Let this be the year of working smarter not harder! These 5 tips will show you how to make the most impact when working on your blog.
Welcome back friends and welcome to a new decade! I’ll spare you all of the nostalgia of it being a brand new decade and year, mostly because I’m excited to jump into recording today’s episode! I always love the start of a new year because it’s a chance to really review what has or hasn’t been working in your business.
A quick reminder that if you are not subscribed to the show, please go ahead and do that so you don’t ever miss an episode!
Can’t listen to the episode? Read on for the transcript!
Today I’m going to be sharing some tips for how you can work smarter this year, saving yourself some time and sanity, all while growing your food blog!
As I mentioned in a few of the last couple of episodes, becoming a mom has seriously changed the way I work.
I used to work on my business and client work pretty much all day and night and I can honestly tell you that having less time to work has only benefited my business. I honestly don’t know what I used to do ALL day long but I can guarantee that I was not using my time wisely!
Let’s dive into Five Ways to Work Smarter in 2020
#1 Review Your Tasks
Before you make a plan, you always should start with what you are already doing. In episode 12 we talked about reviewing your year. That episode was in the spirit of end of year reviewing but this can be done anytime!
Start with reviewing everything you are doing for your food blog.
Write down EVERYTHING. Make sure you think about every part of your business, not just creating content.
Think about content creation both for:
- the blog and social media
- recipe development
- food photography
- creating videos
- admin work like responding to emails
- reaching out to brands
- connecting with your audience on Instagram
- recording instagram stories
You can see this list gets pretty long really quickly!
Take a look at that list and decide what to do with each item on that list.
Decide if you need to:
- Simplify what you are doing
- Stop doing certain tasks (things that are not moving your business forward)
- Outsource the task
#2 Create an ideal schedule
During my coaching accelerator that I did last year, I was challenged to create an ideal schedule for the week. In general, I’m a very unstructured person when it comes to schedules and routines. This has changed a bit since having kids though!
Having an idea schedule has completely changed the way I work. Without having that I’m 100% confident I wouldn’t have felt like I could manage adding a podcast into the mix or cutting back my work hours.
This year I decided to double my client load so I can work with more food bloggers on web design and branding and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without knowing my ideal schedule for the week and knowing exactly how much time specific tasks take me.
So the first step to creating an ideal schedule is figuring out how long things take you.
Now if you have the time to take a week and track your time, that will help you so much in figuring out what an ideal schedule looks like.
But if you want to start without that, my advice is just to be really honest with yourself about how long things take you. Even if you’re recipe testing as part of your prepping for dinner, just be honest about fitting that into your schedule so you can make sure you have enough time for everything!
Take a look at how much time you have throughout the week to work. How many days of child care do you have or if you don’t have kids or have kids in school, how much time do you WANT to work?
Friendly reminder that you don’t have to work all the time. Saying this as a recovering workaholic 😉
Now take a look at those tasks and figure out where to fit them in. Remember to include any non-working periods where you might be working on things, like recipe testing during dinner prep or editing photos while watching netflix. If you regularly do this, add it into your schedule!
I love doing this on my Google Calendar because I can easily move things around and once I get the week set, set each item to repeat weekly.
Then when I’m ready to start working, I can open up my calendar and know what I’m supposed to be working on.
Make a mental or physical note to review this every few months or if you notice you aren’t following it.
Don’t feel bad about not following this schedule if you get off track — just dig into what isn’t working about this schedule and make adjustments!
#3 Batch Work
If you aren’t doing batch working, this is going to totally change how you do things!
The idea behind batch working is to focus on one type of tasks for a certain period of time to allow your brain to get into what’s called a flow state. This is basically a state where your brain is working on autopilot to do whatever the task is.
It can take up to 15 minutes of concentrating on one task before you get into a flow state, so when you are switching tasks often or trying to multitask, you are decreasing your productivity by up to 40%.
To start batch working, you first have to figure out what types of tasks can be bundled together. Here’s a quick list of tasks food bloggers can easily batch work:
- Content planning
- Keyword research
- Outlining blog posts
- Testing recipes
- Photographing recipes
- Writing the blog post
- Scheduling social media promotion
- Writing emails to your list
Some of these may be things you are already doing but instead of doing them for one post, do them for two or three. With content planning, you wouldn’t just plan your content for one day at a time. You plan it for a week, or a month, or a whole year.
Use that same process to do keyword research for a month’s worth of posts, or outline 3-5 blog posts at a time instead of one. You’ll get more into a groove and get the work done more efficiently this way!
I did this when I used to do recipe videos for other food bloggers. I would storyboard out multiple recipes at a time, prep ingredients for the multiple shoots I was doing in one afternoon, and shoot them all together.
If you’re totally new to batch working and have no idea where to get started, I created at the beginning of last year that will walk you through the process of batch working and figuring out how to start.
Batch working will also help you be able to get ahead which is really important for this next way you can work smarter in 2020!
I am super passionate about outsourcing and think it is one of the biggest things you can do to be more productive with your time.
I see a lot of bloggers still treating their food blog like a hobby and not seeing the value of investing into it by outsourcing.
There are so many tasks related to your food blog and the reality is that you are not an expert at all of them. You can’t be the best at web design, graphic design, Pinterest, email marketing, Instagram, food photography, recipe development, content writing, etc.
Figure out the tasks that you LOVE doing or that have to be done by you (Instagram stories where you are talking to your audience, for example). Then look at the other tasks and figure out which ones are tasks that someone else could do better at than you.
I think one of the biggest mindset shifts you have to be able to get over is that outsourcing is something that will cost you money.
Yes, it costs money. But it buys back TIME. Time that you can invest back into your business or time that you can invest back into your personal life. That’s invaluable!
If you are at a place where you’re just getting started at outsourcing or even if your food blog isn’t making a lot of money yet, start small. You can outsource small tasks or hire someone with a lower hourly rate.
It’s liberating to buy back your time and often can lead to freeing up time for you to do the things you love doing in your business or the tasks that lead to making more money (like pitching brands to work with or creating content).
Think back to the list of tasks that you are doing for your blog. Which are the ones you said you needed to simplify or outsource? Those are the ones to get started with!
Here is just a quick list of things you can outsource for your food blog:
- Pinterest management
- Keyword research
- Content writing
- Social media management
- Design work
Head back to episode #8 where I talk all about simplifying design work for your food blog.
#5 Stop doing all the things
As food bloggers, it is really easy to get swept up in all of the should do’s and feeling like you have to be present in all of the places. But this is also an incredibly dangerous way to run a business. You have to be able to figure out what works for YOUR food blog, not someone else’s.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed headed into 2020 with tons of ideas, dial those back and figure out how you can focus on the things that will GROW your food blog. Let go of the rest or outsource it if it’s something you must do. Just be careful with assessing what you really “must” do.
As you head into the new year, I hope you will be diligent in reviewing your tasks, setting a schedule and delegating or stopping what you can. It will make this year the best year for your food blog and the best part will be that you don’t have to hustle more to make that happen!