The Blog or Business Challenge: Week 41

The Blog or Business Challenge: Week 41

The blog or business challenge: if you homeschool and blog or own a business, too, this week's challenge is for you! In just a few simple steps, you'll find you have more time for what matters most.Whether you blog or own a business, this is the week to get organized! If neither apply to you, spend time on a previous challenge you skipped (check them out at the bottom of the post). If your calling is to do more than homeschool (and let’s face it, that’s more than enough!), you need to put systems in place to save your sanity. I know I do! So let’s get started.

#1 Pray about your purpose

I have had many times in my life when I was chasing after the wrong outlet for my writing and speaking passion or I was seeking the right thing in the wrong season. God has made His purpose for me clear at those times when I began with prayer. Sometimes I sensed His leading as I read Scripture or as I prayed, but most often His purpose was confirmed for me through talking with my husband and friends who have similar goals.

I want to encourage you that God’s plan for your blog or business is always good–even if the plan is wait. If you have little ones, I know you’ve heard it thousands of times, but it’s true. You will have more time for your business when babies grow up. And they do. Trust me.

When you know what your purpose is, record the reasons for your ultimate goal and review them daily. Research shows that if you not only write your goal but visualize yourself working toward it and achieving it, you’re significantly more likely to succeed.

#2 Identify the 20%

You may have heard of Pareto’s principle–that 20% of what you do gives you 80% of the results. Knowing what those are and limiting yourself to them when you don’t have a lot of extra time (and when do you?) will make your blogging or business so much less stressful.

I recently read The One Thing by Gary Keller. Gary takes Pareto’s principle one step further to ask us what is the one thing we could do in our blog or business that would make everything else easier or even unnecessary. Let me give you some examples of how this works in my blogging. First, my number one traffic source is Pinterest. That is the one thing I want to devote time to to grow my blog. It makes determining whether I want to invest in an expensive course to grow my Facebook following much easier. My purpose for my blog is to grow an audience for the language arts curriculum I am developing. What’s the one thing I can do to make my goal of selling that curriculum a reality? Right now, it’s WRITING the curriculum. I keep getting sidetracked by all these great link-ups and ideas for posts and opportunities to contribute to other books. But will those things help me do the one thing that matters most in my business? No.

I hired Jimmie Lanley to consult with me on my blog and business and she was worth quadruple what I paid her, because she helped me identify the 20% in my blogging. If you need help determining your 20%, contact her. I interviewed Jimmie about making blogging a business as well. Be sure to give it a listen (I recommend listening in the shower with this great speaker).

What is the one thing that will make everything else easier or unnecessary in your blog or business?

#3 Identify time savers

Using the same one-thing idea, what is the one thing you can do that would make the most time for your blog or business? It probably isn’t an app or plug-in. For me, it was restructuring my school day so I had time to write in the early afternoon when I have the most energy. I explained this when I shared 6 Habits for Getting More Done. Saving five minutes here or there is nice, but that kind of time management is unlikely to have the effect you’re looking for on your business. Think big! Could you hire help? Delegate? Drop out of activities? 

Now that I know what my one thing is, it’s much easier for me to identify time savings BEFORE I commit to something new. You may need to return to prayer and discussion for help with this. And don’t discount the kids! Depending on their ages, they may be able to tell you what you can let go of where they’re concerned.

#4 Time block

Once you know what your one thing is for your blog or business and you’ve eliminated activities to make room for it, put time for it on your calendar. I’ve written about how useful time blocking is for me before, but I’m enjoying the benefits of it even more now that I’ve completed the previous three steps. I am committed to writing my curriculum from 1-3 p.m. daily.

But what about interruptions? I have conflicts with my afternoon writing time on some days and I do have six other people still living at home who interrupt me. Actually, my college student likes to interrupt me with phone calls, too, but I honestly don’t mind! I need to make it clear that this is my business time, however. I learned keeping an interrupter’s log, how much of a problem this is for me. When I can’t write from 1-3, I move the time around. If I can’t write for two hours, I commit to writing SOMETHING that day. I’m using Jerry Seinfield’s “Don’t break the chain” method to meet my goal and it’s working fabulously. I don’t like using an app for this purpose (surprisingly), but am just putting an X on my wall calendar.

When are you going to commit time to the one thing that will make your blog or business more successful? Put it on your calendar and let your family know you’re not to be disturbed unless the bleeding won’t stop. (Yes, I’m joking. But if you’d like to write a lengthy comment about what a terrible mother I am, I would enjoy deleting it.)

