3 Tips for Managing Your Time Better

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If I asked you what you need to get done this week, chances are your to-do list would be pretty long and be focused on more than one aspect of your life. You might need to pay bills, go grocery shopping, close out a client file at work, create graphics for this week’s blog posts, schedule your well woman and the list goes on and on. I don’t care what anyone says I’ve found doing one thing at a time is more productive than trying to do multiple things at a time. Often I receive comments asking me how I do it all I’ll be honest by saying first of all that I don’t do it all I’m not a mom. I don’t have to worry about feeding another human being, picking up another human being or clothing another human being right now. Although sometimes I have to play mom to my friends (and let’s be honest vice versa). It is just me, so first kudos to all the moms out there. That being said, I do have a lot on my plate a lot of people wonder how I freelance, work full-time, socialize, have a romantic life, deal with family and run my blog regularly. Simple, I focus on one thing at at time. I plan and then I prepare for the plan to change.

Find little pieces of time for little pieces of work

One of the biggest things I do is find small bits of time to get things in. I might get my fitness tracker steps in by walking around the coffee table during commercials while I watch TV. Heck even right now I’m using the talk to text function on my phone to write this blog post while I’m in the bathroom (gasp sorry for the visual).
I’m not saying that I am this hardcore workaholic who never takes a break, I’m saying when you have a lot to do you have to find time to get it done. We all get 24 hours a day to work with, so maximize them.
If I’m meeting a friend for dinner and beat them to the restaurant I might answer emails on my phone or call my mom to catch up, I don’t just sit there and play angry birds for twenty minutes.
The big thing about being on the looks out for little slices of time is to not take on a huge task that is hard to pick and put down quickly. Responding to tweets while taking a poo is not the same as trying to create and format your annual survey.

Break things up

I am the first to admit that it is easy for me to get overwhelmed. By nature, I am a very anxious person so daunting things can be extra intimidating for me. I also am a super go-getter and always have a ton of ideas of things I want to do (hence my to-do list never gets shorter it just changes. I cross out one thing and add two more things).
A few months ago I was dealing with some serious blogger burnout, I would go to have work sessions and get hardly anything done, then I realized it was because I was trying to do WAY too much. When I decided that instead of trying to create an e-course, start a podcast and create an e-product all at the same time I needed to put them in a list. Start with the e-course, then focus on the podcast, then focus on the e-product. This I would be better off and more productive. Instead of spending 10 minutes of each thing and switching as soon as I got into a flow I could just spend the whole 30 minutes on one thing and get a lot more done.
Think of a brand that has multiple divisions they didn’t start it all overnight, all at once. Did you know that Maybelline started in 1915 as a result of the founder seeing his sister Mabel mix petroleum jelly, coal dust, and ash to make her her eyelashes and eyebrows look darker after getting them singed in the kitchen? He didn’t wake up one morning and create a full line of makeup. It builds over time.

Cut out the noise

You have to know what is just hype, distraction and a waste of time. This is really something you see with social media and friendships. I’m learning now to cut out the crap. You have to be on social media nowadays if you want any online brand to succeed, it’s just the way of the world but if all you’re doing is hanging out on Facebook you’re doing nothing for yourself but wasting time and running in circles.
It’s the same with the people in your life. It sounds bad but if the people in your life aren’t on the bandwagon they are just standing in your way. If your “best friend” gets mad at you because you can’t drop everything and go to Sunday Funday because you have work to do, then they don’t support your mission and are just standing in the way. You have to be able to know when to say yes and not feel bad for saying no.

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times, little by little becomes a lot. I focus on one thing at a time. If I have 10 browser windows open all I’m doing is going back and forth instead of moving forward.

How do you balance things and prioritize your to-do list? What do you think is your biggest distraction? Tell me in the comments.

Vineyard Hopping in Comfort Texas

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If you know me then you probably know that I love wine, like LOVE it! I like wine more than most people I know.

So when my friend Lindsay randomly invited me to hit up some nearby wineries with her boyfriend Travis this past Saturday, I said “Screw it” and went.

Now I’ve only done one wine tour before in my life. Last Spring I took a trip to several wineries with some girlfriends using a Groupon and let me tell you this was a totally different experience (you can read about My Day as A  Texas Wino here).

We went from an organized party bus with coolers, snacks and scheduled visits with dishes accompanying the wine to wandering around on our own without meals or snacks.

Related Post: What to Pack on a Wine Tour  

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It was around 1 p.m. when Lindsay and Travis picked me up and the adventure began. First we hit up Singing Water Vineyards  (Which I continued to mistakenly refer to as Spring Water Winery)This place was just delightful. A nice inside area where we got to enjoy the wine tasting afterwards we sat outside and enjoyed our bottle while listening to the musical duo Aaron and Kelly. 

Singing Waters offered a $10 tasting sample that let you try 6 of their different wines.

Before I go into reviewing each one just let me mention my personal wine preferences just so you can know that these are obviously based on my personal taste as a wine drinker and not a professional wine aficionado.  

For white wine I prefer a Pinot Grigio and for red a Cabernet Sauvignon. Not a huge fan of sweet wines. My scale is a simple 1-5 wine glasses. 1 being bad, 5 being great. 

Singing Water VineyardsSinging Water Vineyards 2015 Pinot Grigio🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷

I loved this one and ended up purchasing a bottle. 

2014 Sauvignon Blanc🍷🍷🍷

While it was good it was too sweet for my taste.

2015 Sunrise🍷🍷🍷🍷

I enjoyed this one it was a mix of the 2015 Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. We ended up getting a bottle of this to enjoy outside.

2014 Merlot🍷🍷🍷

For me this was just another Merlot.

