TIME! It’s something that we would all love more of. So much of it is taken up by default (work, home, sleep, etc.)...how can you possibly find the time to do things that need to be done for your blog or biz? This is a totally reasonable feeling to have. What is totally unreasonable, though, is surrendering to time and not attempting to get creative and find hidden pockets of free time. I spoke on one myth about time in a previous post and it was that you have to get up an hour early to maximize your time to get blog/biz tasks completed. I disagreed with this, and if you’d like to know why, check out that post here. Today I will be sharing with you another myth about time, why I consider it a myth, and what you can do about it.
“I don’t have any free time”
Lies and fallacies! If you feel this way, you fall into one (or both) of these categories:
You have the time but don’t realize it’s there.
You have the time but don’t feel like using it properly.
The first scenario is when you are so bogged down with life tasks that it's hard to fit in more time to work on your blog/biz. You think it’s impossible to squeeze any more time out of your day. You feel tapped out. The second scenario is when you have some free time but choose to watch TV, tweet, sleep, talk on the phone, etc. instead. You know the time is there, but you just don't feel like doing anything. Whichever category you fall into, I’m here to help you get some clarity on the situation. You have the time, and I’m going to break it down for you with various things that you can do, when/where to do them and what you can do in 5, 10, 15, 30 and 60 minutes.
The key here is to find hidden pockets of open time. I consider a hidden pocket of time a period when you wouldn't normally be thinking about your blog/biz tasks because your mind or attention is being taken up by something else. Here are the hidden pockets and what you can do in them:
1 / Daily Commute (15, 30 + 60 minute tasks)
This is the best way to start your brain power allocation for the day. Use your good, fresh bits of brain cells first thing in the morning for your own stuff! You may live in Atlanta with me and have an hour + commute each way...every day. Use that time to get some things done. If you’re driving, these task will be solely audio related (keep it safe, ya’ll). If you’re a passenger, you can do some quieter things so that you don't disturb the driver or others around you.
Voice dictation (drivers)- An advocate of voice dictation to compose blog posts in the car, here! *raises hand* Read more about how I do this.
Record audio downloads (drivers)- this is the perfect time to record a free audio download for your website! Maybe it’s a lead magnet or content upgrade that people would sign up for your email list to receive. Or you may have a podcast and want to record the spoken portion while you’re in the car then do the editing and other magic later. At least the main part will be complete already!
Blog/biz ideas (drivers and passengers)- ideas always swimming in your head but you can’t seem to organize them? Do it in the car. I use Evernote to keep track of all of my ideas. You can create voice notes directly in the app!
Type posts or other types of copy for your website (passenger)- use this window of time to work on a blog post, work on your about page, work on a course, work on a collaboration proposal email, etc. Just know that you can still get ish done with no data or WiFi connection. Use Google Docs to compose things, then when you have a connection your docs will automatically sync to your account. Want more details on the love affair that I have with Google Docs and why you should have one with them, too? Read about it here.
2 / Watching TV
I don’t have cable anymore, but oddly enough I find myself with MORE options than ever for things to watch (I have Netflix, Hulu, Sling and Amazon Prime Videos). Because of this I tend to watch a little more TV than I used to. Look, there’s nothing wrong with TV AS LONG a you are still being productive.
- During commercial breaks- the average commercial break is 2-3 minutes, so for a 30 minute show you are looking at approximately 10 minutes of commercials. Instead of sitting around waiting for your show to come back on, do a few quick tasks. (5 minute tasks)
- In between shows/episodes- if you binge watch shows on Netflix, there are no commercials. Instead, take about 5-10 minutes in between episodes to work on something small. This way you can get your TV fix and still be productive.
- During ending movie credits- happen to be watching a movie? Those ending credits just keep going and going and going, right? This is a perfect time to take out 5-10 minutes to knock out a couple of small things.
3 / Waiting
- In line at the grocery store (5-10 minute tasks)- sometimes the lines at the grocery store are ridiculous. Instead of reading the trashy magazines that you aren’t going to buy or scoping out the candy that you’re craving, use that time for quick tasks.
- Waiting on your car to be serviced (30-60 minute tasks)- a standard oil change can take a minimum of 20 minutes...and that’s if no one is ahead of you. If you find yourself in the waiting area for your car service, you don’t just have to watch the TV shows playing in the waiting room, work on your stuff instead.
- Waiting room at the doctor’s office (10-30 minute tasks)- we all know how long it takes to be seen by a doctor even when you’re on time! Instead of being bored and people watching, do something for your blog/biz.
- Anything else that involves you waiting for something to be done or waiting your turn.
"Free time: You have it but don’t know it’s there or you have it but don’t feel like using it properly." (Click to tweet that!)
Now that you have discovered some hidden pockets of time, you need to know what can be done in a certain amount of time.
From the list of things to do above, match them up to the timed tasks below and you will have the full scope of possibilities!
5 minute tasks
- Retweet a post from an influencer in your niche.
- View tweets from a specific hashtag and answer a question that someone may have posted about it.
- Respond to blog comments
- Record a voice note or type an idea that you came up with
- Copy and paste pre-made tweets into a Google Sheet to be automatically added to your Buffer queue via an automated Zapier task.
- Pin to your Pinterest boards (specifically blog/biz related).
- Add text to an existing blog post graphic template for a blog post that you are working on using the Canva app.
- Post an Instagram Story of behind the scenes of something that you’re working on (blog post, new opt-in, new products, etc.)
- Take note of ideas for flatlays or Instagram photos to post related to upcoming blog posts.
10 minute tasks
- Create a Zapier or IFTTT automated task (interested in knowing how these robots can take some of the burden off of you...for free at that? Check out this post.)
- Enter your social and email list stats into a spreadsheet to keep track of growth (a weekly or monthly task)
- Reword copy on opt-in forms
- Create a list (in an Evernote notebook if you’re ’bout that digital life) of people that you would like to collaborate with or guest post for.
- Search for the submission requirements for guest posting on a blog that you love and add the details to the Evernote notebook above (don’t forget to include the link to their submission requirements page!).
15 minute tasks
- Delete old/obsolete notes from you digital note taking system.
- Go through old notes for good ideas that you forgot about and update them to keep them current/relevant.
- View your Google Analytics account and make note of the top 5-10 posts that got the most traffic for all time.
- Delete old emails that aren't needed.
30 minute tasks
- Create all of your tweets for the week in a Google sheet
- Search twitter for certain hashtags to get an idea of problems that people are having then jot ideas down for future blog posts to address the common problems.
- Voice dictation for content of an audio download for your website or email list.
- Create a blog post graphic template in Canva (they have an app, too! Convenience, boo.)
- Listen to a podcast episode that you’ve been putting off or missed.
60 minute tasks
- Voice dictation of a blog post or podcast episode.
- Type a blog post
- Plan the following month of content out (blog post topics, email topics, webinars, recipes, outfit ideas, photo shoot locations, flat lay ideas, etc.)
The next time you think that you "don't have time" to work on your side hustle, just remember that there are hidden pockets of time throughout the day, you just have to keep an open mind and open your eyes to the opportunities!