mine to set to Press Fn Key Twice).
This is my favorite way to to use dictation when creating blog posts.
It’s not a perfect system but it works extremely well. I can have my words typed directly into a WordPress blog post just by speaking to my Mac. I can say words like “comma” and “period” to add punctuation. The only downsides are that it does not work for more than about 40 seconds and it is not compatible with Google Docs – which brings me to the next option.
Google Docs Voice Typing
Another option is to use Google Docs Voice Typing which is the default way to speak into a Google document. To be totally honest, this program was terrible for me. The Google docs voice typing technology kept capitalizing random words in the middle of a sentence and I would have to go back and edit so many grammar mistakes and more. The technology is far inferior to the default Mac native option.
You can test this out for yourself by going to Tools and then Voice Typing in any Google doc.
I do not have experience with the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition program but I have heard very good things about it. If you’re looking for a truly professional way to speak into a text document then I would recommend trying out Dragon NaturallySpeaking which is the premier paid solution for voice typing!
5. Understand Parkinson’s Law
What’s great about using a calendar view task assignment program is it forces you to adapt to Parkinson’s Law.
If you are prone to procrastination, listen up closely!
What is Parkinson’s Law? This law states that humans complete tasks based on the amount of time given.
If you give yourself a week to complete a project, it will probably take you one week.
If you give yourself one day to complete a project, you’ll probably complete it in one day!
I have tried batching tasks, and using timer tasks, but nothing works as well as Parkinson’s Law for me. If I assign myself 3 posts on one day using Asana, I know that I’ll have to dedicate my morning to the first post, and my afternoon to the last 2 posts.
In a way, it’s similar to the “profit first” accounting method. Instead of taking revenue – expenses = profit, business owners are encouraged to reduce expenses by taking a “revenue – profit = money left for expenses” approach.
Use your end-goal to determine what your path will be to get there.
My old way of working involved deciding on what post to write and working on it until it was complete.
My new way of working is : Time / number of posts = time I have to complete each post.
It’s a different approach that results in less-than-perfect work, but many times our standards of perfection are vastly higher than what they need to be to make money.
In fact, perfection is precisely what holds us back in many cases.
Using Parkinson’s Law to my advantage is one of my best blogging productivity hacks.
6. Batch Tasks
Many people batch their tasks in order to get more done and save time on switching between projects.
I’ve tried batching tasks in the past, and I personally didn’t have much luck with it but I know many people do so that’s why I’m including it on this list.
Batching blogging tasks might look something like this if you run a blog where you publish 5 times per week:
- Monday: Take 5 photos for next week’s blog posts
- Tuesday: Write 5 articles for upcoming posts
- Wednesday: Prepare graphics and pins for posts
- Thursday: Edit the photos and format the articles for WordPress
- Friday: Schedule the posts for next week and schedule the pins
Instead of completing all the tasks related to one blog post in one day, you spread the work out into one week.
This might work if you run one blog, but I found that running multiple blogs it wasn’t feasible. I found myself working on one blog for the entire week instead of spreading out my time to work on all of my blogs.
Here is how I batch tasks presently each month, even if it’s an imperfect system:
- Plan my editorial calendar for the upcoming month
- Outline each post
- Format and schedule blog posts
- Create and schedule Pinterest pins
The idea is to prepare the following month’s post ahead of time. I’m in the process of working out the kinks of the system but so far I think it’s a great idea.
7. Hire a VA
The last blogging productivity hack that I have for you is to hire a virtual assistant when you can. This is a step that I’m currently working on but it’s well-known that to scale your business you have to hire outside help at some point!
A good virtual assistant can do many different things for your blog. They can format posts, write content, schedule content, answer emails, and help you with your social media. The list of things to do is probably endless so hiring a VA is a very smart solution if you want to increase your productivity as a blogger.
I hope these blogging productivity tips and hacks helped you learn how to produce more blog content in less time. There are many ways to increase your blog post output and save time when blogging.
Let me know your best ideas in the comments below!