Time Management for Content Writers
How to Maximize Your Time for Lensmaking and Hub Building
If you are a content writer, blogger, or internet marketer, you know intimately the frustration of having more ideas than time. But to build up an online empire that will provide stable, passive income requires consistent investment in the writing task.
Whether you create lenses at Squidoo, write Hubs at Hub Pages, compose articles at Wizzley, or write articles for another site, the writer's task is the same:
- getting that initial idea
- brainstorming the details
- researching keywords
- pounding out the sentences and paragraphs
- finding images, videos, and links to supplement your article
- promoting your articles
I find that the first item in the list -- getting the initial ideas -- comes easy. The difficult part is making the TIME it takes to do all the other necessary things on the list. In my over three years of writing content online, I've learned some tips and tricks for helping me to make that TIME a reality.
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Time Management Tip #1: Create Rather Than Consume
The key here is to use your working time to actively create content. It's too easy to sit in front of the computer and realize two hours have passed and you've not accomplished anything significant.
As a content writer, you should have some concrete goals established for your writing activities. Write those down, and consider the tasks necessary to reach them. Write those smaller tasks in lists.
Here are some things on my own writing list:
- write 5 lenses (Squidoo) a month
- write 10 hubs (Hubpages) a month
- keep lenses updated to within 90 days
- write blog posts
- write articles for guest posts
When you turn on the computer, do something from the list before you do anything else. If you want to, you can "reward" yourself with a non-writing task after you've done a job on the writing list. For example, I compose a hub and then visit the SquidU forums. I then write some blog post drafts and read some of my own favorite blogs in Google Reader.
I find that without the disciple of a to-do list, I while away my computer time consuming content rather than creating content. I have found that focusing first on creating content keeps me productive. I know too well the frustration of sitting in front of the computer for a couple of hours and not having a sense of any accomplishment because I didn't focus on my writing goals.
Time Management Tip #3: Grab a Pen and Pad
This tip is often given as a creativity tool. But it equally relates to time management.
Get a notebook that you can carry with you. That might mean small enough for a pocket or just the right size for your favorite tote-bag or purse. Carry that notebook with you at all times.
When an idea strikes, write it down as soon as possible. If you can capture those original thoughts, you save the step of having to re-think it later when you are in front of the computer.
Secondly, if you have the notebook with you at all times, you will never have wasted moments. You will have the notebook there to remind you to stay focused on writing. So in those little snippets of time that happen through the day, you can be creating content. And that leads to my last tip about magic times to write.
Time Management Tip #2: Don't Be Too Organized
I am a huge fan of organization. In fact, I find it hard to work or write at all when there is clutter around me. My thoughts need to be organized, and my environment needs to be organized. However, sometimes my desire for organization turns into procrastination.
Here are some examples of organizational behaviors that get me distracted from the real work:
- labeling dividers in my writing notebook
- re-writing notes more neatly
- re-ordering pages of brainstormed ideas
If those tasks are truly essential for writing, then by all means do them. But if they are fluff added on to the real task of producing content, skip them.
Bottom line -- do only the organizing that is absolutely necessary to complete the task. Then stop and get to work.
Time Management Tip #4: Don't Wait for That Magical Time
Every writer has one -- a magical time to write -- that perfect combination of a long stretch of distraction-free time and a high personal energy level. It's a joy to write during those magic moments.
But if you wait for those to happen, your productivity will falter and may even totally cease.
So don't wait for a two hour chunk of time to cuddle up on the couch with your laptop and a steaming cup of coffee (one of my own magical writing times). Write whenever you have time, even if that is only ten minutes at a time. If you cut out the preliminary organizational tasks and do something on your list or work on something you're already written in your notebook, those short ten minutes can be amazingly productive. Added up, those ten minute slots turn into completed lenses and hubs.