{Discussion+Free Downloads} #BloggingOnATimeCrunch : Time Management

July 21, 2015 Discussion, event, Uncategorized 16

blogging v2

If you want more information about the event, check out my introduction post HERE

Be sure to check out all my other Blogging On a Time Crunch Posts here:

Day 1: Intro

Day 2: Time Management (printables)

Day 3: Essential Tools

Day 4:  Ask a Blogger (spreadsheet secrets)

Day 5: The One with all the Resources


Today I am going to talk to you about time management. And really the title should more about finding a system that works for your. Because everyone has the same amount of time. You can’t manage time. You can only manage yourself.

And in order to manage yourself, to be at your most productive and effective, and happiest, you have to find your sweet spot. Also known as balance.

 Find Your Balance

The thing you have to remember is that balance is different for everyone. You have to find what works for you.  There is no right way to blog. (or plan, or work, or anything really.) The key is to know yourself, and know how you work best. For example, I know that when I fall into a good groove, I can get a TON of stuff done. I am very process oriented (even if it is just a mental process that I have informally for myself). I have a mental process for my morning routines, for my reading, for my work, for my phone call time with my family and friends, and for my blog. And I like that. I like certainty and knowing what comes next.

But I recognize that won’t work for everyone. Some people like to be spontaneous and fly by the seat of their pants, and not plan out which books they will read, when, or when they are going to have phone call time (every morning and night on my way to/from work), etc. And that is great! Everyone works differently, but my point is that their idea of balance is going to look very different than my idea of balance. And their process is going to be nothing like mine.

As a side note, if you are curious what kind of person you are, and what your behavioral style is, there is a great self assessment you can take called the DISC assessment.

So once I perfected the process for how my blog would work, I can book it and read, and crank out posts, and repeat. Over and over again. And I don’t get tired of it. And I also know that I love to find way to automate processes or save time, and not reduce the quality. That is where my blogging tools come in. But before you can make the most of the tools, you need to know how you work best.

Balance is different for everyone. You have to find what works for you. #BloggingOnATimeCrunch Click To Tweet

Know what works best for you and your schedule

Everyone is balancing something different. For me it is my job, my blog, my boyfriend and my friends/family. For other people it might be taking care of their kids. Or going to school. Or some combination of all of the above. Some people will have a very flexible schedule and some people won’t. You need to know your schedule.

TIP: Do you have an hour or two block of time that you can dedicate to your blog? If so, set aside an hour or two a day, and try to knock out all of your daily blogging tasks at one time.

TIP: Or do you only have short groups of 15/20 minutes spread throughout the day? (whenever kids are napping, or out of the house perhaps? in between classes?) If so, maybe you need to group your tasks into smaller, and more manageable groups and attack similar tasks on each of your shorter breaks. Doing the same type of task in each mini time block, will allow you to get more done.

However, it’s not enough to know your schedule. You also need to know yourself. I will talk a little bit more about this tomorrow when I talk about the tools that I use, but processes, methods and tools are only as useful as you make them out to be. What works well for me, might not work well for you. I know that I don’t do well with flying by the seat of my pants, so I plan my posts and reading schedule out.

TIP: But if you hate planning what books you will read next month, don’t do it. You won’t end up sticking to your schedule and you will have just wasted time making the list. If you don’t like to plan, then just jump right in on reading the books that tickle your fancy at that moment. And instead focus on pre-scheduling blog posts, so that it doesn’t matter if you want to read 5 books one week and none the next.

My Method

So what do I do? I put a blog post up every day, and I read my blog emails every day. I normally do them first thing in the morning, but sometimes I will do them at night if I didn’t get to it in the morning. But like we talked about yesterday, for most of us, just getting a post up on our blogs is not enough. We also want to respond to comments on our own blog, comment on other blogs, chat on social media, and stay current on new and upcoming releases, just to name a few.

So where do we find time to do all of that??

For a long time, I just knew those were things I wanted to do, and I tried to keep up with all of them. But most days I would just forget. I would get busy with school or work and just let it slide. So when I decided I wanted to do a better job of staying engaged with the community, I can up with a process to do just that.


