Best Time Management Hacks for Your Online Life

Best Time Management Hacks for Your Online Life

We are all spending more and more time online. We wake up with an app on our phone, use our Fitbits for exercise and step counts, and belong to oodles of social media platforms. But how do you manage your time? Do you need another app? Short answer: maybe. Here are some ideas.

Time Spent Online is Different

You might think you could apply time management to your time spent online just as you would to any other chore, but it isn’t true. It’s so easy to be distracted by the newest video of a camel whose best friend is a cow. Just to get another animal into the list, we can all disappear down rabbit holes because they are plentiful. And time disappears when you’re distracted, doesn’t it? Now where was I going with that idea? Oh, yes.

Interrupt Yourself

You need stronger boundaries if you’re going to survive working online. So decide before you get online what you want to do and how much time you want to spend. Before you dive into Instagram, set a time limit. Set an alarm so that you know when your time is up. And then get out! You might like Time Management for the Tired and Frazzled. The point is, make an executive decision about how much time you want to spend online. And then guard your precious time.

Online Tools That Can Help

One of my favorite tools is Nokotime. Why? Not only can you track your time, you can create reports, which is very helpful. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s easy to use and gives you an accurate pie chart of where your time is going. (I’m not an affiliate, by the way.) Another tool that I love is Dashlane, for password management. Dashlane is free, but there’s also a premium version, which helps you sync passwords across platforms. Another one is Google Drive for sharing documents and images.

Create an Old-School to Do List

Writing down what you want to get done the night before has been known to ease anxiety. Instead of worrying about your tasks for the next day, write them all down. Some suggest writing how much time you might use on a particular task, too. One idea I really like is decluttering your to-do list, as Teodora Pirciu writes. By the way, she has a snazzy Daily Planner for business growth that you might like, too. I’ve ordered it myself and it’s a nice, three-month organizer with plenty of space to write (yes, the old-fashioned way, with a pen).

Have a Favorite Way to Manage Your Time?

Do tell! Let me know with a comment. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make Your Writing More Resourceful: Five Simple Ways

How to Make Your Writing More Resourceful: Five Simple Ways

How to Make Your Writing More Resourceful: Five Simple Ways

If you want to become a resource, and educate or instruct your readers, then you need to make your writing actionable. Yes, I know actionable is one of those silly words, but you know what it means; people need to be able to do something based on your posts. And make your posts evergreen so people will come back over and over. Here are a few ideas.

Use Tons of Examples

When I was a full-time technical writer, one thing that readers always wanted was examples. They wanted to see themselves in your writing. Whether you’re writing a software manual or a blog post about social media, use a lot of examples. Use them liberally. Sprinkle them like magic fairy dust throughout your writing. For example, if you were writing a post about how to create an article in an hour, you might send them here: How to Write a Perfectly Fine Blog Post in An Hour. (See what I did there?)

Create Detailed Posts

If you’re writing a how-to article, make sure to give readers all the details. Try out your method yourself, too. Better still, have a friend or two try out your article. Ask for honest feedback and incorporate the feedback into your instructions. There’s no reason to be defensive when you’re getting feedback. Feedback makes your writing better. Sometimes when I’m reading recipes, it seems like the recipe writer didn’t try out the recipe for themselves. It’s so frustrating to try to cook and have one or two or more steps missing! So capture all the details. For more information, Master Class describes how to use concrete details to enhance your writing.

Have Actionable Steps

There’s that word again: actionable. Ensure that your readers can do what you’re telling them they can do. If your instructions are too vague, your readers will get frustrated and leave, and you never want that. So review the steps you’re asking your readers to take. Review the steps a few times and you’ll have happier readers. And you’ll feel satisfied that you’ve done a good job.

Be Specific

One way to be specific is to have examples. Another is to consider the environment your reader is in. For instance, will your reader be working on a laptop when they write a blog post? Will they be working on an iPhone? Then make sure you include information to help them in that environment. This is especially important when writing about software or apps. Some may only work in specific environments. Apps are often better on phones and may not work at all on laptops or in a desktop environment.

