Part time blogger: How to utilize the most out of your limited time for blog content creation

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.

Part time blogger: How to utilize the most out of your limited time for blog content creation

Conclusion

good time managementThere 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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Comments

  1. Hi Tim – I really enjoyed reading through this as you have some great tips. i’ve never really pictured the three stage process before, though when I’m being “good” I do stages 1 and 2 and find that it does increase productivity. I need to be in the right frame of mind to write and I to find it best to do first thing in the morning.

    I try to plan out what I’d like to write about before I go to bed and then get up switch on the Mac and start writing straight away. I find that planning the night before helps because my brain seems to mull over ideas while I’m sleeping!
    Clare recently posted..Traffic School: Simplicity and FocusMy Profile

  2. Timo Kiander says:

    Clare,

    Thank you and nice to see you here :)

    You are right. When we plan our content the night before, our brains process that information and new ideas start to pop into our minds all of a sudden.

    Also, knowing what to write in advance enables us to utilize our free time much better than without any planning.

    I’m glad that you found the information helpful

    Cheers,
    Timo

  3. This is excellent Timo! It pretty much resonate to what I am right now, part-time blogger with full-time job.

    Juggling your schedules among family, work, friends and hobbies can really drain you. That is why I am only able to update my blogs once a week and give credit to my commentators on a weekend.

    These time management tips are really helpful. I will be featuring this in my Bunch O’ Blogs this coming Saturday. Stay tuned!
    Ramcel recently posted..Are Your CommentLuv Backlinks Being Stolen by Google?My Profile

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Ramcel,

      Nice to see you here :)

      It definitely adds some complexity to your schedule if you want to build a blog or your business and have a day job at the same time. However, you will eventually, you will find your own schedule that suits you the best by testing and tweaking.

      Also, thank you for adding this post to your list :) I’ll be writing more stuff on time management and productivity from now on.

      Have you checked my 101 Productivity Tips post I did a while back:

      http://timokiander.mybizplatform.com/101-tips-for-becoming-a-productivity-superstar/

      Hopefully there are some tips for you too.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  4. Hi Timo, very nice post! I’m still relatively new to writing, so I’m currently trying to find the most effective ways to do it.

    Your post has been a great inspiration to me. I’ve also just recently discovered that batching blog post creation tasks really helps me to work faster.

    First, I brainstorm several blog post ideas. Then I write a first draft for all these blog posts, usually about 3. The next day, I edit all of them.

    I find this to be more effective than completely finishing one blog post and then turning to the next one. I guess it’s because, like you said, we get into a “writing grove”, and starting to edit destroys this and puts us into a different state of mind.
    Lucas recently posted..Open Up!My Profile

    • Lucas,

      Thank you and nice to see you here :)

      I’m really appreciated, that my post made a difference!

      I have realized, that writing the blog post itself is not the hardest part. It is all the rest that has to be done, before I can publish a blog post.

      Things like keyword research, creating info graphics, creating an accompanying video (when required), doing the proofreading or scheduling a notification for my list are tasks that has to be done every time before I publish my post.

      Because of that, I’m looking ways to hand over some of these tasks to a VA at some point, so that I can focus more on content creation and other important stuff.

      Timo

  5. Thank you for the awesome post.

    I have been struggling with creating consistent post on my blog and it surely helped. I have question though, Where is the best place to hire VAs’? I have been looking into this for quite some time and you may be the right person to help me with this.

    Armand Polanski
    Armand Polanski recently posted..How A 9-5 Job Can Change My LifeMy Profile

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Armand,

      Thank you and nice to see you here!

      When it comes to VAs, I’m about to hire one through Virtual Staff Finder (VSF) (http://www.virtualstafffinder.com/), which is owned by Chris Ducker (http://www.virtualbusinesslifestyle.com).

      At the moment, I don’t have experiences of VAs (except some random outsourcing through Elance and Fiverr) or Virtual Staff Finder, but VSF is denitely the place where I’m going to hire my VA (at first as an part-time employer) from.

      In fact, I’m about to write a blog post of my experiences with their VA’s as soon as I have hired one and worked with one for sometime.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  6. Hi Timo, long time no see. I was ‘slacking off’ during the summer. I basically surrendered to the fact the kids were off and I just couldn’t seem to do ‘everything’ well.

    I can’t agree more with your points. I love the suggestion of outlining your posts. I know what a huge difference that makes. I only wish I could follow this advice to the letter, better than I often do.

    Wonderful read. Very motivating to get my proverbial act together again!

    Best

    Jayne
    Jayne Kopp recently posted..Is Your Online Business Failing? Or, Could it be That You’re Just Not…My Profile

    • Jayne,

      Thank you and nice to see you again!

      Outlining has worked for me, since I have only limited amount of time at my disposal. By doing this, I can make sure that I can get right into work mode and don’t have to spend time thinking what to write about.

      Cheers,
      Timo

  7. Timo,
    Really good stuff here. Having read dozens of articles on productivity, I found yours a gentle and easy reminder to do what works. And got some new ideas, like document everything. We’ll see. Nice layout. Well thought out. Liking your style. Also liked 101 Productivity Tips. I was glad you mentioned it in the comments, not a common thing, but well placed for that user. You added value to both of us.

    Was reminded of this post on Quora: http://www.quora.com/Chris-Wake/Hidden-habits-of-ineffective-people I guess I found you via Quora. So call me a fan.
    Steve LeBlanc recently posted..Teachers Need Mentors, Tutorials and AggregatorsMy Profile

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Steve,

      Thank you and nice to see you here!

      I love to hear that you found the content valuable :)

      Cheers,
      Timo

  8. Thanks for sharing! However, I think that by writing too much blog posts at one go will decrease the content value since you are “rushing” to write. I believe that quality are more important than quantity. But still, you are doing a good job explaining all the time management time.

    • Timo Kiander says:

      Wilson,

      I have now noticed this myself too. This may work for shorter articles, but for longer ones which require more focus and energy, it may be too daunting to write many posts as once.

      Cheers,
      Timo

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