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How to Get More Done in Less Time as a Blogger (Part 2)

[1]mode done in less time [2]
If you missed it, be sure to read Part 1 here [3].

4. Limit Time-Wasting Online Activities

There are so many ways to be productive online, but there are a thousand more ways to waste enormous amounts of time online. If you’re struggling with being distracted online with time-wasting websites and activities, I’d encourage you to consider setting up safeguards. Here are some suggestions:

::Parental Controls: On most computers, you can set up parental controls with a time limit, where say, you only have two hours a day on the computer and it shuts off when the limit it up. Or, you can set it up so that your computer will only allow you to log on for certain hours of the day.

::Leechblock: This Firefox add-on [4] will block any time-wasting sites you choose either entirely or for designated time periods in order to help you get focused work done.

::Rescue Time: Wondering where all your time is going online and why you’re not getting anything done? Rescue Time [5] will track your online activities and you can also set limits for how much time you can spend on individual sites.

5. Take a Computer Sabbatical Regularly

There are so many good things you can learn and read and share and do online, but I think all of us need to step back and step away from time to time and just relish media-free quiet. It clears your mind, it helps put things in perspective and it allows you to come back refreshed!

A few years ago, we implemented media-free Sundays at our house and this has been one of the best things for our family. We don’t always 100% follow it as there are some Sundays when we break at a DVD for the children while Jesse and I spend time together or we’ll need to turn the computer on for something or other, but I don’t blog on Sundays and by and large the computers stay completely shut off.

This makes Sunday a very restful day at our home and allows us to spend extra time fellowshipping with friends and family at a leisurely pace. We also often get in Sunday afternoon naps!

6. Set Boundaries for Social Media

Twitter, Facebook and Skype have made it possible for us to have discussion and online interaction with dozens or even hundreds or thousands of people every day. If used wisely, social media can be a tool which helps to grow your blog and gives you an opportunity to minister and reach a wider audience. On the flip side, social media can suck up a great deal of time if not kept in check.

I’ve definitely struggled with this. As a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of young children, I found that the lure of social media was great. Here I could talk and interact with other moms in similar situations, we could share our funny kid stories, encourage one another in potty-training and homemaking, share blogging ideas and so much more.

The problem was, I wasn’t disciplined to shut it off. I constantly felt the need to check in on Skype to see what discussion were going on, or to check Twitter to see what I was missing out on.

About five months ago, God really convicted me of the need to do a better job of prioritization and I realized that I was spending too much time online social media. So I took some drastic measures: I disabled my Skype account and disabled my Tweetdeck account.

I set up my posts to auto-tweet to Twitter and now only check Twitter.com once or twice a day and respond to any messages on there, usually spending less than five minutes a few times per week on Twitter. I’ve found I’ve had a lot more time to focus on higher priorities now that I’ve really limited social media in my life — and it’s been a good thing (though I do miss the fun conversations and comradery!). I’ve also found that by limiting social media, I’ve been a lot more apt to pick up the phone or spend more time on real-life relationships, which should always trump online stuff!

7. Get Enough Rest

I used to think that burning the midnight oil would make me more productive, but I’ve actually found that I’m much more productive if I get at least seven hours of sleep almost every single night. I usually am most productive in the mornings so I make it my goal to go to bed by 10 p.m. and get up between 5 and 6 a.m.

It’s hard for me to shut things down at night but I’ve found that I’m much more prone to dawdle and waste time at night than I am in the mornings. You might be the other way around. Do what works best for you, but whatever you do, put getting enough rest high up on your priority list.

You’ll feel better and more energetic and I’d wager to guess that you’ll also find an extra hour or two of sleep at night helps you to be more productive than if you spent that time trying to pry your eyeballs open with toothpicks and get more work done.

{And to be brutally honest here, I wrote this a few weeks ago and I’m not preaching to myself as I’ve not done a good job of this the last few days and I’m suffering for it. I’ve been a ton less productive, more irritable and walking around like a zombie the last few days. Time to get back to early bedtimes — starting tonight!}

8. Say “No” Often

As women, we’re often afraid to say no. We fear we might miss out on a big opportunity and we worry about what other people might think of us. I know, because I’m there a lot.

I just want to encourage you (and myself!) to guiltlessly say “no”. If an opportunity is going to require time you don’t have or going to oblige you in a way you don’t feel comfortable with or is just not a good fit for you or your blog, say “no”.

Before committing to anything, count the costs. What are you going to have to give up in order to do this thing or attend this event or write this post or participate in this series?

Is it worth what you’re giving up? If you’re not 100% sure that it is, than say “no”.

The final installment of How to Get More Done in Less Time as a Blogger will be posted on Monday.

photos from Shutterstock [6]