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After publishing my October 2017 blog traffic report, I got a lot of questions about how I managed to have 48 posts prepared for 4.5 months ahead of schedule.
I am not a time management expert. And I still struggle to keep up my productivity every day.
However, as any personal finance blogger will tell you, you don’t need to be an expert in something to share your tips and help others.
Today, I will take that advice to heart and share with you the 6 steps that I take to better manage my time, money, and productivity.
These tips have helped me produce content far ahead of schedule for my blog.
I have also used the same principles for many aspects of my life such as my full-time job and housework.
I hope you will find them helpful as well.
1. Find the time to blog
As with anything else in life, when we want to get something done, we need to find the time to do it.
If you earn passive income from your rental property or dividend from your stock portfolio, you might not have to get actively involved in order to get the work done and generate an income.
But blogging can be very time-consuming, especially in the beginning when you’re still trying to build content, engage with the audience, and grow your readership.
We all have many commitments and responsibilities to juggle in our lives: work, family, blogging, entertainment, school, etc. If you decide to make blogging part of your life, then the two questions you want to ask yourself are:
1) Is blogging one of you priorities? If yes, is it priority #1,2,3, 4, 5 or 6?
2) If you have free time outside of work, how many minutes or hours do you want to spend blogging on a weekday and/or on the weekend?
As for me, here is my list of priories:
2) My full-time job
Blogging is my #3 priority. After I get out of work and spend an adequate amount of time with my family, I spend almost the rest of my free time blogging.
After launching Frugal Asian Finance, I gave up on a lot of fun activities such as watching YouTube videos and TV shows. For me, 10 minutes of watching something is 10 minutes taken away from writing new content or being active on social media to market my blog.
Instead of spending 30-40 minutes watching a TV show episode, I choose to spend that time writing a post instead. Prioritize your to-do list and focus your time and energy on what matters the most to you.
2. Create the time to blog
If you find that your schedule is already packed, and that you can’t squeeze in some blogging, then it’s time to create some free time for your blog.
I’ve found that multitasking is one of the best ways to get more work done out of my day. For example, during my commute to work, I will either read and comments on new posts or interact with others on Twitter.
If I’m walking and can’t just stare at my phone for safety reasons, I will listen to podcasts on how to improve and monetize my blog such as ProBlogger, Do You Even Blog, and Smart Passive Income podcasts.
When I’m eating lunch at work, I will also get on my Twitter on my phone to share content, like, and comment on others’ tweets.
Multitasking in the right way will enable you to get more work done in a set period of time.
Before Mr. FAF and Baby FAF came back to DC, I would go to bed at 10:30 PM and get up at 6:30 AM every day. I got about 7.5-8 hours of sleep every day. Life was good.
After our family is reunited, I spend more time taking care of Baby FAF and doing more housework. My free time was cut down by at least 2 hours a day.
Instead of continuing my old routine, I decided to stay up late and go to bed at midnight or even 1-2 AM to have more time blogging. I also get up earlier at 6:15 AM to get ready for work and take Baby FAF to daycare.
I can’t create a 25th hour in my day, but I can sleep less to have more free time to blog. In the first 2-3 months, my body wasn’t used to running on 5-6 hours of sleep every day. I was exhausted.
However, after 6 months, I can function well with 6 hours of sleep every day. Life is good once again (kind of).
3. Finding more topics to write about
One of the struggles many of us bloggers face is finding that topic that we can write engagement content about.
Prior to launching Frugal Asia Finance, I was always afraid that I wouldn’t have anything interesting to talk about about, that I would run out of ideas, and that I would soon abandon my blog after a month or so.
However, after starting my blog, I have covered a wide range of topics about my life that I never thought I would.
If you have read my post about the 3 blogging styles, you might already know that I choose the more personal approach where I tell stories about my life while sharing frugal tips.
One of the main reason is that I want my blog to grow with me so that I will not run out of topics to talk about. If I choose to write about general topics, there are just so many that I can think of. And a lot of them might seem similar to what other bloggers have written.
But if I choose to write stories about myself, I know that they will be unique. We are all different in our own ways and have unique stories to tell. We might buy the same T-shirt but will have different stories about how we saved up to pay for it, how we bought it, and whether we like it or not.
We all have debt, but the amounts of debt always vary, and we all have different paths to paying off our debt.
There are billions of people on this earth, but no one looks the same or has exactly the same life experiences as you do. If you tap into your personal stories and share experiences that many people can relate to, it will set you apart from the rest.
If you run out of topics to write about, which happens to me sometimes, you can take the following steps to come up with new content for your blog.
Option 1: Look around your house. Everything that you have has a story behind them. Just pick one story and start typing it up.
The dining table that you have in the kitchen: When did you buy it and for how much? Did you like them back then and do you still like them now? If you got them for free, how did you do it? If a friend asks you for advice, what would you tell them so that they can get their furniture for free as well?
