Blogging in 2021 – Sharing My Stats 6 Months In

Well, I know blogging is not a get rich quick method and it takes time, patience, and strategy to truly develop a quality blog that people trust and go to for tips and advice. I’ve also researched the importance of developing a niche that helps Google give you domain authority over that niche. However, my blog is more of an opportunity to share my voice and things I’ve learned with others. It also gives me an outlet to write about the things on my mind and almost use it as a journal of sorts.

I wanted to share some of the stats I have had since February 2021 when I first started publishing posts on this blog. Although I have been working on learning Search Engine Optimization (SEO), I still have so far to go. I know many bloggers get exceptional returns through the wonderful world of Pinterest marketing, but I have not mastered that yet either. I am proud of how far I have come in this process considering I was finishing grad school and working 2 part-time jobs when I started. In the last 6 weeks, I have been working at least full time in one job and consulting still with the other.

Now that I have an upcoming new adventure with a ten day quarantine, I feel like this is the perfect time to reflect on what is working and try to amp up the posts and marketing even more. I can use the time for self care and get one step closer to reaching my ultimate goals. Also, consider this an encouragement for any of you out there still blogging away waiting for those page views to go up.

Here are my page view and visitor insights:

As you can see from the green shading in the chart, May and June were the months with the most page views. I even hit 1,000 in May, which was amazing. At that time, I was gaining steam in posting consistently about 10 times a month or so. As you can see in August, the posts took a dip as did the page views. At the time of this current blog post, I have 210 people following my blog (THANK YOU FOR STICKING WITH ME!). In theory, that means if I posted 10 times a month now, and every person clicked on each post (not just in the reader view, but actually click on my blog post), then I should be reaching 2,000 views for the month. And that doesn’t include all the people who may find the post and then not subscribe to the blog itself.

Now, onto the money side of things with Word Ads. I do have that enabled, but you don’t actually get paid from WordPress until you earn $100. Additionally, I can’t apply for other ad programs like MediaVine until I have many more page views. It’s a goal, so I will report back when I do reach that milestone.

So far, my total earnings from blogging in 2021through August are $6.67. My best month was June, when my average CPM was $0.54. This is great for me now, but once I’m able to partner with bigger advertisers, that will be in the $7-$30 range hopefully.

I’m still going to continue to develop and find my niche, but for now, I enjoy what I’m learning and sharing it with you all in the process!

3 Ways to Respectfully Say No to New Projects or Commitments When You Want to Say Yes

So you want to say no to new projects. Do you feel guilty saying no when someone asks you to do something at work or a favor from a friend? Do you say yes even when you don’t want to so you won’t let someone down? It’s easy to say yes because you feel like you have to, but true reflection is necessary to decide which things are worth saying yes to. And sometimes you may think you’re saying no to something, but your message comes across as ambivalent and you feel it’s too late to back out at that point.

I was just having a conversation today with a friend who thought she said no to something, but still got an excited email about continuing to be part of a project. I had her read me the initial message she sent and let her know that it indeed did not come across as a no as she intended. She ran her response by me to check that it was clear and the new tone of the message was still friendly and encouraging, yet set a clear boundary on participation in the project.

Now, this blog post will focus on generic ways to respectfully say no, but I’m happy to write new posts catering to both professional and personal life boundaries. Before saying flat out “no” to an opportunity, gathering, meeting, or project, it is okay to ask clarifying questions. For example, about 6 months ago I was asked to take on a 4-5 month consulting project. It would have been an awesome learning opportunity for me, but I already had 2 part-time commitments and was completing my final semester of grad school. Part of my response included:


I feel confident in my abilities to meet the requirements of the position, but I want to make sure I have a clear understanding of the expectations and relative time commitment.

After the response became clear that this would be a 20-30 hour per week commitment, I knew that I could not add that to my workload. I really wanted to say yes and do it, but I also wanted to make sure that I could carry out the responsibilities to the level of competence I wish to display. And this comes from previous experiences where I did overload myself and not perform to the best of my abilities.

Discerning when and how to say yes and no to opportunities is a lifelong practice of finding balance in your life. There is not necessarily a one size fits all method to this. I was listening in to a conversation on Clubhouse last night and someone said that it’s easier to start with no and change to yes later than to say yes to everything and have to eventually say no.

Here are 3 ways to respectfully say no to new projects and manage your time effectively.


Say no to new projects: Ask them to check in at a later time

This strategy works if the ask is something you’re possibly interested in saying yes to, but just don’t have the time at the moment to commit or to learn more about it. Your schedule is packed and you just can’t imagine taking on one new thing. Say you are not available at this time, but they can check back in with you in XX number of weeks or months. And if the person follows up and it comes back around and you still cannot commit, clearly state that unfortunately, you will not be able to take on this project or endeavor. Here is a sample of what I would say:

Thank you so much for reaching out to me about this opportunity. I am interested in this possible partnership, but unfortunately cannot commit at this time. Will you check back with me in 3 months if you are still interested in collaborating?

say no to new projects
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2.Express support in other ways

Now, this is the response that my friend used to make her no clear to the people in the email thread. She was truly excited about the project idea, which was expressed in the initial communications. However, she didn’t want to be one of the main people involved in the idea creation and the day to day of the project. This was a time she needed to say no to new projects.