I’d love to hear if this challenge helps you get more of what you want out of your blog or business! And of course, I’d love for you to follow me on Pinterest. My Blogging Inspiration and Organization & Productivity boards may be of interest to you.

Visit Dr. Melanie Wilson @psychowith6’s profile on Pinterest.

Here is the October 2014 Organized Homeschool Calendar and a list of previous week’s challenges:October 2014 Organized Homeschool Calendar

Organized Homeschool Challenge

Week 1: Daily Devotions Challenge

Week 2: Daily Routine Challenge

Week 3: To-Do List Challenge

Week 4: Memory Keeping Challenge

Week 5: The Decluttering Challenge

Week 6: The Organized Computer Challenge

 Week 7: The Marriage of Your Dreams Challenge

Week 8: The Confident Parent Challenge

Week 9: The Extended Family Challenge

Week 10: The Bring on the Spring Challenge

Week 11: The Spring Cleaning Challenge

Week 12: The Organized Easter Challenge

Week 13: The Serve the Church Challenge

Week 14: The Chore Challenge

Week 15: The Organize Your Finances Challenge

Week 16: The Curriculum Challenge

Week 17: The Friendship Challenge

Week 18: The Family Celebrations Challenge

Week 19: The Organized Clothing Challenge

Week 20: The Organized Vacation Challenge

Week 21: The Organized Summer Challenge

Week 22: The Outdoor Activity Challenge

Week 23: The Used Curriculum Challenge

Week 24: The Homeschool Space Challenge

Week 25: The Goal Setting Challenge

Week 26: The Homeschool Planning Challenge

Week 27: The Bible Time Challenge

Week 28: The Special Study Prep Challenge

Week 29: The Extra-Curricular Challenge

Week 30: The Core Curriculum Prep Challenge

Week 31: The Elective Curriculum Challenge

Week 32: The Back to School Challenge

Week 33: The Fall Bucket List Challenge

Week 34: The Organized Bedroom Challenge

Week 35: The Clean Out the Pantry Challenge

Week 36: The Meal Planning Challenge

Week 37: The Grocery Shopping Challenge

Week 38: The Organized Kitchen Challenge

Week 39: The Freezer Cooking Challenge

Week 40: The Hospitality Challenge

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How to Make Blogging a Business

How to Make Blogging a Business

blogging, business, monetizing, podcast, Jimmie LanleyI had the pleasure of interviewing Jimmie Lanley for The Homeschool Sanity podcast. I continue to be inspired by what I learned from her about growing my blog and using Google+. Be sure to listen in if you’ve ever thought about blogging or using social media to build a business. Don’t worry about trying to write down the many helpful links she mentions. They’re in the show notes linked above!

You’ll appreciate her words of wisdom, even if you’ve been blogging for a while. Even better, she is offering free copies of a fantastic ebook for taking your blog to the next level to three readers. Scroll down to enter. Want to purchase the book instead? You can find it at iBlogTheBook.com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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To Blog or Not To Blog

To Blog or Not To Blog

“Should I quit blogging?” is a popular Google search term. I’ve wrestled with and prayed about whether or not blogging is the best use of my writing time. After all, that time is in limited supply! In weeding through my Google Reader this weekend, I discovered that many of my friends quit blogging two or three years ago.

Even though I would be in good company if I quit, I have determined to give blogging my best effort for the next six months and then decide the future based on the results. Given that decision, I thought it was interesting that my blog is being featured today on ChicnSavvyReviews. I completed a questionnaire for Kelsey about why I blog and what I hope to gain from blogging some time ago, but I find that it still applies.

Check out Kelsey’s blog and if you’re a blogger, where do you see your blog a year from now?

P.S. ProBlogger is running a series this week focusing on the biggest blog dilemmas. See you there!

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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The Great Thing About Not Being Great

The Great Thing About Not Being Great

© Photographer Jyothi | Agency: Dreamstime.com

I have always been a sucker for appeals to my desire to be great.

I love it when my friends or family tell me that someday I could get my big break and write a best seller, become a top blogger, or command huge speaking fees.

I love it because I have never given up that childhood dream of being a star.

Apparently, I’m not alone because there are industries making millions on dreamers like me. Consider the number of books, seminars, agents, and services that cater to people who believe that they can make it big as writers, singers, actors, models, athletes, or entrepeneurs.