The way that I see it, when it comes to blogging tasks, there are two kinds of people.

1) Those who like to do a little bit of everything, everyday. (comment on other blogs, chat on twitter, check goodreads, research new books, respond to comments on their blog, etc.)

TIP: If you are the type of person that likes to mix it up so you don’t get bored, my method probably won’t work for you.

Try this instead- make a big list of everything that needs to be done on your blog and just randomly pick items from the list, depending on how much time you have.

TIP 2Group items that will take the least amount of time near the top of the list and items that will take more time near the bottom. That way it will be easy to pick out items. Ex: if you know you are short on time, stay near the top of the list.


2) Those who like to group the same kind of tasks together. Hint: this is the kind of person I am.

And this is what my process looks like.blog maintenance pic

I was inspired by daily/weekly/monthly cleaning lists that I found on pinterest

You can also find a PDF version and an editable excel version of my blog maintenance task list in the google drive box I made HERE
Feel free to modify and use for yourself 🙂

I can knock my daily tasks out in about an hour or less each day. Normally in the morning. I will talk more about my daily tasks tomorrow because my secret to getting all of that done so fast is in my automation tools.

Then at night (or sometimes on my lunch break if I don’t have a work lunch) I work on my weekly task. I like to group my tasks together so that I am doing the same kind of thing. I find that I work faster if I do the same thing, otherwise I am always trying to switch gears. Tweet to someone,then switch to bloglovin-  read a review, comment on a post, switch back to my blog- comment on my post. It’s too much and I work a lot slower this way.

TIP: I use bloglovin to follow blogs. And I separate them into different folders. I have my favorite bloggers, my similar reading tastes bloggers, my resource bloggers, and then all the rest. Depending on what task I want to accomplish that day, I will start in a different folder of my bloglovin.

Example: If I am looking for books that I have either read or sitting on my TBR (to see what other bloggers thought)  I usually start in the folder of bloggers with similar reading tastes with mine.

What didn’t work for me: I used to want to go through my whole feed every 2 days. That was an unrealistic goal for me. I couldn’t keep up, and I would get stressed whenever the posts would start to build up. I had to tell myself that if I got too busy and couldn’t comment on blogs for a couple of days, that was ok. There would still be plenty of posts for me to read and enjoy in a few days, when I do have more time. Remember: You don’t have to do everything, all the time. Just do what you want to. 

TIP: I like to split the kinds of posts that I comment on into days. One day for books that I have read, one day for books on my TBR that I am dying to read, one day for books that are completely new to me. I don’t know why I like that, but I find a post I really like that features a new book to me, I want to find more new books. So grouping works for me.

Remember: You don't have to do everything, all the time. #BloggingOnATimeCrunch @BookBriefs Click To Tweet

EXAMPLE: I also know that I don’t have time to comment on blogs and reply to comments on my blog every day. So I save all the comments on my blog until Thursday. Then I reply to all of them from that week. I have found that I save a TON of time that way. Before, I would spend about 10 minutes a day replying to comments, but once I started saving them until once a week, I found that it took me about 30-35 minutes to reply to all of them. That saves me, on average, 35 minutes a week!

My monthly task is something that will take a good bit more time. It could take me anywhere form 30 minutes to half a day. Which is why I keep this to a weekend. These are kind of my blog housekeeping items.

TIP: I keep a running list of blog things that need to be done. (need some inspiration? Check out bloggiesta for lots of ideas) These can be anything from making a scroll up button, to redesigning my whole blog theme. Depending on how much time I have on a Sunday, I choose something big or small. Or nothing at all. A lot of Sundays, I choose to do nothing except get my sunday post up. And that works too. 


This is not to say that I stick to my schedule every day. I don’t. Some days I will be focused on finding books that are new to me and there will be some posts that catch my eye and I want to comment on that are not about books that are new to me. So does that mean I skip over that post because that is not what I am doing that day? NO! Of course not!

TIP: I don’t let my schedule control me. It is an aid, and when it becomes a hindrance, I ditch it.

I mostly made the schedule in the first place so I could find a method that works for me. I wanted to see how it would look charted out, and how it would fit into my daily life.

