5 Tips For Productive Blogging

5 tips for productive blogging

We all have a slump with blogging, once and a while and sometimes you need to push through and get back on it. All in all I have never hated blogging but sometimes you hit a wall and find it difficult to create new posts. So seeing as I have just got out of my rut, I thought I would share what has worked for me.

  1. Make notes when inspiration hits. If you sit and force yourself to come up with ideas, they won’t come. I make notes when the inspiration hits, either on your phone, notebook or in my case I always carry my planner so I have a section in the back I dedicate to blog idea and I have a note book for review notes and inspiration. Just don’t force it and capture what you can.
  2. Set time aside. I am one of those that makes notes all the time, so when it comes to writing my actual post I can string together all my notes and don’t have to worry about writers block. Saying that I always make sure that I set aside a specific time or day for getting my writing, photo taking and editing or scheduling done. If I don’t plan the time I spend most of my time saying to myself “oh I’ll finish it later”, but never do. I often find Sunday morning or a Thursday evening are some of the times work best for me, find a time that works for you and regularly stick to it you’ll work better than the ad hoc approach.
  3. Have a plan. I am a big planner and organiser and this is key for me with blogging as well as everything else in my life. In terms for my actual blog I strive from scheduling, I aim to post every Tuesday and Friday, so I note out the date that I will post on for any given month. The last two slots of the month are always dedicated for a collective haul and a monthly favourites and the rest of my posts get built up from there finding a balance for content with what I want to write and what I can commit to that month.

As well as a plan for content before I sit down to work on my blog I like to list out everything that needs doing, even into the smallest tasks. Each post has similar things that need doing but I find that if I write it out one by one I feel more accomplished at the end of my blogging session and I ensure nothing is missed. Added bonus of list writing you don’t waste the first 45 minutes doing nothing but getting distracted.

  1. Dress for success. I am aware this sounds weird, but I’m going along the lines of advise you often see for working at home so why not blogging. When I used to have a blogging day I used to dress super slouchy, sometimes even in pjs but instead of been comfortable to write I just found myself demotivated wanting to do nothing. So stay in your normal clothes if you are planning to blog in the evening, or if you are having a blogging day then, get ready for the day like you do the rest of the time. Trust me it will be worth it.
  2. No pressure. At the end of the day though, don’t pile on the pressure. It may be good to commit the time to write and compose content for your blog but if you aren’t feeling up for it don’t do it. If you pressure yourself into creating content you will won’t necessarily make good content. If you aren’t enjoining it or it is stressing you out, simply take some time out.

So those are my tips for how I ensure I am a productive blogger, let me know in the comments how you try to be a productive blogger.

Gwen

xx

My Personal Planner 2017-18

personal-planner-2017-18

Who else is slightly obsessed with planners and stationary? I cannot get enough I usually have two planners as well as a to-do list note book for work, is it a little overkill? Maybe but i like to be organised.

Somehow I ended up doing my personal planners March to March but it’s a weird thing that works for me at this time, I mean it doesn’t really matter as long as you find it useful. Last year was my first Personal Planner, you can see an in depth look in my First Impressions or Follow Up Review  post. I thought I would show my new one to show what I chose this time and why.

This time the mood took me for a bit of gold, to add a little bit of sparkle and glam into my life. I really love how this turned out, I’m yet to try and create my own cover but there are such great options on the website I have never truly felt a need to. In terms of inside I went slightly different form last year not going quite as mad with all of the different options available. Compared to my last one which was pink and colourful I definitely went for a much more muted pallet internally opting for blacks and greys, I just often found the colours clashed and now the odd pop of colour can add emphasis opposed to a distraction. Hopefully in future I won’t find it too dull but right now I am loving this more neutral feel for 2017/18. I do wish though a gold/white inside could have been chosen though just having a simple bright white planned may have been super cute as well.