Your most expensive outfits: Why did you decide to spend so much on the clothes? Was it for a special occasion? Do you regret that decision and why?
Your house: What was the process of you buying that house? Did it go smoothly? Did you like it the first time you saw it? Is there anything you could have done differently? If you’re renting, why did you decide to choose your current place? Are there are pros and cons of selecting that living arrangement?
Your laptop: How long have you had your laptop? Are you going to replace it soon? If not, why? If yes, will you buy a much more expensive or much cheaper laptop based on your experience with this one?
Concerns/questions/confusion: Is there anything that you think about constantly without being able to resolve it? It could be something as simple as housework, a fight with your spouse, or your kids refusing to eat. It could be something you are struggling with but don’t know who to share it with in your personal life such as spousal envy or a career decision that you made.
With all of the topics mentioned above and many more, you can tell your own story and share your experiences so that other people can learn from them.
If you blog about investment, try to look at it through an investor’s perspective. If you focus on frugality, think about how a particular decision or purchase affects your saving or spending behavior.
Make the link to the topic you choose and stay relevant to the audience.
Option 2: Look into your childhood memories
Not all of us had a perfect childhood. It doesn’t have to be any dramatic stories that you don’t feel comfortable sharing on your blog. It could be something as simple as your first side hustle, your businesses, or the first few dollars that you earned yourself.
Your childhood might seem like what happened decades ago, but if you can tie it with your current life, it can make a great story. The beautiful thing about childhood is that all of us go through that phase, and chances are we can relate to something that happened to others.
Related: When You Are Ashamed Of Being Poor
Option 3: Check Pinterest and other blogs for ideas
When you have written about pretty much everything at your house and get stuck, check Pinterest and other blogs for ideas.
You don’t want to copy someone else’s ideas without giving them credit. But when I look at random Pinterest images or read other bloggers’s posts, I will start to have questions and thoughts that can easily lead to other topics.
Sometimes it could be as simple as someone’s comment or question on Twitter that can help you create your own content.
Option 4: Answer the reader’s questions
Look at the questions the reader ask you. Can you write a full post to answer a question?
One reason I am writing this post is because many people have asked me how I have managed to produce content to stay 3-4 months ahead while working full-time and taking care of a toddler.
I can easily type up a short answer. But I also feel that writing a full post will provide them with more details and action plans.
My hope is that my post will reach more people and can help them produce the content that they like and stay on top of their posting schedule.
For example, when I wrote that men are expected to own a house before getting married in Asia, a reader was interested to know what are the other financial expectations in Asian families. The answer to that great question came in the form of a fully developed post:
Instead of thinking hard about what other people might want to read, why not just answer the question someone just asked, especially if it also sounds appealing to you?
4. Type faster
This might sound like a no-brainer. But when you can type more words in a minute, chances are you will be able to finish a post in less time. If you can type 1,500 words in an hour, then in two hours, you can finish two posts instead of one.
Some people have seen me type and commented that I type really fast. That helps speed up the process of producing new content. I noticed that when I write posts, sometimes my fingers just try to keep up with my chain of thought.
Sometimes I feel like I just type without breathing.
5. Avoid distractions
With social media and email being constantly updated, we have a lot of distractions around us. I too get distracted often, so I try to not let that happen. What I realized is that when I stay focused and pour my thoughts into paper, I just let my chain of thought take over and dictate my writing.
However, if I pause to check Facebook, Twitter or answer a phone call, I tend to forget what I was even typing before. I then have to spend time trying to resume my thought process or even spend a couple of minutes skimming what I just wrote to catch up with the flow of the story.
When I just keep typing without distractions, however, my thinking tends to flow more freely, and I can thus type faster and finish a post in less time.
6. Take a break when needed
Sometimes I do feel stifled by the rules that I set for myself. At one point in my 7th month of blogging, I did get burned out.
I was tired of doing all the routines at work and at home and then switching straight to blogging. I needed a break from the pressure I created for myself.
You want to allocate a sufficient amount of time to your blog, but don’t forget to have some fun outside of family, work, and blogging. Don’t get burned out like I did.
Try to enjoy blogging as much as you can. But when you feel tired and dread writing, just take a break, reassess your priorities, and continue blogging when you feel better.
Related: How To Get Over A Blogger Burnout
I hope that the tips above will help you create more content for your blog. I still struggle with creating engaging content on a regular basis.
Sometimes I just wrote about a random thought that I had, and the post turned out to be well-received. Sometimes I put a lot of time and thought into an article, and it just fell flat, which could be demoralizing.
However, at the end of the day, I am just glad that I can express my thoughts freely. I can write about anything whenever and wherever I want. No one is there to assign me a topic or grade my writing when I’m done.
That, I think, is one of the most beautiful things I have found through blogging.