Curate Other Resources

Even if you don’t have all the answers, you can collect posts or ideas from those who do. Nobody has the time to read everything. You might like this article: How to Use Pinterest to Curate Content. Another excellent resource is Randy Clark’s book, How to Stay Ahead of Your Business Blog Forever. Highly recommended!

 

 

How to Quickly and Easily Unleash Your Blogging Creativity

How to Quickly and Easily Unleash Your Blogging Creativity

How to Quickly and Easily Unleash Your Blogging Creativity

Do you ever feel like a sponge that’s been wrung and is completely dry (that is, out of creative ideas)? So many of us do! Even the best writers sometimes hit the doldrums in their creativity, where they can’t write a single word. If that’s you, read on.

Embrace the Quiet

Meditate somewhere quiet and don’t look for extra stimulation. Thomas Oppong in his article in Inc. on The Science of Silence: How Solitude Enriches Creative Work writes  “To take advantage of silence to improve your creative work, you could get in the office an hour earlier, just so you could get some quiet work done before the office starts buzzing.” Since we’re all in quarantine at the moment, finding silence isn’t nearly the issue it was in the Before Times. Peter Gasca, writing for Entrepreneur in Silence: It’s One Simple Thing That Will Spark Your Creativity explains that “just five minutes of silence and uninterrupted thoughts tend to be the only ingredients needed to stir creativity.”

If you agree, you might like this article: Six Facts About Introverts and Social Media That Will Impress Your Friends. Written awhile back, but still relevant.

Beg, Borrow, and Steal

Not literally, of course. But ask your friends for ideas, borrow an idea or inspiration from someone else, or steal someone’s idea but change it so much that it becomes your own. Isn’t that the definition of art? Borrow something, then change it, then change it again? One way I’ve gotten ideas lately is on Twitter chats. Recently on #DigiBlogChat (a chat I host along with @LazBlazter), @Interprosepr mentioned sharks and how they need better branding. That gave me the idea for a blog post about sharks and branding. You can really get ideas anywhere if you’re listening.

You might also like this article: What Happens When You Focus on Failure and Creativity?

Journaling and Creativity

Writing about anything helps your creativity. If you journal immediately upon waking up, for instance, you’ll gain access to some ideas that you didn’t even know were brewing. And if you think about an issue last thing before you go to sleep, you may have an answer when you wake up. This method has worked for me. And it’s easy to do. All you need is a journal, a pen, and the willingness to write down the first things that pop into your head when you wake up.

Write at Strange Hours

If you normally write in the morning, try writing in the afternoon. If you write in the afternoon, try a late-night writing session. Or wake up in the middle of the night and write a little. You’ll have a different perspective! It’s so easy to get into a habit. I know because I’m a creature of habit myself, and maybe you are, too.

 

How Digital Clutter Destroys Your Peace of Mind

How Digital Clutter Destroys Your Peace of Mind

How Digital Clutter Destroys Your Peace of Mind

We know that physical clutter can lead to disruption in your life, but what about digital clutter? Are the old photos, posts, and comments from Days of Yore(tm) making you exhausted and feeling out of sorts? I was thinking about the post I wrote last week about making quick decisions, and decided to add onto that. As we’re all locked down in many parts of the world, it’s an excellent time to declutter. Our physical spaces need it, but how about our digital spaces?

Old Photos

Do you obsess about those old photos on your phone? What do you do about the old photos that you have stored in your phone and on all your social media accounts? When is it time to clean them out? We take so many pictures now from fear of missing out on a cute kitten or puppy or baby moment. NPR has an excellent article: Here’s How Tech Experts Recommend Organizing Your Photos. The authors recommend sitting down once a month to cull unwanted selfies and duplicate photos from your massive vault, then organizing what’s left. Sounds a lot like physical organizing, doesn’t it? Organizing the photos by date will help you avoid headaches later, then you can sit down and tag them as well. By the way, if there are old photos (of you) that you don’t like, you’re allowed to throw them away. Sounds silly, but lots of people can’t seem to throw away photos!

