9 Mistakes Bloggers Make Managing Their Time

If you’re like me, your waking hours are filled with tasks, expectations, and stress. For most of us, even our vacations or “days off” are filled with things we have to do or obligations that need to be handled. Well that’s a sad thought, isn’t it? It doesn’t have to be.
For a long time, I found myself in this loop of never-ending stress and a growing to-do list. I didn’t find some magic pill or master time travel to give myself an extra 10 hours a day to write, sleep and watch Netflix…(isn’t Netflix just the best thing ever?!?)
The first thing I did was learn to recognize the mistakes I was making when it came to building my business that was slowing my business down. I am still growing for sure, but if I’d started to realized these mistakes sooner, I could have been seeing revenue, growth and a lot less stress in my business a year or so sooner.

Maybe it’s because I’ve had a lot of experience in the different roles that come with dating but I see a lot of things the same way I see romance. Trying to figure out your work style is a little like kissing frogs, Often you figure out what doesn’t work far sooner than you find out what does… so let me save you some time and point out some of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to manage their life, their day job, and a side hustle.

Focusing on Perfect

Any time you put something out in the world with your name on it you probably want it to be pretty kick-ass, after all, your name is on it. So it’s easy to get stuck on perfection. I hate to say it, but you’re never going to reach perfection. So instead of getting stuff done you just keep finding yourself being unsatisfied with the little work you do complete because it isn’t perfect and therefore it never gets done. Done is better than perfect. Think of it this way how many programs or tools do you purchase that get an update or reboot. Sometimes you might think something is “perfect” only to discover once it’s out there that something is missing or not working correctly. Steve Jobs didn’t get the iPhone perfect the first time…see the multiple versions that have followed and continue to come out each year.

Failing to Start

Have you ever sat down with the intention of knocking out a few tasks with a to-do list that looks something like:
Create a pitch for Lane’s Online Magazine
Write this week’s newsletter
Update the blog post about knitting
Answer email from Karen

Then you sit there and look at it without knowing where to start so you decide, oh I’ll respond to some social media posts and watch an episode of Gilmore Girls. Next thing you know it’s 3 hours later, time for bed and while your Buffer is full nothing else got done.
Falling into this trap is easy. We want to get so much done, but we get frustrated and then nothing gets done.
Just get started on whatever is the first thing on the list just do it and get it done.

Taking on Too Much

This goes right in hand with not knowing where to get started. When you are excited about your business or side hustle, you find yourself constantly having new ideas or wanting to implement new things into it. For me, I always want to do more and go bigger. Adding new forms of revenue or a new kind of media is a great way to grow your business but doing it at the wrong time and in the wrong way is an excellent way to kill your business.
If you are a one woman team already feeling pressed for time, it probably isn’t a good idea to try to launch a new e-course, 2nd website, podcast and youtube channel in the same month (yeah I seriously was considering doing this at one point in time). Start by looking at low-hanging fruit (things that are easy for you to incorporate at that given time) if you want to do all of these see which would be easiest for you to do first and then start with that and once you have your footing in one area, add in the next. If you try to take on too much at once not only will your attention be divided but your work will be sloppy.

Multi-tasking

Multi-tasking isn’t evil at the right time and place. Listening to a book on tape while washing the dishes or reading a magazine while pooping is great examples of doing more than one thing at once successfully. But most of the time multitasking is a major productivity killer! If you want to get the most out of your work time, focus on one thing at a time. Turn your phone face down, leave it in the other room or shut down the sound, even small multitasking like answering a few texts during the time you said you’d work can hurt your productivity and strain your focus.
The more you spend time working focused, the more you learn about your ability to balance things. Can you listen to music with lyrics while writing? Can you watch television while painting pieces for your Etsy store? For me I absolutely cannot work in silence, my mind starts racing, and I start thinking about anything and everything, besides what I’m trying to focus on. If I’m working on social media posts I can listen to stand up or even re-watch old episodes of Family Guy on Netflix if I’m working on a post I can listen to music but if I try to watch t.v. more times than not I find myself taking a longer time to get things done.

