One of the toughest parts about starting a blog is that it flips our traditional sense of work on it’s head.
In a traditional job, you show up at a specific time, do work that someone else assigns to you, and watch the clock until you can go home.
As a blogger? Not so much.
As a blogger, you set your own schedule, assign your own projects and deadlines, and work whenever and wherever you want. The freedom and flexibility can be liberating. But they can also make it hard to grow your business.
If you’re not ruthless about managing your time effectively, you’ll never make much progress.
Here are three time management mistakes that I see bloggers make all the time, plus my advice on how to avoid these time management pitfalls.
Mistake 1. You’re busy, but you’re not getting the right stuff done.
I’m such a sucker for being busy. In a single day, I’ll happily create my editorial calendar for the month, review my blog analytics, pin and connect with other bloggers on Facebook, respond to emails from my subscribers, and update outdated plugins on my site just so that I can cross all those things off my list.
Being busy and crossing things off a to do list feel good! But are these tasks getting me closer to my goal of earning money through my blog? Nope.
When you’re a blogger, you’ve got infinite things vying for your attention. You don’t have infinite time, though, so you have to make sure that you’re getting the right work done, and not just being busy for the sake of being busy.
If you’re worried about how many likes your Facebook page has or how much traffic your brand new blog is getting, you’re probably worried about the wrong things. Trying to get more Facebook likes is busy work. Stressing about traffic simply for the sake of traffic is a waste of time.
Instead, you need to worry about doing the productive work that will help you earn money from your blog. For example, creating a digital product to sell to your email list is productive work. Adding affiliate links to your most popular posts is productive work. Adding a few more likes to your Facebook page? Not productive.
If you feel like you’re not making any progress with your blog, make sure you’re clear about your top goal and that you’re doing the productive work that will most quickly help you reach that goal.
Mistake 2. You’re trying to do everything perfectly.
I’m a perfectionist, and I used to think that was a good thing. I took pride in my attention to detail and the quality of my work.
But in the blogging world? Perfect doesn’t matter. Good enough is what you should shoot for. The problem with perfect is that it’s just another way of procrastinating. If you don’t launch your blog until it’s perfect, you’ll be waiting forever. If you only want to publish a blog post or send an email newsletter when it’s perfect, you’ll waste a LOT of time.
Your audience doesn’t expect perfection. They will overlook a missed comma, and they won’t care if you change your branding or logo in a few months. Your audience wants to learn from you and be inspired by you, but the only way you can teach and inspire is by putting your work out there.
Successful bloggers take action. They try things before they feel ready. They make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.
So, don’t aim for perfection, aim for good enough.
Mistake 3. You don’t know how to prioritize.
When I first started blogging, I spent a ton of time scrolling through Pinterest and reading blog posts about blogging. I had a million ideas and a mile-long to do list for my blog. The problem was, I only had 24 hours in a day.
I know for a fact that you also only have 24 hours in your day, and I’m willing to bet you’ve got plenty of things on your to do list, too.
Instead of trying to tackle everything at once, you need to prioritize the tasks that are most important.
If you don’t prioritize, here’s what happens: a) you work all the time and burn out or b) you feel totally overwhelmed and just work on the easiest tasks, which never help you reach your goals.
You need to stop trying to do it all and start focusing exclusively on your most important tasks. In order to do this, you need to identify your most important tasks, and then you need to say no to everything else.
One of the secrets of successful bloggers is that they know how to manage their time effectively. By getting clear on their goals and prioritizing their tasks, they’re able to focus their time and energy on the right tasks, the tasks that help them make a living from their blog. With a few tweaks to your own mindset and your schedule, you’ll be managing your time like a boss in no time.
Are you making any time management mistakes? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Bio: Emily McGee is the founder of My Adaptable Career, where she helps busy bloggers and solopreneurs manage their time better so they can reach their goals faster. If you need to spruce up your time management skills, then sign up for Master Time Management, her free 5-day email course for bloggers and solopreneurs.