Documents from the Stone Ages

Do you really need those Word documents telling the cat sitter (who moved to Oregon in 1992) how to feed the cat who is no longer alive? Maybe you do! But probably you don’t. The reason you want to organize those documents is so you can easily find what you need later. Organizing your documents, just like organizing your social media, lets you quickly find the things that are really important to you. By the way, you might like this article: Organizing Your Social Media So You Can Have a Better Life. Just like old photos, old documents can hamper your progress and make you feel frustrated.

Posts from Long Ago

When can you finally let go of old posts you made? Is it even possible to delete posts you made previously on different social media platforms? Yes, you can go back and delete posts, and it’s especially easy on some platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. If you have a lot of duplicated posts, that’s an easy place to start. In the article How to Quickly Delete Old Facebook Posts from PC Magazine, Scott Bay suggests viewing your Facebook feed from the point of view of an outsider. You could also opt to simply hide posts or make them private.

©Maya ALESHKEVICH 2019

All the Blah Blah Blah

The Blah Blah Blah includes all those emails from the last century that you’ll never look at again. Each email requires that you make a decision. One easy way to declutter that email? Delete in bulk. Search for one sender and delete everything from last year, for instance. What other Blah Blah Blah do you have and how does it weigh you down? Leave me a comment! Thank you.

 

Why Making Quick Decisions Improves Your Life

Why Making Quick Decisions Improves Your Life

Why Making Quick Decisions Improves Your Life

Every day we need to make multiple decisions. What kind of car should you buy? Should you get the leather or the fabric sofa? Do you want fries with that? And those are just the simple decisions. What about the more difficult ones, such as where to live or which school to attend? Those could require even more time. One thing I’ve learned is that making decisions quickly is important for a number of reasons. You also might like this article about How Tired Business Owners Save Time.

Making Decisions Quickly Reduces Clutter

Back when I was a professional organizer, one thing I noticed about people who were chronically disorganized is that they had difficulties making decisions. Everyone was procrastinating on the decisions. “I’ll put this here for now” they’d say. And there that object would sit for days or weeks until they could decide what to do with it. Now, maybe there was an issue with their executive functioning. Whatever the reason–they could not decide on anything quickly. And every piece of paper? That’s a decision to be made. And that inability to make a quick decision turns into clutter.

©Nathanael Burton 2010

Avoid Analysis Paralysis

We all know that one person who can’t decide what to do. They’ll hem and haw over just about anything–whether it’s putting pickles on their burger or what kind of tires to buy. And for some, they won’t be able to do the next thing until they make that first decision. Sometimes it’s not the fault of the person trying to make the decision. Sometimes there are simply too many choices! Go into any grocery store and there will be 25 different types of mustard to choose from. What’s an indecisive person to do? Lifehack has a possible solution in their 5 Tips for Lightning Fast Decision Making. (Personally, I like their two-minute rule.)

Faster Decision Making Tied to Success

If you’re the CEO of a startup, or even the boss of yourself (lol), your ability to make a decision faster will either help or hinder your progress in business. If you can’t make a decision when you have all the facts at your disposal, when can you make a decision? Debbie Allen, in her article in Entrepreneur, describes How to Make Business Decisions Faster and Better: Don’t overcomplicate things! Take ownership of the decision. Instead of waiting for the moons, stars, and planets to align, move on! I couldn’t agree more. After all, not making a decision is making a decision, too!

Work up to Faster Decisions

If you want to get better at making decisions more quickly, you could work up to it. For instance, make decisions about some of the smaller things in your life. For instance, what kind of tissue should you buy? Or what would you prefer today–apples or oranges? Those are two decisions that you could make quickly. And then work up to a larger decision next. And as always, give yourself a reward to making that decision. My vote is for wine. Or chocolate. Oh, no! Which one will I choose now?

Why Not Write about Something that Makes You Think?

Why Not Write about Something that Makes You Think?

