A few minutes ago I refreshed my site stats page. A few minutes before that, I did the same thing. A few minutes before that I refreshed my Pinterest page to check how many followers I had.
And I am not alone. In a recent post in our Blogging on Your Own Terms Facebook group Daniela Uslan shared a blog post that really hit home with me. She provided a list of things to do that are better than checking Facebook. In it she writes, “Checking Facebook, blogging stats, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. has become an addiction. So many bloggers (and people in general) I know have told me they struggle with it.”
Yes. Yes! YES!
So what’s wrong with wanting to be aware of blog stats? Not one thing. But being obsessed with page views and Facebook followers is going to distract you from accomplishing something productive.
If you’re checking to see if anyone else is following you, what aren’t you doing?
Well, for one thing, you aren’t focusing on content. And if you aren’t focusing on content, those numbers don’t matter. Who cares how many people are looking at your site if your content isn’t awesome? People aren’t going to come back to your site for writing that’s just blah and ideas that are so-so.
You content must be your top priority.
We all have lots of things vying for our attention. It can be difficult to ignore ringing or beeping phones, children with constant needs, or a glowing tv, so it’s important to do everything we can to work in a space without these distractions.
Go to a space away from your kids. If that’s not possible, set them up with something to do and tell them you’re working and only to be disturbed for emergencies. It may take a while, but this can be done if you’re consistent.
Turn off your phone. This is tough, especially for parents who worry about missing calls about sick kids from school, etc. (and phone addicts). There are apps you can install that will turn off all sounds except calls from people you designate.
Close Facebook. And Twitter. And Pinterest. And email. And your blog stats. Unless you are actively promoting your blog on those sites at the moment, close them. They serve no purpose other than to distract you and slow down your browser. If you don’t trust yourself to stay away, install an extension like StayFocusd that will block any sites you choose. There’s even a “nuclear option” now that will block those sites for a set amount of time so you can’t cheat!
Set the mood. Some people like to listen to music while they work, some like it silent. Some light a brightly lit room, others prefer dark. Set up your environment so that it helps inspire you. If clutter is a distraction, don’t work in the guest room/ toy storage room/ ironing room/ office.
Work Your Schedule
Many of us automatically set our schedule to write in the evenings because it’s convenient; The kids are in bed, dinner is over and we can relax a little. But is that when we’re most productive? After a long day of tending to children, cooking, cleaning, working, running errands, and being all things to all people, are you at your best? Your most efficient? Your most inspired?
Know your productive time. In her book How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul) and in the fabulous Elite Blog Academy, Ruth Soukup talks about figuring out when you are most productive and scheduling time to work on your blog then. It may take some rejigging of your schedule. It may mean getting up earlier. But if you’re serious about blogging, it’s worth it.
Make blogging part of your routine. They say kids thrive on schedules, but so do adults. That’s why we schedule things that are important to us, like exercise, date night, and blogging. If you don’t, they simply won’t get done. Whether it’s in the morning, while the baby naps, or after dinner, you have to make time for your blog.
Build a time budget. There are only so many hours in the day. And of those, only a small amount can be devoted to your blog. After all, you have to live your life! So if you have 8 hours a week with which to blog, you need to budget that time so that everything can get done. Let’s say out of 8 available hours, 4 are spent writing, 2 are spent on graphics and SEO, and 2 are spent on social media and email. That way you can stay on track and use your time wisely.
Schedule distractions, too. Just because you shouldn’t be on Facebook 24/7 doesn’t mean you can’t use it at all. You just need to manage your time so that distractions don’t become the main attraction. When you’re building your daily schedule, add time for breaks and social media silliness. Many experts believe that for the ideal schedule is 50 minutes of dedicated, focused work time followed by a 5-10 minute break. Of course, you don’t have to follow that – do what works for you!
There’s no one way to manage a blog. But one thing that is true for everyone is that content is the heart and soul of your blog. You must remain focused on it at all times.
How do you stay focused on content with so many distractions? Share in the comments.