We all know the many benefits of blogging, writing, self-publishing and other forms of content marketing. But one of the hardest parts is finding time to create content.
I’ve heard from many people who want to write more or create more content for their businesses but can’t find time to make it a habit. Below are seven tips for finding time to create excellent content.
1. Write about something you’re enthusiastic about.
If you’re not getting your thoughts down effectively-or coming up with thoughts at all—move on to a topic you’re more excited about. This will give you a better return on your time, because you will write faster about a topic you’re excited about. Revisit the first topic when you are more motivated to write about it.
2. Do other work between writing sessions.
It’s hard for me to write for more than a few hours at a time. Sometimes I’m in the mood to write, and sometimes I prefer a different task.
When you’re not in a writing mood, work on aspects of your life or business. The sooner you finish these, the more time you’ll have to write.
If you sit down to write and are still unable to do so, call it a loss before you waste even more time. Conversely, if you’re in the zone, take advantage and write more.
3. Learn “Getting Things Done.”
The quantity of information available today and the speed at which we consume it is far greater than what our ancestors experienced. We need tools and systems to help us. “Getting Things Done” provides an outstanding framework for managing time and maximizing productivity.
GTD is based on breaking down tasks and projects into to-dos. It has helped me become more productive, avoid mistakes and forgetting things, and feel less stressed when I have a lot on my plate.
4. Say no.
You probably have a packed schedule. I get a zillion emails per day. Everyone’s busy all the time.
If you’re just starting to write, you have to make time for it. That may mean taking time away from other activities and saying no to invitations.
Saying no isn’t fun, but it pays off. For example, you may need to spend less time going out with friends or watching TV. Sounds simple, but it’s much harder in practice. Just say no.
5. Set intermediate goals for long-term projects.
Start by setting goals for your business or content marketing. Find out what you need to accomplish within a year to accomplish those goals. Then find out what goals you need to meet each quarter to get to your yearly goals. Then break down the quarterly goals to monthly goals, the monthlies down to weekly goals and your weekly goals to daily.
Weekly goals are the most helpful for me. I don’t always set daily or monthly goals, but weekly goals keep me focused.
6. Set ambitious goals.
When I set goals slightly higher than what I think I can accomplish (but not so high they’re impossible), I work harder to make them happen. I remind myself that it’s OK if I don’t meet them (so I don’t get discouraged) but always strive to do my best.
My effort is the part of the goal over which I have the most control. For example, when I self-publish a book, I aim to finish it by a certain date and do my best work rather than try to sell a certain amount of books. Factors out of my control determine book sales, but how fast and well I write is in my control.
7. Set measurable goals.
“Create content” is not a good goal. A better goal would be “Write 750 words.” Putting a number on a goal makes it more attainable. It ensures you make progress, because you can track your progress against it. By tracking your progress, you see what you’re doing well, what you should improve and what goals to set in the future.
Mike Fishbein is the self-published author of more than half a dozen books, including “How to Write a Book in 10 Days.” He has been published on Entrepreneur, Business Insider and The Huffington Post. He blogs at mfishbein.com. A version of this article originally appeared on Convince & Convert.