Category: Blogathon Prep

Blogathon Prep Series #4–Preparing You and Your Area

Blogathon Prep Series

Blogathon Prep Series - Preparing You and Your Area

Having participated in readathons and other blogging marathons plus ran and participated in the last blogathon has given me some ideas on what one could do to prepare for our blogathon. I’ll be sharing those ideas this week.

Preparing You

Knowing what you want to work on and arranging childcare won’t matter if you are not mentally or physically ready to work.

First a question:

What do you wear when you blog at home?

  1. Regular “Street” Clothes
  2. Pyjamas
  3. Work Attire

There isn’t necessarily a correct answer to that but keep in mind that you want to be comfortable enough to sit for a long period of time (so those tight jeans or work skirt and heels might be out) but not so comfortable you just want to sleep or play on Facebook all day (so sweatpants and pyjamas are not a good idea.)

Make sure what you want to wear is clean – the clothes that fit right and are just the right amount of comfortable.

What else you might want to do:

  • Have a nice relaxing and also invigorating shower
  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before.

Preparing Your Area

We already covered cutting down on the clutter and if you haven’t cleaned up a bit, make some time, trust me. Other than that though, there are a few others things you should consider. Below are some suggestions, use what’s right for you.

  1. Keep a notepad and pen/pencil and other office supplies nearby.
  2. Keep a water bottle near by to stay hydrated and keep your mind sharp.
  3. Make sure you have adequate lighting. Borrow a lamp if you don’t.
  4. If you will be tackling reviews, have the products or books you are reviewing nearby to reference while you write.
  5. Keep your to do list nearby
  6. Close whatever windows are not needed on your computer.
  7. Close your email program or set certain times to check it.
  8. Commit to only checking facebook for blogging reasons (Biannual Blogathon Bash FB Group or other FB group to exchange comments or ask questions.) Checking FB multiple times is very distracting.
  9. If you don’t have a twitter account, get one. Trust me you should have one and that way you can join in our twitter talk and twitter parties. Need help?
  10. Open up your favourite twitter program to keep track of the #blogathon2 talk (TweetChat, Tweet Grid etc.)
  11. If you work better with music, figure out what you will play and how (MP3, computer, TV, radio etc.) Get it set up.
  12. Turn off distractions (music if it distracts you, TV, cell phone even.)
  13. Speaking of distractions, does your computer desk/place face a window? Close the blinds or curtains or face a different way. An open window or door is very distracting.
  14. Keep checking back on the blog or subscribe to see what’s coming up.

That’s It for the Prep Series But Check Back Today for More Posts

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Blogathon Prep #3 – Key to Productivity and The Worst That Could Happen

Blogathon Prep Series

Blogathon Prep Series - Productivity

Having participated in readathons and other blogging marathons plus ran and participated in the last blogathon has given me some ideas on what one could do to prepare for our blogathon. I’ll be sharing those ideas this week.

The Key to Productivity

What’s the best way to up your productivity during the blogathon (or in general) ? A clean workspace. I know, I can hear you groans. However it is TRUE. Look around right now while you are at the computer. How does your desk or table look? What about the room you are in?

I didn’t believe it when I first heard that our surroundings impact our work, I really didn’t. Then I cleaned up the house and desk REALLY well and suddenly I was working twice as fast, and accomplishing important tasks to, not just checking Facebook and Pinterest. (Don’t worry I won’t tell!)

Cluttered Desk Lowers Productivity

(Not my desk but might as well be! – source)

It really does help. I think this is why.

My laptop is currently at the dining room table, it’s where I have it set up. The rest of the table is covered in stuff, always is. So when I sit down to work, my eye catches the Tim Hortons drink tray from earlier and I think, mmm I really want an Iced Cappuccino. Then a little while later my eye catches the stack of DVDs that need to be reviewed beside my computer and I sigh because I still haven’t got to them. Then I see the dinner dishes my kids forgot (again!) to bring to the kitchen and it bugs me so I get up and put those away. Then I sit back down but can’t get comfortable because my wheel is stuck on a toy that was under the table. So I push my chair back and run into the stuff behind me that shouldn’t be there.

I could go on and on but I think you get the point. The thing is you probably don’t even realize you do this. I didn’t for a long time. Not that knowing gets me to keep the room or table clean more, but at least I know why I’m not being productive.

At The Very Least…

Make the time to do a clean of at LEAST your work station of the places you may work (if you have a laptop or tablet, you may move around, working in bed, on the cough, front porch, table etc.) If you can, clean the room too. Make it pleasing to the eye. A fresh smell is nice too.

The Worst That Could Happen

You are planning a weekend of computer work, what are the worst things that could happen to get in the way of that?

  1. Computer Virus
  2. Internet is Down
  3. Power is Out

Let’s go backwards for a moment. There isn’t much you can do to prepare for #3 other than have paper, pens and candles or flashlights ready to do some planning or paperwork. Let’s hope we don’t have a power outage!

