how to be more productive

If there’s one thing most bloggers know about writing it’s that it’s very time consuming.

And when time is money, you certainly can’t afford to waste it.

My theory is, if you can be more productive even in 5 minutes, you will find that you end up writing more throughout the week with less time on your hands. I want to share a few secret habits of mine that have stuck around since I started content writing, and I’m sure have saved me hundreds of precious minutes and more than a few dollars.

Want to use Click to Tweet on your blog?

You are not alone in the struggle of writing. Most successful bloggers would not manage their over-stretched workload without amazing tools to help them save time and write more. The most efficient tools are ones you can use on the move in short periods of time, and if you’re anything like me, then you will understand how every moment can be used for something productive toward your writing.

So here it is, how to maximize your time, actually get more stuff done, and be more productive. Oh, and a quote to help you on your content writing way:

Do. Or do not. There is no try. —YodaClick To Tweet

How To Use Your Spare 5 Minutes To Be More Productive

You may wonder, “How can I achieve anything in 5 minutes?” The answer is simple:

Do your micro tasks to free up time later on.

This method to help you write more is super handy when you’re on the go. Whether you are on the bus, train, or in between projects, 5 minutes can mean a lot. You probably spend 5 minutes listening to a song and a half on your way to work. Here is what you can do instead:

Blog_Shirley_HowToWriteMore_BusSeat

1. Network.

If you are in the blogging or content writing sphere, it is important to make and keep connections. You can spend 5 minutes either calling or sending a message to your blogger friend—make it a useful 5 minutes by asking them a question.

Twitter chats are a really useful way of networking and a great place to ask questions that people actually reply to!

2. Be creative.

Start that infographic/visual idea you always wanted to do. OK, it will inevitably take longer than 5 minutes, but forming the idea won’t; it will give you the push to finally do it.

Remember that innovation is a painstaking process, and every minute you have spare to process it is essential.

Want to use Click to Tweet on your blog?

3. Create a quote.

Ever wonder how people come up with all those lovely quotes in their writing? They spend 5 minutes coming up with them.

By writing or searching for two quotes a day, you will find your blog writing becoming deeper and much more personal, and we all know readers love personal content, right?

4. Share your content.

Send a tweet to someone in your niche. In my opinion, this is one of the most useful things you can do with your 5 minutes.

You can find people to connect with by searching for hashtags in your industry and find discussions to get involved in or influencers to ask questions. Oh, and always respond to someone who tweets you.

Respond immediately or as soon as possible. This will allow you to create a relationship with your community. The larger community you build, the more loyal your followers will be. 

Another option is to go back over your old posts and share them.

My secret habit: I like using Twitter for accessing events, even if I can’t attend them. By tweeting relevant posts with the event’s hashtag, you can revive traffic to old content and bring more people to your blog. You will meet influencers in your industry and your content will live a bit longer because people search for the event hashtag even days/weeks after it ended. Even better, this really does take only 5 minutes.

5. Use your surroundings for visual inspiration in your content.

EyeEm (Andoid, iOS) is a funky app you should download now. When you are traveling in your daily life, you can use this app to capture amazing shots that you can later add to your content, or even sell them to make money. Now if that isn’t being efficient, I don’t know what is.

Picture11

EyeEm helps you manage your pictures to capture visual inspiration for your content when you’re on the go.

My secret habit: I like to get unusual shots with my phone, even if it’s of a cup of coffee or an empty bench. I keep these pictures for later and it sometimes gives me my most creative ideas. I’ve activated the automatic Google Drive backup, so every picture I take is saved in MyDrive.

Take pictures as your content ideas. It helps you avoid stock photography, gives your content a personal story, and helps you use your spare time to be more productive.

6. Explore catchy new hooks for your content.

Portent’s Title Maker is probably one of my favorite tools for content creation. Basically, enter a keyword and it produces countless options of headlines. You don’t always have to take these headlines and literally use them in your post, you can also use them as a basis for exploring ideas. With 5 minutes, I’ve estimated you can come up with about 250 titles to work with.

While the Title Maker is quick and easy, it’s still a robot. So there are times where the headlines comes out a little like gibberish or not grammatically correct. This is why Portent is an excellent idea finder, and once you find your idea, you can then use CoSchedule’s headline analyzer to check your SEO score and make sure your headlines will get clicks.

portenttitlemaker

My secret habit: If I’m having a bad writing day, I like to put the names of famous people as the subject. Some of the results have really brightened up my day and motivated me in the rest of my writing. Start with Justin Bieber.

How To Use Your Spare 30 Minutes To Be More Productive

OK, so in 30 minutes you might be able to achieve something more meaningful when it comes to actual content writing. The amount of time it takes to watch an episode of How I Met Your Mother is the same amount of time you could use to create new content ideas.

Now I am all for sitcom TV and downtime Facebook stalking, but when statistics show that we spend 1.77 hours a day on social media, it’s time to make a change.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 11.11.06 AMHere are 3 things you could do instead:

1. Refresh those old blog posts with more up to date research. Your readers will appreciate the attention you give to all of your content.

2. Reply to all your blog comments. This is a crucial way of engaging your audience and create discussion around your topics.