personal-planner-2017-18-page-choices

In terms of module choices I kept some of my choices with whether and dinners remaining put and swapping out a tick list for a straight forward to-do list my weekly pages look similar to last year. The biggest changes was with my additional pages, I still kept my month view I loved using it mainly for a look back on the month it’s a nice summary page and good for forward planning. While at the back I kept it simple removing the year overview as I never used it and option for lined paper, soduku and blank pages. Last time I went for a bit of everything and didn’t necessarily use it so I kept it straight forward this time. Actually the main reason for the blank pages is that I didn’t having a lined back page last time, and I’m so glad it’s perfect and unmarked now.

personal-planner-2017-18-moudle-choices

I’m so happy with how it turned out this time and although slightly pricier than some planners, last year I used my Personal Planner consistently as I got to pick options that worked for me. Other planner in the past I didn’t use as I couldn’t get them to work for me no matter how pretty it was. So if you want a good quality and reasonably priced custom planner I’d really recommend checking out Personal Planner on their website here. Now please excuse me while I fill it up and admire it for a little while.

Gwen

xxx

Getting Organised: Blogging

Last Friday I covered getting organised in my life in general (available here), today is how I am now organising my blog. Earlier in the year I showed you my notebook, solely dedicated to the organisation of my blog which although a great idea proved to be clunky I didn’t always use it and I just found I never referred to it. I find organisation is a bit of trial and error and this system I used a base for the past few month and have found a great system to keep me on top of things.

Spreadsheet Everything: I use a few spreadsheets but my core document has a sheet for a calendar and a checklist of upcoming posts, as I plan to post every week on Tuesdays and Fridays as well as weekly social media posts. This is super visual and helps prompt ideas as well as time frames for me to finish certain posts or tasks. You can also plan far in advance, you can assign seasonal posts when you think about them and easily find them again at a later date.

Weekly To Do Lists: As I mentioned in the life organisation post, I write weekly to do lists, not necessarily for a certain days but its covers the post I want to sort out that week. I also break it down into the individual tasks for that particular post that have to be done, by breaking it down it seems less daunting as well as making sure you don’t miss anything.

blog-organisation-to-do-lis

Making Notes: I am always making notes either specifically post based or post ideas, these are either in my planner or phone. My notes can vary between the odd word, post title, product thoughts or even mini paragraphs ready for blog posts. This is key to keeping me organised as once I come to write the posts the majority of the post is already there. It is one of the most important things for me in keeping organised as the whole sitting down to write a post is not quite such a big tasks.

What helps you get organised with your blog? Let me know in the comments below so we can all be more productive bloggers when we attempt to juggle life, blog and work.

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Getting Organised: Life

getting-organised-life

September is back to school/study season and although I am now working it always feels as though it is the perfect time to get organised. As work ramps up to peak, the need to organise social occasions and just generally fitting everything in. So this is my month of getting generally organised, this post will cover how I am getting organised with life and work in general with the help of my trusty notebook and my still in use Personal Planner (First Impressions and Full Review).

Daily Planning: As you’ve seen a few times before I am currently using the Personal Planner, and I have to say the layout and setting works for me, as a list maker I can put in either my day in order or make to do lists and notes. I’m such a daily planner, I sit down at the end of every day and sort everything I need to do for the following day. Using post-it notes for the weeks key ideas, or future events in case plans change etc.  Daily planning is a great wind down idea and really helps me organise my thoughts of the day.

Daily and Weekly To Do Lists: Who doesn’t love a good list? I have to say as I’ve got older I’ve grown to appreciate the list more and more, there is more that has to be fit in and cannot be forgotten so here comes in not only my planner list but my to do notebook. The first side covers work, with daily tasks and individual tasks for those days which can adapt as the week develops and the following day is filled out one day at a time so nothing is missed. While the right hand side of the page each week, covers blog, cleaning and general other tasks. I use this not for specific days tasks (that’s reserved for my planner) but for tasks which need to be done that week but that don’t have a specific day it has to be completed.

getting-orgainsed-to-do-list

Monthly Overview: Although my planner is for forward and daily organisation, I like to use my monthly overview to reflect it tends to offer no use for me when looking ahead but it’s great to reflect I can note key events or just general things which happened over the course of the month and it’s a nice way to look back without been dragged down my all of my lists, notes and plans.

