Today, we have a guest post by Rebecca Livermore. I met Rebecca through the Platform Launch Team and have enjoyed getting to know her through our interaction and through her fantastic blog, Professional Content Creation. Before you peruse her blog for more great content, enjoy this post on blogging productivity.
Blogging productivity eludes a lot of people, and it has eluded me in the past. Fortunately, in one of my writer’s groups, I learned about a great technique that helps increase blogging productivity, the Pomodoro Technique. [Note: Pomodoro is the Italian word for “tomato.”]
Before I get into how to use the Pomodoro Technique to increase blogging productivity, I first want to give you a brief overview of how the Pomodoro Technique works in general terms in case you may find it helpful to apply to other aspects of your life. I personally use it for any type of focused work that I do while sitting at my desk.
The basic routine for time management using the Pomodoro Technique includes the following:
- At the beginning of the week write down all activities that need to be accomplished during the week.
- Each day add items from the activity sheet to a to-do list.
- Select the most important task from the to-do list.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and work like mad on the selected item.
- When the timer goes off, put a check mark by the item to indicate that a “Pomodoro” was completed, whether or not the task itself was completed.
- Take a three to five minute break before picking up where you left off with another 25 minute work session. The break should be a mindless activity and can be anything from taking a bathroom break, having something to eat or drink or simply stretching.
- If a task is completed before the timer goes off, spend the remaining time “over learning.” Go over the work in finer detail, making minor improvements.
- Once the task is complete, draw a line through it.
- After completing four 25 minute “Pomodoros,” take a 15-30 minute break.
How I Use the Pomodoro Technique to Increase Blogging Productivity
- At the beginning of the week, I make a list of all blog posts and articles I need to write for the week. If I haven’t already figured that out, I actually use the process listed above, starting with step 4 to come up with a list of writing projects for the week. (Consider this step to be Pomodoro #1 for the first day of the week.)
- After taking a 3-5 minute break, I set the timer for another 25 minutes, to begin Pomodoro #2.
- During Pomodoro #2, I select the most pressing blog post or writing assignment facing me at the moment. It may be that I don’t yet have the blog post for the day written or I may be coming down on time with other article assignments. Once I’ve selected the blog post I’m going to work on, I write like mad, as fast as I can, for 25 minutes, until the timer goes off. Regardless of where I’m at with the blog post, I stop writing as soon as the timer goes off. Pomodoro #2 is now complete. Depending on the complexity of the blog post, I may have a solid rough draft of the blog post completed after this Pomodoro.
- I take another 3-5 minute break where I get up and walk away from the computer. It’s super important that I have a timer going for the break so that the break I take isn’t too long.
- I’m now ready to start Pomodoro #3, so again, I set the timer for 25 minutes and pick up where I left off. This generally means finishing the first draft and going back through to edit it. If I finish editing it, I go ahead and upload my blog post to WordPress. I work as fast and as focused as I can during this time, until the timer goes off, and I’ve completed Pomodoro #3.
- I again take a 3-5 minute break. By now, I’m starting to feel a little bit of mental fatigue, but I know that I’m heading into the final stretch, which gives me the motivation to keep going.
- After my short break, it is time to start on Pomodoro #4. Most likely by this time I’ve completed the blog post and uploaded it to WordPress. If I haven’t already done so, I find a photo to use, crop it if needed, and upload it. I also put in any keywords, check the post for SEO, put in tags, and so on.
- Once I’ve completed 4 Pomodoros, it is time for a 15- 30 minute break. This is when I generally take a shower, eat breakfast or exercise.
Note: if at any time in the process I complete a blog post, I simply start with the next blog post or article on my list and get as far with it as I can before I complete my writing time for the day.
The next day, I start the process over again, but since I already listed my blog posts and articles that I need to work on for the week on the first day of the week, my first Pomodoro on day #2 is spent reviewing the blog posts or articles I worked on the day before, editing and polishing them, and submitting them or scheduling them. I personally find it helpful not to post them until the day after they are written so that I can look at them with fresh eyes before publishing them.
Using the Pomodoro Technique is a great way to increase blogging productivity. Some days I may complete two blog posts or articles, and other times it may take me a couple of days to complete an article or blog post, depending on the level of complexity, whether or not research is required, and so on.
Devoting 4 Pomodoros a day to writing helps keep me on track with my writing goals for the week.
What tips do you have for increasing blogging productivity? Leave me a comment to let me know what works best for you, and be sure to tell me if you think you might give the Pomodoro Technique a try to see if it will help increase your blogging productivity.
Rebecca Livermore is a freelance blogger and virtual assistant with a specialty in social media and content marketing.
She makes her home in Denver, Colorado, along with her husband and two young adult children.