Many people have the dream of being an online entrepreneur. Way too often the demands of work, family, and social responsibilities seem to overwhelm us, convincing us to give up that dream before we really learn to manage it.
For thousands of people, that dream is their reality. They have learned to balance their lives and to carve out the necessary hours to invest in themselves and their businesses. They have learned to focus on creating the life they want. This gives them the super-ability to get more done in less time.
Take these tips from very busy bloggers who are succeeding and thriving with their entrepreneurship. Choose the ones that will work in your life and adjust them as needed to make them fit. It will take work and commitment. The payoff is freedom to live the life you want to live and give your family the best of you.
Planning, Prioritizing, Writing it down
These pros share with us the need to use a calendar, diary, and list to keep things moving in the right direction.
Karen Houghton, atlantatechvillage.com shares with us, the following:
Running the 4th largest tech hub in the United States means there is always work to be done. Atlanta Tech Village is open 24/7, houses over 300 startups, and we host over 400 events a year. It can be easy to live each day from a reactive place. Instead, I live by my calendar and intentionally plan time and space each day to create a rhythm of work that allows me to be my most productive. Times I will take meetings, when and how many events I attend, office time to answer emails, and even time for reading and writing are planned for and time blocked accordingly. I even schedule buffer time in case there are fires to put out, which there always are. By scheduling my time and using tools like Calendly, I am able to protect my time and make sure I have space to prioritize important things and make sure I get done what needs to get done.
James Kelly, from thelifeofluxury.com, uses a to-do list to prioritize his day.
Each day, we are bombarded with an avalanche of work. It can be quite stressful. It’s important to start your day with a to-do list. Prioritize them by importance and fully understand what is required. Knocking off a few “low hanging fruit” provides a sense of accomplishment. The key for me is to avoid distractions, such as limiting cell phone use. I also like to block out a meeting time, so I can focus on the project. Be sure to recognize what you finish and not dwell on tasks that roll to the next day.
Using a diary allows Laura Martin, www.missljbeauty.com to always be prepared.
My tips for productivity are quite simple. I love to have a diary. I set aside time to blog and time for ideas. Carrying a notebook while, on the go is a great way to write down ideas and thoughts. The best advice I received is to be yourself and find your love. Yes, that Sounds strange in regards to productivity but if you need a break have one. Your brain works better when you are not stressed. If you don’t love what you do. You will not find time to do it. Remember passion is key to success.
Stewart Smith, mkremodeling.com, finds mental preparation keeps him focused.
I’m a stay-at-home dad, so my time window for working is as long as my daughter is napping. Once that window closes, it’s gone until the next day, so I have to hit the ground running. To counter the time limitations, I try to not open my laptop until I have something already written in my head. Usually, it’s a sentence or two, or maybe it’s a cluster of keywords, but as long as I’m not staring at a blank screen, I will find the spark to get going. That, and coffee. Always coffee.
Divide and conquer – taking small bites
Breaking the day into manageable time frames helps Maureen Anders, www.arworkshop.com
I schedule myself in 30-minute time increments throughout the day. In those 30-minute increments, I list out several “to dos” to be sure that I stay on track.
Amber Shawver, www.FourtoAdore.com, finds it easier to break projects into phases.
After I take photos for the blog, I use apps for photo editing, watermarking, and archiving pictures, which I upload directly to the WordPress app as a draft. Then, I designate time to write pieces corresponding with my photos.
Kerry Bergeman, www.shopfrulu.com & www.new2two.com, grabs minutes daily.
For me, it’s about being organized and surrounding myself by a supportive network. I set aside time every day. I try for the same time, but that never works with two sets of twins running around. I do try to write for at least ten minutes a day and spend ten minutes networking. That is at a minimum. Additionally, I like to engage with people who will support and help me grow. No nay-sayers in this life!
Pam Kocke, pyjammy.com combines, mental preparation with list building.
Challenge yourself to post on a regular schedule. And make sure your readers know about it, so you’ll be accountable. Serial posts work well – document the growth of your garden (or children) or do a countdown to a special event.
Write posts when you’re inspired, and then schedule them for the future. That way, if you can’t think of anything to write about, you’ll always have something on hand to post.
Keep a list of post ideas in an app that you can access from anywhere. (I use Simplenote.) Whenever I am feeling uninspired, I just read through that list and pick something.
Josh Anderson from https DIYactive recommended to trick our minds when it comes to daunting tasks:
“Many people put off bigger projects because they are daunting. One way to overcome this is with your own version of the 10-minute-rule. Find a quiet place, set the timer on your phone for ten minutes and then get to work. Mentally you think that you will only have to work on the project for 10 quick, painless minutes, but the beauty is that you actually start your project and once you dive in you’ll realize it isn’t as daunting as you thought. Ten minutes every day, which usually goes longer once you get in the zone, will help you beat procrastination, distractions and get your projects completed!”
Focus and Focus-Breaks
Focus is a must for the blogger. You have to do the best you can with the limited times you have. But sometimes you have to use tools to break your focus so you can dedicate time to every project.
