10 Time Wasters That Limit Your Blogging Productivity (And How to Avoid Them)

When it comes to blogging, there are tons of excuses we give ourselves (or sometimes our bosses) explaining why we just can‘t seem to crank out those posts:

"I don‘t have enough time."
"I‘m not inspired."
"My draft isn‘t good enough yet."
"I need to do more research first."
"I have too many other deadlines right now."

Sound familiar? While many of these reasons may feel valid in the moment, giving into them repeatedly can tank your blogging productivity and hold your content strategy back.

Blogging consistently is one of the most effective ways to drive organic traffic, engage your audience, and generate leads for your business. Companies that publish 16+ blog posts per month get 3.5X more traffic and 4.5X more leads than those that publish less than 4 posts per month. Can you really afford to let blogging fall by the wayside?

The good news is, by making a few tweaks to your mindset and process, you can overcome the most common blogging time traps and become a content creating machine. Here are 10 notorious time wasters that limit blogging productivity and how to kick them to the curb once and for all:

1. Waiting for Inspiration to Strike

One of the biggest blogging time sucks is sitting around waiting for motivation or the "perfect" idea to materialize out of thin air. The romantic notion that you need a sudden jolt of inspiration to write is one of the most pervasive creativity myths.

In reality, blogging inspiration is a muscle you can systematically develop with practice and consistency. As writer Isabel Allende puts it, "Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too." Instead of waiting for lightning to strike, you need a process for capturing ideas as they come and regularly fleshing them out, inspired or not.

Keep an ongoing list of topic ideas in a notebook or app like Evernote or Trello. When an idea pops into your head, write it down immediately before it escapes. Once a week, review your idea list and pick one to outline as your next post, mapping out the key points and subheadings. Commit to a set blogging schedule and show up to write whether you‘re "feeling it" or not. Inspiration is more likely to flow once you‘re already in motion.

2. Researching Without Restraint

Another major blogging time trap is falling down the research rabbit hole. You start out looking for a stat to support your point and suddenly it‘s three hours later and you‘ve clicked through 47 links without writing a word. While it‘s important to back up your ideas with authoritative sources, research can quickly become a form of procrastination if left unchecked.

To keep your research focused and productive, start by clarifying the key points you want to make in the post. Then create a rough outline with placeholders for data, examples, and external links you want to add. Give yourself a time limit for research – for example, 30 minutes per 1000 words. Set a timer and force yourself to stop researching when it goes off, even if you don‘t feel "ready." Trust that you can always go back and beef up the post during the editing process.

Use research tools strategically to find relevant information faster. BuzzSumo allows you to see the most shared content around a topic or keyword. Statista compiles data and studies from over 22,000 sources. AlsoAsked reveals common questions people have around your focus topic. Don‘t let research drag on indefinitely and delay publishing – go for "good enough" and iterate later if needed.

3. Chasing Shiny Objects

We‘re living in the age of distraction and it‘s all too easy to get sidetracked by notifications, trending news, and other digital interruptions that carve into productive blogging time. According to one study, it takes 23 minutes to fully refocus on a task after an interruption. Every little ping and popup adds up to major productivity losses over time.

To keep shiny object syndrome at bay, create a focused writing environment free from unnecessary notifications and distractions. Put your phone on do not disturb. Close email and messaging apps. Use a website blocker like Freedom or Cold Turkey to prevent yourself from compulsively checking certain sites during writing time.

If your mind tends to wander, try listening to focus-enhancing music or white noise through your headphones. Many writers swear by lyric-less soundtracks and natural sounds for promoting deep concentration and flow states. Protect your blogging time like it‘s a meeting with your most important client (because it is!) and be ruthless about defending your attention.

4. Perfectionism and Endless Polishing

Many bloggers are held back by perfectionism, or the misguided belief that every post needs to be a flawless masterpiece before hitting publish. They write a paragraph, only to immediately go back and tweak it again and again, agonizing over word choice and sentence structure before moving on. I call this "the perfect sentence vortex" and it‘s a massive drain on productivity.

Remember that done is better than perfect. No one is going to see your first draft, so give yourself permission to write badly and edit later. As author Anne Lamott wisely advises, "Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere."

To resist perfectionist tendencies, try doing timed writing sprints where you commit to writing distraction-free for a set number of minutes, even if the result is messy. Use the Pomodoro technique, writing in 25 minute chunks with 5 minute breaks in between. Don‘t let yourself backtrack or edit during the writing stage – just dump all your ideas on the page, knowing you‘ll shape them up later. Embrace Anne Handley‘s mindset of "verbally vomiting" your first draft and approaching editing as a separate process.

5. Publishing One-Off Posts vs. Planning a Series

Blogging productivity isn‘t just about your writing speed – it‘s also about creating content strategically to maximize your traffic and lead generation. A mistake many bloggers make is only thinking one post at a time vs. planning a related series designed to rank for relevant keywords and build topic authority.

Hubspot is the master of this technique, publishing comprehensive "pillar pages" on core topics surrounded by a cluster of posts diving deeper into specific subtopics and questions. For example, their ultimate guide to Instagram marketing links out to separate posts on creating an Instagram business account, developing an Instagram strategy, and using Instagram ads.

