Monday, 24 April 2017

Hello Monday

hello trello Have you tried Trello yet? I'm a little bit obsessed with it's awesomeness, and keep stumbling on free boards to download. I'm using it to track projects and ebooks I want to create, as well as my editorial calendar, and a chores board for Douglas (he wants to earn some money to purchase a new Xbox subscription) If you'd like to check it out, here's my referral link (I receive 1 month Gold membership for each sign up, valued at $US10) 

hello newsletter One of my goals for this year is to grow my newsletter. I'm not quite sure why I picked that goal, because I've never been very good at actually sending it (maybe because it was easy to track a tangible number?) but the last couple of weeks I've actually been sending my newsletter, and it's been really nice to ramble in a slightly helpful way, away from the openness of Facebook and the blog. If you're not already on my list, you can sign up here (let me know if it doesn't work, I'm still figuring ConvertKit out. PS there's a free download, too, ideas for extending every day moments into self-care for mums)

hello afterpay Oh, My, Lord! Have you used Afterpay yet? I hear people talking about it all the time in business groups (did you know there's a group on Facebook dedicated to Afterpay? Shops share their links, and people buy!) Anyway, we don't have credit cards any more, so Afterpay is perfect for us, but because our budget has been tight we haven't actually bought much with it. But Sophie needed new shoes and I couldn't find anything that was suitable at the shops, so I went on a little shopping spree at Tiptoe&Co, my favourite kids shoe shop. Then I discovered that PillowTalk offers Afterpay, so I finally bought the kids new blankets and pillows. And I got my Mothers Day present from a different shop, but I can't tell you about that one yet.

hello mindset You might have seen this post on my facebook page a couple of weeks ago (gosh, was it that long ago?) where I shared the Business School for Mums mindset challenge. That day I wiped tears from my eyes, took pages of notes, and waited for what was next. Last week, during the challenge, I ignored the work, researched off tangent, but ultimately came back to amazingly thorough work books and so many questions answered. Last night I removed myself from a whole bunch of Facebook groups that weren't serving me any more, and this week I'll work through my inbox unsubscribing from newsletters that have become meerly noise. Today I seem to have woken up with a new attitude (and I swept the floors, that's gotta get me brownie points, right?!) [BSFM are hosting a free webinar this Thursday evening, if you're interested in learning more. I didn't sign up to their program this time, but I'll be saving up to do it soon.]

hello baking I stumbled on some recipes over the weekend that I'm really busting to try out (lemon curd and cream cheese anyone?), not to mention that I offered to bake for the kids school fete next week. (I'm baking these chocolate sprinkle cookies, would you buy them?) Who's coming over for a cuppa?

hello Monday, a new start every week
linking up with One Mother Hen, Denyse Whelan, and All Mum Said
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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Why I moved my tiny email list to ConvertKit

Expert bloggers have been saying for years that the money is in the list. But it still took me a very long time to actually start my newsletter, and if you're on my list you know that I'm really not very consistent with sending them.

So why did I move from Mailchimp to ConvertKit, then? I mean, with the Australian dollar so low, ConvertKit is costing me around $A40 each month, and my email list is less than 100, and 4 months after I signed up I still haven't relaunched my sign up form with an opt in, so why?

To grow my list.

My number one goal for this year is to hit 1000 subscribers for my newsletter (and to consistently send it) and I just couldn't figure out how to do that reasonably on Mailchimp, without spending even more money on another platform like LeadPages.

When I made the decision to move, I had 3 separate lists for 3 different streams, and while ConvertKit tells me I only have 76 people on my list, combined on Mailchimp there was over 100 email addresses (which adds up eventually)

With ConvertKit I've been able to create an automated welcome sequence (which I wasn't able to figure out how to do, until I read this post from Bloggers and Bacon), offer a one off content upgrade on this post about Facebook live, and I'm in the middle of creating a 14 day challenge to launch next week; all things that you can do on Mailchimp, but not easily (unless you understand segments, and groups, and have your list set up properly, which most people don't.)

