you-need-a-better-blogging-workflow

I Took The Plunge With CoSchedule And This Happened To My Blogging Workflow

Let’s talk about your blogging workflow for a minute.

How many different programs, spreadsheets, and processes are you using as part of your blogging workflow to plan and promote your blog content?

Three?  Five?  More?

I decided that I would find out, and my total was seven.

SEVEN different things I had to log into or reference in order to manage what should be ONE workflow.

Aside from the sheer ridiculousness of using seven things for my workflow (is that even a flow anymore?), the negative impact on my productivity was literally making me crazy.

Read on to find out how I solved my blogging workflow woes and how you can implement the same thing for your blog.

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Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Did you know that every time you switch tasks, it takes a toll on your productivity?

Yup – multitasking is more than just scrolling through your news feed while fixing dinner or putting on your mascara while sitting in carline.

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Check out the different things that psychologists consider to be multitasking:

  • performing two or more tasks simultaneously
  • switching back and forth from one thing to another
  • performing a number of tasks in rapid succession

I’m pretty sure that my entire day’s activities are covered by a combination of these. Whoops!

And here I was thinking I was really making strides toward more productivity by having each task in an ordered list…

Check out this quote on task switching from the APA:

“Although switch costs may be relatively small, sometimes just a few tenths of a second per switch, they can add up to large amounts when people switch repeatedly back and forth between tasks. Thus, multitasking may seem efficient on the surface but may actually take more time in the end and involve more error. Meyer has said that even brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time.”

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What if I told you there was a way to organize all your blog + social + email workflows in ONE Place?

Too good to be true?

Nope

Way out of your price range?

Also nope.

Are you curious?

I thought so!

Meet the CoSchedule Essentials Plan 🙂

Eliminate the endless email threads, piles of sticky notes, and the dozen
and half moving pieces.
Focus on the real work of writing top-notch content
AND growing your audience.

I have been in love with the idea of using CoSchedule with my blog forever, but always thought it was way out of my price range.

So I was content to just read the CoSchedule Blog and participate in their totally awesome webinars for the time being.

At least, I was content until I got an email from them explaining how I could get the Essentials Plan AND join their referral network to reduce the monthly subscription price as much as 100%!

(a.k.a. there’s a way to get it for free…but you have to put in the work!)

Holy Cow! 

I could barely contain my excitement about finally setting up an efficient blogging workflow within just one app.

I signed up immediately and started digging into all of the amazing features.

With CoSchedule You Can Build A Seamless Workflow From Start To Finish

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You can sync all of your favorite tools and social platforms into one place, so you can focus on driving traffic to your blog (not jumping from one tool to the next).

Goodbye task switching!

CoSchedule even easily integrates with tools bloggers already use such as WordPress, Google Analytics, Evernote, Google Docs, MailChimp, Zapier, and more – so the endless logging in and out of multiple programs can be a thing of the past.

Imagine how much simpler sharing your content across multiple social media channels would be if you could schedule it out ahead of time and it just happened!

Even better, many of their features were built with bloggers and other solo marketing teams in mind, and their site is jam-packed with free tutorials, free checklists, and free webinars to help you make the most of your marketing workflow.

The video below walks you through exactly how to set up CoSchedule as a blogger, and I followed it step-by-step to be up and running in one afternoon.

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Overall, I have been thrilled to see such a big improvement in my blogging productivity since signing up for a plan with CoSchedule.

I was able to discontinue use of several other apps as a result, and without having to switch from one program to another, I can stay “in the zone” and get MUCH more accomplished!

If you still aren’t sure that it would be a good fit for you, they do offer a FREE TRIAL so you can give CoSchedule a try risk-free.

And if you want to check out some of their awesome resources designed to improve your blogging workflow and save you some serious time, be sure to visit the CoSchedule blog!

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open-book-and-coffee-mug-books-busy-moms-must-read

5 Life-Changing Books Busy Moms Must Read To Combat Overwhelm

As a busy mom, it’s not easy to find time to curl up with a book, but I do try to squeeze in at least a chapter a day, especially for the life-changing takeaways in these books. So I thought I’d share the books that I think busy moms absolutely must read to combat overwhelm.

I have always been an avid reader, and I am trying to cultivate a love of reading in my girls as well.

Easier said than done, I know…

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I figure one of the best ways to teach is by example, plus it’s a great excuse to indulge in my favorite hobby!

We don’t stick to just one format – so you’ll see options for e-readers, book subscriptions, and “real” books. Just keep in mind that if something piques your interest, you can probably find it in a number of formats! And just in case you don’t already have a Kindle or other e-reader, check this out:
Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

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The 5 Choices is one of my favorite books on balance and productivity that’s out there. If you feel like you are too busy to be productive – take the time to learn the concepts in this easy read and finally feel like you can gain control of your life once and for all. Being able to clarify my roles and priorities has really been life-changing!

