Stuck? Turn Wasteful Time into Productive Time

The average American working a forty-hour work week will accomplish less than five hours of actual work per day. At least, that’s the time they openly admit they’re wasting. What about if you’re in the blogging industry? Writer’s block can hit at anytime and you may find yourself straying from what you should be doing. Are we intentionally being lazy and getting away with whatever they can, or are they simply uncertain of how to turn that wasted time into productive opportunities?
If you fall into the second category, this article is for you. Here are eight tips on breaking out of waste and returning to a productively flowing state of work.

1. Get out of your chair

No, it’s not productive, and no, it’s not going to get your blog posts written for you. However, if you’re stuck on what to do next, it has been demonstrated that changing your location can help you overcome the mental hurdle. Beyond that, getting some movement will help you feel just a little more chipper, since our bodies (believe it or not) love exercise (even if we, ourselves, don’t).

2.Browse the web with intention.

If you’re hit writer’s block, then browse the web, but do so with the intent of overcoming your block. Look at art, blogs, and websites on the topic, instead of going to Facebook or reporting to your Twitter followers that you can’t think of what to write next.

3. Utilize GTD systems.

Whether you prefer Remember the Milk, Midnight Inbox, Google Tasks, or some other way of structuring your day, a good “getting things done” system can create the framework you need to organize your day, your thoughts, and your action item list.

4. Take a moment to reorganize.

Reorganization is productive, even if it’s not productive for the task at hand, and it can give you a minute to breathe while you re-evaluate your project.

5. Set a limit on how often you check your social sites each day.

A good guideline is twice per day, but even then, be wary of the amount of time you’re spending in those black holes that suck time. If you’re having trouble keeping things controlled, you can use a Firefox or Google extension like Chrome Nanny to keep yourself locked out.

6. Check and answer your email in batches.

Rather than obsessively checking back every time you get a new message, check back in during scheduled times. If they emailed you for a life threatening emergency, it’s not actually your responsibility to compensate for their idiocy, and it’s probably even a good thing that they’re being removed from the gene pool.

7. Use tools like hosted exchange to synchronize your tasks.

Rather than losing contacts or missing items on your schedule, plan ahead to make sure that no work is duplicated.

8. Create filters to take advantage of free productivity.

Automatic filters within Outlook, Google Apps, and other email servers allow you to have your message automatically organized. This can also help save you time when you’re tracking down a specific message. You can even use Gmail alone as a simple GTD system.
So yes, it’s true. Just over twenty hours of actual work happens for a typical full time blogger. However, that average blogger won’t usually be the one getting recognition, a raise, or a management position if they aren’t able to handle the amount of content writing that they’re supposed to be currently doing. If you’re ready to move ahead of the pack, use tools like these to keep yourself productive, and overcome mental roadblocks as quickly as possible.
  • Thank you for this wonderful article! The word “reorganize” struck me really hard! I have a habit of checking emails and social networks every now and then and I admit, It completely wastes valuable time. Plus I have to fix my GTDs.. Lately I had no use of my Starbucks Planner. Once again, thanks!

    • ugh. i waste so much time on social sites it’s ridiculous. unfortunately I can’t cut back on email- it has to be open all day at work- but I can get myself off of twitter and facebook.

  • What u said is definitely right. Everyday I site before the system for lots of hours but at the end of the day if I see I would have done only small amount of useful work. I liked the point Browse with intention. Many times I just browse without clearly understanding what I need to get. This article is a fantastic eye opener.

    • nsmuk,
      Same is the case with many bloggers, and if they follow even half the points mentioned here, they will be able to get better productivity out of their time

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  • Hi Selena,
    Great article.. I use Gmail alone. Filters and labels definitely help me in seeing the email as batches..


  • Hi,

    Excellent article with great advice on improving productivity.

    I can totally resonate with this article. I do act upon some of these tips but not all, so, these tips will help me be even more productive on the web.


  • I will do the following:

    1. Go for a walk.

    2. Do a bit of housework.

    3. Answer my blog comments & check emails.

    4. Read other blogs in my niche.

    These will always help me and I soon find I’m ready to start writing again. 🙂

    • I do all of the above, including walking my dog and sweeping… don’t ask. haha

  • Ben

    That is a wonderful Article, Liked it 🙂 I wish I could Organize my stuff like this.

  • You can 🙂

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  • I follow 50% of what you said but I just like to browse and browse Internet unless my eyes start paining. but one thing I might follow that is to schedule my each activity. I just open one site then other and other, whole day !

    But today I just added my site to google and yahoo and find what ? yes ! google indexed my site in just two hours (may be less) but waiting for yahoo to index..

  • rnd technologies

    Nice view.