Here is the complete guide to 10 to 20 working hours every week, in 5598 words.
The hard truth is that I’m really lazy. I admit it: working is not the thing I prefer in life. That’s why I invest a lot of time to optimize the way I work.
Are you a busy blogger?
I mean, so busy that sometimes you spend the whole day in front of the computer until your eyes start to strain and your head starts to hurt.
Wow. You work like crazy since this morning, but you still need to edit your article and answer emails. It’s going to take you two or three hours if you want to do it properly. Ouch.
Hold on: how do the best bloggers do to work faster? Want to know?
Well, it’s your lucky day. I contacted some cool bloggers and I asked them what is their best productivity tip.
Here we go. And then I’ll explain my productivity system. Some of you could try to send me an email today.But I will not respond. Just because I am skiing at the moment.
- Jon MORROW, Boost Blog Traffic:
It is fair to say that Jon is the best writer on the Internet today. Here is his tip:
“Stop trying to be more self-disciplined. Instead eliminate anything that might distract you. Productivity means your fingers never leave the keyboard.”
I told you. He knows how to write. (Note: Glen, thanks a lot for your help).
- Henneke DUISTERMAAT, Enchanting Marketing:
Henneke is a non-native speaker and an expert copywriter: can you imagine her skills? Here is her tip:
“My favorite tip for increasing productivity is to take more breaks. We tend to keep battling away at our keyboards, ignoring signs of tiredness.
I’ve found it’s much easier to stay productive when I force myself to take short breaks. I tend to get away from my desk for a few minutes at least every half hour.”
- Timo KIANDER, Productive Superdad:
When it’s time to be productive, Timo’s blog is a gold mine. The proof? He is the only blogger who asked me a deadline to answer. Here is his tip:
“Doing some prep work will help me to do my work faster. First, I plan the task list for the next day, letting me know which tasks I should be focusing on in the first place. Then, I take an individual task and try to prepare for it as well as possible (for instance, create an outline ready, make sure that I have all the research material available …). With these steps, I’m able to:
A) get started with the task faster
B) finish the task quicker I do this kind of preparation at the end of every work day.”
- Peter SANDEEN, Peter Sandeen.com
Why have I asked Peter to participate? Well he is very “conversion rate focused”. And he is European. And he produces high quality posts. Here is his tip.
“Most people lose time because they don’t know what are the most effective ways to grow their blogs.For example, social media is almost never an effective way to grow your blog unless you already have a massive following.
Do your best to identify the most effective things you can do. If you want tons of traffic and subscribers for your blog, try effective guest blogging. You can get 100+ subscribers per post when you learn how to do it.”
- Nancy BADILLO, Nancy Badillo.com
Nancy produces an insane quantity of actionable “how to posts”. Ask to their 104 000 Twitter followers . Here’s her tip:
” If you want to increase your blogging productivity, I highly recommend setting up goals. I personally write down and set achievable goals. Setting up goals gives your blog direction and boost your productivity. Taking on challenges can be really motivating but don’t set yourself up to fail. Set goals effectively helps you not become overwhelm and increases productivity.”
- Emory ROWLAND, Clickfire
You are looking for some content that you will not find somewhere else? Clickfire is the place. Here is Emory’s tip:
“When you wake up in the morning, don’t instinctively reach for your phone to check email. When you boot up your desktop or laptop and start work, don’t open your email until lunch. Just work on important projects and don’t allow interruptions until you are ready! Try this and you’ll see what I mean.”
- Neil PATEL, Quicksprout.
I don’t think I need to introduce Neil. What is a top blog? Just take a look at Quicksprout and you will know. Here is his tip:
“My favorite way to work faster as a blogger is through outlining. A lot of bloggers just starting writing without creating an outline first.
When I blog, I first come up with a headline, I then write the introduction, outline the body, write the conclusion, and then fill in the rest. It has helped me speed up how quickly I can crank out blog posts by over 50%.”
- Brian LANG, Small Business Idea Blog
Brian published an incredible LinkedIn Publishing Study, shared thousands of times: I strongly recommend it. Here’s his tip:
“A lot of bloggers write at home but when I really need to get things done, I find that driving somewhere else like the library will increase productivity dramatically. Just the fact that you are traveling somewhere else to get work done helps you achieve a more productive mindset.”
