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Today I’m going to deviate from the norm and talk a little about one of my favorite topics: blogging and being a better blogger. However, this post isn’t just for my blogger or writer friends! Anyone can use these tips to tap into their inner creative or planner. Whether you’re working on improving your blog or improving your life, I hope you find these tips beneficial.
If you’re anything like me, you might sometimes feel like there’s not enough time in the day to do everything. You have work, family commitments, and don’t forget to pick up toiletries and get your oil changed!
With everything going on, how can you make time to sit down and effectively generate interesting blog posts? Between actually writing the posts and creating Pinnable images, coming up with interesting post ideas for the next week, let alone the next month, might seem like an impossible task.
Here are a few ways I take “me” time to think: about blog posts, about my future career goals, and yeah, even about vacations I’m planning a whole year out. 🙂 There’s no reason you can’t allow yourself half an hour here and there to think about you!
- Identify where you do your best thinking, and go there. Some people come up with their best ideas in the bathtub, while others feel invigorated curled up on a comfy chair. Personally, I do best with a desk and lots of room to spread out. Determine where you do your best work, and go there when it’s time to brainstorm.
Even better: go to your brainstorming place at your best time of day. If you work best at midnight, go to your favorite spot at midnight and just brainstorm for 20 minutes. As long as your midnight spot isn’t a closed coffee shop. Don’t be that creepy person hanging outside a closed shop.
- Don’t push it. How many times have you sat down with a goal to “brainstorm 10 posts for the next month” only to stare at your computer screen (or piece of paper) and not be able to think of one. Single. Topic? Instead of getting mad at yourself for not being able to immediately think of amazing topics, don’t push your creative juices.
Instead, sit down at your productive space and just write whatever comes to your mind. Don’t censor anything for the first 10 minutes: no matter how crazy, so-so, or already-covered topic, write it down. Then take your next 10 minutes to cull that list: what topics could be combined? What already covered topics could be covered in a unique way? Everyone likes to talk about saving money, but how can you make it unique to you?
If you can’t come up with anything, even in the first 10 minutes, be kind to yourself. Go get some coffee/tea/water, distract yourself talking to a loved one, or walk around. Come back and put pen/pencil to paper: even if it’s just doodling, start doing something. Sometimes some water and a brief walk can do wonders to help get your creative juices flowing again!
- Take a look at your To Do list. Have you ever realized your To Do list says a lot about you? Take a look at your To Do list right now: how many things on there are requirements (change oil, pick up deodorant, schedule dentist appointment), and how many are you related (blogging goals, life and career goals)?
I’m not saying your everyday To Do list should incorporate life-changing goals, but it should acknowledge your path towards reaching those goals. If your goal is to have 50% of your traffic come from Pinterest by July 2015, what is on your To Do list right now that helps you get to that goal?
It doesn’t have to be anything large. For the Pinterest goal, your To Do list could read:
- Re-do 2 old images to be more Pinterest-friendly
- Join one Group Board and re-pin your most popular posts (and follow other group members!)
If your To Do list is heavy on requirements and light on goals, take some time to refocus on your long-term priorities. Are there things on your daily To Do list you could eliminate or streamline? If certain tasks are cutting into your you time, think about eliminating them. Maybe your kids are old enough to pack their own lunches? Maybe instead of stopping in at Target to pick up deodorant, you could have it delivered (along with other households items) by Amazon using Subscribe and Save?
Get ruthless: guard your you time and carve out time for yourself to brainstorm – both for your blog and for personal goals.
- Study the habits of your favorite bloggers. We all have our favorite bloggers, so identify why your favorite blogger stands out and what s/he does to cultivate a following. Do they have a unique spin on things, or do they use humor to stand out and get people talking? You don’t need to be your favorite blogger, but pay attention to what makes them stand out, how long they’ve been blogging, and how they generate conversation among their followers.
You can even reach out to your favorite bloggers and ask them how they recharge and brainstorm cool posts. Even better? If your favorite blogger has released an ebook or is starting a new consulting service, ask if you can interview them on your blog! Your favorite blogger gets publicity, you get to ask the questions you already wanted to ask, and you get a blog post. Win-win-win!
- Take a day off. We all need a day off to relax and recharge. If you work at a full-time job (and are allowed paid time off), consider taking a personal day off to rest up and recharge.
On your day off, turn off your phone, don’t schedule any required appointments, and go somewhere new. Bring a pad of paper and just jot down what comes to your mind… or don’t! Take some time to enjoy the solitude and reflect on what makes you happy, and where you want to be in life 5-10 years down the road.
When you’re ready, take some notes and create a strategy for your blog, or that book you’re working on, or that promotion you’re going for. Note how you want to get there, what requirements you need to eliminate or minimize, and who you could talk to to help you get there.
We all have really great ideas, but sometimes it’s hard to carve out time and get those ideas out on paper. One thing I’ve noticed is I come up with great ideas while sleeping – helpful, huh? However, what I’ve learned to do is keep a pen and a pad of paper on my nightstand, so I can groggily write down my thoughts when I wake up. Sometimes the ideas are terrible, but sometimes they’re good.
You won’t know what great ideas you have unless you allow yourself some time to be creative and write down anything that comes to mind.
How do you carve out time for yourself, either to brainstorm blog posts or just to have a time to relax and reflect?