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The Number One Skill You Need To Blog Better

number one skill you need to blog better

People have been fascinated by secrets since the dawn of time.

Why?

Because secrets are knowledge that other people don`t have.

In some cases, secrets can give you some kind of advantage compared to the rest of the crowd.

As with most things worth achieving, people are looking for a secret formula on how to achieve the results quicker than the average Joe or Jane.

This is also the case when it comes to blogging.

I am quite certain than anyone who has ever started a blog, has at some point been crawling uphill banging their head against the wall (repeatedly).

You have been reading all the 237 best blog posts about how to get traffic to your website, but you can`t understand why it doesn`t work.

You have been buying 13 different courses from 13 different self-acclaimed blogging experts, but you have never been more confused in your whole life.

Why?

Because your brain is being force-fed so much different type of information from different sources, which makes you suffer from information overflow.

Most likely you will get a headache just thinking about all the contradicting tips from the different so-called gurus.

If you are still at this stage, I know how you feel.

I`ve been there.

Yes, I will admit it. There comes to a point when it feels like your head is about to burst…

Let me tell you this.

Calm down and breathe…

There is no secret magical formula on how to build a successful blog.

However, there is a secret skill that will make or break your blogging success…

One word.

FOCUS.

Let me reveal the 7 steps on how to improve your focus:

1 – Know what you are going to do

knowing

If you don`t know what to do, you are wasting your time and procrastinating. But what`s even worse, the longer you’re idle, the more unsure you will become, and this will influence your self-esteem in a negative way.

The following will help you know what to do:

  • Follow a plan and plan ahead
  • Use a to do list and the 80/20 rule
  • Start with your most important tasks first thing in the morning

For more information about this, read my guest blog post at Sue Anne`s blog.

 2 – Have the required tools available

tools

If you don`t have the required tools available, you are not able to start your job.

This should also be included in your plan in the section above.

Needless to say, if you are going to perform an important income generating task on Wednesday, it`s crucial that the required tools are available.

Let`s say you going on vacation with your family to a remote cottage, and you are planning on working on your blog. You need know if there is a reliable internet connection.

If not, you need to do research and buy the necessary mobile internet gadget. There is no guarantee that you are able to go online through your cell phone.

It`s too late to realize this when you are starting your laptop at the cottage.

Do research and make sure you have the required tools BEFORE the key activity needs to be started.

3 – Remove distractions

Distractions

Have you ever tried to have a good conversation with someone when you’re at a concert?

The band is playing loud music, people are singing along with the lyrics and other people around you are also trying to talk to each other by yelling.

That`s how it feels for your brain when it`s trying to think surrounded by distractions.

Here is an example of what I do when I write a guest blog post, which is a high priority task:

  • I have a clean desk
  • I don`t listen to music (it can impact productivity and your focus)
  • I turn off my mobile phone while I`m having my high productive time
  • I close all other programs on the computer (no social media, no surfing and no email). Yes, you read correct.
  • If my better half is at home, I ask her to let me work undisturbed until I`m done

By the way, if you want to learn how to write a blog post in about half the time, read this article.

4 – No multitasking

multitask

Research have not only shown that multitasking doesn`t work, but also that it`s bad for your brain.

When you multitask two things will happen:

  • You perform several tasks with below average quality.
  • Your brain will become less effectively when you try to focus on a single task.

Start counting down from 100 to 1 (A counting) and at the same time start counting from 1 to 100 (B counting).

Say the number from A counting, then B counting, and then A counting again.

Example. 100-1-99-2-98-3…

How is that working out for you?

You get the point.

Stop multitasking.

5 – Program your mind

Brain

You have to make a choice that you are going to become more focused and more productive.

Start applying the steps above.

Implementing the steps takes time. They say that it takes from 2 to 8 months, not 21 days, to do the same type of activity before it turns into a habit.

Our goal is that these steps are turned into habits, so you don`t have to think about them. You just do them. It will be like brushing your teeth every morning and every night.

6 – Focus only on one task until it`s done

Focus

Well this step is rather self-explanatory.

If there is an important task that can`t be completed in the time you have available, divide it into smaller pieces.

7 – Go into the zone

zone

Then comes the more challenging part.

When I say go into the zone, it`s a state of mind where you are not thinking about anything else than the task at hand.

You have no reference of time or space. Nothing else in the world exists, besides what you are doing right now.

This turbocharges your productivity.

Many people talk about entering the zone as some magical thing that might only happen once in a while, like in the movies where people turn into werewolves under a full moon.

To that I have to say: it`s rubbish!

It`s all about one thing.

