Moving is a Big Deal
Moving from one state to another, a 12 hour drive away, while trying to build a business online blogging, really is a big deal. And productivity is necessary. It may not seem to be, but this is my first move over state lines as an adult (as much as I flew all over the place with a decade in my corporate gig and with my family living on the other side of the country!).
This means everything from shopping and securing car insurance and appointments (yes multiple in Virginia are needed) with the DMV to finding a new primary care provider and getting that set up so my prescription doesn’t skip. It’s a lot and I knew it would be but I am loving the adventure!
So this morning I was sifting through the little we have left around the kitchen, grabbed one of my 2 absolute favorite mugs, and steeped some Zen tea. I need caffeine but also, the calming effect green tea has on me. I have to admit after sitting down and structuring this post, I was thrown off my game when I saw a post on my Instagram feed that led me to Demelza’s latest on the Honey and Wild Playlist called Wheels. She is one of the first I connected with on my blogging journey and still inspires me.
But that’s ok, there will be shiny objects and some, like this one, rejuvenate and affirm. While I am (planning to be!) on the path to income through blogging THIS is what Free At 50 is all about: helping others live the life they want, out of working for others. So I cannot really take a break from it, however, I can be organized and avoid overwhelm.
1 Set Reasonable Goals
I knew last year moving to Williamsburg from Michigan was our plan. I also knew that we were going to focus on it for Q1. And most of all, I know myself. When I talked to my business coach and blog mentor in December, she laid out specific tasks I could do in a goal-oriented way (which is the way I work best no matter what is happening in my life). For me, looking at my business goals quarterly makes sense. Getting 1-2 cornerstone (or pillar) posts completed, learning more about SEO and focusing on my writing, starting the move from WordPress to Groove and knowing Facebook would be the first platform I go all-in with seemed do-able for the 3-month period that included my move.
I’m pleased to say that as of the 2nd week in February, I am well on my way with all of this. Therefore: no stress or guilt having to re-assess. Think about this as you set goals: make them actionable but also ensure you keep momentum. Don’t under-shoot (is that a legit word?) but don’t overwhelm yourself. Working with a coach: priceless. And if you don’t know at all where to start there are amazing Facebook groups like Nora Luke’s Corporate to Calling to dip your toes in the water.
2 Write Everything Down
I’ve said it before, and I will reiterate it: write everything down. This habit was actually tip #1 from Alyssa Chua, an event planner, in her guest post.
Big move and all the tasks required to make that happen, or not, keeping track of what needs to be done, as well as writing out goals, ideas and deadlines is a vital part of business. Find what works for you. I have 3 tools I use consistently and in some ways there might be cross-over but each has a specific purpose.
My 2021 Calendar
With mine, I personally love the look, size and format, but there are a gazillion (OK, I exaggerate a bit!) options out there, like this list on Amazon or these Lang options on calendars.com. Style, size, and format are important in order to ensure you use it. I love the size of the boxes on the monthly view and way the days are set up in mine. These are definite things to consider! The back of my planner has plenty of lined pages to take notes (and I need a significant section for notes). I use my annual calendar for:
-Personal appointments and deadlines.
-Reminders of account renewals.
-Everything unrelated to my blog as well as big project deadlines and meetings related to my blog.
Now that I am several months into blogging, I cannot emphasize enough the value of a planner dedicated to it. I use The Blog Well Planner but there are many on Amazon, as well as printables available from excellent online sources. If you’re a blogger and belong to the Facebook groups set up for bloggers, many of the group creators sell (or even offer for free!) content calendars or full-on blog planners. And often they’re printable.
I love my inch-thick book that is formatted for a quarter, which I have figured out will suit me for a year. It is incredibly flexible, letting you skip days on the daily entry sections because you circle the day of the week and write in the date. In fact, the whole book is set up that way, so it doesn’t limit you to starting in January. You can pick it up and use it anytime without wasting the pages.
For those that haven’t checked it out, please do! Evernote is an online note-taking system. It syncs easily from your laptop/desktop to the app and allows you to create notebooks you add notes to. I’ve been using it for my business as well as my move! Notes can be typed, screenshotted, cut and pasted, photos, it’s pretty amazing. That said, it’s easily searchable (you can search “all notes”) so you actually don’t even need to remember how you filed something if there’s a chance it could be in multiple places.
Example: I save notes for a course about building a profitable Facebook group in my “Skills and Learnings” notebook but I also have a notebook about Facebook tips. No worries, easy to find by searching all. When you are planning a move…and will be on the road or in hotels/Air BnBs for awhile… having this app on your phone to be productive: priceless.
Side note: I save links to trainings, articles, and videos on Evernote so I can catch up on my phone anytime by hitting a link, even if I’m not anywhere near wi-fi. Perfect for being on the road and in between residences!
3 Block the Calendar
I have my Calendly account where people can schedule time with me completely blocked for a couple of weeks. Yes, I might still meet with people (planning directly through texts or messaging) but I will not be worrying about seeing something pop up on my schedule. Goal: leave me time to focus on any business tasks I need to accomplish as well as be flexible for moving “stuff” like getting our cars weighed or if the movers, set to arrive between “8am and 5pm” show up at a time I’d find someone scheduled.
Side note: by blocking in advance, you won’t have to cancel on people who have set aside time to meet with you. Much better for creating and sustaining relationships, right? It’s ok to block your calendar.
4 Communicate Consistently and Stay Visible
With the next couple of weeks being vulnerable to inconsistency and my new “FreeAt50” life all about the less hustle and more flow that comes with professional freedom, it isn’t lost on me that my business is barely built yet.
Consistency is important so I was set on ensuring this post comes out, not skipping a week but focusing more on social media than anything else, engaging and keeping myself visible. I even planned for this using my blogging planner and again, focusing on being goal-oriented this week, this month, and this quarter.
I am still working on finding opportunities to collaborate with others, but I am letting them know about the move (which I am putting all over the place on social media) and get this, people understand!
Wow, escaping the 9-5 life makes things so different if life happens. Which, it always does. For me, right now, it’s about focusing on a move, and people are totally ok with creating deadlines after the move and planning ahead to meet or discuss things. Just communicate and stay visible online (easy to jump online from your phone even for a few minutes, right?) and your productivity won’t falter.
Being productive is virtually impossible, in my opinion, when you are overwhelmed and stressed. Taking a few moments to step back, plan and organize will go a long way when you’re balancing a life event that requires your time and focus with creating or running a business. My closing advice: implement some of these tips (or all!) and stay Zen.