Setting Deadlines But Not Work Sessions

Deadlines are important. For me, it is my way of saying, “Hey world, I’m doing this on this date.” Then realizing, “Holy crap it’s out there, now I have to do it.” But what is a deadline if you don’t have a plan for actually getting the thing done? If you say you want to publish a post on the 13th, when do you plan to write it? Schedule a period for working on it and if need be, anything else that accompanies the task, like creating graphics or social media posts. A deadline is a lot like a goal, it’s great to have, but a plan of action is what turns both a goal and deadline into a reality.

Thinking busy and productive are the same thing.

Busy having a great deal to do.
Productive achieving or producing a significant amount or result.
There are a lot of people who love to talk about how busy they are but the truth is being busy doesn’t mean you’re productive. I could go outside and try to pick up every rock in my apartment complex, and I’m technically busy, but it doesn’t mean I’m doing anything productive. While there are “busy” tasks that need to be done, you have to find a healthy balance of busy and productive. Yes getting your inbox down to zero is a great feeling but more than likely it doesn’t represent any income in your pocket. Just because you are doing something doesn’t mean you are making the best use of your time. Be able to recognize when you are performing goal achieving activities and not just stress relieving ones.

Focusing Too Much on Organizing.

This one was a huge rabbit hole for me. I want to be organized. Obviously, I work better when my desk is clean, and I know things look beautiful, but even worse I used to sit down with my to-do list and try to decide which thing was most important in the right order to get things done. Well, this was a waste of time.
I discovered that by just hitting the list running, I was able to get more crossed off. There are some days when it’s clear something needs to be done first, like if you have a deadline but other days you may not know where to start, so just start.

Getting Stuck on Semantics

If you can’t complete a task because you need something to complete it, then I try to follow this simple rule, if obtaining it will take more than 5 minutes I move on to the next thing on my todo list.
Are you writing a movie review and can’t remember the name of the lead actress? Go ahead and search for it, then go back to working on the review.
Do you want to make an email course outline on a poster board with sticky notes but don’t have the poster board or sticky notes? Then move on to the next task because you’ll probably just end up spending an hour at Target looking at cute office supplies. (Guilty!)
Don’t let the semantics, stop you in your tracks. Often I’ve discovered by moving forward and not focusing on the little things that could be a setback, I often find workarounds or better ideas.

Not Scheduling Downtime

This may seem counter-productive to all the mistakes mentioned above but in reality having downtime is great for productivity. I wrote a post Why You Should Take a Personal Day a while back, and I fully believe in it. Personal days and downtime are key for allowing your body and mind to recharge and relax. We are always so stressed and have so much to do, but I’ve discovered when I take the time to take a break or have some fun I come back with new ideas or feel revitalized and excited about whatever project I’m working on again. I try to do something fun most weekends, but I also have a night off I try to stick to at least once a week, Thursdays are for Shondaland. I put the laptop away, have some wine and enjoy some of my favorite shows. It’s all about rewarding myself for hard work and reminding myself that there is more to life than work.

Are you making any of these mistakes when it comes to setting up your day? Recognizing them is a great way to stop doing them. The next time you find yourself in one of these situations take a second and think about what you’re doing and how you can refocus your time and energy into working more productively.

6 Tips For Saying No When You Don’t Like Letting People Down

A while back, I wrote a post called 5 Times You’ll Be Happy You Said No. It was a hit! Not tooting my own horn, but so many people seem to really resonate with the idea of saying “no” and how we boggle ourselves down in commitments we don’t necessarily have the time or desire to do because we want to be “nice” or “liked.” I know that saying you should say “no” is easy but I know the actual execution of it can be hard.

It can be hard because we don’t like letting people down, but also because some people don’t like to take “no” for an answer.

When it comes to taking requests it’s important that you consider what, ‘yes’’ really means. Does it mean you’ll have to sacrifice something? Does it mean you’ll have to do something out of your comfort zone or that goes against your core values? Will it put you in a position that takes away the hard work you’re doing towards your goal?

If you are like me and work a full-time job while running your own business and trying to have a personal life then you have to learn how to say “no.” It really is simple, you can’t do everything. My friend Ashley always says, “You can have anything you want, you just can’t have everything.” You can say yes to anything you want but you can’t say yes to everything… stick with me it kind of works. You have to know what you want and you have to be able to recognize when things aren’t for you and you have to  get comfortable with letting others know that.

