When it comes to blogging schedules, everyone has an opinion. Some people swear by not having a schedule at all, while others swear by working to a fixed schedule.
Both of those approaches are totally fine! The most important thing is that you’re doing what works for you and what makes you happy. This post looks at how to build a schedule that is easy for you to maintain and fills you with joy rather than dread.
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This post starts off by looking at some of the common mistakes people make when creating a blogging schedule, and then looks at how to create a blogging schedule that works by stacking a number of different tricks and techniques. There’s also a free PDF download with step-by-step info and a spreadsheet template you can use to kickstart your scheduling process. No opt-in needed!
First, let’s look at some of the blogging schedule traps people fall into.
The biggest mistakes bloggers make when creating a schedule
01. Using someone else’s schedule
While looking at other people’s schedules can be helpful to get ideas, copying it exactly doesn’t guarantee you’ll see the same success. Actioning the scheduled tasks is so much more important than the schedule itself, and everyone has different websites, plans, time commitments and circumstances.
People also very often have different schedules at different times of their life and journey. If you’re a new blogger, it’s going to take you longer to do some tasks, and you may also spend more time on your blog while you’re setting everything up and putting in strong foundations for growth. A stay-at-home full-time blogger with three children is likely to have a very different schedule to a part-time hobby blogger with no children.
Even the very nature of the schedule can make a big difference – if you love physically writing and checking items off a list, and you’re more productive when you have your tasks in a planner, creating a virtual schedule probably isn’t going to work as well for you. Conversely, if your schedule changes a lot or you have a lot of repeat tasks, a digital planner or spreadsheet could be your ideal solution.
For these reasons, we’d recommend getting some ideas of how other bloggers organize their time and lay out their tasks, but not copying their schedule in detail. It’s likely you’ll want to test a whole bunch of different things and review your schedule regularly to see what’s working and what needs to change or go.
02. Thinking you’ll only be successful if you stick to that specific schedule
There’s no one magic schedule that works, just the one that works best for you. And since life happens, you’re not going to stick to your own ideal schedule all the time, and that’s totally expected! Aim for a schedule that is realistic, doesn’t make you miserable, and you’re sticking to at least half the time. Don’t let yourself get distracted or use creating the perfect schedule as a procrastination technique. Start with something that sounds reasonable and adapt as needed.
If someone tells you their schedule is the “only” or “best” way to do things, run away! Or just nod, smile, and carry on.
03. Adding too much into your schedule
It’s easy to put down more than you can realistically do, or create a schedule that doesn’t work for a bad week. When creating your schedule, make a master list of all the blogging tasks you can think of first. Then prioritize everything by giving it a color or number. Then divide those things into one-off or recurring tasks. Trello.com is free and an easy way to tag everything and move it around.
The original kanban style of working, which Trello is based on, works on the simplicity of having three lists: “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done.” In an ideal world, you only have one item in the “Doing” list at any one time, and then you move it to “Done.” In reality, this often feels impossible, but it’s great to aim for if you’re the kind of person that jumps between different tasks a lot.
Adding too much into your schedule is often a problem that becomes tied to self-worth. You’re not lazy for not doing something, you just have other things taking a priority. You’re not a machine; your motivation and productivity will ebb and flow. And just like an athlete takes breaks from training to allow for rest and growth, a writer needs the same.
04. Not allowing for flexibility
Most people plan based on their current situation and day/week, and usually when they’re feeling very motivated. Creating a schedule for a great week isn’t going to look the same as a schedule for a bad week, so you could try starting by creating your schedule basing it on an average to bad week, rather than your best week ever. You can always have an extra tasks list with some optional things you can add in any time, for example cleaning up broken links or organizing your computer files.
Some people go by writing down a schedule for every hour of the day. If you have a lot of specifically-timed events or appointments, for example dropping the kids off at school, working a part-time job, or coaching/strategy calls, this could work pretty well. But if your schedule and tasks are more open-ended, for example “Do keyword research,” or “Share recent blog post on social media,” a time-based schedule can quickly become a nightmare when things take longer than expected. Not to mention, it takes a lot of time to write out a schedule like that, which is time and energy away from the work itself. Again, it’s all about finding what works for you enough of the time.