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Declutter Your Mind is the definitive handbook for getting rid of the mental clutter that has been causing you overwhelm. If you want to stop the stress and stop the negative thinking once and for all, grab a copy of this book to learn how to take control of your mind and use your thoughts to your advantage.

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The Worry Trick is a must read if worry and anxiety are interfering with your quality of life. Part humor and anecdotes, this book was written by a PhD and provides real solutions that can be integrated into your everyday life to overcome worry.

Unwind is delivered in classic FranklinCovey style, with easily implemented tips and 7 specific paradigm shifts aimed at eliminating the root cause of daily stresses. This book offered a great perspective about how changing your mindset about how you approach life can greatly decrease stress levels overall.

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Only Love Today is a collection of shorter essays and reminders to dwell in love, many of which appeared originally on her blog. It would make a perfect gift for a busy mom for Mother’s Day, but I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to decrease their stress and trying to be more present. Rachel is the Hands-Free Mama and her latest collection is full of short essays on a variety of aspects of life.

If you read as much as I do, then you know how convenient it is to have books available across multiple formats.

Try looking for one of these life-changing books for busy moms on an audiobook service or at your local library!

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Have you read any of these books, or are there any you think I should add to the list? Let me know in the comments below!

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10 Coolest Family-Friendly Subscription Boxes You Don't Want To Miss!

Family-friendly subscription boxes are popping up everywhere these days, and they’re one of the easiest ways to discover new products or contribute to family fun!

But if you’ve been on the internet long, you’ve likely seen thousands of different boxes advertised and may need some advice about which one would be best to try.

So, to make your choice a little easier, I thought I’d share 10 of my favorite (and fun) selections. These family-friendly subscription boxes range from flowers and festivities to cooking and crafts. Don’t miss out on the fun!

1. Kidstir.com

Cost: $12.95 and up

What’s Included: Kidstir kids cooking kits are designed to spark a love of good food in kids! Children ages 4-12 (and their parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles and other special grown-ups) love cooking with Kidstir. Kidstir is focused on building a 12-month cookbook through a family-friendly subscription box delivered monthly.

  • 3 step-by-step recipes that are simple and easy for children and grown-ups
  • 2 kid-sized cooking tools that get children involved in hands-on fun
  • 1 special extra item, like stickers, gift tags, door hangers, food decorating templates, name cards, conversation cards, or a puzzle book
  • 3 foodie education pages about all aspects of food, including culture, vocabulary, science, math and more
  • 3 fun and learning-filled games and activities 
  • 1 fresh food shopping list that is enclosed in the kit and emailed ahead of time
  • A weekly e-newsletter packed with more digital recipes, tips and tricks, and handy printables

Prepaid 12 month subscriptions also include a BONUS cookbook binder shipped alongside your first kit- a $24 value!

Shipping: If you select the current month as your start month, you’ll receive your first kit later in the same month. After that, your future monthly kits will arrive around the middle of each month.

 

2. Baby Booth Box

Is your baby a boy or girl?

Cost: $40.00

What’s Included: A Monthly themed baby photo shoot in a box! FREE milestone blanket for new subscribers! Every box comes with photography props for the perfect photoshoot:

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For Mama:

  • Free Milestone Blanket
  • One unique gift (bath bombs, facemasks)
  • Coupon codes & Freebies from baby-centric brands [/left]

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For Babies under 12 months:

  • 3+ photography props
  • scarves
  • glasses
  • shoes

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Shipping: Shipping on the 5th of every month!

3. Bark Box 


Cost: $20 – $35

What’s Included: Give snack time and playtime an upgrade with BarkBox! A new themed subscription box every month, and every BarkBox has at least 2 innovative toys, 2 all-natural bags of treats, and a chew, curated from each month’s unique themed collection.

Shipping: Your first box ships immediately. Following boxes ship on the 15th. Shipping is always free!

4. Brick Loot

 

Price: $24.88 and up, Plus Shipping ($6 US)

What’s Included: You will receive a Brick Loot box filled with LEGO and brick related items. We search high and low for the newest, coolest and most outrageous items you will not find at your local toy store. All items are hand picked by our LEGO loving team and sure to leave you with a BIG smile! 

Brick Loot is the creation of 9-year-old Parker Krex (now 13)… how cool is that?!?!

Shipping: Boxes ship out the 10th of each month.

