The topic of workplace effectiveness is something I’ve been looking into for years now. Mostly to solve my own challenges and to find more effective ways of doing the tasks I consider important for my business.
Being productive and effective can indeed become a big issue if you don’t have any system set or some good habits in place. And this is especially significant when being a business owner and doing anything related to blogging or guest blogging.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at the eight work habits to put in place that will keep you effective (when guest blogging).
1. Don’t multitask
Multitasking really is the biggest scam in productivity advice history. I’ve hated it ever since I realized the dangers it brings.
You might be thinking that the sole idea of multitasking makes sense, right?
Well, it doesn’t. And here’s why. Our conscious brain simply can’t multitask. We’re not wired in a way that would allow us to multitask effectively. Moreover, when we think that we’re multitasking, we’re actually focusing on only one task for a very brief amount of time, and then switch to the next one.
It’s this rapid switching that tricks us into thinking that we’re multitasking, when in fact, we’re just going from one task to another in a sequence. This makes us unproductive.
So how this applies to guest blogging? Simple. Don’t ever multitask when working on a post. Block off all distractions and focus only on the post at hand. Don’t pay attention to Twitter, Facebook, Skype, or anything. Continue your work until you have a deliverable (a finished draft, or a pitch).
2. Don’t respond to email first thing in the morning
Email is the second biggest productivity killer around (right after multitasking). There really isn’t a better way to lose two hours of your morning in the blink of an eye.
I know that our inboxes are hugely important for any kind of work, and probably even more so when dealing with guest posts (after all, the majority of communication happens via email), but we shouldn’t build our whole days based on email.
The bottom line is that you won’t earn a paycheck in the inbox. It’s what you do outside of the inbox that matters. Things like writing guest posts, promoting them, and researching new opportunities.
Start your day doing the things that matter. And then check your email just twice a day.
3. Have your resources available
Once you start working on a post, it’s important not to get distracted, and to be able to do the task without the need to have a break longer than a couple of minutes.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that breaks are bad. I’m just saying that unplanned breaks mid-task are bad.
A good method of keeping all your resources together is using a tool like Dropbox, creating a mind map, or having a special folder on your desktop, or a tray next to your desk (whichever seems the most sensible to you).
But most importantly, remember about preparing the resources you need to complete the task before starting the work.
4. Do today, not tomorrow
If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing today. Postponing things for the mythical “tomorrow” is only a trick we do on ourselves.
If you set a habit of doing stuff today, what you’re actually building is a skill of skipping the unimportant tasks. Whenever we’re picking things to do for the day, we’ll naturally pick only the most important stuff. However, when we’re picking tasks for tomorrow, some of the less important tasks will likely end up there.
So whenever you’re planning out a new guest blogging campaign and picking the posts to write, the sites to target first and so on, focus on whether what you’re doing is worth doing today.
Does it have the potential to bring good results for your business? Is something else more likely to work? Do that thing today.
5. Limit the amount of information you’re getting
Information overload is one of the biggest plagues these days. There’s just so much stuff available that you could browse through countless articles your whole day and not complete a single task during that time.
And this is even worse if you’re working on a new guest post. Here’s the thing. Every good post needs some amount of research and data that goes into it. But the amount of information available out there convinces us that we should spend hours upon hours looking for just the perfect data to use. The tough thing here is to stop searching and begin writing.
Also, this endless searching might be caused by the fact that despite the volume of information available, the right info appears to just not be out there. Well, that can happen too. What I do in that case is try reaching out to my partners asking them specific questions on the topic. I then use the answers as quotes. The key here is of course choosing the right people – experts in their fields.
If your own network of contacts isn’t very big at this point, you can check out MyBlogU. It’s a new creation by Ann Smarty and it’s meant to connect bloggers with experts, so you can all collaborate on epic content together.
So here’s my advice. Consume only the absolute minimum amount of information you need to complete a given post. Don’t fall victim to information overload.
6. Focus on what’s important
It’s such a waste of time to focus on both the important and unimportant things. Obviously, the latter don’t help you with anything. This may sound obvious, but it’s actually not that simple to properly separate the important tasks form the unimportant ones.
Here’s the trick I use. I look at a given task at hand and try figuring out how big of a return it can potentially bring me in relation to the amount of time it will take to complete it. When asking this question, I end up with three kinds of tasks:
- High leverage tasks that take a little amount of time and bring great results.
- Upper-average tasks that take more time but also bring great results.
- Other tasks that bring very little results or require an obscene amount of time.
Then, I start executing on the first group, following up with the second group. I never touch the third group.
To give you a very real example, if I get two guest posts published, and one of them is performing great, while the other is turning out to be a waste of time, which one should I keep promoting? The first one. It gives me much better leverage. Promoting the second one would take way too much time before it starts bringing any visible results.
7. Take frequent breaks
Being productive doesn’t mean that you have to use your whole day to work; it’s more about using your time wisely.
To be productive – and especially when doing anything related to writing – you have to take frequent breaks. Having some rest in between tasks is healthy and improves your efficiency.
Taking a 10-minute break every one hour of work will suffice. Or if you’re a fan of the Pomodoro Technique, take a 5-minute break every 25 minutes of work.
8. Remove all distractions
To be productive, there’s no room for any distractions like Facebook, mobile games, unwanted phone calls and etc. And this is really crucial when writing a guest post (or writing anything, for that matter).
I can’t remember the exact study unfortunately, but I believe that the finding was that even the shortest distraction, like a 30 second phone call, costs us around five to ten minutes before we are able to get back to our previous state of mind (before the distraction took place).
Distractions have a huge impact on our productivity and you should learn to do away with them during work hours.
So that’s my take on workspace effectiveness in relation to guest blogging. I’m curious to learn about your productivity habits and how you keep yourself effective throughout the day. Feel free to share.