I’ve written in the past about the daily tasks for me, blogging with WordPress, and I stumbled upon ProBlogger’s A Day in the Life of a ProBlogger. And I learned a lot.
What I learned is that I don’t have the “think time” like Darren describes in his day. This time is critical for clearing the head and allowing the creative inner spirit to be heard, as well as time for mulling over ideas and thoughts until they rise to the top in some coalescent form that may make a brilliant blog post.
I really think that “think time” is highly underrated and we need more of it. While living in the Middle East, I would walk the streets of Tel Aviv for one to two hours, often taking time to swim in the Mediterranean before the pollution levels got too ugly. Walking was about exercise but it became something else, something much stronger. I was alone I would listen to the news on the radio and just let my thoughts wander where they may. If I was with a friend, we’d discuss whatever topic was foremost on our minds, covering a wide horizon of babble, and beat a subject to death between the two of us as we unraveled its mysteries.
This mental stimulation is necessary for the brain to stay active and energized. Since returning to the lazy and stagnant ways of the United States, my walking time is now down to 20-30 minutes, though I’m starting to train again for a marathon this Spring, so the work out time will rise.
Still, I find myself thinking mundane thoughts and not inspired thoughts now.
Part of the problem is the lack of a “fellow thinker”. I noticed Darren includes “outside” time to get away from the computer and see, as well as talk, to other people. Where I live is close to the city but thousands of miles away from the city life and community. When I go out for my daily walks, I find my mind battling with the stress associated with life, hurricanes, family, and work. I find myself thinking of grocery lists, scheduling time for laundry, cooking, cleaning, and totally necessary but mundane thoughts around activities that seem to assault me from every side as I feel like I’m constantly playing catch up.
For the previous five years, I had a schedule. My grocery list was pretty specific and redundant, so I didn’t give these much thought. Since returning, these things are more random and unscheduled events in my life. I clearly need a better schedule.
Yet, since April, every time I think I have a schedule in place, everything changes because of a hurricane, business trip, family trip, or…well, the list of interruptions is long this year.
Creating a consistent schedule is clearly necessary to enforce time for thinking and cogitating, as Darren points out.
I intentionally clear this space for myself each day as ‘dreaming’ time because it is very easy just to get caught up in the micro level of updating a blog/s and not spend any time looking at the bigger picture. I use this time to set goals, plan new projects, think about ways of improving what i do. If I’m really busy (or really inspired) I’ll take my laptop down to the cafe with me to write or wade through the emails that are piling up but I try to keep this time each day as non online time – partly for my own sanity but partly because it gives me a bit of perspective.
So more dream time for me.
I also learned that connection and interaction with other bloggers is critical. Not only is this stimulation for material, it helps to keep up with what is going on in other blogger’s lives and work. It also helps to keep up with the technology around you, and nothing keeps you better informed than a techno-geek friend.
This year was definitely the year for feeds. Seeing how Darren keeps up with his feeds for resource material for his blogs is a great example of the power feeds have for users. I’m certainly reliant upon them.
Monitoring your traffic isn’t about counting the number of visitors. It is about analyzing how your pages are doing, how long people are staying on your blog, which topics are of the most interest, and where do people come from as well as to where do they leave. Darren describes frequently checking his stats to keep an eye on how things are going, constantly tweaking the material he writes about as well as his advertising plans.
In a recent article, DYI Search Engine Optimzation, I list a few free blog statistics tools to help you monitor your blog stats and traffic, keeping an eye not only on how you are doing, but what you are doing, crucial information for serious bloggers and website administrators.
I have written before about my daily tasks and handling comment spam and administrative tasks with WordPress, but until reading Darren’s post, I hadn’t thought out an entire day’s structure. Honestly, it all works together to create a creative and productive environment.
I hope his article and my comments will motivate you to think about how you blog, why you blog, and how you schedule your day and life around blogging to become more productive as well as more calm and organized. I’m definitely going to start out this new year with a new mind set to create some structure in my chaotic life, looking for stability and familiarity not distractions and tangents.
How about you?