- Ian BRODIE, IanBrodie.com
Cool posts, cools podcasts, cool videos. Straight to the point. Here is Ian’s tip:
“I’d say two things Andre. Firstly, always write about topics you’re deeply interested in. It makes it much easier to get into “flow” when you care about a topic. Secondly, write down notes of everything interesting you see that relates to your topic as you go through your daily life. Build up a “database” of things to write about that you can return to when you’re stuck for ideas.”
- Ramsay TAPLIN, The Blog Tyrant
Wow. The mysterious Blog Tyrant accepted to join the party. Here is his tip:
“For me it’s super important not to be divided. Focus your energy. Do you really need to be on social media all day? Is it bringing any results? Do you really need to be up til midnight fiddling around with your theme? Is that bringing any results?
Focus in on what works and you’ll automatically become more energetic and more productive.”
- John ANYASOR, Upcity
Upcity guys are real SEO specialists. Here are their tip:
“Eliminate your “dopamine highs.” These are activities that give you a spike of dopamine and get you trapped in an endless loop of procrastination (I use theWebsite Blocker extension to block my social networks that induce this reaction in the brain ((Facebook, YouTube, etc.).
Don’t just do that though — always be sure to reward yourself after short bursts of productivity so you don’t lose motivation.
- Tom TREANOR, Right Mix Marketing
You want to learn about Content Marketing? Tom is the guy. Here is his productivity tip:
“The best way to work faster on content is to use the following process – Headline, Outline, Flow, Edit. When you are inspired by a topic, pick a working headline – what’s the gist of the post? Then Outline it – focusing mainly on the “meat” of the post. What key points are you making?
Then write a draft without stopping to edit all the details – this is the Flow stage. Get it on paper. Lastly, go back and Edit the post and then adjust the headline for maximum impact.”
- Zac JOHNSON, Zacjohnson.com
Zac is really an entrepreneur. You can feel it on his blog. Take a moment, listen to his podcast. He makes affiliation easy. Here is his tip:
- Joshua BECKER, Becoming Minimalist
When I feel overwhelmed, Joshua’s blog is a kind of refuge. A must read. Here is his tip:
“I know it’s not sexy to use or even admit, but my greatest productivity tool is a deadline—whether self-imposed or externally-imposed. Deadlines force me to resolve questions and put words on paper. And I have found that a regular blogging schedule is helpful for creating these deadlines for me.”
- And last but not least, Danny INY, Firepole Marketing.
Firepole Marketing is one of the best marketing blogs on Earth. No kitting. Here is Danny’s tip:
The busy blogger, scenario #1. You do not sell information products, and you are not a full-time blogger. This means that you have to work more if you want to create and sell successful products online. You may end up literally exhausted! This is maybe one of the reasons why you hesitate selling your own products.
The busy blogger, scenario #2. You are already selling your own content. Congratulations, you are a professional blogger! You are out of the “rat race”. But when you see the amount of work that needs to be done for your blog, you start to wonder if it’s not better to keep a normal job.
If only it was enough to write 1,500 words a week to manage a blog, that would be heaven. Yes. Blogging is time consuming.
You want a figure? Test Rescue Time. This awesome app tracks the time spent on applications and websites, and generates all the reports you can imagine.
That’s an eye-opener.
Take Action: measure the way you spend your time.
You probably weren’t imagining this. You thought blogging would be time consuming in the beginning, and easy once your start getting traffic.
You thought you could create an information product, put it online and go skiing, with an online shop that works for you.
Uh, I’m sorry to deceive you. There is much work to be done. Look at that:
I identified 15 tasks that bloggers do. And they take a looooooot of time.
1 Writing is the base. Blogs that works generally publish content between 1500 and 2500 words. It’s long to do. Write and promote one 2500 words article per week then we’ll talk about it, ok?
Oh, and then, you will have to write your promotional emails too.
