I must confess Nathan and I recently had our annual kid-free weekend away to the Gold Coast to attend the Problogger #pbevent. It was a great opportunity to meet up with friends, stuff our heads full of knowledge and have some much needed time to ourselves. We even stayed an extra night so we could soak everything up and make some plans before we headed back into the chaos of everyday life.

If you ever attend #pbevent or another actionable conference I highly recommend that you do the same, if you can. It really helped me better process our learnings and allow me to plan to take real action.

I must confess it was a very satisfying and fulfilling experience on a number of levels.

So what did I learn at #pbevent? Well I took away some important lessons which I’ve shared at My Home Truths. Essentially I have come home with a new perspective and new priorities based on the sessions I attended at #pbevent.

I have so much to share that this will be the first in a series of posts concentrating on individual sessions.

In this first instalment I share all the wisdom that came from Mr Problogger himself, Darren Rowse.

Making Your Blog Shine #pbevent - www.smarterhappier.com

3 ways to make your blog SHINE

Darren Rowse’s first day keynote was all about making your blog shine. He asked attendees these questions:

How are YOU? Drawing on recent experience, Darren made the point that your personal wellbeing is closely intertwined with the wellbeing of your blog. He suggested concentrating on the following areas of personal wellbeing to improve overall health and creativity: movement (getting up and moving your body); connections (really connecting with people in real life not just online); diet (you are what you eat); rest (ensuring you’re not starving yourself of sleep); and getting input, otherwise known as filling your cup (reading, learning and processing new ideas in order to generate your own). Focusing on these areas of wellbeing have already helped him become more focused, more productive and more creative in the last few months and could do the same for all of us.

What is your WHY? Having a clear purpose is just as important to you and to your blog as the physical aspects above. Purpose impacts on every facet of life and can mean the difference between giving up or moving forward. Purposeful blogging is important – you may need to refocus your WHY to keep on track. Your WHY gives direction to your HOW and to your WHAT. It provides motivation and helps in decision making by allowing you to properly filter opportunities. You cannot make your blog shine if you don’t know why you are blogging in the first place.

How are you using your TIME? Knowing your why gets you started but HOW you spend your time gets you to your destination. This hit a nerve for many of us but luckily Darren provided a 7 step plan to better using your time:

  • Analyse how you really spend your time. It will hurt to learn how long you really do spend on social media but apps such as Rescue Time can do just that. You want to maximise your creativity and productivity and minimise distractions.
  • Once you’ve done this, filter the results through your ‘why’ and your goals. This allows you to start consciously using your time more productively. Darren made the point that in ten years time you’re going to remember what you’ve created not what you responded to. So adjust your priorities so you can spend more time creating and less time responding
  • Design your ideal schedule. This can be done in Google Calendars or in any sort of calendar or schedule format. Then set an alarm to remind you to change activity and keep to your schedule.
  • Develop workflows and processes and document them. The benefits of systemisation are many – it can decrease overwhelm; allow you to master new skills; increase your effectiveness; create good habits; help with outsourcing as well as eliminating necessary decision making (such as what to wear, eat and work on each day).
  • Automate systems where possible. For instance investigate tools such as Meet Edgar, CoSchedule, Buffer etc to automate blog and social media posting. Make the low value, routine tasks work for you.
  • Outsource systems where possible. Look at where you create the most value and consider outsourcing the least valuable and routine tasks where you can.
  • Find tools to keep you on track (such as Wunderlist, Fantastical and Evernote). Ensure the tools you choose fit in with your systems and habits to make the most of your time.

Darren’s talk was practical, inspirational and very timely for me in particular. Here are the steps I have already taken to make my blog shine:

  1. Prior to injuring my knee I was actively ramping up my exercise. Although I can’t do that right now I have already seen the benefits of exercise on my creativity and peace of mind and have substituted my previous efforts with physio and rehab exercises to achieve a similar result.
  2. I have refocused my why. At My Home Truths I’ll be actively concentrating on helping people – helping fellow time-poor parents, special needs parents and people wanting to share their truths. Here at Smarter Happier I’ll be documenting my progress and my learnings with you as I move towards a smarter and happier life. And at Double Scoop I want to concentrate on launching my business and building up my trust and credibility with potential clients.
  3. I have set up a schedule in Google Calendar. I plan on blogging twice a week at My Home Truths and once a week here and at Double Scoop. I feel this is a manageable load given I want to shift my focus onto paid client work. We have also started using Wunderlist as a family. It allows you to share tasks and appointments, assign responsibility and comment on the progress of each task, which is a very useful tool for a busy family of 5.

It’s going to take time to make lasting change but I’m proud that we’ve at least made a start. I will be having a go with Rescue Time this coming week and, in the spirit of confessing I’ll let you know how I go (I think it’s going to be NASTY…)

Did you go to #pbevent? What was your main takeaway from Darren’s keynote?