But there's a big BUT

ConvertKit has a big learning curve.

If you're used to Mailchimp, the terminologies are different. And if you want to do anything fancy, you need to know how to code with HTML or CSS.

But the more you use it, the easier it becomes, and with so many bloggers jumping on board, there's plenty of help available if the ConvertKit knowledgebase can't help you (which is highly unlikely.)

And in the juggle of blogging and social media and Facebook live and newsletters, easier gets my vote, even if it means spending a few dollars to get the desired result.

Have you started a newsletter yet?
linking up with Capturing Life for #ibot 
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Monday, 10 April 2017

Hello Monday

Hello Monday is where I say hello to the week ahead, and try to set intentions and goals for the week ahead, in an attempt to turn around the "Sunday blues" that permeate the internet.
hello second week of holidays Considering that our school holidays were extended by two days unexpectedly (and the resulting emotional hangover for all of us), we're coping with holidays so far. But we still have to live through Easter weekend, and a ridiculously long dad-list of chores that will probably never even get a look in.

hello procrastination I've got a huge project in the works at the moment that I've been working on with a partner, but I've hit the procrastination wall now that the {self imposed} deadline is looming. I've tried to ignore it all weekend, but the guilt is just piling up, so tomorrow I'm planning to get stuck in and doing as much as I can, without doing a bodgy job.

hello writing I haven't been doing enough of it lately, instead wasting my time by scrolling through facebook (which doesn't change every five minutes) A couple of weeks ago I downloaded a tool that blocks your whole computer until you've written a certain number of words, or a time has arrived. I'm actually going to push the button on trialling it tomorrow, and each day for the next week. I'll let you know how I go.

hello camera I waiver between using my phone to take photos, and picking up my big camera. But I always love the results when I do pick up my big camera, so I'm trying to be more conscious of doing it more regularly. And with Ali Edwards Week in the Life™ project coming up next week, this is te perfect week to remember how to use it!

hello Easter traditions For years now, I've taken a photo of the kids in the lead up to Easter with bunny ears on. Our ears got dogged earlier this year, so I'm on the hunt for more, because the kids are nagging for the photo to be taken (if I can keep them doing that for forever, even with their own families, I'll have achieved something amazing!) It's also time to take note of a few other traditions that everyone loves.

hello cool weather For all the devastation that Tropical Cyclone Debbie brought to Queensland, she actually did something pretty amazing - blew away the heat of summer. Sure, today was a warm day, but the heat isn't oppressing like it was. Fingers crossed we actually get a cold winter this year.

hello Monday, even if you are almost over for another week.

linking up with One Mother Hen and Denyse Whelan
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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Staying Sane during School Holidays

It feels like just a few weeks ago the kids were on holidays, and yet here we are, smack bang in the middle of holidays (our schools were closed for two days last week with the ex-TC Debbie weather event) If your kids are anything like mine, the house is getting noisy and messy, and there will be many cries of I'm bored and frustrated mamas will be ready to rip their hair out by the time Easter actually arrives!

I have sort-of solved our problems by providing a loose structure to our days. It looks a bit like this.

1 - stick to meal times

Nothing is more annoying during school holidays than the sheer amount of food that kids think they need to eat. By sticking loosely to meal times (we go on weekend hours - breakfast by 8am, lunch at 11.30/12pm, and we eat dinner at 5pm, with no snacks after 4pm) I've been able to keep the munchies under control a little.

Idea - have a picnic lunch in the back yard, take breakfast to the park

2 - try to leave the house every day

Two days a week, Natalie and Riley go to vacation care, and Sophie goes to daycare. I've sent all the kids to vacation care, and stick to our daycare days so that there is still some structure to the weeks off. But the rest of the days can seem to drag if we stay home, so we try to leave the house each morning for at least an hour or so. (And now Steve has gone back to night shift, this will be more important these holidays, so the kids can burn off some energy, and he can fall asleep without noisy kids)

Idea - plan a trip to a new park, visit the library, meet up with a friend

3 - have quiet time every afternoon

For us, this is gadget time, but for you it might mean movies or even a nap. Knowing that I have a couple of hours each afternoon of non-hassle time eases the stress of trying to fit it all in. (Granted, I usually use it for wandering pinterest, but that's research, right?!)