You can’t plan for your internet provider being down either but you could check that all cables are attached firmly and dust is cleared out of the area of the modem and/or router box. That’s about it.

You CAN prevent a Computer Virus though. Do you have an up to date virus checker on your computer? If you have more than one computer, you need one on EACH. It needs to not only be installed, but have the settings set correctly, be set to regularly scan AND have it’s virus database up to date. I use Microsoft Security Essentials and I have used AVG before but use whatever you are comfortable with. If you have a Windows computer and are a bit computer illiterate, I suggest Microsoft Security Essentials.

Update Your Virus Program

Take a moment to make sure your program is up to date and run a full virus scan BEFORE the blogathon starts. A participant in the last blogathon spend a lot of time fixing her computer thanks to a virus and she lost a lot of time so it CAN happen.

Check Back Tomorrow For More

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Blogathon Prep #2–To-Do List and Planning for Basic Needs

Blogathon Prep Series

Blogathon Prep Series

Having participated in readathons and other blogging marathons plus ran and participated in the last blogathon has given me some ideas on what one could do to prepare for our blogathon. I’ll be sharing those ideas this week.

Your To-Do List

I’m sure some of you have already started a list or have at least some idea of what you would like to work on during the blogathon. Trust me, you will want to put more thought into it. Take a few moments to put together a list. Then separate them into To Do Listcategories based on how important they are to you. Ones you absolutely WANT to get done this weekend, ones you hope to get to this weekend and ones you eventually want to do but it’s okay if it’s not done this weekend.

A list will help keep you focused when you aren’t sure what to tackle next. You may even want to make note of which ones are quick and easy and which ones will take time and concentration. Then you can pick what to work on based on how many distractions you currently have or how much time you have at the moment. Depending on how organized you like to be, you could even separate them based on type of task (design, content writing, organization, etc.)

It’s good to have a list of what you’d like to accomplish anyways, blogathon or not.

Your Basic Needs

What are our basic needs? Food, Water etc? Trust me until you have done a marathon type thing that involves staying in one spot for a long time (blogathon, writeathon, readathon) you won’t realize that you need to put some thought into sustenance. When you are deep in thought, working on your blog and hunger or thirst strikes, you don’t want to waste time making something to eat or digging around in the fridge for your favourite drink, only to find you are out and now you need to run to the store and before you know, it hours have passed without getting any work done.

Coffee MugDecide on meals beforehand. Plan to order out or arrange for your significant other or roommate to cook. Or buy some easy to make dinners so you can just pop them in the oven or microwave. Stock up on your favourite snacks and drinks so you can grab them in seconds. Make the juice ahead of time and/or fill the water pitcher. Make sure you have ice cubes. You`re not out of milk, sugar or creamer are you?

Planning to stay up late at night? Stock up on coffee or your other favourite caffeinated beverage. Or put aside money for a quick coffee shop run.

I think you get the point. I speak from experience, trust me.

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Blogathon Prep #1– Childcare and Other Obligations

Blogathon Prep Series

Blogathon Prep Series

Having participated in readathons and other blogging marathons plus run and participated in the last blogathon has given me some ideas on what one could do to prepare for our blogathon. I’ll be sharing those ideas this week.

#1 is about arranging childcare if your have children and taking care of other obligations.

Some situations to consider

(if you have no children, skip down a few):

  • Do you have children? Will they be home all weekend? How self sufficient are they? For example a 10 year old can fend for himself a lot but a baby will need lots of attention.
  • Do you have a significant other who will be home? Can he or she take over more of the child care duties this weekend? Whether it’s taking the kids out of the house or just keeping them out of your hair while you are working.
  • Can older ones sleep out at a friend’s house? Or sleep over at a grandparents house? If you have multiple children, even just one less child can be helpful, especially if it is the youngest.
  • If like me, you have a a nursling who can’t be away from you as you are his or her source of nutrition, how about a family member or friend who can stay at your house and entertain the child? Same with if your child is just too young to stay out or perhaps your child has special needs and needs to be home with you.
  • If kids will be staying home, prepare some activities that are fun and new to keep them occupied. Videos they’ve never seen, board games, books or toys that are new or they haven’t seen in a while. Letting them play with playdough or do crafts (assuming it won’t be more work for you.)

No kids or kids already taken care of?

  • Don’t forget about pets, other family members who need help (special needs or seniors.) Pets are pretty easy but if you have a lot or have a really needy one, make sure you keep that in mind. Feed them before you get down to work. Make sure litter boxes are clean. If you let them outside and then go back to blogging, set a reminder to let them back in if you really get engrossed in your work. For adults that may need help, only you know your situation. Can you handle it? If not arrange for help.
  • What about other things you need to do that weekend? Some of you have conferences to attend. Some of us have appointments or get-togethers we can’t or don’t want to get out of. Make sure you have everything arranged for them so you have as much time as possible for blogging. Have your bags packed, have your outfit picked out, arrange transportation ahead of time, have gifts purchased ahead of time, that sort of thing.

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