05. Quitting instead of adapting
The only way you’ll fail is by quitting. One of the hardest things about scheduling is not beating yourself up when you don’t stick to it. The important thing is evaluating the situation. What didn’t work this time? Why didn’t it work? What, if anything, needs to be changed or tweaked for better success next time? Maybe you can pinpoint something that’s not working for you.
If it seems more like a problem with your schedule than an unforseeable event (such as illness), perhaps you’re trying to do too much, making scheduling itself too time-consuming, or sitting with too many tasks in front of you at the same time. If it’s not a scheduling problem, try thinking of it as waves or seasons; some times will be great, and some won’t.
How to create a blogging schedule that works
Now we’ve looked at some of the main mistakes to avoid, it’s time to get started creating a schedule!
We have two free downloads for you: A PDF called “How To Create A Blogging Schedule That Actually Works,” and a link within that to a spreadsheet template so you have some inspiration for starting your own batching schedule (if that’s the route you decide – you know you best!)
If you’re not a Lyrical Host customer, you can download the PDF from our Free Resources page (no opt-in!). If you are a customer, hit up the Resource Library for an expanded version.
The PDF takes you through all the steps in more detail, but here’s a brief outline:
01. Pick the right planning tool
The only “right” planning tool is the one that works for you. It could be Trello, a to do list app like ToDoist, Google Calendar, a spreadsheet, a digital plannner, a physical planner, a notebook, sticky notes, etc.
Whatever you decide to use, it will work best if you keep it simple, manageable, and in front of your face. If you always work at the same desk or carry your planner around, a physical planner may be your preferred option, or if you move around a lot, it may be better to have something cloud-based you can access from your phone, tablet, or computer.
Your schedule should be quick and easy for you to switch up and adapt. Once you have a rough schedule in place, if it takes you longer than 10-15 mins to list and assign tasks, you have too many in your space or you’re using scheduling as a procrasination technique.
02. Create a process to organize ideas and drafts
We have a spreadsheet template for this linked in the PDF download if you’d like some inspiration! Setting up your virtual workspace is super important so that you’re not forever searching for files or avoiding work because something isn’t “right” (for example you need to update a bunch of plugins or you have so many unfinished drafts it’s overwhelming or you’re scrolling for days).
Tip: If you find yourself avoiding your blog, you may want to try some of the ideas listed in 7 Ways To Fall In Love With Your Blog Again.
03. Batch your repeat tasks
Batching tasks of the same type means your brain isn’t switching between totally different “tabs” – and neither are your fingers! This can be extra helpful if you struggle with concentration because if you’re in Photoshop for example, you aren’t getting distracted by social media…force yourself back to the right window if needed!
It also means more efficient use of web pages, ease of organizing files rather than creating one on its own and forgetting where it is, and being able to check things off your list faster to feel accomplished. For example, if your to do list has “Publish blog post” on it, that’s a lot of tasks – keyword research, creating a title and subheadings, drafting/writing the post, creating a featured image, creating a Pinterest pin for it and so on. However, if your to do list says “Create five Pinterest pins,” you’re on the same task and can complete it faster and more easily (especially if you use templates – check out the Resource Library for plenty you can download).
Start by roughly estimating the time a task takes you, and then add into your schedule on repeat. Add your core blogging tasks in, and then build more or increase the time spent on them according to what your schedule allows for.
Mindset & motivation
Publishing daily is super hard core. People doing this tend to be posting very short posts and/or hire writers or VAs, buying content in Facebook groups, and have guest posters. Even people publishing 2-3 times a week often utilize these services. Some people also have help with other things in their life which gives them more time and energy for blogging, for example babysitters or nanny services, cleaners, another earner in the household and so on. So don’t beat yourself up about what someone else is doing – you don’t know what the real situation is behind the scenes!
You need to do what’s right for you and your life and goals. You only have a finite amount of time, so that blogger you see that posts every day has given up something else to have that time that you may not want to give up.
With blogging, planning and quality are a lot more important than quantity. If you’re writing a post a day but don’t do any keyword research, link building or relationship building, you likely won’t see the same person who does that but only publishes once every couple of weeks.
We have a whole bunch of downloads in the Resource Library that go into mindset and motivation in more detail, and you may also want to check out these blog posts:
- How To Deal With Overwhelm As A Blogger
- How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Other Bloggers
- What To Learn First (Or Next) As A Blogger
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