Time is one of those things that you can’t make more of and there never seems to be enough of. Nearly every blogger on the planet is overwhelmed with daily tasks. You have to promote your website, write articles, reach out to other bloggers, stay tuned in to social media, and a million other things.
Fortunately, there are some tools that will help you better manage your time as a blogger and website owner. You’ve likely already heard about HootSuite and IFTTT. Now, we’re also going to take a look at some tools you might not have heard of just yet.
Co-Schedule is a powerful plugin that integrates with your WordPress blog. For only $10 a month (if you pay annually), you get a drag-and-drop calendar that can integrate your editorial calendar, social media posts, and even help you manage visitor comments. While you are writing your blog, you can create your social media post, meaning you don’t have to toggle between different tools.
This is a nifty tool, especially if you are managing a team of writers and need everyone to be able to see what is coming up, due dates and create a smooth work flow between various projects on your blog. One thing that’s great about Co-Schedule is that you can try it free for 14 days and see if it’s right for your blog or not.
Do you sometimes wonder if you waste a lot of time spinning your wheels or can’t figure out if your focus is quite right? This tool runs with Windows or Mac and will track where you are spending your time. The tool tracks your daily habits and then reports back to you, so you can see where you are getting distracted and work to change it.
Each week, RescueTime will give you a report and suggestions for using your time more effectively. For example, if you’re spending three hours a day playing Candy Crush, then you are distracted and probably need to limit your online gaming time.
Then, RescueTime takes it a step farther. You can set up a time limit on certain activities or websites and the program will block them after that. Let’s say you want to spend 20 minutes a day on Facebook, catching up on friends. You would simply set the program for that and it would block Facebook once your 20 minutes were up.
They offer a Lite version, which is free, or a Premium version, which also lets you track time away from the computer, receive alerts, block websites, and log daily accomplishments for about $9/month (discount if paying annually).
If you use Chrome as your browser, StayFocusd may be the perfect productivity tool to keep you on track. Every blogger out there is an information hound. That means that bloggers love to read and discover new information. While this is vital to stay on top of your niche topic and write about new developments in the industry, it can also take up a lot of time. Let’s face it, you don’t need to read about why JLo’s latest diet worked if you blog about technology topics.
To help you avoid spending too much time on your vices, such as celebrity gossip, or whatever your reading vice might be, StayFocusd allows you to set time limits on the websites of your choosing. You can also allow certain sites at all times or block certain sites. You can change the configuration from day-to-day, but once you use up allotted time for a site for the day, it will be blocked for the remainder of that day.
It is free to add to Chrome. If you like the program, they do ask you consider donating $10 to them, but it is not required.
YouMail works with iOS, Android and Blackberry phones. Do you find yourself spending a lot of time dealing with phone calls and voice mails? This unique, and free (ad-supported) app may just allow you to gain some extra time. It will convert a voice mail to a text you can read quickly.
One of the best features of this app is that you can set up different voice mail greetings for different callers. For example, if a regular client calls, you can greet him by name and tell him you’ll message him back shortly.
Do you have a client that calls every 15 minutes until you answer? That isn’t always convenient, especially if you are in a meeting. This program will let you set up an auto-reply feature. You can send a quick text or email confirming you received their voice mail and explain that you will return their call when you get out of your meeting.
YouMail offers two plans. The personal plan runs $5/month and the business plan with some pro features runs $10/month.
How much time do you waste resetting passwords because you forgot one yet again? Since security experts tell us to have a different password for each site, it is very easy to forget what password you’re using for your blog, a bank, or some other secure site.
Enter RoboForm. Roboform helps you keep track of the different online tools and the passwords you have for each and every one. Not only does it help you keep track, but it will help you type them in as you go, but also keeps them secure.
This password manager works with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android platforms. It is also 100% free, which is a nice little perk. It works on the concept of a “master password”. This is a password that stays the same no matter what. RoboForm stays secure by not saving that password anywhere, so make sure you can remember it!
As you login to a site, RoboForm will ask if you want it to remember your password. That’s it. You won’t ever have to remember that password again once RoboForm has it. You can also use the same RoboForm from any of your devices.
Does your to-do list get lost? Perhaps you simply haven’t had time to bother with one? Any truly productive freelancer will tell you that a to-do list is a must. However, you don’t have to use a traditional pen and paper style to-do list to be effective.
Wunderlist takes the idea of a to-do list and brings it into the virtual world where you already spend most of your time. One of the things that is great about Wunderlist is that you can delegate tasks by sharing a shopping list or just organize your own work load.
The lists also sync with others on your team. So, whether you want your husband to pick up part of the shopping list or you prefer to have team members work on projects and check them off as they are done, you’ll always know where you are on both personal and professional projects.
The basic program is free, but you can upgrade to more features at any time.
Accounting is one of those things that can be very confusing to small business owners, not to mention time consuming. Wave is free and is specifically created for companies with under 10 employees.
Wave syncs with your bank account, PayPal and other sources. You don’t have to manually enter anything. Wave enters it all for you. You can also upload Excel sheets, link credit cards, and even invoice from this platform.
As an added bonus, you can easily generate reports for tax time. If you need to add on payroll, Wave offers features starting at $9/month for one employee and $4 more for each additional employee. The rate drops significantly if you have more than 10 employees.
Have you started to work with others on projects and need an online collaboration tool? Trello is a great platform to start with. It is easy to use, and tasks can be moved around easily and quickly with the use of boxes. Trello can also sync up to DropBox or Google Drive, allowing collaborators to upload documents easily.
This is like a big whiteboard with sticky notes that can be dragged and dropped different places. You can name the lists however you want, such as “task”, “draft”, and “completed”.
Trello is free to use, which makes it perfect for bloggers or small business owners, who don’t want to spend a lot of money but desire more organization.
Harvest is another time tracking tool that will help you use your time more effectively. It is very easy to track your time and you don’t have to install any software for this particular program to work. You simply set up a simple time sheet and with a couple of clicks you can track how much time you’ve spent on a project.
This type of time tracking can be beneficial in a couple of ways. First, you can make sure you are charging a fair rate for the time involved.
Also, some clients are simply more demanding than others, which makes them more time consuming. You may need to weed out extremely demanding clients and replace them with ones who are more appreciative of your work to earn a livable hourly wage.
You can invoice right from Harvest, which is a nice feature for clients you are charging by the hour.
There are several different packages, but most bloggers will use the free package, which lets you bill up to 4 clients and have 2 projects per month, or the Solo package, which gives you unlimited clients and projects for $12/month. Try it out first with a 30-day free trial.
Contactually streamlines your leads and current clients and lets you stay in touch the way you really want to. Your clients and leads are important to you, of course, but it’s easy to lose track with a busy schedule. Contactually will send you reminders and streamline everything in one spot to keep you on top of this important part of your business.
If you haven’t reached out to your top client for a while, Contactually will remind you to do so. In addition, if you’re trying to gain a new customer through a lead, it will organize previous contact you’ve had with that person and give you a rundown on everything from social media updates to past conversations.
They offer a basic plan for as little as $29/month. If you want to be able to customize email templates or work with a team, you can choose the professional package for $49/month.
Making the Most of Your Time
The key to making the most of your time as a blogger is to be aware of what you are spending your time on. Once you figure out the time wasters, it is much easier to figure out shortcuts for important tasks. By freeing up time both by eliminating waste and by streamlining important tasks, you’ll get much more done in 24 hours than you otherwise would have.