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Ever feel like you are constantly busy doing blogging things but never really getting anywhere? Are you still not making any money with your blog? You need to stop wasting time and become laser focused on the blog tasks that matter.
Busy Isn’t Productive
Ever have one of those weeks where you have so much to do but got little done, even though you were busy the whole time? I just went through this. Although I was incredibly busy, I kept putting off the number one task I needed to get done so ultimately had an ineffective week.
From the outside, I likely looked productive and I even felt somewhat productive as I checked things off my list. The problem is, those things didn’t matter as much as my number one task. As long as that number one task continues to need work, I am unable to move forward.
Have you noticed that as a society we tend to only feel productive if we are constantly busy? It’s like we can’t handle two minutes with nothing to do. I’ve been known to check email at stoplights! When you think about it, that is kind of crazy. This interferes with our creativity and thoughtfulness.
After all, if you are always looking for some kind of external distraction, how do you bring creativity into the world? How do you impact your work with your own creativity? If you don’t take a moment to slow down and pay attention to your thoughts, it’s hard to be innovative.
Constantly Seeking Distractions and Roadblocks
Why do we look for distractions? Often we worry if we aren’t aware all the time of what is going on we will miss out on something important. The world moves so quickly, and keeping up feels impossible so we take every chance we can get to check in.
In The 12 Hour Workweek, the authors point out, “In our efforts to not miss anything, we unwittingly miss everything.” We are in so many different places at once that we don’t spend our time or energy on one thing. When you are working on a blog post, how many times does your phone ding with some notification? How many thoughts come into your head that result in your going off to do some other task? Do you complete a full course before moving onto the next? How many “experts” do you allow in your head telling you how to do things?
If you don’t check in, you might miss something really important going on that could change your business. Maybe there is some new Pinterest strategy that everyone is following and leaving you behind in the dust! This is the the thinking that gets us to check in on Facebook when we could be doing other things that will lead to more business success.
The problem is, when we check email and social media and try to stay busy and up to date at all times, it leaves little time for focusing on the real work. In The 12 Hour Workweek, the authors describe that when we continually work to keep ourselves busy, believing that busy is a sign of success, we miss things. We cannot be great.
Getting Less Done By Multitasking
In today’s world, we are expected to be able to multitask. Haven’t we convinced ourselves that we are good at this? The truth is though that when you divide your attention, you are less effective at each task than if you focus on them one at a time. Multitasking takes additional energy that takes focus away from all of the tasks. You just cannot sustain a high level of focus on more than one thing, so when the stakes are high you need to mindfully focus on one thing.
When you are working on something and stop that task in order to quickly post on social media or write an email, the truth is your attention is taken away from the original task and it’s hard to get that attention back. You lose your flow!
So between multitasking and having to continually keep ourselves busy, it is no wonder that we walk around overwhelmed and feeling as if we are not making much progress.
We spend so much time trying to ensure we know the right things to do, that we don’t have a concrete strategy and it’s way too easy for us to get off course. There are lots of emails, blog tasks, social media tasks, social media notifications, affiliate programs to learn about, analytics to research, and so much more. It is really easy to spend time focusing on things that don’t matter.
We need to stop and make a real strategy for our blogs. We need to trust ourselves that we already know what we should do next and that we don’t need the next miracle course. Instead of training to do all the things, we need to figure out what the most important thing to do next is and do that.
Find The Right Next Thing To Focus On?
Let’s face it. Blogging is a huge undertaking with no real defined end to mark the accomplishment. There are so many things to do, so many balls up in the air…it feels impossible to pick the next right thing. It feels like you have to do everything. But of course, that is unrealistic. You need to figure out what makes sense for your blog.
The first step is to figure out what it is you hope to accomplish. What is your overall goal, that huge goal for your blog that keeps you working on it week after week. Are you hoping to make a full time income? Are you hoping to change the world somehow?
Next, think about what the next steps are that you need to take to get you closer to that goal. I did this by taking some time to brainstorm into a Trello board all of the tasks that I felt I needed to accomplish to reach my goals. I like using Trello due to the simplicity of moving cards around, but you can also use Post It Notes or something similar.
When creating this task list, you want to make the steps as small as possible so you know the actual steps you need to take. So, instead of “develop a consistent brand,” you write tasks such as “determine my business mission, pick brand colors, determine my customer avatar and how I would like him/her to experience my business, pick font pairing, etc.” Yes, that sounds overwhelming when you put all these things down like that. And yet, each of those things by themselves does feel much more doable than “develop a consistent brand.”
Once you have completed your list of all the tasks, you need to put them in order with the following question in mind: “What do I need to do next that will bring me closer to reaching my goal.” Make sure the tasks on your list are truly related to reaching your goal. Put your tasks in order according to this question.
Stop Wasting Time On the Wrong Things
Here is what I discovered when I did this activity. At the time, I was formulating a plan in my mind for how I was going to improve the Facebook group I developed a while back. I have not had a lot of time for the Facebook group and it is kind of a mess. I had a lot of ideas about how I was going to create weekly threads, work on engagement, and all sorts of other things. I was putting this at the top of my list.
However, when doing this prioritization activity I realized this task was actually at the bottom of my list. My main goal for my blog was to increase revenue so it can be a sustainable business. The Facebook group does not help me in reaching this goal and in fact is just a time waster at this point. I lose money by spending time working on the Facebook group.
Of course it would be nice to have an active Facebook group of people in my audience but I had to realize this is not what I have. The amount of work to get the group there, likely will be helpful in the long term, is not something that I need to be focusing on at this point in my blogging business. It will not keep the lights on, so to speak.
Once you have your list the way you want it, it helps you to make your plan of action. The list will tell you what you need to do next. When you realize where you need to focus, it helps you to cut out all the other distractions and to remind yourself that those distractions just make your ultimate goal further out of reach. Do the next thing on the list and keep your eye on the goal. Limit the distractions
If you are able to consistently work on the steps that bring you closest to your goal and stop wasting time, you are much more likely to have a successful blog.
To help you follow this plan, I’ve created a worksheet to help you figure out the important next steps for your blog so you can work on reaching your blogging goals. Sign up below to receive instant access to the blog strategy guide and all of my other worksheets and downloads.
Marlena is the blogger behind apenandapurpose.com, where she writes about using journaling for self improvement and reaching goals in life and business. Using her experience as a Licensed Psychologist with a Master’s in Business, she teaches people how to break through negative thoughts and fear to do what matters. For more about me read my about page.