My Blogtober Round Up

Blogtober

BlogtoberWell I made it!

I’ve finally reached the end of #blogtober. I’m not going to lie, that was bloody hard work! I’ve managed to write 62 blog posts over the past 31 days which is a LOT of writing.

The difficulty with blogging is that it’s not just a case of sitting down and writing a couple of hundred words then hitting publish. Research has to go into most posts (more so on the other blog than on here), some of my posts are close to 2,000 words long too which is weird when I think I wrote essays at Uni that long. It takes quite a while to write that many words. Then there’s the editing – checking spelling and grammar, changing the font colours, checking things that effect the SEO rating such as sentence length, passive voice and headings. And finally, there’s the images. Phew! That’s a lot to do. Twice. Every. Single. Night.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about it. Well, not really anyway.

It’s been amazing to see how much I can actually get done in a day and how I can push myself to work hard even after I get home from work. There have been days when I’ve got home and really, really, really, not wanted to write anything and that has probably shown through my writing (sorry for those rubbish posts guys).

I am so excited about tomorrow night as it’s going to be the first night in ages that I won’t have to get home and turn a blog post around from start to finish. I will be writing (surprise, surprise) but I’ll be working on future posts that will be scheduled ahead of time. Yay, no pressure! Well, less pressure but that’s still nice!

What will I be doing with all my free time? Probably hibernating now that it’s going dark at 4 pm. Haha. But seriously, I need to sit down this week and look at my goals for November and December. After pushing myself to blog every day, I know that there’s a lot more energy and determination in me than I previously acknowledged. I know I can get a lot more out of my evenings so I’ll be revisiting and adapting my goals to take that into consideration.

A fair bit of my time will be taken up with training for the half Marathon in Feb and full Marathon in April but I’m also hoping to make some significant progress on the business and plans with the Raising Hope Foundation.

I’ll be back on your screens shortly but probably not for a couple of days!

Sublime Sundays – Update on Blogtober

Sublime Sundays

Wow this week has been crazy!

I know I gave you a quick insight into the week in my Friday Thoughts but I wanted to do this week’s Sublime Sundays post all about #blogtober so far.

As of Saturday morning (which is when I actually wrote this post), I’d spent 9.9 hours on this blog and 20.3 hours on Flourishing Freelancer. That’s over 30 hours of blogging in 7 days which is crazy when you think I’m out of the house and at work for about 10 hours each day. Anyway, I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining about it. For a start, it was my decision to challenge myself to blog every day!

It’s been a real challenge to be honest. I know I bang on about this a lot but I find it pretty tough to stay motivated and focused so I’m super proud of myself for not letting the ball drop. It’s all come down to planning and sticking to my schedule

Daily Schedule 

This week, my days have gone a little like this:

  • Checking and replying to emails before work, on lunch and as soon as I get home
  • Checking Twitter and Facebook and replying to comments etc. on lunch
  • Twitter chats every evening for 1-2 hours
  • Drafting new posts every evening – including research, writing, editing and taking/editing photos for each post
  • Choosing post topics and pencilling in a new post for each day for the week ahead
  • Planning and scheduling social media updates for the week ahead
  • I’ve been drinking a whole load of coffee too…mainly to keep me going to around 11.30 pm when I finally decide to call it a day

Morning PersonPlanning Blog Posts

For me, the most logical thing to do to be able to generate new posts everyday throughout October, was to focus on one “theme” each week. This week was productivity and motivation, I’m thinking that next week will be a mixture of some mental health posts and some travel type posts. I have ten (yes ten!) draft posts from different trips I’ve been on over the last year or so that I’ve never written. So now seems like the best time to finally get those posts finished, edited and published.

Then for the week after I’m thinking of doing some fitness type posts, maybe with a few more of my travel posts if I get them all finished! We can all dream right??

And the Results? 

The hard work is starting to show already, even after just one week. This blog is getting an average of 15 views per day which is amazing considering the lack of time and effort that’s gone into it recently. Flourishing Freelancer is up to 109 views so far this month and I’ve had 13 comments on various posts which is amazing. It’s a fantastic feeling knowing that people are actually reading what I’m putting out there.

