Here’s a quick tutorial on how to be productive, and the difference between strategy, goals, and actions. A productivity for bloggers post! If you’re struggling with being productive working from home, this might be for you.
So often as individuals and career people, we create lists. Lists have tasks or things we need written on them. Yet, we fail to do the one important thing that focuses on our success: create a strategy. We try to be productive by doing action things… but we’re not truly productive when we’re not focused on our strategy as bloggers and writers.
We know the tasks we need to do or the things we need to get there, but defining how we’re going to get it done is often the missing aspect of a successful entrepreneurial plan. Part of goal setting involves indicating, “I need to be at x amount of followers by ____”. Or, “I need to have 20 pins created and be shared on 15 boards by x date.” How do we make these things happen?
Goals and Actions are Not a Strategy.
These are things that involve growth, exposure, and potential sales. WITHOUT spending a single dime. It’s merely effort and doing the work – the execution portion of our strategy that somehow manages to get buried behind the task lists of every day blogging things and the “to do” list of life. The strategy – that is what will help you succeed.
It’s not just about blogging and posting pretty pictures. It’s about knowing where you’re going to to make yourself known in the market, what value you’re going to bring, developing resources and utilizing your talents, and ensuring that what you’re building is sustainable to prevent overwhelm or a crash and burn scenario.
“Strategy” actually comes from a Greek word meaning “The Art of the General” – a term used in “The Art of War”. It was the general’s job to see through all of the actions and tasks needed to get done in order to win the war. And that’s what we want to do: win. At blogging. To be strategic involves having a clear vision and path. It doesn’t involve doing last-minute blog posts just to post something for the day or picking random graphics.
You can work hard and do a lot of things during the day, but often times bloggers lose sight about strategy and what that really means. Strategy by definition is the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities. Strategy within your blog needs to contemplate competition, and you need to lose the idea that the mere goal is to make money.
The true goal of any blogger really is to build a sustainable blog that is fun and drives an income, right. If we don’t think about sustainability we lose sight of a big thing – will the money flow end if we’re not strategic? There’s no “best way” to be a blogger. It all depends on what you’re trying to put out there. You could be meeting the needs of an audience that another blogger may not be. You may develop an advantage over other bloggers or develop a certain niche.
Remember that with blogging “competition”, it doesn’t necessarily mean that in order for YOU to be successful that your competitors have to fail. Not true. They will, too, benefit an audience… if they have a unique value proposition.
The 4 Questions of Strategy
Many bloggers have small email lists because they’re just starting out. Let’s suppose you just started blogging last week. Your email list is zero. Zip. Nada. What do you want to be at in 2 weeks? 1000? How are you going to get there? We’re going to answer 4 questions, because what these following questions address helps define your strategy:
- Where do you compete? (Twitter, Facebook, Bloglovin’, etc.)
- What unique value do you bring to those markets? (What you blog about and offer for a price)
- What resources and capabilities do you utilize? (You’re obviously talented at something!)
- How do you sustain your value? (How do you keep it going?)
See… this is the strategy portion. We need to figure out how to get from A to B in a specific time frame to meet some goals via answering these questions. If you think back to college classes, you’ll probably start remembering some of those business terms – markets, value, resources, etc. Blogging tends to be very business-aligned with a HUGE social media twist. Which platforms are you going to use? What are you going to offer?
This A to B thing now involves you doing some work. Okay – what can you do to get 1000 email subscribers within a 2 week period? What’s your strategy? What resources and capabilities do you have to get that 1000 people to sign up for your mailing list? What talents do you have?
Offering a free download? Course? Taking out ads? Doing styled stock photography? A free eBook? This is where I tell you that in order to succeed, it’s important to develop a boundary line of what you do and what you do NOT do. You don’t have to be like every other blogger out there in your niche. You can choose to be different and end up thriving as a result.
And yet… what if you fail at being productive?
What happens if none of that works? What happens if you get, like, zero response? Listen, it’s hard being productive working from home. There are so many different distractions that can hamper your overall strategy.
Then you change up your strategy until you start getting results. You do this every day – evaluate your strategy and begin with that strategy in mind every single day that you rise to greet the sun. Productivity for bloggers can dramatically increase if you change things up and see how each behavior or activity impacts your day.
Start with the where – work on getting those numbers up. Then go to the unique value – what do you offer that puts you in the limelight of the blogging world? Then move on to questions 3 & 4 and BAM – you have a strategy in place. Put it in gear (not “R” for race) and drive your blog on that path to success. Just remember to keep your strategy in mind every single day, in order to be truly productive with your blog and writing.
Good habits are formed by repetition and slow mastery. When you’re learning how to be productive in a form that works for you, this may take some time. We talk about productivity for bloggers as an essential learning skill because there’s so much to do while growing your blog. You’re learning how to form new habits, stick to writing schedules, and becoming a marketer-skills that will last for a long time. Those habits will in time create successful points in your timelines.
And you know what? Sometimes it’s perfectly ok not to be productive, too. There have been moments where I just sat still, doing absolutely nothing, and contemplated some of my best designs in the shop.
If you feel like your creative well is dry, or you’re just not getting productive work at home tasks completed, I’ll leave you with one last tip. Try incrementing activities in 15-20 minute segments, and accomplish one small thing in each segment. You’ll start to have micro successes, which can help boost your mood and want to accomplish even more.
I wish you the very best and hope you’ll be wildly productive working from home, and learned a bit about productivity tips for bloggers.
Also published on Medium.