Why Not Write about Something that Makes You Think?

Have you read something lately that really stopped you in your tracks and made you think? As I write these words, it’s the first day of the new presidency. So lots of changes are coming soon–and many changes have already happened today. Some of those political changes might make you consider things differently. And even if you don’t like politics, or don’t want to write about anything political, a change of administration can bring up a lot of feelings. It’s good to get into the habit of writing because without a good habit, you probably won’t be able to finish anything. Speaking of which, here’s Content Creation: What Are the Best Habits for Writing?

©Fredrik Rubensson 2013

Articles in the News

Covid isn’t the only thing in the news these days. There have been scientific discoveries, such as a new fossils uncovered in Argentina which may belong to one of the largest animals to have walked on Earth. And in something that really affects us all, Netflix’s ‘Shuffle Play’ will get rolled out to all users. And on the social media front, people are reportedly leaving Facebook and Twitter and “privacy-first social network MeWe is scooping these disaffected users up onto its platform.”

©Fouse Photography 2008

 

A Conference You Might Have Attended

If you attended a virtual conference recently, how was it different from others you’ve attended in person? The one I recently attended for a client was usually in person and those who ran it and attended were not so tech-savvy. There were lots of glitches in how it was promoted and how it was run, too. Still, it was a departure from the usual conference and much more convenient to attend, since it was mostly pre-recorded videos and virtual storefronts where you could check in and possibly win prizes. Here’s something that might interest you: 20 worthwhile conferences for women. Why not attend one and then write about it?

©Sam Saunders 2020

Quick Google Search

A Google search on your chosen topic will yield a list of ideas that you can blog about if you’re all out of ideas. And of that doesn’t do it for you, here are some more ideas: How to Find Ten Blog Post Ideas in One Hour That Will Make You Relaxed. I have confidence that you’ll find something to write about, so I hope you’ll get started right away.

©Todd Barnard 2009

 

 

 

Outsourcing Your Content Creation for the First Time?

Outsourcing Your Content Creation for the First Time?

Outsourcing Your Content Creation for the First Time?

You may have considered getting help with your social media or content creation for the first time this year. After all, last year you spent so much time working on it and that was time you couldn’t get back! Here are four good reasons you ought to outsource your content creation!

©TLC Jonhson 2017

You Have Better Things to Do with Your Time

This is the first and best reason you might want to outsource your content creation. You’re running your business and you’re busy. Creating content at the end of the day is the absolute last thing you want to do! If you want to know some other ways to save time (besides outsourcing), here’s an article you might like: Repurposing Your Social Media is the Ultimate Time Saver.

©Efrén 2007

©Efrén 2007

It’s Not Your Strong Suit

If content creation were truly your strong suit, you probably wouldn’t mind writing. But you’re much better at running your business and less inclined to want to do any marketing of your business. Besides, when you’re focused on what you’re good at, time disappears and work becomes more pleasant. And if you don’t focus on your strengths, you might want to read this: Why Leaders Should Focus on Strengths Not Weaknesses by Forbes.

©Jonathan Mueller 2011

©Jonathan Mueller 2011

You’d Like a More Polished Look

It’s not that you couldn’t do it yourself, but you’d like your articles and social media to look more polished. If you need help with writing, why not find someone else to do it for you? (Ahem.) I might know someone. And maybe you’d like someone who enjoys writing and also someone who writes every day for a living? That would be good, wouldn’t it? Kinda joking, but kinda not joking.

©d26b73 2015

©d26b73 2015

Someone Else Could Do it Faster

Back to that saving time item again, if someone else created your content for you, it would probably take them far less time. Maybe you could create a blog post in an hour, but how good would it be unless you were really practiced at it? Two hours? Four hours? Wouldn’t that time be better spent running your business?

©coniferconifer 2020

©coniferconifer 2020

Still Want to Do it Yourself?

If that’s the case, I have a couple of ways to help you, for not very much cash. Maybe you’d like to try it out. In that case, I’ve got two books that you might like, both available on Amazon in either paperback or eBook format:

©Wesley Nitsckie 2012

©Wesley Nitsckie 2012

Sound Like You?

