Now is the perfect time to rethink your personal habits so you can blog more effectively. I say “now” whether you are reading this soon after it was published or months later. We tend to think about revamping our lives at the beginning of the new year, but it is always the perfect time to change your personal habits so you can live a healthy, productive life.
If your goal in 2017 is to turn you blog into a business, or to continue to grow your business, take a good hard look at your personal habits.
Here are a few changes you can make that will have a profound effect on how well your blog does this year:
1. Stick to a sleep schedule.
When I first started blogging full time, my sleep schedule was, “Sleep when I’m tired. Wake up when I’m not.” It worked… for a bit. But soon, I realized that because my sleep schedule was so erratic, my work schedule was erratic too. It took be 12 hours to get 6 hours worth of work completed.
You’ll see a lot of bloggers and business owners talk about how they get more done because they get up early. I don’t buy it. See, I don’t think it has anything to do with what time you wake up, as long as you wake up the same time every day and stick to a start-of-day routine. If you have kids, waking up at dawn might be the best solution, but if you don’t, a later wake up time might make more sense.
Having a sleep schedule is also important because it make sure you sleep enough. As a blogger and business owner, there is always more you could be doing, but you have to learn to *sings* let it gooooooooo, let it gooooooo…
2. Make “experiences” a priority over “things.”
New experiences change your worldview, so get out there and have them!
Starting a new business is draining, not just on your time, but also on your finances. So, you have to prioritize how you spend your money. My vote is to spend your money on experiences.
What I mean by “experiences” is professional development such as classes (in-person or online), conferences, meet-ups with other bloggers, etc. One of the best career moves I ever made was to attend a relatively large conference for bloggers early-on in my blogging career. There, I met people who have become life-long friends, and who continue to help me grow as a blogger, even now, a decade later.
3. Ask for help more often.
Most entrepreneurs have a hard time asking for help. We think we can do everything ourselves. But the fact of the matter is… we can’t. Trying to “do it all” just doesn’t work.
Instead, think about your actual strengths and weaknesses, and then find blogging friends who complement you. For example, if you are a terrible proofreader, find a blogger who is a great proofreader and trade services. What are you great at doing that you can offer her? Maybe she is terrible at creating graphics, and you can offer to redo the graphics on her most popular posts.
Ask for help more often outside of blogging too. When I first started blogging, my support system sucked. I surrounded myself with fair-weather friends who didn’t “get it” and boyfriends that cared more about themselves than they cared about me. Today, I have a much better support system! Remember, sometimes it is simply about educating your loved ones so they understand what you do as a job. For the longest time, my parents had no idea what it meant to be a blogger or how I legitimately made money, but today, they understand. When sometimes understands what you do, it is much easier to support you.
4. Cut stressful people out of your life.
Not only is it important to surround yourself with supportive people, but it is also important to cut people out if they are causing stress. Now, I understand this isn’t always possible overnight. But take steps to minimize your involvement with stress and drama, even if it means making some tough choices.
This also includes cutting out stressful readers and fellow bloggers. If a reader is leaving negative comments, delete them. You can do that! It’s your blog.
Likewise, if a certain other blogger stresses you out, ditch ’em for more positive people. There’s a certain “big deal” blogger in my social circle who stresses me out because I usually don’t agree with her, but anyone dissenting from her opinion is attacked by her and her posse. So, after months of feeling stressed out about it, I finally just unfriended her on Facebook and stopped following her blog. It has been liberating! Plus, now I have space in my life for better mentors and colleagues.
5. Get a life.
Get a hobby. Get a pet. Get a new friend. Get a LIFE! Yes, a life outside of blogging. I’m a massive introvert, and I’ve had periods of life that have been consumed by my work. It’s unhealthy, and my blog suffers because of it. Can you believe it, I once looked up and realized that I hadn’t read a single book in an entire year? Me, the former English major who used to borrow library books by the tote bag!
You need things in your life besides your blog. You need to have a life. Dedicate yourself to a hobby or passion outside of blogging, and spend at least 5-10 hours per week on it. Today, I read at least 20 books per year, and I volunteer at an animal shelter one day per week.
6. Set goals.
I hate New Year’s Resolutions, because they tend to be little more than dreams. Instead, set measurable goals for your blog, your business, and your life.
And then, come up with a plan to achieve your goal. Create a spreadsheet for tracking, set due dates, and assign tasks to yourself. That’s the only way you’ll actually reach your goals!
See, sometimes we get so caught up with what we need to do to keep the business running, that we don’t actually take time to plan and evaluate your progress. So, before you write that next blog post, ask yourself… what am I really trying to accomplish over the next month, quarter, and year?
Adjust your goals so you go. I like to spend time at least once every month figuring our it I’m still heading in the right direction. If I’m not, I rethink how I spend my days, or I rethink the goal I’m trying to achieve.
7. Understand your finances.
When I left home, I thought I understood how to manage my money. I did not. All of those “good money habits” my parents had didn’t take into account that my life situation was very different. My parents didn’t have to budget for rent or a mortgage because they outright owned their home. My parents lived in a rural location, so the cost of living was lower. My parents had established credit and therefore paid less in interest for loans. My parents did not have student debt. I could keep going, but you get the picture.
It wasn’t until I was much older that I actually started to understand my own financial needs. I learned how to budget my monthly income, how to paid estimated taxes, and how to invest in a way that makes sense for me.
One of the best things you can do for your future is get your finances in order. Separate your business expenses from your personal expenses, and talk to a financial planner about how you can make your money work for you. If nothing else, sit down and figure out your monthly budget.
I want to challenge you, right now, to put these 7 habits in place in your life starting today. Do it before you click the back button. Commit! Not only will your blog improve, but your entire life will suddenly be healthier and happier.
To help you get started, check out this post about setting your blogging goals and writing posts people really want to read!
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