Review your blog data to identify pillar topics that are already driving traffic and engagement. Then brainstorm a list of related subtopics and longtail keywords to target in cluster posts. Create an editorial calendar mapping out your pillar and cluster content for the next 3-6 months. By planning your posts as an integrated sequence vs. one-off ideas, you can produce content faster and more strategically to drive bigger traffic gains and business results.

6. Taking On Too Many Hats

Another common productivity drain is trying to handle every step of the blogging process yourself, from ideation to promotion and everything in between. Unless you‘re a superhuman solo blogger, it‘s almost impossible to do it all well, especially if content is only part of your job description.

Trying to be a jack of all trades is a recipe for burnout and a surefire way to make every task take longer than it needs to. As consultant and author Ron Friedman puts it, "Skill overlap limits productivity. Team members are most efficient when they have discrete roles with specific responsibilities."

Maximize your blogging output and impact by focusing on your strengths and getting support with the rest. If you‘re great at outlining and drafting but struggle with editing, hire a freelance editor to polish your posts. If hunting for stock photos takes you forever, use a tool like Canva that lets you quickly drag and drop visual elements. If social promotion keeps slipping through the cracks, invest in a scheduling tool like Hootsuite or delegate it to a virtual assistant. Amplify your efforts by tapping into other people‘s talents and skill sets.

7. Formatting and Proofreading "On the Fly"

Many bloggers dive straight into the writing process without a clear formatting plan, only to waste hours going back and trying to wrangle their post into a readable structure. They also try to proofread as they write, which is almost guaranteed to bog them down in the weeds of sentence-level nitpicking vs. finishing their draft.

Don‘t try to simultaneously generate ideas, format them, and perfect them all in one go. It‘s the equivalent of trying to drive with one foot on the gas and the other tapping the brake – you won‘t get far very fast!

Give yourself a templated structure to write to from the start, with pre-determined heading levels, image and screenshot placeholders, and a click-to-tweet box. Start with your target keyword and a clear outline, then write to that. Format key takeaways as you go using bold or italics – don‘t just highlight them to come back to later.

Resist the urge to read back through each paragraph immediately after writing it. Instead, finish your draft completely, take a short break, and then proofread it beginning to end in one fell swoop. Save major edits and restructuring for the revision phase. You‘ll be amazed how much faster you write without the weight of perfectionism holding you back.

8. Reinventing the Wheel Each Time

Many bloggers put unnecessary pressure on themselves to come up with 100% original concepts and write every post entirely from scratch. In reality, your audience needs to hear certain core messages multiple times before truly absorbing them. And there are only so many truly unique things to say about most topics.

Instead of reinventing the wheel with every post, make your existing content work harder for you. Look for opportunities to repurpose and republish your highest performing pieces in new formats like infographics, videos, podcast episodes, and lead magnets.

Check your blog archives for hidden gems that could be updated with new information and examples. Identify a piece of pillar content and break it down into bite-sized chunks for social media and email. Revisit your cornerstone content each year to boost its ranking potential and drive more traffic to your site.

Not only does repurposing save you a ton of time in the content creation process, it also helps you reach new audiences with your best work and reinforces your key teachings across multiple touchpoints.

9. Ignoring Idea Capture and Outline

Have you ever had a brilliant blog post idea pop into your head at a random moment, convinced you‘d remember it later? But then when you sat down to write – poof! The idea was gone. Or maybe you dive straight into drafting without an outline, only to stare at a blinking cursor 20 minutes later wondering how to string your scattered ideas together.

Trying to write a coherent post without a clear roadmap is like heading out on a road trip without GPS – you might eventually arrive at your destination, but you‘ll likely take a lot of time-consuming detours along the way.

Spare yourself the hours of writer‘s block by capturing ideas and questions as they occur to you, whether that‘s in Evernote, a Google Doc, or a physical notebook you carry around. Use a simple template for tracking post ideas, target keywords, key points, and potential internal and external links.

Before diving into a draft, flesh out a quick outline to establish your structure and flow. Nail down your working title, intro and conclusion, subheadings, and key takeaways. If you get stuck, try talking out what you want to say and then dictating it using voice typing in Google Docs.

10. Neglecting Ongoing Optimization

Finally, productive bloggers know that their work isn‘t done when they hit publish. In fact, they often spend as much time promoting and optimizing a post as they did writing it in the first place.

Set aside time to periodically update and optimize your existing posts. Use a tool like Animalz Revive to identify articles that are decaying in traffic and rankings. Look at your Google Search Console data to find posts that are ranking on page 2 for valuable keywords and could benefit from a refresh.

Make a list of ways to improve your underperforming posts, such as:

  • Expanding word count and depth of information
  • Adding new internal and external links
  • Optimizing for additional and related keywords
  • Updating old examples and statistics
  • Improving the title and meta description
  • Adding images, videos, infographics and other visual assets

Track the impact of your optimizations and aim to update each post at least once per year. Often you can get more mileage out of improving an old post vs. writing a new one from scratch.

Unlock Your Blogging Productivity

The key to becoming a prolific, impactful business blogger isn‘t writing more words – it‘s using your time more efficiently and focusing on the right priorities.

Instead of giving into distractions, perfectionism, and shiny object syndrome, channel your energy into creating and promoting original, genuinely useful content that drives measurable results for your business.

Use these tips to identify and eliminate your biggest blogging time wasters so you can produce more high-quality posts more consistently. Because ultimately, blogging success isn‘t about how much time you have – it‘s how well you use it.