If you’ve missed any of #blogtober posts so far, here they are:

Back to Blogging and the Start of Blogtober

8 Ways to Become More Productive and Successful 

How to Become a Morning Person 

Depression vs. Productivity – The Big Battle and How to Survive it

How to Refocus After an Unproductive Day

10 Apps to Help Manage Time and Stay Productive 

Friday Thoughts

Tomato and White Bean Soup

And just because this seems like a great time to plug my other blog, here’s my #blogtober posts from Flourishing Freelancer:

5 Things I Learnt From Blogging This Month (September)

Looking for Inspiration vs. Stealing from Other Bloggers

September Stats and Income Report

10 Tips to Take Your Blog to the Next Level

How to Blog Efficiently – Part One

How to Blog Efficiently – Part Two

Treat Yourself to a Writing Retreat

I hope you’ve enjoyed my new posts so far, there’ll be plenty more to come through the rest of October (and hopefully after that too!)

8 Ways to Become More Productive and Successful

More Productive and Successful

More Productive and Successful

Want to be more productive and successful? If like me, you have huge dreams and aspirations but struggle with being a mere mortal, you’re probably obsessed with posts like this. I spend my lunch breaks Googling “How to Blog Efficiently”, “How to be More Productive” and “How to be Successful”. Most of the results are fully of super helpful tips (note the sarcasm there) such as winning the lottery, quitting your job to travel today and putting 40 hours a day into your blog.

Like I said, for us mere mortals, these “tips” are often completely irrelevant and, more often than not, actually make you feel even less successful than you actually are!

So, after lots of reading, research and trial and error, here are my favourite tips to help you become more productive and, as a result, more successful:

1. Believe in Yourself

Before you make any other changes if your life, make this one. No matter what approach you take to your work, if you don’t believe in yourself you’re highly unlikely to succeed. I know that sounds harsh but it’s true. If you don’t think that you can blog every day for a month (like I am), you’ll start to make excuses for yourself and finding reasons not to write a new post each day. It’s all about having a positive mental attitude.

Part of believing in yourself is ignoring what other people say. I find this part the hardest. When I decided that I was going to do #blogtober for both of my blogs, the OH told me that I couldn’t. Within about half an hour or so of him saying that, despite having 20 draft posts already lined up for both blogs, I genuinely started believing him and doubting my ability to complete #blogtober.

I mean seriously, nobody is stopping me from doing this other than myself. And that applies to everything in life. The only thing in the way of you achieving your goals is you. Get out of your own way and keep moving forwards!

2. Become a Morning Person

I’m actually going to be blogging about this tomorrow. I am not a morning person but I really am trying my best to become one. How does being a morning person help with productivity and success? Do you think all of those successful people you look up to and admire lay in bed ‘til lunch time? Or rush out the house 20 minutes late for an appointment with only half a face of make up on? Nah, probably not.

Becoming a morning person helps on two levels. Firstly, starting your day on the right foot will help with your positivity for the day and with tip #1. If you have a good start to the day you’re more likely to have faith in yourself and your abilities and you’re more likely to be productive if you’re not half asleep. Secondly, if you wake up early enough, you’ll have more hours in the day to actually get stuff done! If I get up just half an hour early, it means I can fit in a run before work. If I run before work, not only am I in a better mood and have much more energy but it also means I get home after work a full hour earlier than if I run. Once I’ve factored in showering etc. I have almost two hours extra in an evening just for getting up 30 minutes earlier. I have to admit that this never actually happens at the moment but I’m working on it!

 Sleep Better

3. Set Yourself Goals

Whether you set yourself annual, monthly, weekly or daily goals doesn’t matter as long as you are setting them. Having something to work towards will keep you focused and motivated, even on the down days.

I set myself goals in all elements of my life from blogging to running. I don’t always (read as almost never) stick to them but just having them there motivates me to actually getup and do things. Seriously, without them I’d stay in bed all day every day watching Disney films.

Also, having goals there means that when you do achieve them, it’s really obvious and actually makes you feel great.

4. Schedule and Plan

I feel like I mention this in every single post that I write at the moment but I absolutely adore planning and organising and scheduling. I am obsessed with it. It helps me stay on track and feel more in control.

Working from the goals you have set yourself (see #3) create a plan of how you are going to achieve those goals. Then, once you’re happy with your overall plan, start working on a schedule of daily/weekly/monthly tasks that you will need to complete to stick to that plan and ultimately achieve your goals.

Breaking things down like this means that you’re less likely to become overwhelmed and simply quit. It also means that you’ll stay focused on the task at hand rather than getting side tracked. Being productive is all about knowing what needs to be done and then doing it rather than just having a stab in the dark and hoping for the best. By creating a plan and a schedule, you’re setting yourself up for success. After all, you’re not going to make a plan to fail are you?

Before long, your schedule will become part of your daily routine and therefore, feel like less of a chore and more like a part of who you are.