2 Edit articles: correcting, improving your text, place links, pictures, keywords, publish the content. This takes 1 to 3 hours per post, isn’t it?
3 Spread your content on social networks: it means that you are going to post your latest articles or products on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.
4 Find good ideas: competition is fierce online. You have to offer something unique. Otherwise, it is likely to fail! You need content and product ideas to boost your traffic and conversion rate… That’s a tough job, creativity needs to be stimulated.
5 Customer support: your visitors ask questions without reading your support page. Yes, it’s frustrating. Others will buy with a typo in their PayPal email address and will never receive their products… Customer support is a lot of work to do every day!
Well. I am already tired.
But it’s not finished yet.
6 Answer you readers: your readers will ask for your advice and your opinion. If you are in a niche like personal finance, you’ll certainly receive hundreds of emails every day.
7 Record: you are video blogging or podcasting? That’s nice, it’s faster than writing but you’ll still have to edit the content and upload everything.
8 Code: ok, you work with a programmer who takes care of technical stuffs. But every blogger needs to learn how to code one thing or two. And it is really time consuming when you are a rookie.
9 Design: want a nice web form? You’ll need to spend some time in Photoshop or Pixelmator.
10 Test: the key to selling online is to test. Have you ever used Optimizely? This site allows to validate that any new design or change to an element on your web page is improving your conversion rate It’s great. But it as to be planned, executed and analyzed.
11 Practice: you must progress. You must read. The world changes fast and the Internet as well. To stay updated, you will need to train yourself a lot.
12 Check your indicators: you don’t have indicators? Come on. You need to analyze the productivity of your blog. Traffic, conversion rate, bounce rate, sales, what works, what doesn’t work … Without web analysis, you can consider yourself as an amateur.
13 Manage your affiliates: Do they promote your content correctly? What is the customer overall feeling towards the product?
14 Manage your administrative tasks: do you earn money? You’ll have to provide your earnings report. Do your paperwork, like every company!
15 Manage your service providers: You work with a graphic designer or an accountant? They will ask you for information. Reports, validations. The quality of their work depends on it.
Yes, there is a lot of work to do.
You want to hire people to help you? If you have a team, you will be able to delegate. Cool!
But you’ll have to manage the crew! Motivate them, inspire them, listen to them, control them. Damn!
Now, I am going to tell you something really important: among those 15 tasks, only 3 count. 1, 4 and 11. Creating content, finding ideas and training. This is your job. All the rest is not.
The famous four-hour a week is far away? I was, in this case.
But today, I work only twelve hours a week.
(okay, a little bit more at the moment because I promote this new marketing blog). It’s still too much. But I am working on it.
My weekend starts on Wednesday. My next goal is Tuesday. I think that I’ll get there soon.
I have two blogs. One is not in my mother tongue. I have two children. One is suffering of autism. And he takes more energy than quadruplets. And I go skiing to the Alps or sunning to Spain as soon as I want.
Here is the secret: I have a very complex and hyper-optimized working system.
I used to work in the automotive, aerospace and capital goods industry. My job was to optimize processes. Challenge and optimization are my drug.
I just applied industrial processes optimization principles to blogging, and I’ll share them with you. You will save time.
This is the condition of your survival and your success.
Perhaps you do not care to spend hours working like crazy?
You are wrong. You will fail.
This is not a good business approach. Just answer this simple question. What generates money in blogging? Selling Information Products.
To do this, keep in mind that your goal is to do 3 things only:
- Practice and learn a lot
- Get ideas
- Create content.
If you spend two hours to respond to emails, 2 hours coding, what will happen?
You will not have enough time for your training and readings.
You will have fewer ideas. Your content will drop in quality and you will lose visitors.
But, if your week is busy with reading and creating, you will produce awesome content, attract more qualified visitors, and you’ll get better results.
It’s an ideal world. But you’ll see that we can get closer.
This is why I always say that blogging is not a “hard work” but a “smart work”. Here is what you (absolutely) need to do.
1) First of all, list your tasks and the planned duration.
Work normally, like you do every week. Write down everything you do and the time it takes. Excel can help.
You can also use a great productivity tool like Toggl. This amazing app helps you to aggregate and measure everything you do.