Nothing Electronic?: Nope, nothing electronic here. I use a variety of online/computer based calendars and to dos at work and still find nothing works better than a scribbled on desk pads. The simple act of writing it down or having something sat in front of you, I never pay attention to digital organisation. I will cover next time how I use excel in the organisation of my blog, as this is simple calendar use and is more of a reference document than anything else.

So that’s how I keep my hetic life organised and how I keep on top of things, how do you keep your life organised. Are you a planner junkie or do you manager to magically keep on top of things, let me know in the comments?

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Free Calender Desktop Wallpapers

So the other day I was creating some calender desktop wallpapers for my personal and work laptops and thought they were cute so I would share them with all of you lovely people. They are by no means perfect, I am no creative person by a lot of means by career is as a Data Analyst but I thought they were too cute not to share.

Any way here is something a little different with my desktop backgrounds featuring a calendar for each month, all are free to download and just do as you please with them I just thought I’d share as I often find it difficult to find these sorts of things especially ahead of time.

JuneJulyAugust

Let me know what you think and if you would like these sorts of things in future as I kind of enjoyed making these, maybe something slightly more beauty or blogging related. I also have tried playing with some organisation type ones in the past so let me know if you are curious for more desktop backgrounds which are made to be cute and practical.

Fingers crossed you should just be able to click on the image and it will download, if not just do the usual right click trick or let me know. Anyway enjoy.

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Personal Planner Follow Up Review

personal planner 2016

All the way back in February I did a first impressions review of my Personal Planner when I first received it before I started to use it. It’s fairly in depth with all of my options, why I chose things and what I thought I would use etc. so check it out here as this might be less in depth than that one and will be more of a follow up.

I had such big plans to start using cute stickers, checklists and deco sheets which I had seen with the Erin Condrid etc. online, but as I started to list out my daily tasks, reminders and plans I had no hope of making it look cute. It has also backed up not needing to splurge on Erin Condrid etc. and re-enforced my initial love and happiness with the personal planner. It has loads of room for list making and noting down everything I need for the day.

I love the prettiness on each page yet it is still consistent throughout and I don’t need to worry too much about colour scenes ect. I have plenty of room in the vertical lay out to note down work, to do, to watch, blog related to dos and any other key things for that day. With the weekends off it also works for me that the columns are half size and I have less to note down. As you can see from my various spreads, most days and weeks are fairly packed with notes as they are general weeks, when I’ve done stuff for the day I’ve kept it fairly clear to focus on the special thing I’ve done. This layout really works for me.

I am also really happy with my bottom options, I feel like I may benefit from two tick lists opposed to one tick list and then the notes as I use the space to note my weekly blog activity in terms of social media and blog posts which are routine. If I had two tick sheets it would be easier to organise and keep tray, this is something I will keep in mind for next year. I love the dinner option and although it is a shame it doesn’t cover the weekend for me it is most important to plan my week night dinners due to prep and planning ahead with work.

I’m also glad I picked the monthly view and note book paper combination, although I have only occasionally used the lined paper. The monthly view is great either as a general overview of all the things I have on that month, which I used cute pencil drawings to keep it interesting yet not too much. It is also great to look back and see what I’ve done. The colouring pages on the other hand are great for a little distraction, but I don’t use them that often as I need to be at home and dig out my pencils but it is something I am going to push myself to do more of.