Deane Alban, founder of BeBrainFit.com believes in the Pomodoro technique:
My favorite way to get into a state of deep concentration is with productivity hack known as the “Pomodoro Technique.” First, proactively remove all distractions that are under your control. Turn off your phone, close your door, and tell those around you not to disturb you – unless your hair is on fire! Be very clear on what you want to accomplish and challenge yourself to get as much done as possible. Then set a timer for 25 minutes and give it your all. If your mind starts to wander, simply bring it back to the task at hand. When the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break. Repeat as needed. Each 30-minute set not only puts you in a state of deep concentration, it actually trains your brain to learn how to block out distractions and focus for extended periods of time.
Ally Gonzales, RunningSoleGirl.com refuses to give less than 100%
A big part of staying productive for me is focusing on one task at a time. In my experience, when people try to multi-task they end up becoming distracted and their work suffers. In any business, especially blogging; you’re always being pulled in multiple directions to try and get everything done. It’s a constantly evolving world, and by focusing on the task at hand you know you’re putting out your best work.
Breaking focus to be more effective is important to Mary Ann Zimmerman, www.mindability.com
Use An Alarm! Personally, a phone alarm helps me regain control of those minor issues that crop up, keeps me from being distracted, and helps me stay ahead of the daily deadlines. Beyond using alarms for getting up in the morning, a basic phone alarm also helps me depart a meeting that runs longer than planned, which automatically increases my productivity and positively impacts the day’s schedule.
Doing it all, and doing it healthy
Yoga helps Kim France, girlofacertainage.com stay sharp and relaxed.
I am currently writing a memoir, which I work on during the week, so I do my blog posts on the weekends. I wake up around 6:30, have coffee, walk the dogs, go to an 8:30 yoga class, come home and get right to work. If I’m really cranking, I can get most of the week’s posts done by the end of Saturday.
Mila Chervenkova, www.milaonsupplements.com, knows health is the foundation to success.
Keeping my head above water and multitasking could be a difficult thing to complete when my main goal is productivity. Here are a few things I do at the beginning and the end of each day: 1) Plan your day, always have something to do, 2) Always write down your thoughts, 3) I have a daily calendar on my desk, and I fill it with all of the things I want or need to accomplish that day or the other one, 4) Take breaks. Go for a walk. Do some yoga, or my favorite kill the weights in the gym. 5) Take your dietary supplements such as fish oil, vitamin d and some nootropics known as “smart drugs.”
Darrell Grable, neurohacker.com insists on balance:
You must be mentally and physically organized. You do not have to do the same thing every day at the same time, but you must know what you have to do, and when it has to be done. Use your smartphone, calendar, computer, or a pen and paper. But whatever you use, unplug before you do the task.
Fazal Mayar, richerornot.com, however, puts his health and life-work balance first:
You will rarely have entire days to contribute to your work. So, use your minutes wisely and let the hours take care of themselves. Being healthy means having energy, eating well, getting in exercise, and maybe even taking supplements to improve your abilities. You cannot take care of everyone else unless you first take care of yourself.
Todd Middlebrooks, President discusses how technology significantly helped his team be more productive:
We live in an age where technology can significantly improve our daily lives if we know how to use it. At CSII, we’ve helped many physical offices go either partially or entirely virtual. Seeing employees and managers improve their productivity and efficiency and increasing their overall level of happiness is why we get up in the morning.
Jose Rosario, Owner of SELAH BODYWORKS, states on his productivity:
At times we can confuse being busy with being productive. As an owner of a small business, it happens all the time. I always have to implement compensatory strategies to make sure I stay productive. Alerts on my phone, google doc alerts or even the good old yellow sticky reminders. All three come in handy to keep me on track!
Jake Fisher, the owner of Bridges Strategies, talks about cutting distraction with some apps:
Writing valuable content often requires long-term focus to “get into the zone.” A distraction-free writing app is crucial for staying focused. We use the HubSpot Composition Tool but there are plenty of options including stand-alone apps like WriteMonkey and FocusWriter.
Scott Harris, President, and Founder of Mustang Marketing says:
I’ve found that when you consistently deliver engaging and relevant content, your readership will grow organically. While factoring SEO into the equation is important in order for readers to find your writing and services, readers will become loyal subscribers when you provide quality material that is educational, drives the conversation and promotes engagement. Treat content as king and respect your audience by avoiding writing shallow and gimmicky posts or blogs that offer little benefit to you and them.
As someone whose job description includes social media and media communications, it’s hard to tune out. I love the mac app SelfControl when I have to get into, and stay in, the zone. Making time on my calendar and setting time limits on distracting tasks (email, social media, phone calls, etc.) also helps minimize the distraction, when I don’t want to go fully into the dark.
believes in activating your body, freshen up a little to get into the Zone:
Take a minimum of 5 minutes every hour to stand up, walk, stretch, bounce, and breathe deep into your diaphragm. I like to do some jumping jacks, squats, lunges, push-ups, and hangs off a bar or tree branch when there’s one available. The purpose is to completely let go of work, activate your body, and let your mind wander/relax before refocusing on the task at hand.
These professionals have found their own paths to success. There are many avenues to explore. Some will work for you and some will not. You may rely on project management tools, your will, ability to cut distractions, or whatever works for you. You may even come up with some of your own to share. There are a few things we can all agree on.
Find or create the formula that works for you and work it. If you do, you will make it.