I know it’s a bit painful, but do it, just for a week. This is the basis of your time measurement system. It’s a complicated name to say, “A list of what you do and the time you spend doing it.” This is the only way to break the deadlock.
Time for action: use Toggl and built your time database.
Now, I am going to give to you the result of 100 years of research in time management science (Just kidding. In fact, it’s not rocket science. That’s obvious. But most of the people, for some mysterious reasons, don’t do it and prefer work like crazy).
- Your job is: create content, learn, and get fresh ideas.
- Automate the rest.
- Delegate not automated tasks.
- Delete the rest
- Check that everything go well. Be smart, change something if it does not work.
Print this out and stick it somewhere you can see it.
Take the test. Bring your last score. Highlight in red what looks like training, creativity sessions and content creation. Delete the rest. This is your goal.
2) Now,embrace repetition:
Henry Ford applied techniques that would revolutionize the manufacturing world and one of those techniques is the assembly line.
For example, if you give a worker a simple task like fixing a bolt all his life, that will allows him to focus on perfecting a specific set of skills for this task and can actually lead to increased productivity. Because this creates a specialization (it also a very boring work).
Repetition helps you to become really quick. For example, finding a product idea can take time. But, in general, when you found two or three ideas, you’ll have plenty of others easily.
It’s better to take two hours per month to find ideas rather than spending 30 minutes per day for that.
That’s work for repetitive tasks. Instead of checking your emails 10 times a day, schedule a specific time for that.
It sounds simple, but it will have a huge impact on your work organization.
Throw your “to-do” lists and work with a weekly routine. I explain the details now.
3) Then, schedule a weekly routine.
That’s what I’m doing with my French blog who make me decent earnings until Webmarketing saga (1-month-old) develops.
This French blog is the biggest French blog about trap shooting. Don’t laugh (read my story to understand why I blog about this). This blog is a cash machine. I am not one of those wannabe marketer who have never created and sold a single digital product.
This blog looks simple, but it is very optimized. This is how I manage it:
- On Monday morning, I create my 3 free videos for next week, whatever happens. I stop working at noon.
- On Tuesday, I create my paid training video for next week, whatever happens. I stop working around 3pm.
- On Wednesday, I create my product presentation for next week, whatever happens. I stop working at 10 am.
- I sometimes hold the afternoon for an appointment with my accountant, or a split-test…
With these routines, I created more than 25 courses (137 euros each) in less than one year.
My weekend starts Wednesday at Noon.
I have the time to read. To think. I take care of my son. I get inspired. I ski. I visit cellars and I buy wine.
And the next week, I’ll do the same thing.
Make your weekly schedule and decide what to do each day.
Routines have another advantage.You will never forget anything.
Sometimes, I forgot to transfer money from my PayPal account to my bank account. I added this task to my weekly schedule. I do not delegate “money” things.
I know I have to do it every Saturday, and it takes 85 seconds.
The weekly schedule gives you the luxury of being stupid. That means that all your intelligence will be focused on creativity and content creation.
Simply follow this roadmap and work will be done.
Time for action: create your weekly routine (apply the “embrace repetition” method).
4) Another productivity tool for bloggers: develop procedures for everything.
I like McDonalds. Not for their food, but for their extreme standardization. Any random guy in the street can perform a decent work for McDonalds, in less than 6 hours of training.
How? Every task is explained with procedures. Read and apply.
The procedure thinks for you and makes your life easier. The procedure can be shared with your assistant. When he is ill, somebody else can do the work, because when it is described, it is obvious.
5) How to develop a simple procedure:
In one word: “Video”. Use any screen capture and video recording software (ScreenFlow, screen-o-Matic) and comment what you are doing. Show where to click. Slowly. Record each step. Save the result using a version number and a date.
6) Examples of procedures that I created:
- How to edit an article (this is along one…)
- how to respond to a customer who requests a refund
- how to respond to a client who has lost his credentials
- how to respond to a customer who want some clarification
- how to edit my Facebook messages
- how to edit my Twitter messages
- how to update my performance indicators
- how to edit sales invoices
- how to edit the purchase invoices
- how to edit my videos with Final Cut
- And so on…
This picture shows some of the 38 procedures that I share with my personal assistant thanks too OneDrive. Off course, creating those procedures is a long work. Just try to consider it as an investment.