Focus.

I follow the 6 steps above when I go into the zone and others use a similar approach.

And by doing that, I can choose to enter the zone at will, regardless of whether it`s full moon or not.

What to do next

Find out exactly WHICH key activities you need to do for your blog.

Find out in WHICH order those activities need to be performed. If you don`t know, ask someone who knows.

Then apply the steps above and focus on one task at a time.

The trick is to not let this be a one-time happening, but to manage staying motivated over time.

Now you have the formula on how to improve your focus.

Go out, stay focused and make your blog more successful!

What experience do you have with staying focused?

About Tor Refsland

This is a guest post by Tor Refsland. Tor decided to leave his six-figure job in order to follow his passion - to help online entrepreneurs free up more time, so they can do what they love. Want to become more productive? Download his free eBook and learn how to DOUBLE your productivity in 7 days.

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  • Hi Adam,

    thanks for letting me guest post on your awesome blog!

    I really appreciate it :)

    Best regards,

    Tor

    • My pleasure, Tor. Loved your post. Focus has always been a big thing for me, so I really vibed with this.

      Especially the part about getting into the zone. That’s pretty much the sweet spot for productivity + enjoyment/fulfillment.

  • Thanks, Adam :)

    I feel The same way. Being able to enter “the zone” at free will, was one of the skills that helped me increase my productivity with 200% in my previous corporate job.

    Without that skill, I wouldn’t have been able to save up enough money to finally leave my six-figure corporate job in order to follow my passion – to help online entrepreneurs free up more time, so they can do what they love.

    We all have 24 hours each day. The big difference whether you achieve your dreams in life or not, is depending on how you spend your time.

    Time is our biggest asset 😉

    Tor

    • My pleasure, Tor :)

      Wow, that’s incredible – it makes such a difference doesn’t it!

      Great point, time can really be a great asset when we know how to use it!

      Adam

  • Great article, Refsland.

    Through years I realised that focus is a key to everything. Not only to blogging, but to every work you do and even everyday life. If you want results, you must focus one task at a time.

  • You’re correct, Tor, we’re being foce-fed. Exactly what we all are doing, living in an information overload age.

    I myself have a couple of courses, e-Books and pdfS which I have hardly read. And, they sit on my computer and Dropbox, eating dust.

    But, starting this year, I did something new. I write down with pen and paper, a list of things or a plan what I want to do, before I turn on the computer.

    I’m glad I removed all the chat social apps as well as e-mail from my phone. Yes, it’s a dumb phone now, but it helps me. When it was a smart phone, it made me dumb.

    #3 is the first thing we all need to do, to be productive.

    Speaking about multitasking, the jobs these days have a long list of things you’re expected to do, and be able to multitask.

    I’d advise an app/browser extension named StayFocusd and Leechblock, for people who need help staying focused.

    This post is a saver. I’m saving it into Evernote. Thanks for the hard work and sharing your experience, Tor. And, thanks Adam, for publishing this.

    • Hi Raspal.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts :)

      I know the feeling, Raspal.

      I`m kind of embarrassed, but I have lost count regarding how many courses I
      have bought over the last couple of years regarding internet marketing.

      70 % of them is collecting dust “on the shelf”.

      A good productivity tip is to realize that you DO NOT need to complete a task, just
      because you have started it.

      By that I mean that you don`t need to finish reading a book or finish watching
      through a video course, if it`s crap.

      That is a total waste of time.

      If what you are about to learn is not EXACTLY what you need to do right now,
      then you shouldn`t do it.

      Example.

      If you are going to start blogging and you haven`t picked your niche market nor
      picked your domain name, you should focus on that.

      There is no use to take courses on social media, how to get traffic to your
      website and how to convert your visitors to subscribers.

      Those skills are necessary, but it comes longer down the road.

      Thanks for the tips about StayFocusd and Leechblock. I will look into
      it.

      And thanks for your kind words, Raspal.

      Tor

      • That’s a great tip — to realize, you do not need to complete what you started, just because you started it.

        But, many people don’t realize what we exactly need, right now.

        • Yes,
          Raspal, that is one of the common errors of many online entrepreneurs.

          You might do all the right activities, however, if you do them in the wrong
          order, you might get no progress.

          Often people just need a little tweak in their blogging or business strategy,
          and that might actually make or break their success.

          Tor

  • Thanks for commenting, Mindaugas.

    I totally agree with what you are saying.

    I remembering hearing a very successful man saying: “If you can focus on one
    single thought in your mind for 2 minutes, you can do accomplish everything”. I
    think it might have been Brian Tracy.

