Blog posts are projects not action items

Get more blog posts written by treating them as projects instead of action items

Have you ever wondered why you have so many great ideas for blog posts, but so few actual articles? It might be because you’re treating a blog post as a single action and not an entire project.

I’ve found when I treat blog posts more like projects and less like singular todo items, I can move through them more quickly. In this post I want to detail why that is and share what I mean by treating a post like a project.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of what might go into a blog post:

  • brainstorm ideas
  • coming up with titles
  • researching similar articles
  • designing graphics
  • bounce ideas off someone
  • editing the copy
  • publishing the article
  • cross-promoting it to other places
  • sharing the article on twitter

That is a lot of stuff, and each of those points has several actions.

Don’t try and trick your brain

If you have a todo list that says “write a blog post about blah” your brain will freak out every time you cast your eye over it. It knows that isn’t one item, it is about 30 items.

Your brain will try and land on anything else that has a more concrete outcome.

If you treat the blog post with the reverence it deserves and place proper actions next to it, you are far more likely to make progress.

Not all posts are equal

While there are certain tasks you might need to do on every article you write, not everything you write needs each step, and some will need a heck of a lot more.

If you’re sharing a recipe to a personal site that you know then you don’t need to do half the things listed above.

This is why the first and only action should be something like:

“Draw out steps needed for blog post on blah”.

This is a 5-minute task which has a clear output. By the end of this you should have several action items to work through.

Each of these actions should go into your todo list. I love Omnifocus, but the important thing is having all parts of the project listed, not just the headline.

How I break this task down

I often have my initial task set to “Brainstorm blah” and time-box it to five minutes.

Time-boxing helps me to set aside excuses, I can find five minutes. You will surprise yourself at how much can get done in five minutes.

To make the most out of the five minutes I will often refer to more complete versions of the list I shared at the start of this article.

Concrete items lead to action

Now when you skim your task list your brain will be calm. The action will be more like “find an image to represent blah” which is much more concrete.

Getting Things Done

The notion of treating a blog post like a project instead of an individual action comes straight out of the getting things done playbook. If you haven’t read it, I’d suggest picking up a copy.

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