Time for action : create 3 procedures in a row, each week. Integrate this task into your weekly routine.
7) Next step: hire a personal assistant:
Use oDesk. Share your procedures with your assistant via Dropbox or OneDrive. I’m a OneDrive fan.
Create and share a schedule which shows when each procedrue needs to be applied.
On your side, you’ll just have to set a control schedule to verify what your personal assistant is doing.
Integrate this in your weekly routine.
Time for action: Hire an assistant, and share your procedures and your planning.
9) Now, automate what you can.
Let’s take this as an example. When it comes to savings, people tend to do the operations manually but that is not really efficient.
The best strategy is to automate these tasks.
I save every month on several investments and everything is automated.
This saves one hour a week…
10) Automate your order delivery:
11) Another great productivity tool: Automate your emails.
How to save 45 minutes per day? Gmail allows you to send automatic responses if the received message contains certain keywords. Useful if someone didn’t receive his download link, for example. You can redirect him to a tutorial to solve the problem on is own.
12) Next step. Consider deleting comments.
This is a controversial subject. But it can save you 1 hour after publishing a post.
Here is my point of view. I began by opening comments on my French blog to build relationships with my visitor.
You know, that’s what everybody says. Answer comments, make friends, and they will buy. I was skeptical, but I did it, as you can see.
One day, I got tired of managing trolls and moderating comments so I just compared the emails in comments with those of my clients. Here are my customers emails. I exported it into Excel, and let the Vlook-up function work for me.
13) Do this in less than 30 minutes. Become unreachable. No more emails.
Emails. Hell on earth, right? How to save 2 hour per day:
Pat Flynn explains here that he is overwhelmed with emails.
So is Ramit Sethi.
The best thing is to become unreachable. Here is how to do his.
1) Send your promotional emails using an address like “firstname.lastname@example.org”.
2) Create an automatic response if someone tries to contact you on this address.
3) Explain in this email how to use the support. Link to a Zendesk ticket. Explain that the only support offered is commercial and technical and not for advises.
4)Create procedures and share them with your personal assistant so he can take care of the support. Just validate the refunds.
5) Delete all the email adresses into your blog. You only have to propose a lin to your ticketing service.
Time for action: take one hour and become unreachable now.
14) The second best productivity tool in the world (after the weekly routine): start to use frames.
Structures are complementary to procedures. The structures allow you to create content without even thinking. You’ll provide epic content that compels your readers to come back for more. For example, here is a very effective post structure:
- The problem
- False common solutions
- Your solution
- Why this solution works
- What you went through to discover the solution
- Concrete examples
- A call to action
I use and optimize structures for my articles, my videos, my product presentations, my products. The content is created very quickly. For example, my product presentations are organized into 19 points. This structure gives insane conversion rate.
Structures allow you to follow the bullet points, without scratching your head. That’s how I have created more than 25 quality digital products in less than 12 months.
Take the time to create structures for all your content. You will be more efficient and 3 times faster.
Time for action: create your first structure today.
15) Organize your ideas in 2 minutes.
An amazing thing will happen to you if you apply the conten of this post.
You will have time to find genius ideas.
But keep in mind that having too many ideas can be just as paralyzing as having no ideas.
Create a 3 notes in Evernote and classify your idea. I am an Evernote fan, this productivity tool is really simple.
A) First note: Simple idea, to be tested
B)Second note: Complex idea, to be tested
C) Third note: Too complex idea, to be forgotten
Yes, you can abandon ideas. It’s more productive to test six simple ideas rather than spending a week working on an impossible task. Add this task to your weekly schedule.
Time for action: sort your ides on Evernote today.
16)Start a task as soon as you finish one.
The hardest part in writing is the first 3 lines. Therefore, as soon as I finish an article, I write the first three lines of the following article. So when I want to write, the hard part is done. This is really a killer trick.