So she sent a nice message back stating she was fully cheering them on in this opportunity, but could not take an active role. However, she left room for them to check back in if they had a specific task related to her area of expertise. Therefore, she was not committed in any way, but could offer support on very specific items if time permits later and there is a need.

3. Suggest an alternative

This is a great comprise “no” answer. Perhaps you don’t have the time or capacity to take something on, but you know someone who is. Check with that other person and then make the recommendation or connection. Personally, I like to check in with my contact before sending the other person to them that way I know if they are truly interested in the opportunity. It also creates a more positive interaction for everyone involved.

Maybe you want to say yes, but you can’t commit to 2 hour weekly check-in meetings. Clearly define your boundaries and say that you would be available to meet every other week or once a month. It is much better to set those boundaries up front from an overly cautious time commitment and then later decide to become move involved if you are able to do so.

In order to properly provide an alternative to whatever the ask is, it’s important to continue to build up your social and professional network. Take advantage of opportunities to meet with others in your field and areas of expertise.

At the end of the day, if something is a definite no for you, make that clear in your response and wish the person well. You don’t necessarily owe an explanation and this is something I’m working on. I feel the need to justify my time by saying “oh, I already have this commitment and this commitment”, but the reality is simply saying no so you have time to take a break and protect your mental health is just as important.

Using Gmail Efficiently: 6 Tips for Maximizing Your Inbox

I try to keep my email inbox at zero or as close to zero as possible at all times. During the day, the emails that are still there serve as my to-do list of sorts. I work through at certain times throughout the day and make a plan to address it on the spot. I also do not like to have email on my phone. I find that I get distracted by the numbers and notifications and then I’ll read it and have to go back through it on my computer later anyway.

Gmail is my preferred email provider and has been for over 15 years. Thankfully, my job also uses Gmail so I can keep settings consistent across all my accounts. I have several accounts for different purposes. Although many people prefer to sync all of their email accounts, I actually like keeping them separate. It helps me compartmentalize the different tasks I have to do whether it be for school, personal, teaching, or entrepreneurial endeavors. And by having a separate teaching email account, I never miss a student question or concern because it doesn’t get lost in the many other emails I get on a daily basis.


Here are my top 6 tips for using Gmail efficiently

1. Compact View with Conversation Threading Off

I prefer the compact view the best in my inbox screen. I know a lot of people prefer to use the conversation view to group emails together, but I tend to get confused in threads and have to go back to figure out what was said. By using the compact view, I do not miss any comments on any emails that are sent because each one shows up separately in my inbox. The compact view is nice because you can see more emails at a glance since the space is reduced between each one.

2. Smart Compose On

In the general settings, I use smart compose, grammar, spelling, and autocorrect. In fact, it’s kind of scary how accurate the smart compose is. It allows me to respond to emails faster because it predicts what I might say when I start a sentence. If I agree with the response, then I just click enter and keep typing the next portion of my email. I’ll all about ways to save myself time, but still write a quality and professional email response to someone.

3. Using Folders

I go through my emails several times per day. Once it is filed or completed, it goes immediately into a folder. In my personal email, I have folders for advisory boards I serve on, billing information, doctor information, organizations I’m involved with, and much more. Pretty much any activity has its own folder and that’s where the email lives after it has been addressed. It makes it much easier for me to find things later and know that I didn’t delete anything.

4. Setting up Filters

This setting is helpful if you get frequent emails from a specific person or organization. You can create a label and a filter for that person. It can be color coded and make it easier to stand out in your email inbox. Once you receive an email that you may want to filter, you can click the three dots at the top and then choose how you wish to filter that type of email in the future.

5. Schedule Send

I love to use schedule send when I am trying to send an email that needs a response from other people. I tend to draft emails later in the day during one of my work time blocks. However, if it’s getting close to 4:00 or 5:00pm, I don’t send the email right away. I schedule it to send at 8:00am the next morning so that it goes to the top of that person’s inbox. Now they may have a great management system, but I’ve found that a lot people have thousands of unread emails in their inbox and may miss things, especially if they are very busy. The other great use for schedule send is to give myself reminders. Even though I keep a pretty good list of action items in my digital app, it’s helpful when I have important reminders that I don’t want to forget. For example, I needed to mention someone’s retirement at a workshop and I scheduled the email reminder to myself to come up during the week I would be preparing the agenda. I have learned that no matter how much I think I’m going to remember something, it is much better to have a plan and be prepared than to rely on my memory of something someone said 3 months prior.

