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by Diane

Categories are Part of the Game Plan

January 22, 2011 in Blog Education, Blog Tools by Diane

Part three of  You Need a Game Plan
Brainstorming to help your game plan
Over the last couple of days I have been sharing my thoughts on creating a game plan for your blogging career and on Thursday I had talked about mind maps or how to brainstorm where you want to go with your blog always remembering the best game plan starts with the end not the beginiing.
Moving forward….
Categories!

When you did your brainstoring or created your mind map on the topic of your blog, then you should have noticed a progression of thoughts and ideas about where you wanted to go with your blog.  When you put these into a list form, what you have done is  create  a “draft” for your categories.  Of course there is a bit more to it than this, but this kind of thinking will give you the ideas of where to start.
I read an analogy on the thinking about categories and I love this thinking …Categories are like the DNA of your blog ( I have put my slant on the term DNA in the context of  blogging categories  by the way:-)  ) Simply put, categories help you define or create the frame of your blog.
** Most people think of categories in terms of readers and SEO  which is very important and maybe I will do my take on this another time under a different category…LOL***

For the purpose of your game plan, think of categories as a way to focus and plan your blog posts so that you will remain active, keep your blog interesting and to help you schedule your time.
While many people have their own ways of planning their posts using categories ( would love to hear yours ), what I find works for me is using a calander of some sort, where I can put in each category for every day of the week, with ideas of posts or articles per category.  By doing this, I find that I never run out of ideas and I can research or get everything organized ahead of time.
While there are many free online calanders on the net, my personal favorite is the Google Calander which I have also added Remember the Milk (to my Google Calander) to help me set up my blog posts tasks ( as well as any other tasks) for the upcoming week.
For those of you still unfamiliar with Google Calander, I have found it to be one of the more useful applications that Google developed. If You looking into the history of this application, Wikipedia has a great write up if you want to know more.
Remember the Milk is technically a task manager and online list maker, but boy it is  so much more and has been a life saver for me on more than one occassion.  Instead of me extolling the benefits of using Remember the Milk, I am going to refer you to one of my favorite blogs makeuseof.com and their article “8 Easy Ways To Manage Tasks With Remember The Milk“.  If this does not “sell” you on this great application, I dont know what will.
I really hope that this series on “You need a Game Plan” is getting your juices flowing and giving you a practical way to creating success on your blog.

by Diane

You need a game plan!

January 19, 2011 in Blog Thoughts, Blog Tools by Diane

Part One
Do you have a plan?
Another day has come and you are rearing to go! You know you have to write a blog post today and in the back of your mind you might have an idea, but first you need to check your email, then there are all the social communities that you need to check on, comments to make or questions to answer and …oh ya…you have to get the blog post done.   Does it stop there?  Nope!  Now you have 30 tabs open on one browser, maybe another 10 on another one, all with your research, communities, of course your email and …. now people want to talk to you on Skype or gtalk and guess what? A whole day has gone by and still no blog post…oh well there is another day and besides you have all these things to read and real life events to take care of.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Guess what?  You need a game plan!
The key to owning your own blog, owning your own business starts with the mindset – you are your own employee and you are on the clock.
The starting of your game plan is by getting yourself organized, creating a plan, finding and then actually using the tools that will help you function better and then get off the clock and get physically active to stretch those muscles that have been tightened from sitting at a computer of so many hours.
When you start thinking like your own employee ..you will find that your focus will be much different!
oh and for those people who just cant help themselves and need to have 20, 30 or more tabs opened and lose themselves to all the information, the games  on the net here is a tool that might be of real time use for you_
( don’t you love that word?)
Here is part of the description from the Chrome Web Store
“[As seen on LifeHacker, ReadWriteWeb, MakeUseOf, and more!]
You sit down at the computer, and you swear you’ll be productive. Next thing you know, it’s twelve hours later. You’ve checked your email, updated your Facebook status, browsed the trending topics on Twitter, read your RSS feeds, looked up your favorite band on Wikipedia, vanity googled yourself, cyber-stalked your ex, looked at all your high-school crushes’ Facebook photos, watered your plants on Farmville, and lost a week’s pay playing online poker.
What you haven’t done is WORK.
StayFocusd is a productivity extension for Google Chrome that helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend browsing time-wasting websites. Once your allotted time for the day has been used up, the sites you have blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day.”
From all the comments that I read…this is a tool that you will love to hate!   It really does work, but a word of warning, because there is no warning message when the time is about to expire, make sure you bookmark or save your work or you may find you have lost everything.

Let me know your thoughts about this chrome extension or anything else for that matter.
Back to work for me!

(Tomorrow I will share  some resources you can use to help you with your game plan.)