 

5. Little Passports

Price: $12.95 – $18.95

What’s Included: We offer fun and engaging options for children ages 3-13 with several different payment plans. We’ve carefully designed and hand selected each of the packages to ensure your child has a fun and educational experience:

  • Early Explorers packages include activity books, stickers, Flashlight Adventures, and souvenirs.
  • World Edition packages include letters from Sam and Sofia, souvenirs, photos, stickers, activity sheets and access to online games and activities.
  • USA Edition packages include activity journals, postcards, stickers, pop-out models and access to more information, games, and activities online.
  • Science Expeditions include a comic book, experimental guide, tools for hands-on experiments, stickers and online bonus materials. 

Shipping: Except for the first box, packages ship around the middle of the month.

 

6. Bluum, Inc.


Price: $34.00

What’s Included: In a nutshell, bluum is a monthly subscription box for awesome, busy parents, to help discover new products to make life with babies, toddlers and preschoolers easier and more fun. 

Your family-friendly subscription box includes four or more full-sized products each month, curated for you based on your child’s birth date and gender, always with a combined retail value of $45 or more! Products will be relevant to your family, curated for your child’s age and stage, and delivered monthly to surprise and delight you and your little one.

You can bluum from your first month of pregnancy all the way until your bluum baby is in preschool (up to 5 years old), and we know how fast that time flies by!

Shipping: When you first subscribe, your first box will ship within 5 days of ordering. After that, your child’s box will ship on or around the 9th of each month.

7. Disney Princess

com - Monthly Activity box
Price: $22.99 and up

What’s Included: A surprise box filled with unique items that portray magical stories and encourage children to Dream Big! Each magical box transforms into a scene from the story and may include Princess figurines, fashion accessories, goodies and our eco-friendly box.

Shipping: Depends on when you sign up: Disney Princess Pleyboxes are released every two months (January, March, May, July, September, November and January) Accounts started before the 7th of the month following a release month will receive the current box. If you sign up from the 7th and on, you will receive the following box scheduled (ie: signup by 4/6 for a March box).

8. FabFitFun

Cost: $49.99 after the first box

What’s Included: You’ll get a seasonal box filled with 8-10 full-sized, premium products valued at over $200. Each season choose products & add-ons you want in your box. Or keep it a surprise. You’ll love it either way!

Indulge in the best in beauty, fitness, wellness, home, and everything in between. Don’t forget to #fabfitfun when you share! With your membership, you can work out anywhere with FabFitFunTV and shop exclusive member sales.

Shipping: Your first box will ship within 10 days of purchase.

 

9. National Geographic

com - Monthly Activity box
Price: $17.99 and up

What’s Included: A surprise box filled with unique items that teach about animals, nature and our world. Travel to new countries every other month and rescue an extinct animal while having fun! Each box includes activities, toys & accessories including educational digital games themed around an ecosystem, that kids love to play with and share. These toys & accessories can include, tattoos, wristbands, stickers, pins, animal fact cards, figurines and educational digital games that explore our planet.

Learning also continues online. Using a secret code included in the mission kit, kids log in to Mission Center to join our characters Kia and Kyle on an exciting virtual adventure.

Shipping: Once you sign up you will receive the first box within 30 days. The stories are sequential so it will always start at the first box after you sign up.

 

10. BloomsyBox.com

Monthly Flowers

Save $5 on your first month at BloomsyBox! BLOOMSYA5

Cost: $39.99 and up

What’s Included: Each monthly subscription box contains a fresh handpicked bouquet delivered directly from our farms around the world. Our blooms come in three sizes—Small, Medium and Large. You can also order a single delivery or subscription as a gift!

From selecting only the finest seasonal blooms or traditionally beautiful bouquets, every bloom will be carefully cosseted in our signature Box for a flawless arrival at your door. Seasons change and so will your Bloomsy Box!

Shipping: Your first BloomsyBox will be delivered within 5-7 days after order. All other deliveries will be made between the 16th or the 23rd of each month unless specified otherwise.

 

Did you find a new favorite subscription box to try? I ordered a few, so be on the lookout for some unboxing videos coming up soon! I would love to see what cool family-friendly subscription box you get 🙂

Sanity Savers for Working Moms Cover

Swipe My Sanity Savers for Stressed Out Moms!

Try these tips to streamline your routines & get started with managing your mommy mayhem today!

As a working mom, you juggle so many things. Swipe my top tips & tools for saving your sanity:

Sanity Savers for Working Moms Cover

Scheduling & Productivity

One of the biggest challenges I face is keeping up with the endless list of to-do’s, reminders, appointments, shopping lists…I could go on but I bet you know exactly what I mean. I have found that utilizing web-based tools allow me to refer back to them wherever I happen to be.

I use Google Calendars across all my devices, but have separate ones set up for different life areas – the cool feature here is the ability to view all or some of your calendars at once, but they remain color-coded so I can determine must-do items versus what I can choose to eliminate. You can even share calendars with other people, so if both you and your spouse set one up, it is super simple to schedule family events! If you use Gmail, then you can add events directly to your calendar from an email.

