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Productivity

My Biggest Business Mistakes From the First 6 Months (And How I Fixed Them!)

I’m writing this post on a Saturday night after doing 13 straight hours of work, with only one break to inhale a few pieces of peanut butter toast.

It was a beautiful sunny day outside, and I didn’t see any of it.

This is not how I want to run my business.

All hustle, no balance.

It’s taking a toll on me.

Luckily, I am smart enough to realize when I’ve made some pretty awful mistakes and how to fix them. Today I want to get a lil’ personal with you and share my biggest struggles and failures over the past 6 months and how I’m overcoming them to become a better blogger and business owner.

I hope you can learn something from this post. Here goes.

Biggest Business Mistakes

 

1. No time for fun.

Talk about overscheduled.

Even my husband knows that if it’s not on my Google calendar, it’s not happening.

I’ve lost touch with several friends. Some of them understand, and others don’t. I even feel bad with how little time I’m spending with my dog.

It’s super depressing.

I ended up getting so burnt out, I didn’t want to do anything.

And that was my solution.

I realized that I procrastinate a lot. Not because I dislike my work, I love it, but because I’m too much of a perfectionist and I want “the perfect idea” before I start working.

Well, that just doesn’t exist.

I’ve learned to just start, and edit shit later. I’ve learned to be more productive with my time so that I can get more done in less time.

Ya know what the big magical secret to all that is?

CONTINUE READING

Losing Your Way on A Winding Path (This Is A Metaphor for Getting Shit Done)

Oh, hello.

Remember when I said that when you feel like you’re fed up, and burnt out, you should connect with other humans that remind you why you love what you do? Wellllllll, that worked for me once. But now I have new advice: be a hermit.

How to Get Shit Done (fo realz!)

 

Seriously. The best advice I received for dealing with feelings of burnout was a few days ago, and that advice was: when you are so fed up that you just don’t care anymore, actively attempt to care less. Like just really get all the giving a shit out of your system. Stop caring at a molecular level. Split the atoms of the fucks you do not give, and then split them again. Create a nuclear meltdown out of all the energy that you’re not caring with. Enough metaphors for now…

In my situation, I could never focus on what I was supposed to be doing, due to a number of factors, some of them complex and one of them just being that I am an insane, quality-obsessed, control freak bitch-ola. I was so used to responding quickly to everything that came my way — emails, Slack messages, carrier pigeons — that people expected it of me, and I felt like I owed it to them.

But then my boss told me something radical. Like some life-changing shit right here. She said, “Just… don’t.” That’s basically what she said. There were more words and it sounded better than that, but that was the gist of it.

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Embracing Failure as a Digital Project Manager/Human Being

It’s difficult to accept failure. I think that’s part of human nature — to be proud, defend ourselves, survive, and dislike failing. But sometimes we fail as human beings, and as project managers. And sometimes, spectacularly, we fail at those two things at the same time.

Embracing Failure as a Digital Project Manager (and Human Being)

 

I’ve been a total failure over the past few months.

  • I started this blog, intending to keep it going with new content twice a week. Fail.
  • I transitioned out of project management recently, but didn’t actually transition out of it because I’m a total control freak. Fail.
  • Even though I didn’t transition out of it, I still failed at doing a bunch of PM stuff properly. Fail.
  • I couldn’t think of new content ideas to save my life. Fail.
  • I lost my focus, my energy, my drive, and my love of what I do (temporarily). Fail.
  • I ate an entire tray of four cinnamon buns and washed them down with an entire bottle of wine. Fail (or… win?).

Cinnamon Bun GIF

I think the important thing to remember here is that cinnamon buns fix all failures until you step on the scale and feel like a failure in an entirely new way. Not as a project manager or a human being, but even worse, a failure of a woman for not fitting into your pants anymore.

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Blog Post Planner: A Free Template to Channel Your Ideas into Awesome Blog Posts

If you’re like me, you sometimes struggle to come up with new ideas to write about. Or, even if you happen to have a decent amount of new ideas, you struggle with getting them down on paper (err… screen) and just writing it all down into some sort of format that makes sense. Fear not, fellow blogger, I got ya covered today.

Free Blog Post Planner Template: Channel Your Ideas into Blog Posts Quickly!

 

I have like 17,000,000 drafts started in WordPress right now, with a title and maybe a one sentence idea of what I wanted to write about so that I’ll remember later when it comes time to actually write a post. I thought that was a good strategy for awhile. And for awhile, it worked.

But I soon realized that my system wasn’t enough to keep me constantly inspired and writing quality shiz for this blog thingy all the time. I felt very accomplished jotting down my headline ideas and rough article ideas, but when the time came to actually write, I was often lost and felt rather meh about it. I spent a lot of time procrastinating (sometimes that can be good because my house is pretty clean now).

There are lots of great blog post planner templates out there to download, so I got some. But I found that a lot of them were kinda what I was already doing – jotting down the gist of your idea, or the headline, and planning those out for the month. But I wasn’t able to find anything that captured all the pieces to think about for each post in a way that was quick and easy to write down, and that still motivated me to actually write the damn post sometime this century.

So I made this template today. Wheeee.

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Boost Your Bounce Rate: How to Block Spam Referrers in Google Analytics (+Free Spam Filter!)