Lately as I’ve pondered my future as a writer and speaker (and even as a tennis player), I’ve had to admit, “I will never be great.”

Acknowledging that fact seems like a sad admission (even though it’s long overdue), but it’s actually given me much joy. Why?

The people that I consider to be the greatest of all have suffered the most.

I’m currently reading Evidence Not Seen: A Woman’s Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II By Darlene Deibler Rose. As I read these compelling words and think about writing an equally compelling book, I know I don’t want to. I’m not even halfway through the book, and this saintly woman has had everything taken from her, including her husband. I don’t desire the suffering required to be that great.

I’m reminded of a mother who wanted to be great vicariously–by having her sons reign with the Lord:

 “What is it you want?” he asked.

She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.”

“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” (Matthew 20:21-22)

When I have sought to be great, I didn’t know what I was asking either.

I didn’t know I was asking to sacrifice time with my family, sleep, leisure time, relaxed time with friends, my privacy, freedom from many temptations, and most certainly my humility. Like this misguided mother, I have misunderstood the cost of greatness and despite having it right in front of me, I have asked for something more.

Our small group at church is doing this Bible study: H2O: A Journey of Faith (DVD Curriculum). I can’t recommend it enough. The pastor was sharing the truth that no matter how much more of something we think we want, we can be sure that it won’t be enough. The pursuit of greatness is, as Solomon tells us in Scripture, a meaningless existence. The truth of that finally sunk in. I’m sure you’re wondering what took so long!

At last I’m done with the “success” blogs, books, and webinars and I am no longer seeking to be great.  

Don’t look for me at Wimbledon, on Technorati’s top blogs, or on the New York Times Best Sellers List. Instead, look for me on the tennis court with the kids, here on this obscure blog where I get to pour out my heart each week, and at the feet of Jesus.

At His feet, I will be praying that He will be great in your life and mine.

How about you? Do you still dream of being great? How would you feel if you gave up that dream?

 

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The Little Reason You Shouldn’t Quit Blogging

The Little Reason You Shouldn’t Quit Blogging

If you’re a blogger, have you ever wondered:

  • If you’re wasting your time blogging?
  • If what you write really matters?
  • If blogging is the best way to reach your goals?

I have!

I’ve looked at my social media stats and I’ve wondered if I could save time saying things that no one pays attention to by just talking to my family–and skipping the blogging.

The cricket chirping sound really shouldn’t bother me. As a booklet and freelance writer, I never received immediate feedback on my work from anyone but my mom. Thanks, Mom!

Blogging without feedback though (comments, shares, and likes) feels eerily like getting chosen last by the team captain for the sport du jour when I was a kid: bad. Really bad. This experience motivated thousands of students to GRADUATE.

And so I have considered graduating from blogging to hobbies that have a higher rate of return–hobbies like baking. I make the occasional inedible bomb, but for the most part my family and guests rave, “Amazing! Delicious! Can I have the recipe?” My online concoctions rarely receive these five-star ratings. (Before anyone suggests that I blog about my recipes, I need to admit that they’re not mine. They’re AllRecipes‘.)

A Reason to Quit

The lack of readers isn’t the real reason I’ve considered quitting, however. I haven’t been promoting my blog for long at all. I haven’t dedicated the time it takes to build a following. If I am patient and build my blog, they will come. I think.

The real reason I’ve considered quitting is because I didn’t think blogging was big enough.

I’m an author. I self-published the book, So You’re Not Wonder Woman, that I recently learned has sales in the top 20% of all published books (never mind that that’s because 80% sell fewer than 100 copies). Books seem like a big deal to me. My life has been changed by books. My faith in God grew by leaps and bounds in reading George Mueller’s The Life of Trust; Being a Narrative of the Lord’s Dealings With George Müller. My health was restored through the book, A More Excellent Way w/ DVD. And my fears diminished when I read The Christian’s Secret to a Happy Life
I want to write life-changing books. That seems bigger than blogging to me.

I’m a speaker. I wish I had a total number of people I’ve spoken to with in-person events, radio, and TV combined. It might seem somewhat impressive. Regardless of the number, speaking is big to me. My life has been changed by speakers. Becky Tirabassi convinced me to read the entire Bible and pray daily in her Change Your Life seminar. Ken Ham and Dr. Carl Werner gave me confidence that the Bible is true from the first chapter. Beth Moore helped me see the difference between believing in God and believing Him. I want to be a life-changing speaker. That seems bigger than blogging to me.