The main downside before and it is still a downside, is that I don’t like that the back lined page is shiny hard card, I would prefer it to use be blank as I don’t think it is that practical. I’m using it to stick on small stacks of post it notes, but all in all I wish it wasn’t lined. I also find it hard to pin down a good place for the plastic wallet and for me it sits straight inside the front cover, although I like it there, it feels as though it doesn’t serve much of a purpose. These niggles are definitely down to my personal preference as I really do love this planner.

So all in all I love it and I am so glad I purchased it, once again you can see the original review here. Let me know how you like to plan in the comments and what your favourite planner is.

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Social Media Update

As it was my birthday yesterday, and some bonus posts may be coming up later this week I thought I would take the time today to talk about what is going on with my social media and how to find out what is going on. If you didn’t know I use Twitter and Instagram and here’s what you get from them.

gwenllianblog twitter

Follow me on twitter to find out about new posts as soon as they go live, always up to date with the latest information. You can also see what I am doing day to day, chat with me and just all the other general twitter stuff. Finally you can start your Sunday morning with a snippet from my blog archive, handpicked by me.

gwenllianbranwen instagram

As well as they day to day pictures and find out what I’m doing my Instagram will also have a regular schedule of content in case you are curious.

Start your Monday mornings bright and early with me as I do #motivationalmonday. 7am (GMT) or near enough every Monday, I share a motivational or positive thought giving you something to think about as well as a little boost to your Monday morning. Or you can celebrate or cringe with me on Thursdays as I take part in #tbt every Thursday evening (8:30pm), something a little bit fun and it is a little insight into my life.

Finally on Sunday I will share an old post from my blog archive, where maybe you can discover something new or slightly different. I try to mix it up or pick related posts to current blog content or time of year.

So don’t forget to follow me and I will follow everyone back, make sure you don’t miss out when I am not on here.

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Personal Planner First Impressions

Personal Planner 'You Are Capable of Amazing Things' Cover

I have kept considering getting the personal planner the past year or so and back in January I finally decided to order one, my current diary goes write up to Febuary 2017 but I am going to keep that solely as a blogging planner and this one as my personal planner. So to try it out the first time I decided to go March 2016 to March 2017, that’s one of the best things about personal planner you can pick any 12month period you want.

There are a hue range of front covers available, block colours, patterns and even your personal pictures if you desire, I went for the ‘designs’ which have new ones for 2016. It really is a case of creating your own planner and making something you’ll use and like. The cover you pick semi influences the colour scheme inside, like top bars etc. But this can easily be adjusted if you prefer something else, I adore these cute little touches.

They are a number of different layout available and I chose for the slightly more unconventional vertical columns this is because I am a list maker so this layout works best for me. You can also have custom things in the columns which include workout, work and weather. I added in the weather as I linked that small touch but didn’t want anything bulky and thought it might be nice to test the additional options. You can also customise the bottom of the weekly spread there’s a huge range of choice and in the end I went for the weekly dinner list (only downside is its Monday to Friday) but I am a meal planning person so it’s perfect. I then went for a check list, there was a to do list but I preferred the checklist lay out, then I can put down weekly tasks that I need to do and tick them off once they are done. For the last area I went for lines and I’ll just use it as and when although I am tempted to put lyrics there or quotes just to fill the space.

There is also 3 sections in the back which you can chose from a list of options. To start with I went for a 2016 and 2017 overview where I can note important events over the year and dates for the following year, there was also an option for 2017-2017 which seemed a little redundant for me. My second option was colouring pages (random I know) this bit gave some more choices around activities etc. from the world map to Sudoku, or the same old lined paper, I never use lined paper in diaries and I thought the colouring pages were a super fun idea, as I keep thinking about buying an adult colouring book. My final part I chose a month by month view which also includes ruled paper. I love the idea of having a month spread at the start of the month so you can see big events, or for bloggers etc. you can plan your months posts, either way super useful and it is a new option for this year.