2013 Vinter’s Reserve🍷🍷

My least favorite. Tasted bitter for a cab in my opinion but it may have been because of the Merlot mixed in.

2013 Freedom🍷🍷🍷🍷

This was a good wine with a strong flavor. Big patriots at this vineyard, a portion of each bottle sold is donated to the USO and Fisher House.

2014 Sweet Lupe🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷

I adored this wine. It was sweet but not too sweet. 

Upon leaving we also saw this little guy.

Singing waters vineyard

Not too far down the road you’ll find Bending Ranch Winery. Now the feel of these two places seemed totally night and day but both equally enjoyable. While Singing Water had more of a laid back mom and pops feel, Bending Ranch had more of an upscale business vibe.

Bending Branch

Bending Branch Winery Menu

2014 Vermentino, Las Brisas Vineyard🍷🍷🍷🍷

This one was pretty good. 

2014 Picpoul Blanc, Hall Ranch Vineyards🍷🍷🍷🍷

Lindsay told me to make sure to tell you guys she loved this one! 

2015 Comfortage, Hoover Valley Vineyard🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷

This wine seemed like something that would be perfect for getting cozy at home and watching your favorite show after a long day. Possibly my favorite wine of the day but I’d already purchased a bottle and the wine at Bending Ranch was slightly more expensive than at Singing Waters. 

Thinkers Blend 🍷🍷🍷

This was their house wine and I really enjoyed it. It was another wine that could be shared by a sweet fan and someone who prefers more bitter wine. 

Souzao, Zentner Vineyard🍷🍷🍷🍷

Great wine for sipping slowly and just enjoying over a long period. 

2012 Tannant (EM), Bella Collina Vineyards🍷🍷🍷🍷

I really enjoyed this one. Apparently the aging is tricky on this one so he let us try another vision off the menu. This one I preferred.

2012 Signature Red Tannant Red, TX (Not on menu) 🍷🍷

Now as you can image a day this filled with wine drinking was rough without eating so my FAVORITE thing about Bending Branch was the pizza truck! Burned Out Pizza and Gyros  not only was this pizza just what the wine doctor ordered but it was yummy and affordable! Major shout out to them. Even if you don’t drink wine just go for the pizza!

All and all I had a wonderful time. The perfect little Saturday get away. Cell reception wasn’t great here so it was a lot like we got to unplug for a few hours. I got home around 6 and slept until 11:00pm between the sun and the wine I was wiped out but it was so much fun!

Now a few fun pics of me after drinking wine in the heat all day!

Wine TourSo tell me:

Have you been on a winery tour before?

Whats your favorite type of wine? 

 

 

4 Things To Remember When List Building

So if you’ve been a blogger for even a week I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about the importance of list building.
You’ve probably heard that you need to build your list because it’s the best way to ensure your readers stay your readers. That it doesn’t matter how many followers you have on any of your social media account because at the end of the day that platform controls that audience and can take them away or limit your reach at their own discretion. That is true, it’s very true. But focusing solely on getting as many emails as possible without a real plan isn’t going to help you.
So here are a few thing to remember during the list building craze.

It is better to be in front of 10 of the right people instead 100 of the wrong people. Click To Tweet

It is better to be in front of 10 of the right people instead 100 of the wrong people.
Before I got out of college I did a little field marketing at an insurance company. One of my duties was to help drum up new business. One tactic we used was attending local events or going to public places like flea markets and try to get names and phone numbers of potential people to reach out to. In theory, this sounded like a good idea. My boss would be ecstatic the following Monday when we would come back to the office with 30 lead forms filled out. He was less elated when those forms only resulted in 5 or 6 quotes and even fewer new policies sold.
The problem? We weren’t going to where our target demographic was. We were just going to people, giving them free merchandise in exchange for their phone number and name hoping to turn them into clients. Half the time the numbers would be disconnected. If we actually got ahold of someone and they let us quote their insurance we would be higher in price than their current insurance or they weren’t eligible for our product. It was basically like we were trying to recruit vegans to attend a barbecue cook-off.
List building is the same thing!
You want to get people on your list but not just anyone. Offering a free workout e-course when your blog is really about photography is a waste of time. After that initial email, they have very little reason to open any of your future emails.
Be sure you are getting the right people on your email list.

Some people just will only want your free stuff.
Even if you do target the right audience, some readers will never want to buy your product, pay for your services or even get your emails on regular basis. Sometimes people will sign up for your email list, get the password to your e-library or download your free e-book and then unsubscribe the next time they get an email from you. That’s okay, it happens. Don’t focus on those people. Don’t toss and turn every time you get an unsubscribe notification or log into MailChimp and see your number has gone down, it just means you have to keep being awesome and someday they might realize how kickass your newsletter is or other people will and it won’t matter.

Make a newsletter worth reading
Be as focused on the content as the list. Yes, you are trying to target a certain type of person for your reading list but once you get them on your list give them a reason to stay there. Your newsletter should have a personal feel and provide some information that isn’t found on your website. If the only thing you are sending is links from your blog to your email list then what is the point of subscribing? They can just go to your website and have one less email in their inbox a week. Make them feel like they are a part of a special club by getting your emails. People love feeling special. Share part of your behind the scenes process. Talk about what’s been going on in your life and what you’re excited about.

It takes time
Unless your opt-in freebie is cold hard cash or free professional massages chances are people won’t be falling over themselves to sign up for your email list.
You have to keep providing great content and insight to get people on your list. You have to have a game plan. You need to know what sets you apart from the other people doing the same thing as you. You have to build connections, create real value and work your butt off.

What are some things you do to build your email list? What are some things you won’t do? What is the best piece of advice you’ve received about list building? Do you even list build, bro? Tell me in the comments.