The anti-scheduler Tip

But if the idea of scheduling and flow charting to do lists for your day and blog seems awful to you, here is something that you can try that also helps me.

TIP: Spend 5 minutes (or 3 or even 1 minute) at the start of your day to think about the big things that you need/want to accomplish.

When I wake up I normally think about the one or two things I need to get done at work that day, the one or two people I want to talk to, and the things I would like to accomplish for my blog and for myself. Is there a show I want to watch, or an errand that needs to get done? Thinking about it for just a few minutes in the morning helps me get a picture of what my day can look like, and it helps focus me.


wow, that was probably the longest post that I have ever written. Thank you for sticking with it this long. Tomorrow will be shorter and I will be featuring apps, tools and plugins that have saved my blogging life, and taken my blog to the next level (in my opinion anyway.) But I wanted to build a foundation to that, which is why yesterday and today’s posts are such discussion heavy. I think it is really important to first know how you work best and know what kind of time you have to devote to your blog within your schedule before we talk about blogging tools.

Let me know what you think! Do you have a totally different method? I want to know that too! Have any questions for me or some other topic you would like me to address, let me know in the comments below or in the question box at the bottom.

And take my blogging on a time crunch challenge! (details below)

I want to know how you do it all.

So I challenge each and every one of you bloggers to grab the button below, and show us your tips/tricks and best practices for how you make blogging work with your life.

And then come back here and share the link to your post with me. I would love to see it!

Also be sure to use the hashtag #BloggingOnATimeCrunch

Find out tips and tricks for making blogging work with your busy life #BloggingOnATimeCrunch Click To Tweet

Blogging on a time crunch


If you would like to be featured on the ask a blogger day, or if you have a blogging tips.tricks post or feature, or a tutorial and would like me to include it in the resource list (linking to your blog of course) send me an email. I would love to showcase you and a your blog!


Blogging Tips

What do you want to see in this series or the next one?

Michelle @ Book Briefs

16 Responses to “{Discussion+Free Downloads} #BloggingOnATimeCrunch : Time Management”

  1. kindlemom1

    I love all of this advice and tips! The biggest thing with me is that I have to plan out my ARCs, not what I will read when, but I have to have a list of all that I have to read and when they release otherwise I feel so disorganized. Another thing for me that works is that I usually set aside one day a week to preschedule my posts, usually on Mondays. I have found that if I do that then usually I have more time during the rest of the week for everything else and if I’m at least one to two weeks ahead in posts then I can relax and get more read because I’m not worried about what or when I will schedule a post next.

    • Michelle @ Book Briefs

      Yea staying on top of ARCs is an area that I have been doing better in, but I can still improve on. I will be sharing some ARC spreadsheets on Thursday 😉

      I love this response. Would you mind if I use it (or something else if you want) as a blogger response on my Thursday post? I will introduce and link to you and your blog and you can just use this or share a screenshot of your spreadsheet. Anything you want!

      Its totally fine if you don’t want to. I just love your idea of picking a post scheduling day for the week.

      • kindlemom1

        Of course you can use it!

        I don’t have a spreadsheet, I’m old school and use a notebook LOL! I like being able to scratch out each book I read when I get it done! 😛

  2. Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature)

    The one thing I am working on getting better at is commenting. I’ve recently taken the blogs that I know comment on mine regularly and set them as a special group in my favorites so that I can make sure to go visit them at least once a week. Great post!

    • Michelle @ Book Briefs

      Thats a great idea Lisa. That way no matter how much time you have you can check those out first. I do something similar with my groups in bloglovin. and I will rotate them so I am visiting different blogs throughout the week, if I don’t have a chance to get to all of them every day.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  3. Kathy

    This is a great post and a lot of great tips! My biggest problem is time for replying to comments and visiting other blogs. I like your weekly schedule so I’ll try something similar to it.

  4. Jessica@Lovin' Los Libros

    Michelle, I have so much love for this post I don’t even know where to start! Time management has been a real struggle for me and it became even more so this past year because I incorporated more things into an already busy schedule. I love how you said you don’t have to do everything all the time. That is so true and sometimes I forget that.

