In my first year of blogging, my focus was on trying to figure out who the hell I was in the online world. In my second year, it was all about growing my audience and onboarding brand partners. And now, in my third year as I plan to expand TRL from a blog to a biz, my obsession is trying to find ways to minimize wasted time and maximize productivity. And let me tell you, it’s not easy for someone who gets easily distracted by shiny things (i.e. me). But one of the main ways I’ve been able to stay on track is through utilizing different tools that can cut distractions, streamline workflows and make time-sucking tasks easier to get through.
One of the biggest distractions I noticed in my day-to-day was having my phone near me when I’m in work mode. Even if it’s not facing up or beeping off notifications, I’m aware that it’s there and filled with plenty of distractions to reroute my focus. It got to the point where I couldn’t even pick up my phone without mindlessly clicking through the social apps, even if that wasn’t my reason for looking at it in the first place. So, I started leaving my phone in a separate room and telling my Google Home Mini to perform some of the tasks that I usually turned to my phone to do. At any time of the day, you can walk into my apartment, find me in front of my laptop, alone, and saying out loud:
“Okay Google, add an appointment to my calendar.”
“Okay Google, set a reminder to call Damien at 4pm.”
“Okay Google, add ‘e-newsletter’ to my To-Do list.”
“Okay Google, pour me a glass of wine…”
Alright, so that last command doesn’t work (a girl can dream!), but the rest of them have made life hella easier and more productive. If I’m in the middle of writing a blog post and remember I need to add a reminder to my calendar, instead of breaking my focus by running to my phone to type it in (followed by a 5-minute Instagram scroll), I just keep on typing my blog post and command the Google Assistant to add it via the Google Home Mini. It’s the future guys, and I am here for it ALL.
I’ve tried LOADS of different apps, programs and products to streamline my workflow and make certain tasks easier, and have found some to be integral additions to my life. In addition to the Google Home Mini, here are a few of my favourite productivity tools for bloggers and solopreneurs alike…
Talk about apps that change the damn game. For ages I had been looking for a simple but well-designed calendar JUST for planning out content (I found adding everything to my Google calendar just made it messy alongside events and appointments). Co-Schedule is a marketing calendar that can be used as a stand-alone app on their site OR integrated as a plug-in on your WordPress dashboard. You can plan blog posts within the calendar, as well as the social media posts that correspond with it, and build entire workflows to reuse again and again – perfect for bloggers OR content teams.
Pinterest lovers, where you at? When Instagram stopped giving me the love that I was so abundantly giving to it (algorithm, ahoy), I started looking to other platforms to drive traffic to my blog. And low-and-behold, every bit of research I did led me to Pinterest… followed by recos to use Tailwind. And DAMN has Tailwind saved me loads of time. It’s a platform that allows you to batch schedule pins so they are fed out over the week (or month), meaning you can spend one hour a week on Pinterest rather than an hour each day. They’ve also recently introduced something called ‘Tribes’ which allows you to join niche groups to find similar content to yours, and allow you to share your own domain pins with that tribe as well.
If you’re a blogger who outsources work for your brand (writers, photographers, web developers, etc.), Asana is an excellent way to manage projects and people. For each project, you can set milestones, tasks and personal deadlines, as well as assign tasks to different individuals. You can also attach documents to the projects so that everything is hosted in one place, accessible to everyone working on that project.
If you’re not a graphic design whiz, it’s likely that you’re spending too much time trying to navigate Photoshop and put together decent-looking graphics for your blog and social channels. Canva is a design-challenged blogger’s best friend, with free templates for everything from Pinterest graphics to Facebook headers and even Instagram Stories. The templates are fully customizable, so you can change up to match your brand colours and fonts (recommended!), plus add your own logo and images.
Feedly is an RSS feed, a place to see real-time updates from your favourite sites and news sources – all in one well-organized spot. I use Feedly to follow blogs, scan the headlines and find inspiration for my next e-newsletter send. You can also organize your sources into different themed feeds, so you have all your food blogs in one feed, news updates in another and style content in another. Way better than having 5546 tabs open at once like I used to.
If you struggle with focusing on all the tasks you need to complete in a day, then Focus Booster is an excellent platform for keeping on top of projects and managing distractions. It’s based off of the classic Pomodoro technique (segmenting tasks into short increments of time), but it also includes time tracking features and reporting (great for large projects when you need to provide details of how time was spent working, or for analyzing your workflow). There are paid plans available, but as a blogger, I find the free membership to have everything I need.
This post on productivity tools for bloggers was done in collaboration with Google Canada, a long-time partner of mine.
Although sponsored, all thoughts, opinions and recommendations are entirely my own.
Do you use any of the productivity tools above?
Are there any AMAZING resources you love that I’m leaving off the list?
Let us know in the comments below!