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A spirit of overwhelm and disorganization can capture your attention and prevent you from accomplishing your goals. That’s a fact. I want to tell you a bit about my blogging journey and the strategies I used to kick that feeling of overwhelm to the curb.
In March 2017, I finally decided to invest money into blogging by renewing my domain name and purchasing a hosting package from Siteground (after a ton of research), and armed myself with Suzi Whitford’s course Blog By Number. I already owned my domain name, because I felt the Lord calling me to blogging 2 years earlier, but I let fear stop me. That’s another story. Anyhow, I expected that I would be able to get my blog up in 15 minutes because that’s what just about every blogger I followed had said in the thousands of blogging posts I read. I’m fairly technically inclined so I knew it would look awesome because I somewhat had a vision in my mind of what I wanted it to look like, and then I could just write to my heart’s content. Are any of those ideas familiar to you?
Well, that’s not entirely accurate as to what really happened. By this time in my blogging journey, I was already feeling overwhelmed.
Schedule Focused Training Time
Have you ever heard how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Seems simple, doesn’t it. Set your expectations that there is a lot to learn about the blogging world. That is true. You are probably not going to master everything in a few days or even a week. Take an hour or two every week and go through a good basic blogging course, chapter by chapter. I started dedicating an hour or two every week to training in a specific topic, and practiced putting what I learned into practice.
Suzi’s course was awesome and gave me what I needed to get going, within my small budget. It didn’t answer the gazillion questions I had 8 months into my journey, but that’s okay because in all honesty, I wasn’t ready for indepth training in the beginning. It gave me a wonderful, clear overview, and step-by-step instructions for how to get up and running so I could begin my blogging journey.
BUT… I realized pretty quickly that there was so much more to learn, and I became even more overwhelmed. The reality is, that for me, Suzi’s course was just the right size for me to begin with and it gave me a solid foundation to grow from, but as time went on, I needed more.
The other training resources I purchased in my first year was an e-book called By His Grace We Blog and the Genius Blogger’s Toolkit, which only comes on once a year in the Fall. You have to wait for it, but when it comes out, you need to grab it. It’s only for sale for about a week and then you have to wait a year. It’s always very inexpensive and includes thousands of dollars in training and resources. It has enough training to get you through an entire year of learning.
I also joined a few blogging FaceBook groups so that I could see as others posted questions and answers, plus it was another avenue I could ask my questions of more experienced bloggers.
Breaking the training down into bite-size pieces helped me to manage my learning better, and gave me more confidence in what I was doing with my blog. This one step helped me to calm down some because I allowed myself to learn at my own pace and gave myself the tools to do it.
I Purchased a Drag and Drop Theme called Divi
As I told you in an earlier post, I REALLY struggled trying to learn all the coding required for WordPress. I was working full-time so I didn’t have hours and hours to devote to it, but literally, every extra moment I had, I was trying to learn how to turn my site into the vision that was in my brain. After SEVERAL WEEKS of pulling my hair out, I finally went with Suzi’s suggestion to purchase Elegant Theme’s Divi theme. I know, I can be a slow learner sometimes. Haha!
That purchase was probably one of MY MOST FAVORITE blogging purchases made (well, except for my Siteground hosting, and the various trainings, and well… okay. I admit it. I’m partial to all of the blogging purchases I’ve made so far. Several weeks into my journey, I was finally able to turn my website into exactly what I wanted. The Divi theme is essentially, drag and drop. There isn’t any coding required other than adding specific header codes and such. It tells you exactly where to put it though. It’s pretty easy at this point.
It saved my sanity and time! It’s extremely flexible and you can change your colors, images, backgrounds, fonts, logo, and the total look and feel, simply by clicking your mouse. It’s pretty amazing to me. If I want to rebrand my site, it’s pretty easy to do it with Divi.
The down side to the Divi theme as I understand it, is that it gets complicated to change themes if you ever want to leave Elegant Themes. I’m not sure why I would ever want to leave though. It simply has too many wonderful options that they are constantly improving and adding too. The flexibiity is truly amazing. So being STUCK with DIVI is not even a thought in my brain right now.
I’m going to tell you, that single purchase lowered my feelings of overwhelm, tremendously. It didn’t totally make the overwhelm go away, but it certainly diminished those feelings a great deal.
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I Gave Myself a Dedicated Office Space
Since I was working full-time, I was a disorganized mess when I started, which made me even more overwhelmed. I operate at my best when there is a plan in place, and at least a minimum level of organization to my desk. We had recently moved into a new home on a full unfinished basement. The plan was to finish the basement and then I would get my dedicated office space. I was working on my laptop in the middle of the living room, at the kitchen table. With the tv going, and also people (my family) living here too, it was difficult to focus and get anything done.
Just an FYI…a year later and we still haven’t started the basement but I’m hoping by Summer. We shall see…
Okay, so what did I do about this. I literally rearranged my bedroom and gave myself a small desk in the corner. Well, I may be exaggerating a bit. It wasn’t a desk. In the basement, I found a foyer table that I wasn’t using in the new house. Yep. It became my temporary desk. I created a blogging notebook and calendar so that I could get organized, and by the end of the day, I had my own little home office space. Just by giving myself a few useful tools and a semi-private space that I could work in quiet, totally helped my overwhelm.
But what I didn’t know back then was how important it was, not just to make a plan, but actually FOLLOW to it. Back then, it was so difficult to follow my plan.
Lower Your Expectations
There are so many different blogging world things to learn about, that I started feeling like I had to LEARN IT ALL NOW.
So I read everything I could. I pinned all kinds of posts about all kinds of different blogging topics. I mean there is social media marketing and practices, like Facebook, Instagram, StumbleUpon, Google+, and Pinterest (which is actually not social media, but a search engine). Then there are tools you can use to carry out your posting schedule.
Then there’s SEO (search engine optimization) and how that can greatly impact how you are found on the WWW, and driving traffic. Then there’s photo creation, finding, and editing portion of blogging. I didn’t even mention figuring out all the plug-ins to make your site function how you want it to. If I didn’t list enough, no problem! Then there’s EVEN MORE!
I’m also not going to mention the gazillion distractions that come up in my home with husband and kids, or even my 47 tabs that are currently opened in my browser.
Are you catching my feeling of overwhelm now?
Okay. Deep breath in through your nose and count slowly. 1-2-3-4-5. Breathe out slowly through your mouth. 1-2-3-4-5. Slowly breathe in again. 1-2-3-4-5. Now, slowly let it go out. 1-2-3-4-5.
We have to combat the overwhelm and end rabbit trails, by setting expectations and creating a plan of attack. Create an actual schedule with goals, and finally stick to it.
If that’s an area you struggle, I can help you with that. Start with small goals and get some form of accountability in place. Unfortunately, in the blogging world, we set our own deadlines… which of course, we know are flexible. But are they really?
More to come…
So, Sign up for this series so you will be notified when Part 3 is posted. It’s a good one.
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