Work Smarter, Not Harder – Guest Post by Angela England

by Janice

Susan and I have been planning on writing an ebook for years but we never have been able to carve out the time! So, thankfully, our friend Angela has written an ebook about just that – writing an ebook! Brilliant.

Today she is here to teach us how she has learned to work smarter, not harder and to help us find the time to finally get that ebook written!

Work Smarter, Not Harder

I know how difficult it can be when you’re a many-hats kind of blogger, as most of us are. As a homeschooling mother of four, my time for working is extremely limited. Even so, I have successfully written several ebooks, including one that resulted in the addition of 5 figures to our family’s income last year. Here are some tips for maximizing your time when creating an ebook.

1. Work Smarter Means Planning Ahead

Plan your content ahead of time. You can use your research and writing time for dual purposes by working on your ebook in the same topic area you’re posting on your blog about. This way, you are not having to work twice to finish your writing. Everyone always says “work smarter, not harder,” and part of that means – gulp - planning ahead. Just a little. It won’t kill ya, I promise.

2. Work in the Snippets of Time

I keep my document open when I’m working on a big project like an ebook. I print out, or keep on notebook, the table of contents. Then, when I have 5 or 10 minutes, I WRITE. Hard core, no editing, nothing but writing. I write around 100 words in 5 minutes fairly easily if I don’t stop to self-edit what I’m doing. And, let me tell you, 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there can really add up at the end of the day.

3. Choose to Give Up Something Else

Is there a TV show you can give up during your project? Perhaps your kids can go to a friend’s house for a sleepover and you can take the extra day for writing instead of catching up on your favorite fiction novel writer. My kids go to the ranch with my in-laws house sometimes, and that is my day dedicated to writing. Even if I only get a few hours every month or two, it can make a huge difference.

4. Accountability is Key

One of the biggest things for me when it comes to making a project top priority is to build in accountability. In the case of my latest publication, 30 Days to Make and Sell a Fabulous Ebook, I actually began selling the title with a promised date of delivery while I was still finishing the manuscript. I already had my outline, plan of action and half the book finished. I knew what I was going to write about and knew I could finish it if I had to. I also knew that giving myself a built-in accountability factor would help me stay on target with my goals!

5. Delegate the Unnecessary

During this time of working on your project, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of someone else to delegate the unnecessary stuff. Only you can write your ebook, but your children can pitch in around the house, your husband can cook dinner one day that week or you can hire a house cleaner (or trade for it!) to free up an entire afternoon for you to work. Think about ways that you can delegate the things you don’t have to do so that you can focus on the thing that only you can do.

6. Take a Break – Use Your Timer

I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but when you work for more than an hour and a half, your productivity will decrease drastically. When I have some uninterrupted time to work, I can easily get so caught up in trying to get as much done as possible that I skip meals or don’t stretch, and I wind up with a migraine. So – set a timer for somewhere between 50-90 minutes, and whenever it goes off, stand up, stretch, get a drink, grab a snack and THEN head back to work.

7. Close Everything Until You Meet a Goal


Close hootsuite, shut off your email and Facebook, etc. Close all social media tabs until you meet a particular goal on your project. I always went by chapters. When I finished a chapter, I could go to my window where I had hootsuite and Facebook open to see what was going on, but not until then! This built-in motivation is really helpful for keeping me focused on that next, bite-sized goal of the chapter in front of me.

Angela England is a problogger, freelance writer and author of 30 Days to Make and Sell a Fabulous Ebook. Find her on Twitter and at her blog, angengland.com.

 

Written by Janice Croze, co-founder of the Mom Blog 5 Minutes for Mom.
Talk with me: @5minutesformom and Facebook.com/5minutesformom.



Email Author    |    Website About Janice

Janice is co-founder of 5 Minutes For Mom. She's been working online since 2003 and is thankful her days are full of social media, writing and photography. You can see more of her photos at janicecrozephotography.com.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jo-Lynne {Musings of a Housewife} July 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm

These are great tips! I waste SO MUCH time, I know I do. I feel like I’m working, working, working but I don’t think I’m always working on what makes $$$. Thanks for putting this out there! Now, to turn off everything and get something done! :-)

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2 Angela England ( July 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm

I totally get that feeling – it’s easy to get sucked in sometimes. That is why I make myself minimize my social media tabs when I have a big project and can’t open them up again until I finish a chapter. Hint – that works for blog posts too! ;-)

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3 Sarah July 13, 2011 at 11:53 am

It’s hard to juggle a lot of responsibilities but usually we have no choice and it comes down to managing everything in an effective way. Putting fmaily time as a priority I’ve found can help the other necessities fall in to place better. Your family, when they get a little quality time with you as mom, feels secure and more ready to help out and be more understanding when you need that. My go-to for every day tips is http://bit.ly/SavingIdeas I always check them out for their daily freebies too.

