It’s 06.00 AM and you wake up energized: You want to get a lot of work done before going to work. More specifically, you want to create the content for your blog for the next few days.
The morning time seems to be perfect for your writing, since your home is quiet enough and you can fully focus on what you are doing.
You turn your computer and just can’t wait to get started. However, there is just one thing that bothers your mind: You don’t have any clue what to write about.
Soon you start brainstorming the possible topics and after awhile, you have found the ideas you want to cover. But that’s just a start: You still have to figure out the outlines of your posts and this takes time.
Finally, it 06.40 AM as you get started with the actual writing part. Needless to say, you are frustrated and annoyed, because you wasted almost 45 minutes on something that you could’ve done before you woke up this morning.
It’s time to change your writing habits to improve your situation.
Did you prepare for the task?
OK, so the beginning of the morning didn’t quite go as you planned. And when I look at your situation as an outsider, it’s very easy to understand why: You rushed into the writing part.
What just happened was that you turned on your computer and you assumed that you could get started with the writing part right away. But as you saw, this wasn’t the case.
Since you didn’t prepare in advance for your task, the outcome was pretty much expected before you even got started. This leads you to do brainstorming and creating the outline for your post when you should have been writing the content already.
All that extra activity took away some precious minutes off your writing and you didn’t get nearly as much done as you wanted.
Switch your mindset about writing
There are couple of probable reasons why you didn’t do the prep work in advance.
First, you just forgot to do it. Maybe something else just came up and the task of planning was postponed and then forgotten.
If you think so, consider which option is causing you to waste more time: Doing some planning in advance or spending your time planning when you should be writing instead?
If you answered the latter, then you are absolutely correct. The latter way is the slower way, thus it causes you to waste more of your valuable time.
Finally, you may consider that planning is a threat to your creativity.
However, I disagree with this and I would say it’s just the opposite. In fact, you have more time to be creative, as you don’t have to focus that much on the structure of the post or what to write about in general (since you have figured it out already).
Yet another rule that could change your outcome
We live in a world of full of rules and I’m here to introduce yet another rule to get your writing done more effectively. It’s called the 10/90 rule and it’s something that I picked from Brian Tracy’s book, “Eat That Frog.”
In our current example, when you plan your posts in advance, you can save a lot of time by not having to do the outlining or even the topic brainstorming on the fly.
So, do you think this rule would be something you should implement in your blogging? If so, then let’s move on to the implementation part!
Put the 10/90 into action
To make things as smooth as possible for you before you start writing, consider the following steps:
1. Get your computer ready. Make sure that your computer is waiting and ready to be turned on. For instance, I would normally write in our son’s room, but since he is sleeping when I write (early in the morning), I have to do the writing in the kitchen.
To prevent having to sneak into his room in the morning and grab my computer, I have the computer ready and waiting for me on the kitchen table. All I need to do is to turn it on and I’m ready to do my work.
2. Get the material ready. Sometimes you might have to do some research for your post. In that case, make sure you have some additional material with you wherever you work.
For example, I have the book “Eat That Frog” on the table as I write this post – just in case I need to do some check-ups when I write.
Since I have the material ready, I don’t have to go and search for it when I’m writing.
3. Decide the time and place. This point is related to the point #1 but it’s still worth mentioning separately: Decide what the best time and place is for your writing.
For me, I know that morning time works for me as it’s the quietest part of day in my home. Also, I’ll just have to do the work on the kitchen table as it’s the only location for working at that time of the day.
Know this stuff in advance since it’s part of the preparation and you don’t have to figure it out when you should be doing the actual work.
4. Define the structure in advance. Finally, we get to the post planning part and this is very important.
Make sure you know the topic you write about and what points you are going to cover in your posts. This is very important as you are not spending your time doing it when you are writing.
So instead of deciding on just one post and what it looks like, decide to plan at least 3 posts at once.
For instance, I do this kind of planning on every Sunday and it helps me alot the next morning when I can just focus on writing and nothing else.
Be prepared that it takes some time to plan your posts this way (even up to 45-60 minutes), but it’s all worth it.
5. Define your outcome. Know in advance what you want to achieve after each writing session.
For instance, I know that I always want to have a post ready after I have finished writing (excluding the editing and proofreading parts).
When I have finished writing the post, I have reached my goal and that matters a lot to me. This gives me confidence to keep on working with my blog, knowing that I’m capable of creating content easily.
Planning may be underestimated activity, but it’s worth it. In fact, that’s one important reason why I’m able to run a blog and write guest posts even if I have a day job and a family.
If you are not planning your posts in advance, give these tips a try and see how it works for you. I think that you will be positively surprised to see the results afterwards.
Over to you: Do you plan your posts before you write them?
Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, teaches WAHD superdad productivity for work at home dads. If you want to improve your blogging productivity, grab his free e-book, 61 Ways for Supercharging Blogging Productivity.