People ask me how I find the time to stick to a schedule on my blog, and then they kind of sigh and moan about how impossible it is for them to do.
Here is how I stick to a blogging schedule:
Blogging is a high priority to me
I’ve set a reasonable schedule
I don’t talk myself out of it
It might feel like you need to talk yourself into blogging (or whatever other task you can’t keep on top of, but feel you should do), but I find that it’s as simple as taking myself seriously, making an actionable plan, and preventing myself from whining internally about it.
1) Prioritize your task
I have been “wanting” to have a regular exercise routine for years, have never done anything about it, and felt like a flabby slug all the time. It was really easy to come up with excuses not to exercise on any given day because I am so freaking busy with work and my work time is limited by my childrens’ schedule. Carving out a few spare hours every week was easy to dismiss as nutty.
I’d think about exercising and instantly my inner toddler would kick in and say, “but I’m so tired. I don’t want to do it. I’ll do it tomorrow.” Then, one day I took my little boy out of the bath, wrapped him in a towel, carried him upstairs, and as I set him down, my back muscles all clenched into a tight knot that caused me to slowly slide to the floor and lay there like an overturned beetle gasping in pain. While this was probably more related to my bad lifting stance than my overall fitness, it felt like the sign I needed to realize that my body was becoming useless. So I had my motivation, and from there, I just needed to shut my brain up.
The best life advice I’ve heard all year is to quit saying, “I don’t have time for that,” but instead, “That is not a high priority for me.” This is the actual truth of the matter, as everyone has the same amount of time, and we choose how to fill it. This simple rephrasing has the enormous benefit of helping you feel like a person who is in control of her schedule (you are, duh!), and helping you notice how you are filling that precious 24 hours we all have in a day. It’s also a great way to say no to things that take up your time unnecessarily.
I realized that the things I never get to aren’t a high priority for me, and I need to either change my thinking to make them a high priority, delegate them to someone else, or drop them entirely.
I can clearly see the blog working for Aeolidia. Days that I promote a new post are the days we get the most traffic, and people often email me saying that my latest blog post caused them to finally get in touch with me about a project. Therefore, keeping up with my blogging schedule is a high priority for me, and it’s not an option to just skip it.
So, think about blogging, or whatever task it is you want to do, but “can’t find the time for.” If you can’t find the time for it, it is low on your priority list. Is it low priority because it’s low importance, or is it important, but you haven’t realized it? Is it something you want to do, or something people tell you that you should do? Maybe the task is something you don’t need to do at all, or that someone else could do for you.
If it is important, find a way to make it a true high priority for you. Write out a list of what would improve if you began doing the task with regularity. See how you feel about it. Remember that you can only have so many high priorities in your life. Something will have to be dropped to add a new routine. Is it worth it? Can you drop something that you don’t need to be doing, or doesn’t make you feel good (a product line that takes too long to make, a TV show, a social media account)?
2) Make an actionable plan
Your next step is to make a plan that will actually work. If you make a plan that is too hard, you won’t be able to stick to it. If you make a plan that’s not frequent enough, you won’t see results. Remember that chipping away at something a bit at a time – but frequently – is going to get you where you want to go.
I’m able to continue exercising with my motivated feeling using the “5K Runner” app and now every two to three days, I start lacing up my shoes instead of talking to myself about why I don’t want to. I’ve stuck to the program longer than I’ve done any exercise plan in the past, and I feel my endurance increasing each time I go out. I can see on the app how much farther and longer I can go each time, and I can see my small bits of work building into a big result. Running gives me a fresh burst of energy for working, so instead of trading work time for exercise time, I think I’ve traded, “clicking fruitlessly around the internet” for exercise and a focused mind that can get more done in the time left to me than it would have if I’d stayed in my pajamas.
Aside from feeling healthy and strong, the bonus is I feel good about myself – giving in to your lazy side over and over is not a great feeling.
For my blog, I recently made a change in my schedule, going to bed a bit earlier, and waking up before my kids to write out blog posts from the comfort of my bed, while my left brain is still in charge and I can be creative. That quiet bit of time turns out to be very productive, and then even if the rest of my day gets derailed, I’ve done one important thing. It was a hard change to make, because I was raised by my lazy family to really value my “sleep in” time! Trying it just once made me place value on doing it, because I wrote more in that 45 minutes than I’d done all month.
Having tools to help you track progress and make a plan can be a great help in continuing as well, whether it’s an exercise app or the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin (I’d hate to be planning my blogging schedule without it!).
There is no point in doing certain tasks if you don’t do them regularly. If your blog has three posts and the most recent one is from 7 months ago, remove the blog from your site, or decide on what frequency makes the most sense for your business right now, and make it a hard deadline in your mind. I post on the Aeolidia blog every Tuesday at 7:00 a.m. and haven’t missed a post. Before January, I was posting twice a week, but made the mindful decision that once a week would be plenty. I am now increasing our post frequency back to twice a week, and getting help from my team.
3) Make it non-negotiable
Once it is a priority, and you’re committed to doing it, don’t even let that moany voice start going! I don’t listen to my kids when they want ice cream for dinner or to skip brushing their teeth, and I try to treat my internal troublemaker the same way. The moment I hear the resistance come up in my head, I grab the tool I need to do the work and just start doing it. Pick your pen up and start outlining ideas. Head to your calendar and sketch out a preliminary blogging schedule for the next few months. Fire up the computer and work on a new design. Pack up your swimsuit and head to the pool.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember as your own boss and your own employee that you need to be the employee, and do the work that was assigned to you and get it done on schedule. The “boss” part where we make plans and dream up ideas is fun, but without the “employee” to carry the plans out, we will fail.
I realize this takes a huge amount of self control sometimes. I’m glad to say that self control gets better and better with practice, and that it will be easier if you know why you’re doing something and if you’re totally committed to it.
How does this work for you?
What changes have you made in your business lately? What do you feel like you should be doing, but never get to? Do you have a blogging schedule? I’d be curious to hear how you tackle this in the comments.
Also: this is the kind of stuff I like to talk about in our newsletter. If you’re interested in thinking about this sort of thing more with me, please subscribe!
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