Your bounce rate is an important indicator of your website’s performance and how interesting your target audience finds your content. A high bounce rate, bad. A low bounce rate, good.

Boost Your Bounce Rate: Google Analytics Tutorial

Blocking spam referrers in Google Analytics will cut out the noise and show you your true stats — allowing you to make actionable changes and decisions for your blog or biz to improve your site, retain your audience, and get new leads.

 

But first, let’s tackle the basics.

Psst! Already a seasoned Analytics Nerd? Skip to the good stuff —>

What is a Bounce Rate?

Your bounce rate in Google Analytics refers to the percentage of your website’s visitors who leave your site after visiting only one page.

So, you want to aim for as low a bounce rate as possible. Low bounce rate = more people exploring more than 1 page on your site, meaning they are most likely engaged in your content and liking your shiz.

A high bounce rate is a surefire sign that people aren’t liking your site, or the wrong audience is viewing it.

 

How to Get Your Bounce Rate Low, Low, Low

shorty get low

So blocking spam is a huge way to lower your bounce rate. Cutting out all the spam means that you’ll know the actual stats of your website as it relates to real, live, breathing human beings visiting your site, not crawler robots or phishing scheme drones.

But blocking spam only helps you see the REAL stats of your website. If your bounce rate is still quite high after blocking spam referrers as described in this article, then you need to buckle down and do some serious work.

Maybe it’s just that you’re attracting the wrong audience. Try thinking more about your target audiences, where they hang out, and promote your blog or website there.

The other quite obvious reason is that… well, your shit’s boring. So re-read your articles and look over your website from your target audience’s point of view. Pretend you’re a potential customer or blog reader who has just landed on your site. What do you think of it? What draws you in?

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How to Motivate Your Digital Project Team (Without Booze)

Good digital project management is about more than just getting things done, it’s also about keeping all your stakeholders engaged, on the same page, and generally motivated and happy. That means not just your external stakeholders (clients), but your internal ones as well: your internal project team.

motivate-digital-project-management-team-nerdy-organized2

I truly believe that keeping your internal project team happy and motivated is of the highest importance. Sure, you need to make your client happy too, but you will never be able to accomplish that without your internal peeps.

They are the ones who slave away, making your project a real, living, breathing THING out there in the world. They create LIFE. Then they have to watch their meticulously crafted project baby take its first steps and walk away, out of their lives forever and into the great unknown. It’s like March of the Penguins but with less (more?) crying.

Let’s take a brief pause and applaud the creative talent in our lives.

Applause GIF

So yes, the old expression “Happiness starts from within” — I believe this applies to agencies as well. Without happy, productive, insightful and inspired creative people, no awesome client work is going to get done. Your project team is literally your lifeline.

Now this doesn’t mean fetch them coffee every five minutes or slowly fan them and feed them grapes while they toil away designing, writing or developing your latest web project. Although, personally, I do appreciate when this happens for me. (Hint to any colleagues reading this.)

It means keep them motivated. Keep them engaged. Then client happiness will take care of itself.

But how do you keep a diverse project team motivated and engaged?

I’m so glad you asked. Let’s get started.

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When You Totally Want to Have a Nervous Breakdown But Don’t Have Time

saving-cry-for-help-ecard-someecards

We’ve all been there. It’s one of those jam-packed days, full of demanding requests, urgent tasks, ringing phones, beeping devices and just not enough snacks.

In other words, hell.

Luckily for you, I am an expert in concealing stress levels that border on breakdown territory (not exactly a plus?) and am here to guide you on how to deal with your imminent nervous breakdown when you just don’t have the time to indulge it.

 

Step 1: Remain Uncalm

Your first instinct when trying not to throw items around you in a fit of rage may be to tell yourself to stay calm. Don’t do this. In fact, do the opposite. Be uncalm. Be angry. Think about which items you would most enjoy hurling from your desk and most excitedly, at whom you would like to hurl them. Especially if they aren’t physically present at the moment.

I find this is the most enjoyable part of the exercise. Then later when you see that person, you can respond in a socially acceptable passive aggressive way instead.

Keep-calm-and-hate-everyone

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5 Apps I Can’t Live Without at Work

These days, if you want to check your postal mail but don’t want to get off the couch, there’s probably an app for that. Seems like there’s some easy, quick fix for everything out there, all available for free to 99 cents in the App Store.

Well, these are a few of my favourite apps for getting shit done at work. And when I’m not at work, to record brilliant ideas and things to do when I remember them. Why is it that the best ideas always hit you right before you fall asleep? I used to be like, “Oh yeah I’ll totally remember that one zzzzzzzz” but now I know better, and use these apps to assist my brain… (Actually not really but I am attempting to salvage the lost fragments of my pre-sleeping genius more often.)

 
Evernote-productivity-app-nerdyorganized

Evernote

evernote.com

LOVE this app. I create notebooks for different clients and add ideas, notes, to-dos and interesting things to send to that client into that notebook.

Evernote is great for keeping stuff because it syncs everywhere, but is a lot quicker to use than Google Drive. You can just open the app, write a note and close it. Done. I also use Evernote as a kind of scrapbook — a place to keep interesting articles or bookmarks for work-related things, for future reading or reference. I use the free version and it seems adequate for me, but their paid plans have more features like offline access and searching within documents.

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