 No Fear

5. Ask for Help if You Need it

I will be the first person to put my hand up and admit that I don’t do this as much as I should. Personally, I feel that if I don’t do things for myself, then it’s not me who achieves the end goal. I know a lot of people feel like this too – that asking for help is a sign of weakness and failure. I will tell you now. It. Is. Not. Not even one little bit.

Seriously, think about it. Do you think Zoella does everything herself? Do you think Richard Branson answers all of his own emails? Nope. Now I know we’re not them (well, I’m certainly not anyway!) but one of the best ways to become successful is to think like a successful person. If you’re struggling with your workload, ask for help. Hiring a VA might not be realistic for most bloggers, hiring a cleaner might be a dream for most of us. But it doesn’t even have to be that big. Next time you’re having coffee with a friend, ask them to take 10 minutes out to proof read your blog post. Next time you’re swamped with coursework etc. ask your housemate if they mind cleaning the kitchen this time and you’ll do it next time instead. Whatever it is, you get the point.

If you’re under pressure or don’t know how to do something, ask for help. It will save you heaps of stress and probably a whole load of time too. Leaving you plenty of positive energy and hours on end to be productive and successful.

6. Work Out

But Dani, I want to be a vet/doctor/blogger/writer/receptionist, why do I need to work out to achieve that?

Let me tell you why, my friend. And listen carefully. You have one body. And that one body has to last you an entire life time. Yep. That’s all you get. One body for your whole life. You need to take care of it.

Exercising works on a whole number of levels (I feel like I’m at work promoting the benefits of sport here!) I’ll list a few of the benefits you can expect from working out: increased mental focus, increased creativity, increased energy levels, decreased stress, lower blood pressure, better general health…the list goes on. The key things for me are increased energy, less stress and better mental health. Fatigue, anxiety, stress and depression can be consuming and, when they are, my productivity levels fall to zero. In fact, they’ve been known to fall into negative figures when I’ve been so worked up that I’ve actually deleted work! Anyway, the point is that exercising helps all of these things meaning that I can be more productive.

On a physical level too, keeping active helps with your general health too. And we all know that you’re not very productive when you’re tucked up in a bed with a cold!

Basically, working out makes a huge difference to your health and wellbeing. Keeping healthy and active will work wonders for your productivity.

 No Fear

7. Keep a Journal

Personally, I’d recommend starting a gratitude journal. A lot of the time we are all so busy rushing around, focusing on what we need to do next and what we’ve failed to do that we don’t have time to step back and take stock of what we have actually achieved. We also often miss the important things in life that we should be grateful for – a stranger holding the door open, a sunny autumn day, getting to stroke someone’s puppy in the park.

When you stop and think about all of things you have in your life – your friends, family, job, health, a home, food….the list goes on – you quickly come to realise and appreciate just how lucky you are.

Now I know that this doesn’t sound like a tip to help you become more productive and successful. But it’s all about a state of mind. It’s so difficult to stay positive and focused on moving forwards if you’re constantly thinking about all of the “bad” things going on in your life. If, at the end of each day you write down what you have achieved and what you are grateful for, you’ll soon see as massive shift in your mentality which will ultimately impact on your work.

8. Take Time Out

When I first started out blogging I thought that unless I was constantly posting and networking, I would never achieve anything. To a certain extent that’s true. Nobody was successful without working hard to some point. But pushing yourself can also be detrimental.

Recently I’ve been frustrated at how little I’ve done on this blog. I’ve spent a lot of time stressing about the lack of writing which only got me more anxious. And guess what? That led to me doing less work. Logical right? My point is, if you’re tired or frustrated, you’re probably getting very little done. Taking a night off, relaxing and coming back refreshed the next day will be far more rewarding than continually trying to push yourself and getting nothing done for days or weeks on end

The real trick is knowing when to push through and just get on with things and when to listen to the voice inside your head telling you that you need to take a break before you actually break.

I hope these tips are helpful and you can actually use them, unlike some of the “”tips” out there.

Back to Blogging and the Start of Blogtober

 back-to-blogging-and-the-start-of-blogtober

Hello!

How have you been? I’m so sorry I’ve not been around lately. I’ve desperately wanted to be blogging on here but I’ve had to make some tough decisions in terms of my main focuses and priorities.

I’ve been struggling hugely with energy and lack of motivation due to depression and, when I have been able to things, I’ve been filled with self-doubt and anxiety. So yeah, it’s been pretty rubbish mental health wise.

Despite that I have had one massive win; the launch of Flourishing Freelancer. The site launched on the 7th September and, to date, has had almost 800 views. I’m also up to 250 Twitter followers, have been invited to write two guest posts for other bloggers and I’ve sent out my first ever Flourishing Freelancer Newsletter. It’s taken up so much of my time getting it set up and running smoothly. In August and September I spent about 100 hours working on everything Flourishing Freelancer! Now you see why I’ve had no time for Brighteyed and Bewildered??