    I’m like Kathy above- one of my biggest problems is finding the time to comment and visit other blogs. I love to do it, but find that gets put off, especially after I’ve blogged, written a review, etc. I’ve noticed that Bloglovin’ overwhelms me, so I’ve tried to just do what I can when I can.

    I really loved seeing your process and how you organize things! Thank you for this!

  5. Lola

    Love these tips and how you focus on knowing yourself and your schedule. I have a very unofficial schedule and while normally I like to plan things in advance, with blogging I am more loose. Every evening I keep an hour or so for replying to comments and commenting back, but when I write my posts, that’s totally open. When I finish a book I write my review or do so the next day. I just make sure to fit it in. When I have inspiration or extra time I might write a ramblings post. When I make pictures for a recipe post I try to write the post the same day. It’s a bit of fitting it and doing things when I feel inspiration. I used to try and comment on other blogs every day, nowadays I mostly try to fit it in on saturday and sunday when I have more time for blogging and sometimes on weekdays if I have time for it and else not. And weirdly enough it works for me and I keep up with things.
    I like your focus on how everyone is different and different thigns work for different people. Great post!

    • Michelle @ Book Briefs

      Thanks Lola. I think realizing that everyone works a little differently is the most important part of being productive. I wanted to try and give tips that would work for different people, so I am really happy that you liked that as well 🙂

      I used to blog exacly like you when I was in law school. I just kind of knew what I had to get done and I would fit it all in, whenever I could. But once I started my job, I started to get overwhelmed with just trying to fit everything in, and that was when I decided to create a schedule and new method, just to see what it would look like. To see if it was even possible for me to do everything I wanted.

  6. Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight

    This is so, so true. Time is my biggest enemy at this point, and I find that I am doing the same thing you used to do: Try to do ALL the things at once. Like, right now: your post has been sitting here, open for like, 3 hours. In that time, I have read a few paragraphs, then written an email, then came back, then played on Twitter, etc, and am now actually saying what I want to say! You are so right- this must stop! It takes me ten times as long doing it this way than if I were to just focus on one thing. Ugh, this is HARD. Especially because I know the time I have, I know it isn’t enough, and keep pushing myself to exhaustion. I am definitely going to be using your tips, no question! Thanks SO much!

  7. Karen Blue

    Wow! You are so organized. I try to respond to blog posts as they come in, or as soon as I approve them. I also open all the links from commentluv and try to check out the bloggers that are leaving me comments. This is one thing that will keep me up at night if I don’t do it everyday. I also try to read every single post for the bloggers I subscribe to. I do a lot of things at the same time. Somehow that works for me. One day I might try to get organized, but for me each day is full of surprises in my schedule, it is just not practical to make my blog time so structured.

    I think it is a bit strange you only read reviews for books you have read. I guess that is one way to avoid spoilers. I try to only read blogs that don’t usually post spoiler reviews, or I know will at least warn me first. I find so many good reads from other bloggers that I wouldn’t have even considered. I take bloggers recommendations seriously, so my TBR pile grows almost daily.
    Great post!

    • Michelle @ Book Briefs

      Sorry, I should have clarified a little better. I don’t only read reviews for books that I have read. I just group them into days. So on oneday I will read mostly reviews I have read, then another day I will read mostly reviews for books that are new to me completely, then another day for books that I have but havent read yet and am excited for, etc.

      It helps me when I am making lists to to add new books to my books to look out for list all at that day, and then helps me prioritize my TBR lists when I get excited for books that I find on my waiting to be read day.

      Does that make sense?

      But like I said, everyone works differently. It just is the most efficient for me to be in one kind of mind set when I am commenting for the day since I only have short bursts of time that I can commit to commenting. I will remember the books and reviews I have read better that way when I think back on them.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  8. Ann S

    Thanks for all the tips; I’ve been struggling with getting everything done in a timely manner. I’m going to try your method and hope that it works for me too.

  9. Berls

    These are great tips! Thank you for sharing – I struggle so much with keeping up, particularly with social media and visiting other blogs. I’m going to try this, I am definitely a scheduler!

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