6 Tips For Saying “No”

Don’t Let It Linger

The worst thing you can do is it act like you’re considering saying yes when your answer is “no.” If your “no” your answer is “no” then you should go ahead and say so. Have you ever invited someone to something that you had an extra ticket to or a plus one and they told you, “I’ll let you know,” then at the last minute told you that they couldn’t make it so you had to go alone? I am more than okay doing things by myself but there are certain things that are more fun with a friend. Had they just told you ahead of time you could have asked someone else to go with you but they waited till it was too late? Don’t you hate that? Don’t do that to other people. If you don’t want to or can’t do something let them know so they can ask someone else.

Don’t Over Explain

The fastest way you can turn your “no” into a “yes” is talking too much. We as humans start talking about all the reasons we can’t do something then start moving things around to make something fit into our schedule we had “no” desire to fit in any way. It’s a slippery slope.

“I can’t babysit tonight because I really need to finish some stuff for the blog…Well, the kids go to bed at 9 so maybe I can do it once they go to sleep. Yeah, I’ll babysit.” That happened so fast!”

I used to sell insurance and in sales training, I remember learning this super simple technique to get people to talk themselves out of their own objections, you ask them a question and just stay quiet. People by nature don’t like silence it makes them uncomfortable so they will just keep talking to fill the silence. This is how we talk ourselves out of things and into things. We just keep rambling to fill the silence and then subconsciously (And sometimes consciously) the other person just stays silent till they get an answer they like.  I’m not saying your friends, family and coworkers are doing this to you on purpose but that it just tends to be human nature.

Don’t go too far into detail. KISS. Keep it simple stupid.

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Don’t Apologize

From an early age, we are taught to apologize when we do something wrong. Guess what, using your freedom of choice to decline an invitation or request isn’t wrong. So don’t apologize. Apologizing  by nature gives us the impression of wrongdoing which gives us the feeling of guilt. Don’t apologize just answer respectfully. “No, I can’t babysit tonight I have other things to take care of.” You don’t have to apologize for having your own priorities, plans, and preferences.

Don’t Let Yourself Be Bullied

Sometimes people will hear no, accept it and move on, then there are the people who won’t hear you at all. They are the “sleazy sales types,” who have an objection for everything you say. This person doesn’t hear “ no,” they hear “maybe” and “not yet.”

Remember how earlier I said people say yes because they want to be liked?  Bullies know this. They will use 5 tactics to get you to say yes, guilt, persistence, sympathy, compliments, and bargaining.

Here is what some of this might look like, so you can have an idea on how to spot it.

Guilt: “Come on, Lily! I helped you finish up those reports last. It won’t even take that long. You owe me!

Persistence: “I really want to go to happy hour after work what do you think….oh come on.” 2 hours later, “Are you going to come to happy hour? I need a drink!” An hour later, “Did you change your mind?”

Sympathy: “Please. I haven’t had a night out in so long. If you just watch the kids for a few hours it would help me out so much. I am so stressed out right now. Please”

Compliments: “I know you’re busy but you are the best baker I know. It’s only 4 pies. You can just quadruple the ingredients and I’m sure with your skill it will be so easy!”

Bargaining: “Okay, you can’t work all day Saturday but what about a few hours after your nephew’s soccer game. You can just come straight from there and it’s Saturday so you can just stay in your casual clothes.”

Offer a Different Solution

You can’t always solve the problems of others but sometimes you can make hearing the, “No” a little easier for the other person if you offer a bit of a consolation. Don’t feel obligated to do this but if it is something you really would like to do but just don’t have the time or money then this might be a good way to show interest but still properly decline.

“That sounds like such a fun trip but I can’t right now. Maybe I can go next year or we can plan a smaller trip later in the year.”

Or

“I can’t volunteer to work the Casino night but if you want to send me a copy of the invitation, I will be happy to share it with my friends.”

They may not be walking away with the thing they had hoped for but they will at least feel like they have a small win.

You should never feel guilty for saying “no.” The right people in your life will respect that decision and the people who don’t probably need to get used to people telling them “no”.

Remember sometimes “no” isn’t just a good choice for you but it can also be helpful for the person asking the favor. Your “no” gives them the opportunity to get a “yes” from someone else. When you say “no” they can give that extra concert ticket to someone else, get an event coordinator who really is excited about their cause or go to that wedding with a date who actually might be romantically interested in them.

Say “Yes” Sometimes.