Personal Planner Packaging

I ordered my planner on January 6th wanting one to start in March but allowing for plenty of time for delivery, as they tend to estimate two weeks. On the 14th January I received an email saying my planner had been dispatched and it should be expected in the next 2-6 days, which is a huge window but it fits in with the expected delivery for the planner. When it arrived I was super happy with my choices and customisability of this planner yet still not being too expensive compared to others being £22.90 total including delivery. You can also choose to add bonus items although it comes with a plastic wallet and ruler etc. although you can add more if you want to such as pens and extra wallets in a range of colours. I also love the quality of the planner, it looks beautiful the paper is of a high quality and its thick comprehensive planner so if you love organisation, list making and note jotting its ideal. I’m super happy with the lay out and cannot wait to use it.

A few things I’m not so keen on but I can definitely learn to live with them, they are definitely sitting on the nit picking side. The main issue I have is that the back cover is hard card, with lines printed on it. This is not practical to write on, and in my opinion looks untidy, I would prefer to have a plain white blank page to end the diary. I also feel as though there is not a logical place to put in the plastic wallet and mine has gone in the front, due to the lines on the back page it looks weird there and every section has starts with two pages facing each other so although it is tidier I can’t work out where to put it. These are my two biggest gripes at the moment and in reality they aren’t a big deal, simply personal preference.

So that’s my first impression, I am super excited to try it out properly and see if it is practical when I want to use it day to day. Let me know in the comments if you would like a follow up review. Also are you a stationary/organisation junkie?

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Productive Blogging

I am entering my second complete year of blogging and past the 18 month mark, which seems like such a huge achievement to me and I have been through some huge transitions since blogging moving from being a university student for the first 12 months of my blog and for the past 5 months I have been working full time. We all have such a variety of different commitments in our life from work, study, relationships and family which all need to be balanced with the blogs that we love creating and having our own little corner of the internet and the community it involves. So I thought I would share some of the ways I manage to be productive with blogging.

getting organised

Getting organised is key, planning it all out having a notebook or diary to help organise your thoughts. I’ve outlined how I am organising my blog this year from my diary to my blogging notebook with monthly overviews, checklists and space for notes for blogs. This may be a bit over the top for some people but make sure you have a way to keep on top of all of your ideas and what is coming up on your blog, no double posting and a definitive plan can really boost your productivity. See how 2016s blog organisation here.

Don't over commit

The first summer of my blog some one hundred plus days, I blogged daily and when I went back to university for third year I just couldn’t commit to blogging that much. Some people can blog every day or five days a week but not everyone can and that’s okay, if you over commit you can just end up feeling mad at yourself when you don’t meet these. Pick a schedule that works for you, I post twice a week at 17:00 on those days which works for me and I’ve managed to only not meet it once. Yet a schedule can be important when growing a blog and working with brands, as you have consistency and reliability and people can expect regular content that they want to see from your blog. Pick a schedule and amount of content that works for you but pick what is manageable for you.

make notes

Have a note taking method, whether it be your phone, a small notebook, or notepad just have something where you can jot down your ideas. Just don’t kick yourself because that amazing idea you had has now disappeared into thin air, so do what works for you to keep a note of your ideas.

effective time use

Use what time you have, sometimes sitting down and writing for hours at a time writing blog posts back to back is counterproductive. Often I do a little bit on my lunch break at work either writing a bit, or making notes on future posts etc. its making the time you have work for you as we all have other commitments in life. If you’ve noted down plans and ideas, you can use them as a start point when it comes to creating all of your posts.

dont force it

If the content isn’t flowing when you sit down to write, then don’t write it’s a waste of time and you may end up rewriting it all again later on. Write what you want to write at that time rather than what you have scheduled or planned you may end up with a completely unique and insightful post because of it, or just look at the posts ideas you have noted and you never know what you might find some hidden gem that you had completely forgotten about.