Idea - make a comic book about school holidays, watch a new DVD

4 - don't neglect chores or housework

Someone once told me "it's my holiday, I don't have to do anything." Then they slammed the door on the way to their bedroom. And the chores waited for them. It's easy when you're at home without a plan to neglect housework or chores. But it's a pain in the butt to get everyone motivated to clean up the day before school starts, so keep on top of it during the holidays. You can be flexible with what they do when, but don't let them off completely (and it helps if you stay on top of things, if possible.)

Idea - teach the kids to use the washing machine or sort clothes

5 - keep bedtimes similar

In order to not have cranky kids, I try to keep bedtimes close to regular times (depending on how busy we've been during the day, and what is happening the next) There is nothing worse during school holidays (especially in wet weather) than tired kids trying to make it through the day with big emotions from lack of sleep.

Now, we are far from perfect about sticking to these things. Sometimes we don't get out of the house, and sometimes I say yes to every request for food. But by having the idea in my mind that these things help our days feel a bit better, it's easier to remember to actually do them.

How do you stay sane during school holidays?
PS check out 5 ideas for cheap holiday activities
Linking up with Capturing Life for #ibot
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Monday, 27 March 2017

Growth in the first quarter

I've been off-track this year. Lost in the HUGE pile of stuff I've got to do. And it's really impacted my writing. And my feelings.

I finished 2016 on such a high of all the things I was going to achieve this year with my blog, with my life. But none of it has happened. Or is even close to happening.

But I've had somewhat of an epiphany recently.

And it's come from the weirdest of places. Me!

So, a couple of weeks ago was my birthday. And it was a shit of a week, literally, because our sewerage pipes are blocked, and need replacing as soon as possible.

And when I woke up on Tuesday morning (my actual birthday day), I decided that I actually would follow through on a Facebook Live challenge I had randomly signed up for the previous week.

Now, if you've been around here for any length of time, you know that I sign up for all the things. My inbox is full of emails from people I'm not sure if I want to hear from, because I wanted their free thing. I fork out lots of money for classes (usually scrapbooking, but sometimes blogging) that I never even open, let alone work through and finish. And I'm always reading stuff about stuff on Pinterest. Follow through is not my forte.

But on that Tuesday, I did it. I posted my live video, shared it to my profile, and floated through the day from all the comments and support from people.

And then on Wednesday, I did it again!

I know!

Go me!

I actually completed the challenge, and now a couple of weeks later I'm still on a high for actually finishing (and discovering just how much fun video really is.)

But what I really wanted to talk about today was a little light bulb moment I had during that week.

The prompt for the third day was what matters to me. As I thought about this prompt, and making it purely about me rather than falling back on the kids are important my husband is important, I did a spot of google searching, and ended up talking about my core values. Take a minute to watch the video above, and hear me ramble some more.

Now, as I finished that video I realised that I was actually too hard on myself over my One Little Word® for the year GROWTH, because the simple fact that I had gone back and done the video that day showed that I have grown this year. And completing the challenge backs that up.

So, while I haven't achieved whatever goal I {didn't} set for this first quarter of the year, I have actually achieved something a little bit better than that, and trusted myself to follow my gut and do something completely out of my comfort zone.

And my success in finishing this challenge has spurred me on to actually go back to my original goals, and set newer ones for the second quarter of the year, and work hard at following through.

How are your first quarter goals going?
Have you kept touch with your word for the year? 
PS you can read what I learned from posting #5dayslive over here 

Linking with One Mother Hen, Denyse Whelan and All Mum Said
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