Only say yes when you’re sure. Here is the thing, I’m not telling you to be a negative Nancy and say “no” to everything, I’m telling you to get comfortable saying “no” when you truly want to say “no” or can’t do the thing you’re being asked.

Saying yes sometimes is how you have new experiences, meet new people, learn new skills and advance your current ones. It is all about balance!

I do want to throw out this simple reminder that it is always better to say, “No” up front then to say a very enthusiastic, “Yes,” then follow it up with 9th hour, “no.” It makes you look flaky, unreliable and honestly, rude.

Disclaimer:  I know that people might read this post and go down the troll path or try to make things cut and dry, “If you want to say no, just say no.” If that is how you operate then that is awesome. This post isn’t for you and that’s fine! 🙂  But a lot of people have trouble letting other people down and this is for them. This is written for the young woman who is trying to find her path and doesn’t want it to be taken over by the demands of others. To her, I say, “You got this! Little by little becomes a lot, my friend.”

 

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017 Goals, Dreams & All

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Happy New Year. This is going to be a super huge goals post as it will encompass my December goals recap, January goals, annual review, and annual goals so enough pussyfooting around let’s get this done.

December Goals

Personal Goals

  • Move and unpack the new place.

I can’t tell you what happened. Maybe it was seeing all my stuff in a smaller place or the fact I’d spent most of the week unbelievably sick and sleeping, but I got this crazy fire in my body, and I was unpacked pretty much the next day. I had a few people offer to help me unpack, and I was like, “Yeah I’m done.” (Also PSA- Don’t offer to help me unpack, offer to help people move their stuff, that is the hard part. If you help me unpack I’m either going to take even longer telling you where to put stuff or have to look for things once you left because I don’t know where you put them. I know you’re trying to be nice, but I can decide where to put stuff, I could use help lugging it down a flight of stairs and up two more. Although I do totally appreciate you thinking of me.)

  • Get all my Christmas shopping done.

Christmas shopping was about an hour at one store. I know a lot of people commented that it worried them that I wasn’t done at the start of December, but I had like five gifts to buy and had them all picked out.

  • Have a great time at Christmas with the family.

It was exhausting but so much fun. I got to spend a lot of time with my big sister. To be honest, it was probably the first time we’d spent more than a day together without wanting to fight. DAW! Look at us growing up.

Blog and Freelance Goals

  • Continue working on Launch Your Signature Course!

I have been working on it pretty hard This course and the community behind it are amazing!

  • Finish working on DiaDarling.com

No, sadly I spend most of my website development time working on my course site but sadly I had a major technical issue on it the other day, so this is on hold (more about this all later).

  • Finish the articles for my feature in All Things Trend Magazine!

So as it turns out, I only have to write one. Whew! I have two drafts of two different articles but haven’t decided which one will go to the magazine.

  • Have 500 Facebook page likes

522! Finally! I have been trying to climb that mountain for a while.

  • Have 2850 Twitter Followers

2980

  • Have 1040 Instagram Followers

1063

  • Have 900 Pinterest Followers

945

  • Create at least one new Resource for my Resource Library

No. Maybe I should have only read one book and worked on this. I did start one and have a fantastic blog post ready to share with it, but it will be out later this month.

  • Post at least 5 times this month

4

  • Spend at least 10 minutes a day engaging on each of the above social media sites. That means repinning, responding to tweets of others or seeing what their links are, etc.

Done

  • Crush the webinar I have scheduled this month. December 17th! Save the date!

My partner had to postpone, but there will be more webinars in 2017!

Health and Fitness

  • Walk 7,000 steps a day
  • Make meals at home 80% of the time or only eat out 4 times of the week.
  • Go to a gym class at least 3 times a week.

So I’ll just answer all of these together and say I sucked at Health and Fitness in December. Lol.

Wow, what a month. Now I want to take some time to review the progress on my yearly goals.  I set goals a year ago and then revisited them over the summer and discovered I aimed kind of low, so I raised them.

2016 Goals

Travel: Travel to Los Angeles and attend Blogher 16

I did, and it was amazing! You can read part 1 and 2 of that journey.

Publish Articles 262

So, this is a little hard to gauge. I published roughly 91 articles this year as Dia Darling. When I set this goal, I was publishing 2 posts week on AllTheThingsIDo.com, 1 guest post a month and about 1 post a week at my job. By that math 262 was a long stretch, but I had managed to do over 200 in 2015, so I said, “I got this.” I didn’t take into account that the first few months of my blog I was publishing about 5 times a week.