scheduling

We all know about scheduling our blog posts by now, no longer just uploading when the post is finished, this allows us to create consistency and the checking of the writing. Yet sometimes we don’t always think about scheduling other things which can really benefit us such as social media, instead of just using the twitter function on WordPress try using social media suites such as Hootsuite. Here you can schedule multiple Twitter and Instagram posts to promote your latest posts, find out beauty bits and show of your blog and photography skills, and you don’t need to remember to do actively post these yourself. Using blog photos and hashtags you can make the most of social media with minimal effort creating interest which runs alongside blog content.

bulk processes

Although bulk writing posts can make them stale don’t be afraid to take bulk actions on other items, I may spend some time each evening to work on blog stuff but winter nights with nothing but dreary lighting and awkward shadows so photos aren’t possible blog posts by blog posts. Therefore with some posts especially those in which you can prepare photos in a bulk like routines and reviews etc. favourites are slightly different as there is less preparation really. Yet some weekend mornings I can bulk take photos, edit phots and I have even bulk schedule posts and social media, these are all things where you can become productive by bulk doing these tasks when you don’t necessarily have something new to write.

Hopefully these steps are useful to you in order to become more productive with your blogging. How do you try to ensure productivity with blogging? Leave your hints and tips below.

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Blog Organisation

blog organisation calender

A new year and a new blogging note book, with a more organised and perfected method of organising my blog and mind set for keeping me on track this year.

size matters

First up I switched from an A4 notebook to a more compact A5 notebook, this was one of the biggest steps in this, having a comprehensive notebook which had everything I ever needed for my blog all in one place. It can now fit in my bag alongside my diary, so I can make notes and plans when I’m out and about or on my lunch break at work. Also when I was planning out the notebook situation I noted the number of pages I required for the notebook so I could pick something that was an appropriate size in terms of the number of pages required with a few extra for additional notes than could be made etc. Also by switching and downsizing and been able to take the notebook to work I was no longer left with pages and pages of notes that amount when creating the blog posts, or wanted to make notes on blog posts while at work or when my notebook wasn’t available to me.

lessons learnt

 So what lessons have a learnt from last year’s blog note book and how am I learning from these with this year’s notebook. First up I now know what I want and need within my notebook for effective blogging and therefore can better organise my thoughts, creating a more seamless and flowing note books for notes and scheduling so that everything has its place. I need more space for thoughts the old note book was huge but there was no logic to it I’d end up losing notes and they weren’t where they need to be in order for me to make the most of them.

blog organisation check list

Therefore this time I am making more of an effort to split up the months, having their own calendar, schedule and checklist, as well as having notes for every single post that is coming out that month either the ideas, key points, photos, categories and tags etc. This makes the space a lot more usable, and practical.

creating flow

Establishing a flow for your notes is important, make sure you know where everything is so you can find the notes you want as and when they are needed. Work out the logic you use to find and do things and use this to create a note book which works for you. For me everything has to have its place and then I can find everything as and when I need them. It’s no longer all over the place and I feel as though the notebook flows better than before.

additional tools

Sometimes you want a few more tools than just a biro and your notebook, in order to add additional notes or the odd ideas as well as to differentiate between notes and headers etc. For this I always ensure I have post it notes and coloured fine liners, which aren’t anything special the fine liners are from Asda and are only £1.00 much cheaper than the branded ones and the post its are also just cute small post-it’s from Asda as well. There is no need to spend a huge amount of money on these stuff head to your local supermarket as there are great inexpensive items which can help improve your productivity.

Taking Time

One thing I will say about this is, is that as I did it mainly by hand which clearly takes time, but I feel as though it is absolutely worth it as you do it once and then that’s it everything is clear, concise and ready for the rest of 2016. Some may prefer something more causal but I personally prefer to have everything all in one place ready for me to plan out the rest of the year, this isn’t for everyone so do what works for you.

blog organisation post notes

So that is how I have chosen to organise my blog planning this year, hopefully it’s inspired you, how do you organise planning your blog? Is January your time of year to reorganise your blog or is it back to school time in September?

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