If any of this sounds interesting, you know what to do! Of course, you could also leave a comment here. I’d appreciate it. Thank you!

 

Best Holiday 2020 Recipes from #DigiBlogChat

Best Holiday 2020 Recipes from #DigiBlogChat

Best Holiday 2020 Recipes from #DigiBlogChat

For the holidays this year, we shared ideas and recipes for #DigiBlogChat. Randy Clark came up with the questions, and our chat friends came up with the answers. Here are some of them.

Q1. What healthy snacks do you enjoy, or would you rather overdo it? What are your favorite “Guilty pleasure” snacks? Or healthy ones? 

@KBerryMS A1. Humus, granola bars, guacamole, and chips+ salsa for the healthier side. I tend to stay on the healthier side as the naughty snacks are good in the moment but don’t always leave you feeling great.

Q2. Baby, it’s cold outside, so what non-alcoholic hot beverages do you recommend?

Q3. We’re all so busy this time of year, so what are some quick no-cook snacks? 

Q4. Besides gingerbread houses, what are your tastiest baked treats?

From Maricar Jagger: Grandma Gribble’s French Truffles.
Note: The truffles are made to use up the egg yolks when the whites are used for making Royal Icing for the Christmas cake.
Ingredients
200g plain chocolate (70-80% cocoa)
75 g icing sugar
100g butter
4 egg yolks
4 tablespoons brandy
Cream the butter and icing sugar. Add yolks, melted chocolate and brandy, and beat thoroughly. Allow to set in the fridge and then roll into balls (makes 20 of about 1 inch balls) and roll in drinking chocolate. It’s a messy job, but pleasurable! Refrigerate the truffles until ready to eat.

Loni of @JorgensonLocker shared this terrific recipe for”Christmas Crack!”

Jackie Yun shared this wonderful recipe:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q5. Let’s get to the meat of it. Share treats made of meats!

Q6. Share one of your grandmother’s snack recipes, please!

Q7. Not to get too “cheesy,” but let’s talk cheese.

Q8. It had to be asked, what store-bought treats do you serve?

Q9. What snacks have you concocted during the COVID?

Here are two creations from Randy Clark.

1. Tortilla Pizza. 8” Soft flour tortilla, 1 tsp olive, coat both sides, pinch of garlic powder, oregano, salt, and pepper, 1/3 cup shredded cheese. Top with what you like. Bake at 400 3-5 minutes.
2. No measure healthy oatmeal cookies. Mix about 1 cup of oats, 1 egg, splash of milk, stir to paste. Add whatever you like and have – nuts, raisins, coconut, berries, spices. Tablespoon onto baking sheet. (I use parchment.) Cook 400F for 10 minutes.

Q10. Last but not least, you knew it was coming, holiday adult beverages. Is it 5:00 yet?

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/268140/hot-buttered-rum-single-serving/

Thank you all for participating and Happy New Year to everyone!

Repurposing Your Social Media Content Is the Ultimate Time Saver

© The U.S. Army 2019

© The U.S. Army 2019

By now you’ve heard that repurposing your social media content is a must-do. Right? After all, so many companies reuse their social media content. Why shouldn’t you? The answer is that you should! Read on to hear why.

© Alexander Boden 2013

© Alexander Boden 2013

Your Time is Limited

There’s only one of you. Maybe there are a few people on your team who all do the writing, but there’s only one of you. And your schedule is packed already. Spending time blogging or creating content doesn’t always get to the top of your list. In fact, some days it might not get on your list at all. Bridget Willard has an excellent post about Time Blocking Tips (and even uses a baseball analogy, which I love).