    Tor

  • [ Smiles ] Tor, I listen to Electronic Dance Music when I am writing and it helps me to get into my blogging zone (This may not work for others, but it certainly works for me).

    Great article with a lot of tips!

    • Thanks for stopping by to comment, Renard.

      If electronic dance music works for you, great! J Keep on doing it.

      How to get into the zone may vary from person to person. The most important
      thing is to find out what works best for you.

      Thanks for your kinds words.

      Tor

  • Smart tips Thor! #4 is, by far, my secret for putting out one 7,000 word post weekly. I do 1 thing at a time so I can do it as well as possible. From comments, to posts, to writing articles for clients, to anything, single task your way to blogging success.

    Thanks Tor!

    Ryan

    • Thanks a lot for stopping by to comment and
      sharing your experience, Ryan.

      I really appreciate it, mate :)

      Using a master to do list, applying the 80/20 rule and only focusing on one
      single task at a time, are my productivity trinity.

      The combination of those three will cut through obstacles and procrastination
      like a sharp knife cuts through butter 😉

      It`s better to do 20 % of your most important tasks very well, which result in
      80 % of your overall production, than to do all your tasks with below average
      quality.

      Tor

    • And, we think, since Ryan is everywhere, how does he get so much time to pump a 7,000 word post each week. :-)

      • Yes, Raspal, Ryan just spilled his beans – focus and doing one task at a time 😉

  • Nice! It’s not a disagreement, but I think the recent hits on multi-tasking risk outlawing multi-focusing (needs a more clever term). It’s not so much the multi-tasking is as destructive as people claim. The question is what is it that’s being multi-tasked. If I couldn’t do it, I’d probably get nothing done.

    And the other solution is multi-outsourcing. You still wind up having to juggle lots of external activity, but seeing things get done in your absence is multi-rewarding. :)

    • Anthony, I love the idea of multi-outsourcing. Something I’ve had to do recently as the demands on my time have grown. I definitely get more done when I don’t multi-task in comparison to what I get done when I do multi-task but like you, I find that seeing the wheels keep turning in my absence is great! :)

  • Thanks for stopping by
    to comment, Anthony.

    I really appreciate it J

    Anthony, I know that mind and memory is your area of expertise, so I will tread
    carefully here 😉

    That being said, I think that it has a lot to with habits and honing a skill.

    Studies have shown that our brain is a like a muscle, the more we use it, the
    more our brain will get used to solving specific type of tasks, and then again process
    those tasks quicker.

    In other words, the more we use our brain, the more capable it becomes.

    The same goes for not using your brain.

    If you don`t keep on doing calculations in your head, or actually use your mind
    to solve some complex issues, your brain will become lazy.

    Perhaps multi-tasking doesn`t damage your brain physically. However, I do
    believe that if people get used to multi-tasking, and they do that a lot, their
    ability to focus on one single task at hand, will suffer.

    Conclusion:

    multi-tasking is unproductive, and by being able to focus, you will become
    more productive.

    But then again, if you are doing REALLY well with multi-tasking, and you are
    still being able change modus and focus on one single task at a time very well,
    then more power to you 😉

    If you do multi-task often.

    Do an experiment: try to focus on only one single task at hand, and see if you
    become more productive.

    When I say focus on one single task, I mean a very important income-generating
    task.

    Like for instance, writing a guest blog post or creating a landing page.

    Everyone should be able to sit on a bus, talking to your friend besides you,
    and answer an SMS.

    Tor

  • Sue Anne Dunlevie

    Hi, Tor,

    Thanks for referring to Successful Blogging – you did a great guest post on January 1st that kicked off my year.

    Focus is the key – and sometimes so hard to do. But I always do better when I focus on just one thing. (even though I’m running a load of laundry right now!)

    Thanks for the good info and reminding me of the importance of focus.
    Sue

    • Hi Sue,

      thanks for stopping by to comment.

      It was my pleasure referring to your blog. It`s kind of easy when it is so
      awesome J

      Thanks for your kind words, Sue.

      Tor

  • You’re right, Tor – focus is definitely the secret to doing really anything better. When I have trouble with focusing, I try to remember what I started with. Why did I begin whatever it is I’m trying to focus on?

    Whether it’s a blog post or my blog in general, that usually brings me back.

    • Hi Sara,

      thanks for stopping by to comment ☺

      You have a good point.

      Thanks for sharing your tip.

      Most actions we perform in our daily lives will get more priority by our mental power, if we know WHY we are doing what we do. The consequence is, as you mentioned, increased focus.