Why I’ve Been Held Back

Despite the fact that I’m a bit shy of 10,000 blog followers and that I have bigger, more important opportunities (the kids want to know what’s for lunch), I’ve persisted in this little, unimportant, everybody’s-doing-it hobby/business/addiction called blogging. Why?

Because John Piper is right.

It is sentences that change my life, not books.

The sentences in A More Excellent Way w/ DVD about the connection between woundedness and illness changed my life–not the whole book. Becky Tirabassi’s repeated admonition to spend time daily with the living, loving God changed my life–not the whole seminar. And though I have doubted that what I’ve written or said could possibly change others’ lives in the same way, people come to me with sentences from my book, my seminars, and my blog. They repeat them to me with meaningful looks and I try to remember sharing them.

The words that we string together, whether in a book, a speech, or a blog are big to someone–even if that’s just your mom. That’s the little reason you and I shouldn’t quit blogging.

Someone who may not comment or tweet or share or “like” you may take one little sentence from one of your posts that you wrote when you wondered if your blog even matters and may be TRANSFORMED.

That is why I blog. And maybe it’s why you do, too.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much (Luke 16:10a).

P.S. Have you thought about giving up blogging? Have you ever been surprised by the big impact of something little you’ve written?

Photo Credit

 

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15 Minutes Outside: Weeks 9 & 10

15 Minutes Outside: Weeks 9 & 10


I’ll admit it. I’ve been bad. I’ve been doing a series on my personal blog, psychowith6, chronicling my attempts at spending 15 minutes a day with the kids outside. It’s really supposed to be interacting with the kids and not me doing what I want outside while the kids happen to be there, too. That’s the problem!

What’s a Personal Blog?

A second problem I’ve had is keeping up with three blogs in addition to six kids. I’ve tried to keep this blog more professional than personal. I’ve realized that this is more than just a time management problem. You probably aren’t reading this blog simply to get information, but to interact with me on various topics. What’s great about that is that’s what I want too. Just as I don’t want to be outside with my kids doing my own thing, I don’t want to hang out here in cyber space not getting to know you better.

So Not Wonder Woman is going to be a personal blog. I have no idea when or even how I will make the switch over, but if you’re a friend or family member who only catches up with me on psychowith6, I hope you’ll subscribe to Not Wonder Woman or will “Like” me on Facebook to get updates. What will you get if you subscribe to this blog? I don’t know yet. We can both be surprised! One thing I do know is that I have a great meal planning ebook in the works and you’ll probably get it free if you’re on my list.

What’d You Do Outside?

Week 9 was honestly spent running around getting ready to go on vacation to our favorite place: Gulf Shores, Alabama. I was outside cleaning the van we call Air Force One with the kids and getting it wired up to become our rolling entertainment center. It was our first time taking the new van to Alabama and we loved it. Maybe too much. I wonder if we were so comfortable that we blissfully drove an hour in the wrong direction on the way back home. Whoops!

The 15 Minutes Outside Challenge has been such a challenge that I spent time on the beach figuring out the problem. I don’t have a plan! It’s become another “What’s for Dinner?” dilemma each day. My intention is to create a great list of things to do outside with the kids. I’ve also signed up for Streakly to motivate me to create a long streak of consecutive days with time outside with the kids. I’ll let you know how it goes. Now to Week 10.

Week 10


The kids, the beach, and my camera–a perfect recipe for a delicious time outside. This is Nick, my baby, and he’s a character. He reminds me of his Grandpa Jack with his curly hair and easy-going personality.


This is my photogenic daughter, Elaina. I got a lot of gorgeous shots of her and will be using them in future posts I’m sure. Unfortunately, she got a really bad sunburn the first day on the beach. That seems to happen every year no matter what we do.

The rays that kept swimming up and down the beach were new this year. We aren’t sure if they are sting rays or manta rays or even if they were dangerous, but there were people who seemed to enjoy being the warning system, telling us they were on their way.

I absolutely love this photo. There’s just one problem. My oldest son, Caleb, is missing. He had to stay with his aunt and uncle so he could be home to take his AP exams. I tried to work it out so he could join us, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. It’s a sign of things to come I’m afraid.

How’s this for spending time with the kids outside? We took a dolphin cruise and this was one of the sweet critters who surfed the boat’s wake.

Have you been getting outside with the kids? Or just getting outside?

 

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