Anyway, I wanted to make a conscious effort of getting back into the habit of writing on here – I even have a whole range of draft posts already started – so I decided to take part in #blogtober. Basically, the challenge is to write and publish a new blog post every day for the whole of October which I thought would be an absolutely fantastic way of kick starting this blog again. Just to add to the challenge, I’ve also decided to do it for Flourishing Freelancer too! Yes, I am crazy. But more than anything, I wanted to see what the results would be at the end of the month for both blogs.

I know that this is a bit of a cop-out as I’m using this as my first #blogtober post but it’s better than nothing right? I also plan to write proper blog posts for the rest of the month rather than short filler posts like this one!

So, before I dash off and make a start on tomorrow’s post, I just wanted to say a massive thank you to you guys firstly for sticking with me despite my absence and secondly, for your support in my new adventure!

See you tomorrow when I’ll be hitting your screens with a post about how to become more of a morning person.

Where Have I Been??

Hey there.

I’m sorry I haven’t been on your screens for a while guys. In all honesty, time has just flown by (I feel like I say this at some point almost every single month). I mean seriously, I have no idea how it’s almost September already?! More importantly, how is the Bank Holiday over already?!

Bank holiday weekend!

Where’ve I Been?

I looked over by blog earlier this week and realised that the only blog posts published this month were recipes that I wrote and scheduled out back in July. I’ve actually written nothing new this month. I’ve worked on several draft outlines but I’ve not been able to finish anything – I’ve been so indecisive. My lack of posting (and general interaction with you guys) has shown on my stats – they’ve been seriously bad this month! I’ve been struggling with motivation and there’s nothing worse than staring at a blank screen, or even a half written post. It’s kinda demoralising and you start doubting yourself as a blogger.

So, I chose to ignore the blog for a week…well I thought it was a week…turned out to be the best part of a month. It was a conscious decision not to work on Brighteyed and Bewildered for a little while for two reasons. Firstly, to give my blogging brain a bit of a break; trying to finish off my draft posts clearly wasn’t going to work. Secondly, to give myself a bit of down time. One thing people don’t realise about blogging is that it’s pretty much a lifestyle choice. Now I know that sounds crazy but it really is. I’m constantly looking for inspiration, scheduling social media posts, reading and commenting on other people’s blogs, writing and editing posts, don’t even get me started on photos! So having time to chill out in an evening, watch a film, even go to a pub quiz has been awesome.

Finally, I’ve been focusing a lot on my new project which I can tell you a bit more about now! Yay!

Flourishing Freelancer

Flourishing Freelancer

So, you probably know that I’ve been blogging for a little while now. What you probably don’t know is how tough I’ve found it! There’s so much to learn from building your blog and creating content to choosing the right plugins and deciding on the best ways to monetise your blog.

The more I researched into building a better blog and growing my following, the more I realised how much the “background stuff” interested me so I started reading and researching more and more out of interest.

The main thing I found when I was doing that research was just how much information is out there. And, rather frustratingly, how conflicting and confusing it all is. So, I decided to help people like me and create a little bit of the internet where you can find information and advice on building and growing your own blog. And that’s where Flourishing Freelancer comes in. It’s about having a community of creative minds, writers, bloggers and generally awesome people. It’s about giving readers a place to find answers to their blogging questions.

You might have also guessed from the title of the blog that freelancing will feature heavily too. It’s something I’m just starting out on and, similarly to blogging, there’s a whole world of confusing information out there. I figured that the best way to help people starting out as a freelance writer is to document my journey.

The Flourishing Freelancer site will consist of a blog, free downloads (such as plans and worksheets to help you out) and, eventually, some webinars and the Flourishing Freelancer Course. 

The site isn’t live just yet so don’t get too excited and start looking for it! I’ve got a week booked off in early September which I’m hoping will give me time to tidy up the basics and get the site launched.

So What’s Next?

I feel a bit rubbish for having neglected this blog for so long. On the plus side, I have lots of works in progress which, once I have my motivation back, will be easy to turn into new and exciting posts. It might be that I just leave it til my week off in September. I’ll see how I feel after work tomorrow!

This weekend I’ve been working on my super geeky schedule which covers this blog…I have a separate one for the new project…so hopefully be back on track shortly. 

For now, I’m going to end my bank holiday Monday by watching old episodes of Sherlock Holmes in bed (the BBC ones with Benedict Cumberbatch in), eating cheese on toast.