      Our mind can be like a little child, the more clearer you explain to a child WHY they have to perform a certain task, the bigger is the chance that they will actually perform it, and do it well.

      The same goes for getting your mind to focus.

      Tor

  • Hi Tor (and Adam).

    Being focused is one of the most difficult things to do, which is why I’ve always found multitasking much easier.

    What is important is having clarity in what we do. The steps and ideas behind that are similar. It’s all about being focused on what we need to achieve.

    You made some wise points about ignoring emails etc. Rarely is an email urgent, for example. In almost all cases, it can wait. These small things can go a long way.

    Thanks for sharing your tips.

    Nathan.

    • Hi Nathan,

      thanks for stopping by.

      Yes, I agree with being focused is hard. However, anything that is really worth
      achieving is hard.

      The good news is that the more time you spend on focusing, the better you
      become. In addition, it will also become easier 😉

      Trust me, if you can manage to improve your focus, you will manage to multiply
      your output.

      Nathan, imagine what you could for your business if you were able to become two
      times as productive?

      That will increase progress and income for your business, but best of all, it
      will reduce the time to your success 😉

      This was one of key skills that I used and improved when I increased my
      productivity with 200 % in my previous corporate job.

      And to be quite honest, without that skill, I wouldn`t have been able to save
      up enough money so I could leave my six-figure job in order to follow my
      passion 😉

      Tor

  • Hi Tor,

    This is my first time here. I found your blog from comment on Ryan Biddulph’s blog. Nice to meet you. :)

    Woah, you really get all the points. I strongly agree with you. I also experienced the same thing though.

    Indeed, if you want progress, then you should focus on what you do. We often hear this, but very few actually doing it. Focus will give us a clear path to our goals. By doing so, we will be faster to the point that we want. :)

    Thanks for sharing, Tor.
    It’s motivating me. Thanks for that!

    Regards,
    Nanda

    • Hi Nanda,

      thanks a lot for stopping by to comment.

      It means a lot to me :)

      Thanks for letting me know that you found me through blog comments on Ryan`s
      site, which is awesome by the way.

      Who said commenting didn`t work? 😉

      Thank for your kind words, Nanda.

      Hearing that my content is motivating other people, is verifying my belief,
      that I was put on this earth to help other people :)

      Tor

  • Great post Tor.

    I find depending on the music, it can help me get into the zone. focus@will, or just some classical (I’m partial to Einaudi 😉 ) helps me to block out the world around me without it being distracting.

    I think staying motivated over time is definitely another critical skill!

    Thanks for the good reminders :-)
    Ellen

    • Hi Ellen,

      thanks for sharing your experience :)

      I really appreciate it.

      I totally agree with you, Ellen.

      What good does it do for your business or blog if you put in a lot of hard work
      in January and you start getting a good stream of income, and then in March you
      stop.

      Motivation is like fuel to a car, it has to be replenished often 😉

      If not, the car will just stop.

      Regardless of which endeavor you start (that is worth achieving), staying
      motivated over time is a prerequisite for success.

      Consistency is key.

      Tor

  • Hi Tor!

    My friends always make fun of me because when I work on something or start writing a blog post I am completely “in the zone”. Seeing it in your post made me smile.

    I can’t multitask efficiently (I’m not sure anyone can), but I sometimes find it hard to focus on one thing. Listening to some music and shutting email notifications off helps a lot.

    • Thanks for stopping by to comment, Aurelie.

      I really appreciate it ☺

      Multitasking is not a skill that one should want to improve.

      That`s like wanting to become a world champion in eating gazillion ice creams. A rather useless skill, to be quite honest 😉

      Focusing is hard, but it get`s easier the more you practice it ☺

      When I am going into the zone, I have removed all distractions that are possible. Muted cellphone, no mail checking, no social media…nada, zero distractions. Just focusing on the task at hand.

      If you are doing a task that doesn`t perform internet connection, you should actually consider to go total cave man (or cave woman) and turn the internet connection off. Yes, you read correct 😉

      Tor

  • Hi Adam and Tor,

    Great selection for a guest contributor Adam.

    Hi Tor…

    Focus is so extremely important!!!! I love that you zoomed in on it and explained it so well!!! But is it possible that there are really two skills when it comes to blogging?

    I love the formula I learned from Tony Jeary a long time ago that says Clarity + Focus = Execution

    The first being clarity? If I’m clear, then I can focus…

    So where does clarity come from? It comes from the things I know you know I talk about all of the time:

    What business are you “really” in?
    What tangible values do offer your customers?
    What problems do you specifically solve for each tangible value?
    Who do you solve the problems for?
    How are your products and services “a” part of a solution?

