Many of us work on our blogs part-time while having a full-time job. In addition, we have families, hobbies and other activities that we need to focus on.
This causes constraints to our content creation (blog posts, e-books …), since we have to cope with a limited amount of free hours at our disposal.
For example, when you maintain a blog (while having a day job), it is important to be as effective as possible during the time you have available for the content creation. By this way, you are making the most out of the free time you have available for writing.
In my situation, I have only 45 minutes available for writing (on the weekdays), but with proper planning, execution and analyzing, I’m able to create content – even within this short amount of time.
Phase 1 – Planning
- Define your publishing schedule
First, you should define your own publishing schedule regarding what kinds of articles you are going to publish and when. By knowing this in advance, it is easier to prepare for them.
For example, if your schedule says, that you are publishing a crowdsourcing post once a month on a certain date, you can start preparing for that post well in advance making sure that it is ready when it is supposed to be.
Also, when planning content for weeks or even months ahead, you will put seeds of ideas into your subconscious mind and new ideas might pop into your head related to this content when you least expect it to happen.
- Outline your written content before writing
On Sundays, I tend to sit down for a moment and plan my posts for weeks ahead by outlining them. By doing this (outlining), I define a structure to my content and this makes the writing process easier and faster.
In addition, I can get into the writing groove much faster, rather than starting to wonder what to write about, when my 45 minute writing session starts.
Outlining is a simple process to do and can save your time quite a bit.
“Outlining your blogs posts in advance will make the writing process easier and faster.
Phase 2 – Execution
- Learn to type fast
Long time ago, I was only capable of typing by using two fingers. In fact, I refused to learn on how to write by using 10 fingers, because I thought that it was useless.
Obviously, the resistance was silly. I couldn’t even imagine what would it be like now to type by using only two fingers (it would be slow, that is for sure!)
It is important, that you grasp the skill of writing by using your 10 fingers. The writing process becomes so much easier – and faster.
It takes some to time to learn the skill, but it is worth it.
- Respect your dedicated time blocks
This tip I learned from Jason Fladlien, when I went through his Internet Marketers Time Management course. He basically said, that you should never ponder during your “profit hours”. What this means is, that when you work on your business, that’s the only thing that you should be focusing on right then and nothing else.
I find this tip to be very valuable and it is especially true for them, who work part-time on their online businesses, since they need to maximize the limited time they have available.
When you write (or do any other thing for that matter), you should just focus on the task at hand and do nothing else. It is quite obvious, that turning off distractions like instant messaging, e-mail notifications or your mobile phone are something you should do to ensure you are focused on content creation.
At the same time, letting other family members know that you are concentrating on writing and even closing the door of your work room (if you have a separate room) during the writing session are things that you should do – just to make sure, you are not interrupted while working.
- Turn the timer on
I love using a timer! Thanks to a timer, I’m able to focus on my writing so well.
Whenever I start writing, I turn my timer on and during one working session (45 minutes), I do nothing else than just focus on the task at hand. When I’m writing a blog post (like now), I’m fully focused on completing this task first and nothing else.
The magic of using a timer is really amazing. When I have a mini-deadline set, I try to accomplish as much as possible during that time and a timer helps me to push myself to get stuff done.
I’m using a piece of software called Free Countdown Timer (on PC). For Mac, there are many alternatives too, for example Timer for Mac. However, please be aware that I haven’t tested it myself personally, because I do not own a Mac computer.
- Work during the morning hours
The morning hours are the quietest part of the day for me, and that’s why I like to write then.
I have noticed that early mornings and a timer is a super-productive combination; it is quiet in our apartment and I’m fully able to focus on my work, when I’m working with a timer.
That’s the part of the day when many of the blog posts, articles and even some e-books have born.
During the weekdays, I wake up at 05.15 AM and after having a breakfast, I’m ready to start my first writing session of the day at 06.00 AM.
At first it was a bit challenging to wake up that early, but once I got used to it, it became a natural habit to my daily schedule.
- Write now and edit later
When you create content (especially written one), you should write it first and edit it later.
There are always going to be typos and errors in your text when you write, but rather than slowing down the writing phase with constant editing and fixing, you should just finish the text first and then edit and proof-read it later.
This way you don’t slow yourself down and the first draft of the content gets finished much faster.
- Write many blog posts at once
Sometimes you may not be able to write a post on a certain date. For example, you may be travelling and instead of working in front of a computer, you want to focus on your leisure time instead.
That’s why it is important to have a bank of articles ready for situations like these. When creating content, try to come up with several blog posts at once if possible. You could then schedule the posts for later publication (if you happen to use WordPress, but this can probably be done on other platforms too).
Other reason to write many posts at once is to free up your time for other important projects. You could be writing an e-book and you want to focus on finishing it first, before you start working on anything else.
- Outsource your writing process
Virtual assistants (VA) are very important part of every online entrepreneurs business nowadays. By having a person working for yourself (part-time or full-time), you can free up your time for more meaningful tasks on your business.
Currently I’m in a process of hiring a part-time VA for handling some of my tasks: proof-reading, finding images for my post, submitting to social bookmarking services or just creating transcripts out of my podcasts.
Except the transcript part, I’m doing everything now by myself and if those tasks would be handled by someone else, I could concentrate more on content creation, relationship building and other important tasks that I want to do instead.
“When work on your business and create content, you should just focus on the task at hand and do nothing else.
Phase 3 – Analyzing
- Track your time
You should track your time usage to figure out the empty spots in your weekly schedule. What this means is that you should keep track on the daily activities and see, where the content creation part would be the most suitable.
You can track your time by keeping a time log. In essence, it’s about keeping track of your every daily action to see, how you spent your time.
After having kept a time log for a week, you may start to see certain patterns emerging on your schedule and you can possibly eliminate certain things that are not worth your time.
- Analyze your writing process – from start to finish
When you look at your weekly schedule, maybe creating a piece of content in one sitting (from start to finish) would be a better idea than doing that in multiple sessions. Maybe content creation works best at the beginning of each week instead on weekends.
You will learn these things after you have done some testing with your schedule. For example, I start writing my own posts at the beginning of each week, right after I have published my latest blog post.
After writing my post, I edit it and then hand the document to my wife for additional proof-reading and editing.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, you could decide, if hiring a VA would be beneficial for you to speed up the content creation process.
There are basically three parts to content creation: Planning, execution and analyzing. In each of those categories, I laid out some key points to consider, when generating content (for example to your blog).
With some preparation and planning, you are able to maximize the time you have on your hands. This is especially important for those who have a day job and running your own blog or finishing an e-book project at the same time.
As 9-5 workers, we have to be very strict on how we use our free time, since we don’t have the luxury of working on our content full-time.
It’s your turn now!
- Do you have any tips for making the writing process more efficient and faster?
- Do you have any time-saving tips for a person with a day job, while running his/her own online business at the same time?
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