3. Add a Click To Tweet to your posts. Encouraging sharing is one of the best ways of getting more exposure for your work.

Want to use Click to Tweet on your blog?

Save awesome content to read later when you have spare time.

Pocket is my new favorite tool. It will help you bookmark information you want to read for later.

This idea will save you time for when you come to sit down and write. Instead of spending 1–2 hours researching, you will already have a list of great articles to refer to. And the best part about this tool is that it works within other apps you might be using like Flipboard or Twitter.

My secret habit: My favorite place to Pocket articles from is Feedly. This way, I can browse multiple articles and bookmark the ones I want to read for later. It’s almost a daily habit now, and this way I have a constant stream of articles to read when I have more time.

Brainstorm new ideas.

bubbl.us is a fantastic brain mapping tool to get your ideas flowing. Start by inputting a core idea and see your idea grow.

You can use it either as a desktop version or download the app on your iPhone or Android device.

My secret habit: 30 minutes is really quite a long time to brainstorm one topic. I sometimes like to go over two topics, 15 minutes each, leaving more time for writing when I get to the latter topic.

Take a break.

I know that this one sticks out like a sore thumb, but it’s supposed to!

Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to do everything in one day. Having a 30-minute break from your writing is just as important as being productive with the time you have. The more relaxed you are, the more creative you will be, so put your computer/phone/tablet on hibernate and take a walk outside.

Really: A study by the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology found that participants who took 20-minute breaks for progressive relaxation (like meditation) came back to work more productive than when they left.

Even better if you are at home: Have a power nap. They’re proven to improve concentration and performance, which is essential to any writer.

How To Use 1 Hour To Be More Productive

Blog_Shirley_HowToWriteMore_1Hour

With one hour to spare, you might not feel there is enough time to really sit and get into that blog post you’ve been meaning to write. There are other things you could be doing to get more writing done in this short amount of time:

Reinvent your content with LinkedIn Publisher.

Most people these days have LinkedIn for connection building reasons, but not every blogger is using it as a tool for content distribution. With one hour, you can repurpose (rewrite) an older blog post and start building a presence on this platform. You will be doubling your writing output without even realizing it.

LinkedIn is more effective with articles that offer real solutions for problems or insights that have been backed by research. So try to take the core elements from previously published posts and put a new angle on them. Once you rewrite your post, share it in many different LinkedIn groups for maximum exposure.

My secret habit: I like to connect with people who comment on my posts on LinkedIn. They are often from the same niche that I come from, and I find that this technique has led to valuable leads such as guest posting.

Repurpose your content with SlideShare.

I love using this tool when I don’t have time to write a full post. 1 hour is enough to get together a good SlideShare.

For example, if you wrote a few posts on a specific topic, you can turn them into an informative SlideShare that will attract different readers to your site. Whether it’s to repurpose content or to get some more content out on a different medium, this is a great tool to help you write more in less time. Oh, did I mention it’s free?

My secret habit: If you’ve ever presented anywhere, upload your slides to SlideShare. With the right tags, you can reach thousands of interested readers which will bring them back to your site. This means you are maximizing your writing through several channels.

Learn how to do what you do even better with Coursera.

There are so many online learning courses available, it’s quite amazing. Coursera is one of the best platforms that offers a variety of different lectures. In an hour, you can improve your writing skills, learn how to code your WordPress blog, or even get to grips with your Google Analytics.

These courses may not be directly related to writing, though developing these skills will save you time in other aspects of your day that will eventually give you more time for writing.

The Extras That Will Save You Time

These are tools I recommend if you are looking for that extra something to get you writing more in less time:

1. E.gg Timer: A typical problem for content writers is actually sitting and writing for a block period of time without doing something else. If you recognize this behavior, start restricting your time with E.gg Timer. All you need to do is write how much time you want to focus for, and you will get a notification reminding you it’s tea time. Try and stick with it and you will find your workflow increases and improves.

2. TrenDemon: I’ve been wanting to use a popup subscriber for a while (sorry, I know we hate to love them) and I found that TrenDemon has great A/B testing methods. They have a free plan for publishers, so I recommend this as a starting point for optimizing your blog subscribing process. By worrying less about picking up subscribers, you will be giving yourself much more time for actual writing.

3. GetResponse: If you’re looking for a way to save time for writing, you should stop using that Excel sheet for your subscriber email database. Firstly, it’s not secure, and secondly, it’s so time consuming having to send all of the email newsletters yourself.

  • GetResponse is a great option for blogs with more than 1,000 subscribers who want to have easy access to newsletter designs that can be sent automatically.
  • They have a 30-day free trial that is worth checking out, with many cool features like inbox preview that lets you see what your newsletter will look like across different platforms.

I hope these tips have helped you get ahead of the time game to help you write more in your busy schedules. My overall general habit is to try and find productive creative outputs in everything that I do.

I know it’s not always possible, but this dedication to your writing will become easier over time, and you will find yourself writing more as you get used to this new way of being productive with your time. Just get your free copy of the productivity template to try out some of these tips the next time you have a few spare minutes.

Want to use Click to Tweet on your blog?

How do you save time writing?