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4 Lolli July 8, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Excellent tips, Angela!! Thanks for sharing AND thanks for inspiring me to start my very first ebook. And, yes, I already have some ideas for a 2nd ebook too. Help! LOL

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5 Angela England ( July 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm

No problem Lolli! There is more than one month in the year after all. ;-) Be sure to join the forums if you have any questions about a particular day or start feeling “stuck”.

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6 Amanda July 8, 2011 at 6:43 pm

I waste time constantly and am always going on about how I don’t have enough time to do the thing I need to. Accountability is where I need the most help and it helps me to have someone else hold me accountable…though I know I can’t always put it on someone else. I also need to learn to shut down and close my other windows…but it’s soooo hard!! ;-) Thanks for the really great tips Ang!

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7 Angela England ( July 9, 2011 at 3:08 pm

It IS hard. I had a lady the other day tell me oh – she could never give up her TV shows, even for just a week. Yet what she didn’t realize is that those 5-6 hours of TV could translate into chapters of a book, or several blog posts (maybe enough for the entire month!) or work that she had been putting off. I’m not saying never have any fun – yesterday I vegged like a big fat tomato….but it was a reward for a job well done, not a cop-out for avoiding a job I needed to do. The difference between the two is HUGE.

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8 Stacie July 9, 2011 at 3:48 am

I love, love, love this post! My favorites are plan ahead (it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you take the time to plan!).

Accountability is also huge. When you put it out there and say you’re going to do something you’re much more likely to get it done. Your brain starts working on it on a subconscious level that wouldn’t be happening if there was no accountability. You leave yourself an out by not having any.

Delegate – one of my favorite words! If I could delegate all the household chores and just dig in, that would be so awesome. Right now, I have started to delegate more since my daughters are getting older, so it’s nice to see that others do it too!

You’re right – taking a break and working in snippets of time while fully focused is a great idea. I need to do more of that along with having more of a plan when I jump on the computer. I love doing whatever I’m doing, but honestly, I need to use my time more wisely. Thanks for the tips!

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9 Angela England ( July 9, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Thanks for chiming in, Stacie! I am by no means perfect at this…not even close. I think there is always some ebb and flow and no two months look the same. Likewise – no two households look the same. My goal though with this post was to encourage people to think about what could be better done in THEIR home with THEIR to-do list and THEIR efforts.

My kids don’t sweep the kitchen floor perfectly – but if they do it, I don’t have to and it’s better than not getting done. ;-)

Angela <

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10 Susan July 9, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Oh Angela, if only I could follow all this advice!!!

Thank you for the great tips and I think I need to reread this post every morning. LOL

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11 Angela England ( July 10, 2011 at 12:32 am

I don’t think any of us do all of these things all the time. But when I’m up against a deadline or crunching to finish a particular project, I pull out all the stops! :-)

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12 Dominique July 9, 2011 at 9:36 pm

That’s great advice Angela, I’ll really aspire to be a problogger and freelancer like you one day.

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13 Prerna July 10, 2011 at 12:27 am

Great advice, Angela! As someone who bought Angela’s first ebook, used the suggestions in it to pitch her 1st print magazine article successfully and boost income from her existing writings, I know that if Angela says something is possible, it is totally possible. :-) I’m in the middle of reading this ebook now and I know that by the end of it, I would have everything I need to make my own “fabulous ebook!”

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14 Vanessa Pruitt July 10, 2011 at 1:05 am

Great Tips Angela, thanks for sharing. I agree that writing an ebook about information you already post on your blog saves a ton of time. With a little (ok a lot) of editing, you may already have one or two ebooks “in” your blog already!

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15 Angela England ( July 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Not only that, Vanessa, but if it’s a topic you are writing a lot about already, you are familiar with the topic and can easily create an ebook. Instead of working on a topic that you “want” to write about but will require 30+ hours of research to dig out the information you need.

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16 Sisterlisa July 14, 2011 at 6:41 pm

Great tips! I get caught up enjoying the social aspect of social media that I let precious time slip away from my online goals for blogging. I’ll be implementing some of these right away. Thank you, Angela.

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17 Angela England ( July 22, 2011 at 9:43 pm

Social media, like TV, is not bad. Only that it’s expendable if you are faced with a serious (or even self-imposed) deadline. Like publishing an ebook. Well worth a few days quieter on Facebook/Twitter to have a finished project you can really feel great about!

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