6. SNOOZE!

This feature is my ultimate favorite use of my Gmail settings for efficiency. It is especially useful for maintaining a zero inbox. When I go through my emails throughout the day, if it is something that I don’t have time or is not urgent to respond to, I will snooze it to the next day. Sometimes the emails are informational relating to an upcoming meeting later in the week or the following week. I then snooze it to the day I plan to review the agenda or that the information is most needed. Therefore, it stays out of my inbox, but it’s not filed in a folder yet because it’s still relevant.

Ways to Create a To-Do List: Methods to Get Stuff Done!

Do you often make it through the day just putting out fires as they occur, trying to keep up? Creating and sticking to a schedule can help with managing time effectively. One helpful tool is to create a to-do list of action items that you need to get done. Over the years, I’ve tried different methods of writing a to-do list, which have worked for various purposes depending on my goals at the time.

Why is it important to make to-do lists?

Making lists and prioritizing tasks helps you become more likely to accomplish your goals and reach your dreams. It also provides a way to track your progress and keep you motivated to move forward. To-do lists are great for both personal and professional use. You can use a paper and pen notebook to track it all or there are lots of great digital apps to organize tasks by category.

I’ll share some of the methods I’ve used to create to-do lists with you here.


THE EVERYTHING LIST

I like to call this list the everything list because it’s more or less a brain dump of all that has to be done. Sometimes I make columns for personal and work action items to keep them separate, but I just get it all down on paper (or digital). I’ve seen others refer to this method as the grocery list method because it’s just basically keeping a running tab of tasks as they pop into your brain.

Top Three to Five

For me, this method is helpful when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Instead of literally writing everything down that needs to get done, I write 3-5 MANAGEABLE items at a time. Then, when I’m able to cross them all off, I write 3-5 more items to accomplish. It’s comparable to time blocking a schedule. It’s focusing me to be intentional about what I want to accomplish within a certain timeframe.

Prioritized List

This method takes the everything method and then rearranges it based on your priorities. It’s easier to do this with a digital task management system because you can easily cut and paste the items and move them up and down on your list. One way to prioritize is to use the Eisenhower matrix. Some people even recommend a simple lettering system next to your tasks with A being the most important item to tackle first.

Big and Small

This type of a to-do list breaks task into big and small tasks. You can think of them in time commitment. If it’s something like sending an email that will take 5 minutes to write, that could be considered a small task. If it’s completing an annual report, that might be a bigger task. Sometimes it’s more helpful to break up those big tasks into smaller ones and cross of those milestones as you reach them.

No matter how you organize your tasks, the best thing to do is find what works for you. The physical act of crossing something off on paper to me feels so good that even though I manage my longer term and ongoing tasks in a digital app, I still create a daily list of items that need to get done. I also try to keep it realistic so as not to get disappointed if I don’t get everything crossed off my list.

Happy to-do-ing!

3 Strategies to Keep Your Email Inbox Organized

A little over three years ago I made the switch to a zero inbox and it was the best thing I ever did for my organizational skills. At that time I had had my personal Gmail account since about 2005 with thousands and thousands of emails. Instead of taking time putting everything into folders, I simply decided to archive it all and start from that day forward. Since I started a new job, I was able to keep my work email at zero inbox from day one.

Here’s how I manage emails now to keep my inbox as close to zero as possible:

  1. Check email first thing each morning (after affirmations and to-do list) and before I close my computer from work for the day. By doing this, I can deal with any emails that came in before I started my workday for all the early birds who start before me, and then I can create a plan for everything left over at the end of the day.
  2. Check email at set times throughout the day. Now, I don’t always follow this rule perfectly because it depends on what I’m working on. If I need to focus on a project or task and I don’t want to be disturbed by emails, I close the tab and set my timer to check it once per hour or every 2 hours so as to still be responsive to the needs of coworkers, but not be interrupted by constant flows of incoming emails.
  3. I use the two-minute rule when dealing with emails as I go through them. This idea comes from the Getting Things Done method by David Allen. If it’s something I can respond to right away, I quickly send a reply and then file that email in a folder. If it doesn’t need a response, I file it right away. If it’s informational and a deadline is attached, but it’s not immediate, I use the snooze feature to send it back to me when it needs to be completed or responded to. If it is going to take a bit longer, I work on it during an email response period during the day.

So by the end of the day everything should either be snoozed, responded to, or filed in a folder. I rarely delete emails because I do frequently have to refer back to old emails for information and it’s very easy to find when they are in folders. I also use the search function in Gmail to find the emails that I need. For newsletters and subscriptions, I create filters that send the emails directly to folders so it doesn’t even have to come to my inbox.

My personal favorite Gmail settings are to use the compact view with conversation view off. I like to see all my emails individually and conversation view confuses me a bit. Because I see all messages individually, I sometimes will only keep the most recent email in a thread and delete the rest because it’s not needed.

And, to save me a little time, I have smart reply turned on so it auto-detects what I might want to say. It’s kind of scary how accurate it is. I also use Grammarly to check my spelling, tone, and grammar as I go.

Keeping my email organized and efficient has helped me to save time and communicate effectively!

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