I wanted to write my first blog post under the NEW NAME (My Name) as an honest and open piece of writing explaining how things have been for me recently. Why the title ‘Motivation and Planning’? The title of my post pretty much described how I felt when I went to bed ‘late’ on Sunday night. I felt tired and my head was just cluttered, thinking about all the things I should be doing and it was time to take control again.
I don’t even know how we are in Mid May already. Where has the year gone? We are almost half way through the year already, that feels scary right?
This month I am working on a mini blogging course called The Thread as part of my Makelight Membership. The course has really made me stop and think about what it is I am doing and why I am doing it within my blog? That is never an easy thing to actually sit and do, but it is a challenge I am making myself do it. I feel totally motivated and as well as working on developing the blog, I have a really exciting project that I am working on.
The first thing that came to light with my blog, very quickly in fact, is how much I was disgruntled by the former name of my blog; ‘A Phoenix from the Ashes’. I changed the name very quickly last year, which was fine, at the time I wanted to write and be under a name that might not be readily associated with me. What I didn’t do back then was really think about the name and what it meant to me and what it would mean to other people. As soon as I started feeling unhappy, I got blocked. It was a viscous circle, I wanted to blog, but couldn’t and even when I had the content I was reluctant to post it under that name. The long and short of it is, I have spent the last couple of weeks changing the domains back over so they are under the original name SUSAN JANE BRADFIELD and you know what, I am now happy and motivated.
What things make you motivated?
For me one motivational tool is music. Every morning I have been listening to the fantastic Spotify Play-list by Symmetry Breakfast. LISTEN TO IT HERE. I warn you though, there are some seriously good tunes in here. Especially if you are in your early 40’s like me. I can’t promise you won’t be dancing.
Having an organised workspace is key. I always leave my desk clear and tidy at night, so when I start the next day I am walking into an organised space. Instant mood lifter.
Visual Delights. Just a simple vase with a couple of flowers on your desk can really change your mood. Try it.
Candles. I love a nice candle and I try to always have one burning nearby.
Hands up, this is my downfall. I say that planning is my downfall, but actually that’s not entirely true, because if I have a call or an email through for a casting for Archie, I can be organised and plan for everything. Is this because I put my Mum hat on? So why can’t I just keep that hat on and re-label it the Susan hat? Being the queen of procrastination I am challenging myself to plan more effectively.
My week so far (It is only Tuesday) has included me writing my Morning Notes before I had attempt to do any work. Writing 3 pages of unconscious writing without stopping or looking or reading it back is so effective for clearing the jumble out of your mind. It is suggested in The Artists Way by Julia Cameron that you should set your alarm 30 minutes earlier and as soon as you wake, write the 3 pages then. At the moment this is not going to work for me because I am just so exhausted all the time, the thought of waking even earlier is not appealing. For the last month or so I just haven’t bothered writing my morning notes, because I had the mindset of ‘No point doing them if you don’t do them properly’. HOWEVER I am now working on the mindset of ‘Nobody is checking on you’ and that ‘it is better to write them later in the morning than not at all’.
Two days in and I am already noticing that I am more productive. Coincidence? We shall see.
Before I start my week I write a long list of everything I can think of that I need to do in my notebook. Then I break it down into days and priorities. The Desk Planner from Got 2 Jot it is proving very useful this week. I am using one page for tasks and jobs and then a separate page is where I am going to do a blogging schedule, plan.
Social Media Distractions
We can’t cut social media out of our lives altogether if your business relies on having an on-line presence. However I have realised that I have been jumping from one account to the next and so on, and not really being very productive on any. So within my planning and I am in the planning stages of this, I want to schedule time slots to do different promotional items on social media. I need to be active on all of my accounts, but maybe not all at the same time.
How many social media accounts do you have? Have you ever worked out how many accounts you have? Well I have, because in the big change over of domain name for the blog, I have had to go in and change all of the social media ones too. Now try working out and logging how much time you spend on those accounts when you are meant to be working?
These are just some of my accounts:
- Google +
- Linked in
Lets say for example I decide to pop onto Instagram to post something. This image I may have already put through a filter before it has even reached Instagram. Then I have to write the caption, which at the moment I do as I post it. Then I have to decide on Hashtags, which are actually really important if you are trying to get your account noticed. The chances are I will then have a scroll through my feed to check out some other accounts that I love. Then you have Instastories, which should have a whole page in its own right. I love Instastories. BUT my point is that we are only talking about 1 social media account, in this paragraph and the time potentially spent on that 1 account.
Try putting your phone out of reach when you are working otherwise you could easily find you have been distracted by social media.
Scheduling time for all of these accounts is important, especially if you have an on-line presence. I am not saying don’t use them, blimey I am the WORST person for scrolling through Instagram when I am watching TV in the evening. What I am saying is that it can be scheduled into your day/week/month etc. Even as I am typing this blog I am looking at my own list of social media accounts and realise that I give so much attention to Instagram, but really the others not so much and I need to change that. So planning slots and scheduling is going to be the way forward for me. I need to set time aside to dedicate to each of these accounts, because I know that I am not benefiting from them if I am not using them properly.
Content planning for the blog, photography and social media
Planning content in advance is something that I have talked about and not yet done. That has to stop to enable me to become more productive and less stressed. I lead a busy life and I need to get organised. Lets be honest the last couple of months I have been pretty shocking at keeping up with writing blog posts which is shameful. Writing a blog content plan is going to be really key in planning ahead.
This is the same for photography. I like to take my own photos for the blog where I can, so If I have an advanced schedule of what I am going to be writing about, this means I have a photography plan and schedule as well.
Social media can be a mix of photos to reference back to the blog, but I quite like to live in the moment a bit on social media. It is important to live in the moment as well and I want my readers and followers to know that I am a real person.
Set a target
I am going to try to set a 12 week target of posts that I want to write about, leading to an idea of what photos are needed. Imagine having 12 weeks of posts and images scheduled in advance? Sounds great doesn’t it? Wish me luck.
Please do get in touch or comment below if you have any good suggestions for me to try to get motivated and plan well. I would love to hear from you.