17) Take 15 minutes and use social networks productivity tools:
Use a plugin to automate content publication and ignore the comments. Your fans do not care about negative comments. Tweetily is great.
18) Create Excel macros:
Excel is great for tracking your indicators. Find someone who can create Excel macros to automate your performance indicators. This will go even faster. You click and Excel works for you.
19) Use Fiverr, an select good providers.
I love Fiverr. Sometimes it takes time to find a valuable seller but over time I built a catalog with the best sellers for graphics, correcting spelling mistakes, logos, and Excel macros.
20) Work or die.
This is a Brian Tracy advice (it’s mandatory to read Eat That Frog).
Start your day with the longest and boring tasks. Do not do anything else. No emails, no meeting, no Facebook, no TV, no shopping, nothing but the longest andthe most painfull thing of your day.
Simply, start with that. It will help you to produce a lot of quality content in a short period of time.
Then do what you want. It’s not work, it’s not holidays, you can call it “worklidays”.
21) Make toolkits. Do that before the end of the day.
Sometimes I work on my blog while I travel. All my equipment is in a small case. The recorder, some cables, a mini tripod, my wireless router, my powerbank… That’s a simple way to have everything “ready to work”. You will save time and will also to forget on important equipment.
22) Work in masked time.
It’s a term that comes from the industry.
This means that you need to run a background task and make another during this time.
For example, uploading a video on Vimeo may be really long and boring (I personally do not care, my personal assistant do it for me).
Start the upload and do something else during that time.
23) Want to buy a cool thing to get rid of paper and share datas?
This is an extraordinary weapon. It will scan your documents and at the same time allows you to do a keyword search.
You will never loose or search any paper. Just enter a keyword and the software will show all the concerned scanned documents. This tool is really a must have.
24) Get inspired, faster:
Stuck with inspiration for your creative process? Just go to Amazon and take a look at the tables of contents of some books in your field. Inspiration and creative juices will flow.
Another tip is to user AHREFS.com to spy on your competitors, and see what works or not. That’s easy to do. Just enter a competitor URL, and choose Top Pages. You will see what topic works or not.
25) Record. Don’t write.
Creating audio files and video files is faster than writing. Really faster. Recording a 20 minute audio takes… 20 minutes. Ok you will have to edit it. But that’s fast. Recording video or audio goes 4 to 5 time faster than writing. Half of webmarketingsaga will contains video (80% on my french blog). Why? Because that’s fast. And visitors love videos.
I was blogging around 40 hours per week. Now it’s 12. I have the time to be creative and a better blogger. Here we are. You got the roadmap. Save hours, focus on value. You will have a better blog, more sales and a better quality of life.
Don’t be a like a doctor:
A doctor is time limited. He is able to see 3 or 4 people in an hour. If he wants more money, he needs to work more. A blog duplicates your digital content without any limitation. Having 10 or 1000 customers represents the same amount of work.
You can get 1000 customers with the right content. With the right ideas. Don’t be overwhelmed with the rest.
Remember that what makes blogging awesome is the time freedom it brings. If you do it correctly.
Now, here is your bonus:
Want more actionable prodctivity tips. I wrote a free 12 steps guide for you.
- 1) How to divide by two the time you spend on emails
- 2) The best productivity book on the planet
- 3) The unique trick to remember one million unique and strong passwords in 13 seconds
- 4) The simpliest and more effective decision to take about your productivity
- 5) How to help your brain to be focused all day long, without being tired
- 6) How to use every single minute to improve your knowledge two times faster
- 7) The fantastic app that will help you to manage your weekly routine (remember? Weekly routines are the most powerful productivity tip in the world)
- 8) The tip that will save you 45 minutes per week, be healthier and save money… Don’t laugh, I tested it. It’s a wonder.
- 9) The killer app to manage all your providers: programers, personal assistant, designer, accountant…
- 10) The tip that will make you understand what to do now. Because you have time.
- 11) A simple way to work 25% faster with your computer
- 12) Should you do it or delegate it? A crazy method to prioritize your work.
12 Cool, Simple, and Very Efficient Productivity tips, the free PDF guide.
Download your free productivity tool kit.