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When it comes to blogging, there are tons of excuses we give ourselves (or sometimes our bosses) explaining why we just can’t get to writing them right now. While many of these excuses (not enough time, too busy with client work, no writers on staff to create content or edit it, etc.) may in fact be valid and perfectly understandable, it doesn’t change the fact that in order to have successful content marketing, you must also have frequent, relevant content to actually post, too.

So instead of continuously finding reasons to put blogging on the back burner, why not define what the time wasters at work are that are preventing you from getting it done, and change them? Here are a few common ones to start off with that may help at your place of business:

1) Ineffective Multi-tasking

For many of us, our day-to-day routine at work requires wearing a lot of hats and being an effective multi-tasker. But the truth is, we’re not as great at it as we think. In a recent study, Earl Miller—a Picower professor of neuroscience at MIT—claimed that it is actually very difficult for people to fully focus on more than one thing at a time, but are much better at switching focus between tasks very quickly, giving the illusion of effective multi-tasking.

An example might be someone thinking that they are effectively writing an email and talking on the phone at the same time. Because both involve communicating (whether verbal or written) and thus are competing to use the same part of the brain to complete them, we are not really multi-tasking—we’re simply switching our focus very rapidly back and forth between tasks.

Tips for better blogging productivity:

The goal is to be as effective as possible when it comes to productivity so you actually can have time for things like blogging. Try to stay focused on one task at a time. If your schedule allows for it, you can also try to prioritize your tasks into groups (i.e. lumping together tasks that are more communication-based, analytical-based, and so on and so forth.).

2) Sitting in on Every Meeting

When it comes to meetings, there are often many that are unnecessary for everyone to attend, or at least not for the whole duration of them. In some cases, meetings are planned with a clear topic and objective in mind, but often spiral off in tangents once the meetings have begun. Maybe that type of discussion is necessary for some roles, but it’s likely that the bulk of the staff are not needed in those.

Tips for better blogging productivity

For those roles in a company that are designed to see things from a broader view (more managerial and directorial positions), these meetings might be necessary to attend. But other more task-oriented positions may benefit from just getting the highlights from one person who attended, as these individuals often have pressing deadlines that can get interrupted with too many meetings.

Each meeting should also be directed with a clear topic of discussion that leads to each person’s/department’s specific action items, a realistic timeline and a follow-up meeting to go over the progress.

3) Getting Sucked into the Black Hole that is Social Media

Almost every one of us who have social media accounts are guilty of over-frequenting our news feeds at some point or another. Even if interacting on multiple social media platforms is a big part of your job, it’s important to set aside time for personal use, rather than during work hours. Overusing or stopping sporadically to check your accounts (even if for business purposes) can make it much more challenging to get back into a strong workflow.

Tips for better blogging productivity

Instead of reading up on current statuses, try scheduling out a short 30 minutes to read up on some of the top blogging best practices from the pros. There are a ton of great online resources for beginners and regular bloggers alike that discuss best practices for different types of blogs, too, including corporate/professional, personal, hobby/interest, community, etc.

4) Having a Disorganized Workspace

This is something that frequently gets overlooked, but can nonetheless be a big time waster. And many aren’t afraid to admit it. In fact, in an OfficeMax survey, it was found that out of 1,000 workers, 90 percent of them believe that clutter does, in fact, create a negative work environment. And 77 percent of them claimed that clutter also negatively affects their productivity. This accounts not only for tangible documents on your desk, but files on your desktop, unopened/unsorted emails and other similar digital materials that require sorting.

Tips for better blogging productivity

Try making it a habit to file a document away every time you create or acquire one. It will keep you from spending hours trying to search for something and prevent you from dedicating entire days to giving your workspace a thorough cleaning. Similar to the advice given by popular chefs and cooks today, forming the good habit of “cleaning as you go” will clear up a lot of time for you to do other things—in this case, getting crackin’ on that blog.

5) Procrastinating

Procrastination almost never works out for the better in any situation, but especially when it comes to the workplace. Waiting until the last minute to get things done can force you to push back other time-sensitive tasks, looping you into an endless cycle of overdue items.

Tips for better blogging productivity

Setting daily or hourly goals for getting things done can help you stay on track and avoid procrastinating. Treat it the way you would a bank account: you have X amount of dollars (in this case, hours) to get something done and once that’s gone you will have to get a loan with interest (hours from the next work day) to pay for your expenses.

