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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 August 16, 2018

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

    Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

    Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

    A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

    Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

    In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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    The power of habit

    A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

    For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

    This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

    The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

    That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

    Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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    The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

    Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

    But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

    The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

    The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

    A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

    For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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    But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

    If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

    For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

    These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

    For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

    How to make a reminder works for you

    Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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    Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

    Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

    My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

    Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

    I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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