Do you find yourself getting overwhelmed as you try to grow your blog?
Are you struggling with getting things done while feeling like you have so much on your plate?
In this post, I’m going to walk you through a few steps that can help you thrive as a blogger while reducing overwhelm.
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The Pareto Principle
Have you ever noticed that there are only a few things you do that reaps the biggest benefits? You’re not the only one. In fact, there’s a principle that was described by the economist Vilfredo Pareto that explains this.
The Pareto Principle (a.k.a. The 80/20 rule) states that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
The Leslie Samuel version of that principle says this – 80% of what most people spend their time on is crap.
Yep, that’s the technical term – crap. The extension of this is that if you focus 80% of your time on the 20% of things that reap the most reward, your life will be transformed.
The blogging world is relatively new and it always feels like there are so many things to do.
However, by applying this principle to your blogging, you will change the game, get more done, and be more relaxed. Let’s talk about how.
Tip 1: Identify Your 20%
What are the few things you do in your blogging business that give the biggest ROI? What are the REALLY important things you do?
The truth is – it’s not a whole lot. Here is my list of things:
- Creating content. This drives my entire business.
- Strategically promoting my content.
- Growing my email list.
- Growing my Coaching Club.
That’s it. Everything else is not as important. What are those things for you? If you’re a blogger, my guess is that it will be very similar to mine minus the Coaching Club. You might have something else to sell.
Write down your list and then move on to the next tip.
Tip 2: Identify your 80%
Now that we know what’s important, it’s time to make a list of everything else (a.k.a. The crap).
This is the crap that either doesn’t need to be done or doesn’t need to be done by you. Here’s what my list looks like:
- Anything design related. I’ve come to realize that I SUCK at design.
- Dealing with the tech. I can do it well, but is it the best use of my time?
- Spending non-focused time on social media. I enjoy it, but does it really grow my business?
- Trying to be active on every platform. I don’t know about you, but just writing that stresses me out.
- Checking email. And I’m talking about continually checking it during the day.
- Other non-business related things like TV and video games.
What are those things in your business? Make your list and then move on to the fun/scary next tip.
Tip 3: Ruthlessly Eliminate the Non-essentials
If it doesn’t need to be done, stop doing it. This is one of the most difficult things for many people to do. Letting go of things can be quite tricky. But it can often bring the kind of freedom that is so rewarding.
I recently made a difficult decision to get rid of a specific type of meeting that interrupted my workday regularly. This decision has made the biggest difference in my productivity.
But there are other things that can be let go like the desire to be active on every platform. Or always trying to keep up with the hottest trends.
FOMO is real, and it’s a real way to waste a ton of time and overwhelm you like nothing else. Give it up. Miss out. Then, move on to the next tip.
Tip 4: Schedule Time-blocks for the Important Stuff First
Do you ever create a long to-do list and then start with a bunch of little things? Well, stop it right now!
Instead, focus on a few big things and dive into the biggest one first. On my to-do list every morning, I write down three big things. If I accomplish those three things that day, I feel accomplished.
After those three things, I write down some other minor tasks. But my primary goal is to bust through the big three.
Then I put those things in time-blocks on my schedule. By giving it a time-block, I’m able to plan when it gets done. Also, I make sure that the bulk of my time (i.e. 80%) is spent on these things. Yes, I adjust a little throughout the day. But doing it this way has increased my productivity and peace of mind.
Tip 5: Schedule time-blocks for the non-important stuff
Now that the important stuff is on the schedule, let's add all that other stuff. But be careful. This should only take up a small part of your schedule (i.e. 20%).
And if you don’t finish the big three, feel free to steal that 20%. Those things aren’t super important. You’ll live.
Tip 6: Track Your Time and Keep Yourself Honest
This is a biggy. Tracking your time is a great way to see if you’re prioritizing your to-do list the right way. Are the important things getting the bulk of your time?
Do you find your spending way more time designing your blog than creating content? Then you need to make an adjustment.
Try to get as close to that 80-20 distribution as possible. It doesn’t have to be exactly and will shift over time. But make sure the majority of your time is spent productively.
Tip 7: Use Tools/Tech to help Your Focus
Unfortunately, even with the best plans, I still get distracted. Fortunately, there are a number of tools that I’ve used over the years to help me focus. Here are a few:
- Self Control (Mac only). This very cool app allows you to create a blacklist of websites. When it’s time for you to focus, you turn it on and set a timer. Once that timer is set, there is no way for you to visit those sites. It will make your browser act as if those apps no longer exist.
- Focus Me. If you don’t have a Mac, this is an alternative that works on PC as well.
- Turn off notifications. I know – you think you need to know when someone wants to get in touch with you immediately. No, you don’t. Turn off your notifications on your computer and smartphone and free yourself from this myth. I even keep my phone on Do Not Disturb for most of the day now. Freedom.
- Remove distracting apps from your phone. Yes, it’s cool that Facebook and Instagram have convenient apps. But if you know you have a problem with them distracting you, remove them from your phone.
If you start using these 7 tips, your life will be less overwhelming and you’ll get more done. Which tip do you resonate with most? Let me know in the comments area below.