Sticking to this “budget” can help you visualize that procrastinating can actually accumulate a lot of work for you in the future, and hopefully help you find the time to squeeze in some writing time for your blog.

6) Losing Focus Due to Noise

Many workplaces are now adapting to more collaborative spaces, ditching the individual offices and setting up cubicles/desks within an open, spacious area. The problem that often comes with this type of setup, however, is distraction due to high levels of noise in any one space.

While some may argue that listening to music helps keep them focused, it really depends on the individual—how they work best and what type of work they’re trying to complete. In an inbound marketing agency, for example, someone in more of a designer or producer role might function more efficiently with some background music.

A marketing strategist or content writer, on the other hand, may function better in silence. Either way, if the noise (music, internal conversations, conference calls on speaker phone, etc.) is not being controlled by the individual, it’s likely to distract them.

Tips for better blogging productivity

If you’re wanting to make time for writing blog articles, you probably fall into the category that does better without noise. So if your office is typically on the noisy side, instead of staring at your computer screen for 10 minutes trying to finish writing the same dang sentence, try using some ear plugs or noise-canceling headphones at the first sign of distraction. You can then get in your own zone and tune your rambunctious coworkers out while you type.

7) Socializing for Too Long

Let’s face it: many of us like to socialize. Not necessarily because we’re all a bunch of gossips, but because we spend the majority of our days (and our weeks) with the people we work with, so we develop a desire to connect with them on a personal level.

The problem comes in when a morning catch-up session or an afternoon instant-message conversation lasts for a couple of hours or half the day—it can certainly impede on productivity.

Tips for better blogging productivity

One way to avoid this is by redirecting these chats to happen first thing in the morning, during a group lunch, at an after-work happy hour, or on a break. Set up a meeting in your calendar (even if it’s just with yourself) to block out some time just for blogging. If someone wants to chat during that time, simply ask to continue the conversation after your time block is over or at another time.

8) Being a Literary Perfectionist

Perhaps one of the biggest time wasters in the office has to do with the actual process we have for writing blogs. There’s a fair chance you may just be overdoing it. Similar to how a designer can sometimes forget the value of white space, many of us wordsmiths sometimes forget the value of conciseness. Just because you’re creating a piece of content doesn’t mean your viewers are going to spend time like they would reading their favorite novel to absorb it all.

In fact, in an article by the research company Nielsen Norman Group that discusses how little online materials are actually read by users, results showed that the average viewer only has time to read about 28 percent of the words on any given Web page. That’s why it’s important to stay focused and get to the point.

Tips for better blogging productivity

Start your process by creating an outline. It should consist of:

  • The blog topic or headline you’d like to write about
  • A list of the direct points you want to make
  • A clear CTA, or direct action you’d like the viewer to take

Outlining these basic components (and actually writing them out) can help serve as a reminder of what’s really important in this piece.

9) Not Asking Questions

Sometimes the reason we procrastinate is because we’re unsure of how to get something done or we’re not entirely sure what the objective of the task is. Not asking questions for clarification right off the bat, or even along the way, can become a huge waste of time.

Whether it’s not knowing where to research something, who to contact, what message you’re trying to convey in an email, or something similar, being confused about a task and not asking for clarification can lead to procrastination or double the work later on.

Tips for better blogging productivity

Ask a bunch of questions right off the bat if you’re unsure of how to complete the task at hand, and be sure you have (or can quickly get) the answers before blindly attempting to do it. With all the right tools and information, you’re bound to increase productivity. And increased productivity means more time for blogging.

10) Visiting Non-Work Related Websites Throughout the Day

Another big distraction and time waster at work is the Internet. Of course, many of us depend on it to get work done for our employers, but according to a Salary.com survey, approximately 64 percent of employees visit non-work related websites every day during work hours. The survey also concluded that these websites also kept most employees off-task and unproductive.

Tips for better blogging productivity

If you find yourself needing a quick break from your day-to-day tasks and find yourself wanting to browse the Web a bit, try visiting a few popular blogs from leaders in your industry to get some inspiration for content to use in your own blog. This way, taking a break from the grind of work can be still be productive, as it’s helping you research for your next article.

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