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10 Ways Blogging Can Improve Your Life

10 Ways Blogging Can Improve Your Life

    Have you ever read a blog and thought about starting one yourself because you could do as good a job? Most of us could benefit from keeping one. Especially those with small business aspirations! I’ve got over 10 blogs but only one of them is public. The rest are kept private and used as a way for me to organise information, access it from anywhere and search my data fast.

    You don’t have to share your blog with the world or anyone at all for that matter. You can keep it private, share it only with a few trusted people or just keep everything as a draft so no one can see your work.

    10 Ways Blogging Can Improve Your Life

    1. Boost your confidence

    Blogging’s easy and anyone can do it. With WordPress or one of the other free blogging platforms and you can have your blog up and running in a few minutes. Anyone who thinks they don’t have the technical or writing skills will gain confidence once they set up a blog and see how easy it is to get started.

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    2. Have fun

    People make jokes about bloggers like this one but I’m not ashamed to say I actually enjoy planning, researching, writing and maintaining my blog. It’s my baby and I can do anything with it I like. It’s not just me who enjoys it either, Chris Brogan wrote a post called I Love My Blog. Blogging really is fun and that’s probably why so many people are getting into it.

    3. Be creative

    We all need a creative outlet and blogging will allow you to explore, expand and experiment with your creative side. Keeping a blog isn’t just for writers either. You can use it to showcase your home improvement projects, paintings or herb garden and record and publish information via podcasts or video if those mediums hold more appeal for you.

    4. Make friends

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    I didn’t start a blog to make friends and never expected to meet people through blogging but it just happens. Some blog visitors naturally relate to your blog content, they identify with you because of it and contact you. Thanks to my blog I’m in touch with people who I’d never have been in contact with otherwise. It still surprises me and the network of people you can engage with through blogging is a global one.

    5. Improve your search engine ranking

    If you have your own website adding a blog and updating it regularly could give you the edge over your competitors because the search engines prefer sites with new content. Of course you need to be writing about the topics your target audience will look for with the search engines to experience this benefit and you the more you write and the longer you keep updating your blog the greater the benefits.

    6. Gain expert status

    If you’re trying to establish a career or launch a new one maintaining a blog can position you as an expert. Having a website and blog is part of the package these days. Even if you want to get featured in the print press the first thing any journalist who wants to find out about you does is use the Internet. You want people who Google you to find your blog and not another website with information you have no control over.

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    7. Earn money

    If you build up a sizeable readership you might be able to create a second income stream from your blog. Don’t give up your day job but if you’re passionate about your topic and believe it’s possible you may well be able to make it happen.

    8. Plan better

    A blog is a brilliant way to plan anything from a business to a book, a wedding to a wake. You could even use one a blog to plan a blog. Here’s how. Most WordPress blogs have a categories section so if you’re collating information you can easily divide it into sections which make it easy for you to browse and locate information. You can then access that information any time from any place as long as you have access to a computer and the Internet. For example, a keen cook could use a blog to organise all her favourite recipes or a teacher could use it to keep ideas for lessons, organise lesson plans and keep notes on students. As a simple system for content management, blogs are invaluable.

    9. Keep your mind active

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    Although you can easily start blogging right now by setting up a simple blog and telling people to visit it, most bloggers take a while to get good at blogging. There’s lots to learn and because the Internet is constantly evolving even professional bloggers who’ve been blogging for five years or longer are still learning new things about it. The good thing is that the learning curve isn’t too steep so you can set up a blog and learn as you go. The skills blogging will teach you such as writing, marketing, networking and computer literacy will come in useful in other areas of your life and constantly learning new things keeps your mind active and engaged.

    10. Share your story

    We all have a story to tell. At the very least blogging is a fabulous way of keeping a journal of your life, art, family, travels, hobbies or studies. It creates a permanent record you can look back on any time. Your kids might even find it interesting to look back on one day. Who knows, maybe the whole world will?

    Blogging hasn’t just changed my life it’s enriched it. It’s changed the lives of well known bloggers like Chris Brogan, Leo Babauta, Brian Clark and Darren Rowse for the better too as well as countless other bloggers both professional and amateur. Are you ready to find out if it can improve your life?

    How do you think blogging could benefit you?

    Image: Leorix

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2019

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

    Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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    1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
    2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
    3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
    4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
    5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
    6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
    7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
    8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
    9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
    10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
    11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
    12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
    13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
    14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
    15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
    16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
    17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
    18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
    19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
    20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
    21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
    22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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