I started the year with the intention of publishing twice a week, once on Monday and once on Thursday. As summer, blogger burnout (link), a break-up and 2nd job change took it’s toll I made the decision to temporarily publish one post a week.

After a while I started to occasionally publish twice a week but ultimately decided that it would be better for my business as a whole to spend the time writing, editing, creating graphics and marketing the 2nd post on other projects like guest posting, working on content upgrades, taking courses and creating my course.

At my new job, I do a lot of copywriting and company blogs, so I am more than positive I have hit that doing on average 4-10 blog posts a week there, but I don’t count those toward my business goal. This year I will be making that a smaller goal. As I only plan to publish once a week on my blog.

Social Media

I mentioned my social numbers above, so I won’t repeat them, but I am happy to say that I did hit all my social media goals for 2016!

  • Facebook 500
  • Twitter 2000
  • Instagram 600
  • Pinterest 600

I had an amazing year. I built some strong relationships, worked with some terrific brands and learned a lot.

For this year I wanted to go a little bit of a new direction. I wanted to think of all the things I want to do and all the big projects I wanted to accomplish each month. That being said from now on my monthly goals post will include a monthly objective.

This may change because as we know, life happens but here are my large monthly goals:

January– Get The Balanced Side Hustle Up website up/ List Building

February– Create a free video course

March– Launch Month

April– Create Facebook Group

May– Launch free teachable course

June– 2nd launch / Blogher 17

July– List Building Month

August–  Podcast connections month and Launch DiaDarling.com

September– Content Heavy Month- Guest posts and creating copy for launch month.

October– 3rd Launch

November– E-book

December– List building Month

Annual Social Media Goals:

Facebook Group: 200

Instagram: 1700

Pinterest: 1200

Twitter: 5000

Facebook Fan Page: 700

So with these yearly goals, I would subtract the current amount and divide it by 12 to see how much growth I need for each month. Having large goals is great but breaking them up into small chunks makes them more attainable.

For example Facebook Fan Page 700 goal – 522 current = 178 for the year so roughly 14 a month to hit 700 by the end of the year.

Other Goals:

  • Launch The Balanced Side Hustle
  • Start the 2nd form of content (think video or audio)
  • Attend Blogher 17 in Orlando
  • Work with more amazing people and brands.
  • Publish 76 blog posts.

 

January 2017 Goals

Objective: Launch TheBalancedSideHustle.com (this won’t be the full course, the official launch date is March 6th. I was hoping to launch February 27th, but I had family and social obligations heavily in February and wanted to give the launch and you guys my full attention.

Personal Goals

Blog and Freelance Goals

  • Continue working on Launch Your Signature Course!
  • Finish the articles for my feature in All Things Trend Magazine!
  • Have 536 Facebook page likes
  • Have 3148 Twitter Followers
  • Have 1115 Instagram Followers
  • Have 966 Pinterest Followers
  • Create at least one new Resource for my Resource Library
  • Post at least 4 times this month
  • Spend at least 10 minutes a day engaging on each of the above social media sites. That means repinning, responding to tweets of others or seeing what their links are, etc.
  • Crush the webinar I have scheduled this month.
  • Do one guest post or contributor article.

Health and Fitness

  • Walk 7,000 steps a day
  • Make meals at home 80% of the time or only eat out 4 times of the week.
  • Go to a gym class at least 3 times a week.
  • Lose 5 pounds. I won’t put my weight but I started a new fitness program and am excited about it. (More details to come.)

Starting the year off strong with over 1500 words, lots of goals and lots of plans. I hope you are excited to take this journey with me.

Thank you to all my wonderful friends (cyber and real life) for being there for me this year (too many to name),  thank you to Jenn from HomeByJenn.com for being the kick in the pants I need and a constant source of motivation, thank you to all the women I’ve learned so much for over the past year, Mariah Coz, Megan Minns, Melyssa Griffin, Maya Elious , Krista Rae, Brittney Lynn and Meera Kothand to name a few, and to all the people who take the time to read my blog, comment, connect and make my day. So much love your way! I hope 2017 is a beautiful year for all of the you.

Now tell me, what do you have on deck for 2017? What do you want to accomplish? What was your biggest accomplishment in 2016? Let me know in the comments.