When I first started blogging I knew it was going to take up a lot of time.
I knew there would be writing content, growing my email list, sourcing photos and lots more. What I didn’t realize was how long some of these tasks would take.
I underestimated the work involved in maintaining a self-hosted blog. When I first started blogging, I was freelancing as well. Both required significant amounts of time (and in hindsight I realize I should have been fully focused on one or the other).
I quickly discovered it’s not all about writing.
Consequently I got to asking the question – where am I spending my time? What should I be working on every day and for how long?
Inspired by reading The EMyth I started an exercise. I wrote down everything I needed to get done in one day to achieve my end goals as both a freelancer and a blogger. To be clear, I’m not talking about a to-do list – more setting a structure for my average working day.
It was a quick and simple table. Column one – the task; column two – approximate time for task and thirdly in the last column the purpose of task. Fundamentally a ‘why’ column.
The finished product was quite an eye opener. What I didn’t realize was the tasks I was trying to cram into an 8 hour day, barely fit into 12½ hours and 12½ was being conservative, as some of the more important tasks such as writing and preparing pitches could have easily benefited from more time.
So how many hours did I have on my plan for actual writing?
Well that was the interesting (slightly terrifying) part. The answer: 4 hours.
Four hours a day for starting a new freelance writing business. Out of 12½ hours each day. Hummm….. I could see where my source of frustration and lack of progress was coming from.
Once I had a closer look, I realized depending on my priorities and deadlines there was flexibility to allow for extra writing time when required. Hence the importance of the ‘purpose’ column in my table. If I needed to reschedule my day, I could see exactly what I am delaying or sacrificing to make it happen.
I wasn’t sure if it was realistic to try to implement a 12½ hour working day, every day of the week, though I suspected it wasn’t. My coach confirmed this to me when I sent her the plan to review.
The key consideration she pointed out was sustainability. I needed a more sustainable plan.
Now that I have given up freelancing altogether, my focus is completely on my blog and business. But again it’s not about just writing. It’s about creating valuable products and content for my readers.
The other interesting thing my coach said when she got the email with my plan – ‘Welcome to Business’. As she explained so much of what is involved in running a business (even a small one) does not involve working on your core product (writing in my case and coaching in hers). There is so much more to be done and to learn.
Definitely a valuable lesson learnt.
In fact, that would be the best thing about this experience. Other than writing (which I enjoy) there is the thrill of constantly learning and improving each and every day.
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