We’ve all heard this term, which refers to high activity levels that reap low productivity results.
Do you, like many bloggers, assume that as long as you’re clicking the mouse and tapping away at the keyboard, you must be doing the vital, productive work of blogging?
As a writer, do you feel confident you are working productively toward your book if you are at the computer at the same time every day, again…fingers on the keyboard?
If you answered “yes” to either or both of these questions, you’re doing busywork.
At the end of the day, do you have anything substantial to show for your time at the computer—like a finished and published blog post, another 1,000 words or four pages to add to your manuscript, or two installments (posts) of your blogged book completed and scheduled?
If not, you’re doing busy work, not essential blog or book work.
It’s no wonder you feel like there isn’t enough time in the day and you are strapped to your computer (and blog).
To maximizing your results with minimal time and effort, pinpoint your most productive time and improve on it while cutting down on the unnecessary side-missions that get in the way of blogging or writing effectively.
Stop Quibbling Over Titles
Ramit Sethi—a popular personal finance blogger who admits even he wasn’t a big fan of the name he chose for his blog and book—doesn’t think that the “popular minutiae,” such as SEO, blog design, and blog name are all that important.
He made a pie chart that points to the two most important aspects of your blog:
- Writing “amazing” guest posts on popular blogs
- Writing good content on your blog—and telling the right people about it
While the pie chart includes other items, such as “Advanced stuff you don’t need to worry about until you have 100,000 readers a month,” they’re dwarfed by these two central items.
In fact, Sethi is talking about one basic criterion of writing a powerful blog: powerful content.
Although it’s tempting to think a simple tweak of a headline is the difference between your current status and lottery-like levels of success, the truth is that quality content always will differentiate your blog from the next. Your productive time should be spent focusing on how to improve the quality of each post rather than obsessing about tiny details that might only improve 1% of your results.
Manage Your Time Every Day
Now that we’ve pinned down the essential work—as opposed to the busy work—of blogging let’s talk about your daily habits.
Be honest. Does your day at the computer include far more email-checking and news-checking than you’d like to admit? You might tell yourself that you’re “communicative” and “researching trends,” but the truth is you’re postponing the hard work of blogging in favor of busywork that feels easier. Or you’re doing simple tasks while you wait for inspiration to strike.
You’re far more likely to strike gold if you focus on digging for, not on reading or dreaming about, gold.
Be merciless with your schedule. Determine the areas in which you can improve, and cut away at the unessential. Discover where and when you allow yourself to get stuck in busywork or focused on the real work of writing and blogging.
How will you know the difference? Look at your results. Do you have anything to show for your time at the computer? If not, you wasted your time on busywork.
In the process, your daily habits won’t only get better, you may find there are more hours in a day than you previously experienced.
Take Action to Get a Result Now
You don’t have to cut away all of the small things that make a blog run smoothly. SEO, titles, and page design are important. But if you were trying to lose weight, is it better to do research on local gyms or to eat a healthier meal now, today?
Chances are, you already know the answer to that.
It’s the same with your blog or blogged book. If you want to produce more words, pages, or posts, do something different now.
And when in doubt, focus on making your posts or site better where it matters most—content—not tweaking it here and there. Apply focus and energy to your efforts, and over time, your productivity will be rewarded with a larger audience and a published book.
What busy work takes away from the real work of blogging or blogging your book? Tell me i a comment below.
About the Author
Dan Kenitz is a freelance writer and ghostwriter from Wisconsin who helps individuals and companies build their brands through valuable content. www.empirewriter.com
Image copyright: brezina123 / 123RF Stock Photo