The holidays are upon us! How did they sneak up on us so quickly?!? I'm writing today's post as much for myself as I am in hopes it helps you. I am the biggest offender of putting way too much on my plate and not exercising proper time management to handle it all. Remember the Jessie Spano caffeine pills episode of Saved by the Bell? Yes, I am making another reference to it. No, I don't want you or I to lose our marbles during the craziest time of the year. Some of these tips are blog-related, while others are productivity-related and can apply to any part of your life. I'm hoping this list will help make the next month of playing chef/holiday party hopper/greeting card sender/super shopper/jetsetter/blogger that much easier on you.
Schedule, schedule, schedule
If there was a time in life that scheduling was made for, it's the holidays. Sit down for a mega blog session and crank out a few posts you can schedule out over the next few weeks. Schedule tweets, Facebook posts and other social media updates ahead of time. Put everything in your calendar – including deadlines for any sponsored posts, giveaways and other brand commitments, as well as shipping deadlines for sending holiday gifts to your loved ones.
Check your analytics
I know we probably don't do this enough, but the holidays are a perfect time to check out your numbers. There'll be a lot more readers than normal around this time of year who are looking for recommendations on what to buy, where and for how much. What keywords are drawing them to your site? Which sites are pointing traffic to you, and where are they headed when they leave your site? These are all great indicators for what could potentially make great blog posts this time of year. Your analytics take the guesswork out of planning your content!
Use your affiliate links
As I mentioned, the holidays are high time for your readers to look to you for shopping recommendations. It's also the time of year where users of affiliate links like those from rewardStyle see a majority of their earnings. rS makes it easy for you, with “Shop the Look” and full page widgets you can plug into your blog along with traditional text and image links. Don't be afraid to use these during the holidays, but remember to do it in a way that's natural for you, and won't be forced upon your readers.
Write it down
You're going a million miles an hour during the holidays. Keep your favorite notepad or note-taking app extra close this season, not just for writing down that one item you need to buy for your perfect pecan pie recipe, but for any blog ideas that pop into your head during those fleeting moments. Allow some time later for you to brainstorm any creative ideas that come about (and schedule that in, too!)
You will probably be spending a lot of time catching up with family and friends in real life this season. Friendly reminder to unplug and truly be in the moment with those people. Social media can't hold a flame to that time spent with your loved ones!
I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but I'm going to take a note from my yoga teachers and remind you to breathe. Really listen to and take those full cycles of breath, too. It's a wonder how quickly you can calm down after a stressful situation by just taking a few deep breaths and quieting the mind down.
Treat yo' self
In a season spent with gifts and recipes for others in mind, don't lose yourself in the midst of it all. Take those deep breaths and book yourself a spa appointment or a manicure. You'll get a few precious moments to yourself, and end up looking and feeling great for all of those holiday parties too!
Bring in support
Contributors can help keep your blog active while you're busy on holiday travel or vacation. Seek out fellow bloggers, avid readers or other writers you know to guest post during the holiday season. You can take this same mindset to any hosting duties you might have this season. Make it a potluck or seek out one your favorite local restaurants to cater your holiday party.
Your phone is your PA
It's highly likely you're spending a good chunk of your day on your smartphone, so why not use it to make your life a little easier? Think of your phone as your persona assistant. Apps like Mint, Hootsuite and others we've mentioned here on IFB (check out Julia's latest article or search ‘apps‘ on the IFB homepage) can help keep your budget, calendar, to-do lists, email and social media in line.
Channel your childhood
It's so easy to get caught up in the chaos of the holidays. Remember what it was like to be a kid during this season? Winter break, the first playtime in the snow, singing carols, baking cookies, the smell of the wreaths and Christmas trees – those are just a few memories we can all reflect on for an uplifting moment amidst all the holiday responsibilities we now have as adults!
As always, any tips you can share are much appreciated!
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]