Trello* is another one of my favorite tools for tracking to-dos. I have the add-on in my Gmail (totally FREE) to allow me to create new task cards directly from an email. Since I have the app on both my phone and my computer, I am able to add new tasks and review my to-dos at any time! I also have a Trello board setup to keep track of all of my blog ideas and tasks.

 

If your house is anything like mine, clutter is a constant battle that continually causes me stress. But the WORST part is when you are trying to get out of the house and you cannot find your keys!

Once, I spent two days looking for my keys and didn’t find them until I was loading the dishwasher – my daughter had put them in the sink and they were hidden under all of my dirty dishes!!! I was determined to make sure that never happened again, so I invested in a Tile key tracker. Seriously – this was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I have been giving them as gifts to everyone I know ever since!

 

Groceries & Meal Planning

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you know that meal planning is THE BIG THING right now. My first thought was that if I am already strapped for time, there is no way I can fit something like this into my life – it’s way too complex. Well, I recently jumped on the bandwagon after tiring of eating pizza and takeout almost every night, and I cannot believe I did not try it sooner!

I was not brave enough to try and create my own plan out of thin air (nor do any of us have that kind of time) so I bought 10 Meals In An Hour from one of my favorite productivity blogs, Living Well Spending Less. Not only does it have weekly plans and shopping lists already put together, but it walks you through the freezer prep steps for each recipe! I have some pretty picky eaters at my house, and I was impressed that the recipes were suited for all of us to enjoy.

 

Another meal planning miracle has been the advent of the online grocery shopping services. I use Kroger ClickList because it is so close to my house, but Walmart has also recently introduced a similar service. I save money by not having my kids ask for something on every single aisle, and now I no longer have to spend my entire lunch break grocery shopping! I just add items to my shopping list as I think of them, and once per week place an order to pickup. They put the groceries in the car for you, so no need to wrestle with shoes and carseats and cranky kiddos.

 

I recently enrolled in Crystal Paine’s Grocery University and it has made a huge difference in the way I shop. I thought I was doing a good job saving money on groceries, but this has saved me money AND I spend less time trying to find good deals.

 

Education & Entertainment

I currently spend over 10 hours per week commuting & have recently found a way to maximize that time. As an avid reader B.K. (before kids), I am always disappointed when I cannot find time to read any of the great books I hear about.

Enter Audible.

I went back & forth over whether I wanted to spend the money for an audiobook service, but I signed up for the free trial and haven’t looked back. I now can listen to my books at work, in the car, or while I am doing dishes.

Another great option is to subscribe to podcasts on your favorite topics or by your favorite authors. Until I got on ITunes and started looking, I did not realize how many options there were! You can get parenting tips, meditations, inspiration, business advice, you name it and there is a podcast for it. Even better, you can access your (FREE) podcast subscriptions from your phone or computer, and download them for offline listening.

If you are currently enrolled in any online courses or thinking about joining one, many of the teaching platforms are available via your mobile device so you can listen and watch your courses while waiting at the dentist, on your lunch break, or while you are cooking dinner. I love that I can keep up with my learning without being tied to my computer!

 

Last but not least, shopping!!!!

Yes, we live by a budget, and yes, I am a sucker for a good deal as much as you are, but sometimes convenience is more important than scouring all of the sale ads to find the best price.

When I am looking for a last minute gift or if we end up needing to order take-out AGAIN, I will hop on Groupon Local to check for any great deals. When you purchase a Groupon, it is added to your account for use instantly. Recently, I needed to order some sympathy flowers, so I checked on Groupon* before I placed my order and ended up saving $30! There are usually great deals for seasonal and kids activities as well, so I tend to check here for discounted admission before we head out the door.

Amazon is a total lifesaver for moms everywhere. We don’t use the diaper subscription anymore, as my youngest is potty trained, but never having to worry about running out of diapers or forgetting to buy more was priceless. I still use the Subscribe & Save feature for items that we use regularly – air filters are a great example -I know it is time to change them when they show up on that month’s order! Having an Amazon Prime subscription came in handy recently when I didn’t have time to go shop for an upcoming birthday gift, and it arrived just in time for the party!

 

If you aren’t waiting until the last minute to shop, Zulily is an incredible site. I am in love with name brands, and now that we are on a budget, I can still get them in my price range with Zulily. They feature different brands every day (don’t sign up for daily notifications your you might become a shopaholic!), and you can set it up to be notified when brands you are looking for become available. They have amazing customer service, so if anything ever goes wrong, you can be confident they will make it right. That’s the kind of guarantee I need in my life. Even better, you get $15 in referral credit if you share your link & one of your friends signs up!

 

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