    Focus comes after you’ve gotten clarity… Focus is creating the following in order:

    Strategies that are big picture
    Goals that are specific and measurable to fulfill each strategy

    I realize that seems a little technical perhaps, but I really think it requires both clarity and focus in order to not really help our audiences know how we help them and why we help them.

    Great post Tor and great way to zoom in on goals!!!!

    ~Don Purdum

    • Hi Don,

      Thanks for your kind words and your great feedback ☺

      I agree with what you are saying, Don.

      Let`s say that our job as online entrepreneurs are like being hunters out in the wild. We are hunting for big game.

      Focus would be the ability to aim and shoot. The big goal is to become so good at focusing that you can use ANY weapon with deadly accuracy.

      But it doesn`t matter if you are the world`s best shooter, if you don`t know where to aim.

      That is what the clarity comes in.

      In order to become successful hunter we need two things:
      1. Being able to identify and knowing which target to go for
      2. Being able to use ANY weapon at our disposal to aim, fire and hit

      Conclusion: clarity is a prerequisite for using focus successfully.

      No need to be the world`s most focused person, if you are focusing on all the wrong tasks all the time.

      This is connected with a blog post I wrote at Evan Carmichael`s website, where I talk about the importance of correct goal setting → http://bit.ly/1xDzAlO

      Thanks, Don ☺

      Tor

  • Great awesome post here Refsland! I really really agree with you…focus! It can not only blast off your blog to the next level, but can literally blast anything off to the next level.

    F.O.C.U.S. Follow One Course Until Successful

    I really believe that all 7 steps are critical in the process of making it to the next level. It’s really awesome how you created this post in such an entertaining way.

    Thank you very much for sharing this! Keep it up my friend! :-)

    • Hi PJ,

      thanks a lot for stopping by to comment and for your kind words J

      I completely agree with you; focus is one of the most underrated skills, and if
      it is combined with clarity, you can reach any goal you set 😉

      I like the meaning you put in words FOCUS: “F.O.C.U.S. Follow One Course Until
      Successful”.

      I might borrow your definition one day 😉

      Thanks again, buddy.

      Tor

  • With being a mom, I find it hard to stay focused on my blogging while they’re at home. So, what I found that works for me is to either work while they’re at school or go to the library with them after school. That way I’m able to separate my work from my home life. So far it’s been working out great.

    • Hi,

      thanks for stopping by to comment and for sharing your tips.

      Your plan to work with your blog when your kids are out of the house, sounds
      like a smart way to go.

      I`m becoming a father for the first time in the start of June, and my plan is
      to work on my blog when the baby is sleeping. There will probably be many intervals
      😉

      Thanks again for stopping by.

      Tor

  • Hello Tor,

    This blog post is very helpful. I am guilty of multitasking sometimes and it doesn’t work out to well. The reason I do this is because I feel like I have so much to do. I am behind in writing in my blog but I had somethings that needed to be done so I am focusing on that right now. Like you said it’s better to focus on one thing at a time. Plus, I can move much faster which hasn’t been my strong point. Thanks for sharing this with us!

    • Hi Maketta,

      great to see you here and thanks for commenting.

      Yes, focusing 100 % on one single task at hand, beats multitasking every time
      😉

      Have a great day :)

      Tor

  • Hey Tor,

    Great post here on Adam’s blog.

    Focus is so key yet it’s something many people don’t consider, nor have.

    Recently, I’ve stared to take focusing to a new level. I put myself on time-restricted schedules to complete certain tasks throughout the day … and it’s truly helped. I’ve gotten more done in the past few days on certain projects than for the first few weeks of the month.

    And it’s because I decided to focus and remove all distractions.

    I sort of disagree with #6 in the sense that my brain doesn’t function if I’m working on one task at a time. I have to be working on multiple projects and that really gets my brain moving and keeping active. I tried just focusing on one task one time and I really got nothing done.

    Anyway, great post here.

    – Andrew

    • Hi Andrew,

      thanks for stopping by to comment ☺

      I`m glad to hear that focus is helping you to become more productive. Time restricted schedules are good.

      They say that a goal without a deadline is a dream.

      Regarding point 6, if you are working on high productive tasks (the most income generating tasks) most people do become more productive, when they focus on one single task at a time.

      However, as with most cases and best practices, exceptions can occur.

      Andrew, if you feel that working on several tasks gets your productive juice flowing and makes you more productive than only focusing on one task, more power to you 😉

      Continue to do whatever works best for you ☺

      Thanks for your kind words.

      Tor

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