© Oregon National Guard 2018

© Oregon National Guard 2018

You Have Other Things to Do

You have so many things to do that sometimes you run out of space on your list! If you write your to-do list the old-school way, sometimes you run out of paper! Does that sound like you? Sometimes it sounds like me! However, people are always asking the same questions. So turn those frequently asked questions into blog posts and you’ll be set. This article from Greatist about To-Do Lists made me smile. If you’re a maker of lists, you’ll love it. For instance, there’s this golden nugget: “Start the list with at least two items that absolutely must get done today to make sure you don’t end up vacuuming instead of finishing a project report due tomorrow or remembering to buy medications.”

© Kaarina Dillabough 2018

© Kaarina Dillabough 2018

Evergreen Content Can Be Used for a Long Time

Evergreen content is content that can be used over and over, thus saving you time in the long run. If you don’t know about evergreen content, here’s some more info: How Long Is Evergreen Actually Good for? Share it and reshare it (but differently each time)! Some of my older posts are still evergreen years later. And yes, I still re-share those evergreen posts occasionally. After all, they took time to research and write.

21 Ways To Repurpose Your Social Media Conent

21 Ways To Repurpose Your Social Media Content

There’s a Whole Book about it!

Yes, there is, and I wrote it! Discover more about how to reuse your own content. You can find 21 Ways To Repurpose Your Social Media Content: And Why Repurposing Your Content Is Critical on Amazon in two formats, eBook and paperback. If you go to the Amazon link, you can even take a quick look inside the book. Thank you for looking!

A Short History of the #DigiBlogChat Twitter Chat

A Short History of the #DigiBlogChat Twitter Chat

A few people have asked about #DigiBlogChat, a chat that Larry Mount and I started on Twitter a number of years ago. So here goes.

In the Beginning…

Once upon a time, there was a startup in San Francisco, which like a number of other startups, no longer exists. At that startup, I began a Twitter chat called #BigDataChat. That was the end of 2013.

The Before Time

#BigDataChat became very popular. We had a number of big players tweeting along with us on #BigDataChat. We had giveaways and prizes. Sometimes we gave away books, other times there were tickets to startup events. O’Reilly Media was one of the big participants in the chat.

Larry Mount Was a Participant

Larry would regularly participate in #BigDataChat. Each week he would log into #BigDataChat and contribute his thoughts.

When #BigDataChat ended, Larry became sad and lonely. Not really. I made that part up, to give this story more dramatic oomph. But he did notice that #BigDataChat had ended.

The Biggest Giveaway

The company I worked with decided to give away the chat to O’Reilly Media. The chat didn’t last too long after that, for reasons I’m not clear about. At any rate, I was no longer involved with the startup or the chat.

Friendship and Brainstorming

Over the course of the months that #BigDataChat occurred, Larry and Carol (that’s me!) became online friends. After that chat ended, we wondered how to continue the chat experience, and brainstormed ways. We decided upon a day of the week and a time.

©Andy Mangold 2010

©Andy Mangold 2010

#DigiBlogChat Was Born

We all missed #BigDataChat. It was a good time to exchange ideas, over the course of an hour. Once we decided upon Tuesdays at 1:00 pm Pacific Time, we started to collect ideas. And we reached out to people we knew. We sometimes have had prizes and giveaways, too.

The Chat Grew…and Grew

Now #Digiblogchat has a regular bunch of contributors who log in every week. We’ve become friends online and offline, too, in some cases.

The People

Since we crowdsource the topics for our chats, we have an extremely engaged audience. There’s Tripp Braden, Randy Clark, and the enthusiastic Beth Staub. John Lewis, who also runs #Innochat is a regular. Finola, Maricar, and Mitch Mitchell regularly weigh in. My friend @MistressPrime occasionally visits. @CharlesMcCool and @jpretorious are there, too. Then there are @nina_wag and @htindesigner. We couldn’t forget our friends at @interprosepr! Sandy of @CreativeWoodVT has been a friend for a long time. Loni of @JorgensonLocker is also a regular on the chat! And @JKatzaman is always making us laugh!

There are probably others that I’m forgetting and for that I apologize. 

Join Us!

Come join us on Twitter. It’s every Tuesday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time. For more info about how to join, read How to Join #DigiBlogChat Twitter Chat.

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