Overhaulin’

Many people take advantage of the new year, and really stop to consider areas in their lives where changes can be made. January always seems full of opportunities to wipe slates clean. Just like the snow that falls during this time of year, covering all imperfections with a blanket of white, the thought of empty canvases and new beginnings offer a refreshing peace.

This blog has been through a number of re-inventions. What started as a technology and design blog in 2010, and transitioned to a faith-based blog before landing at its current state, Jenn On A Mission has been a labor of love and an outlet for my ‘jack of all trades’ personality. [There is just so much to see, do, learn, and explore in this life, y’all!] However, I have come to realize that the blog now is a bit like my home office — there is more “stuff’ in the space than the space is meant to hold. It creates Organized Chaos, which is not really organized or user-friendly. I may be able to walk into my office and, after shifting around several stacks of papers, locate the one thing I was looking for but my readers shouldn’t have to sift through numerous topics and blog posts just to find a local restaurant recommendation.

That said, my goal this weekend is to overhaul the website again.

overhaulin'
(photo borrowed from Red Rock Collision Repair website)

I have been doing research and have really put in a lot of time planning the new setup. The look will still be the same, for now… but I will be narrowing my menu topics and focusing on three specifically: Design, Health, and my home state of North Carolina. I still plan to blog on similar topics, from DIY projects to day trips, but my goal is to provide content that is easier to follow and find. If I’m going to work towards living a Minimalistic life, my blog should be uncomplicated too. It only makes sense. I’m excited about these changes and hope that you will be too. You should see the new menu options beginning January 15. New blog posts will be published every Thursday. The sponsored post that I’m writing for January 19 will actually be both health and NC focused, so stay tuned!

I am still unsure if I will continue the Motivation Monday posts. I would really like to put more emphasis on my design content, and plan to open my online store on the blog very soon. That is, as long as I don’t crash the site again. [My nerves still haven’t fully recovered from that fiasco yet.] Please bear with me as I work to finalize decisions and transitions.

As always, thank you for stopping by. {Please remember to subscribe!} Feel free to leave a comment below; I love hearing from y’all. What kind of overhaulin’ do you have planned for 2017?

Ch-ch-changes!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
Turn and face the strain
Ch-ch-Changes
Pretty soon you’re gonna get a little older
                                        – David Bowie

My life has been a whirlwind lately. Ok… I guess that isn’t anything new. I usually run at full speed 99% of the time. But lately, I’ve been trying to run wide open while battling a sinus infection and nasty cough. Although they were slow to kick in, it seems the antibiotics I took for two weeks have finally worked. Or maybe I just finally got some much needed rest.

So here I am… re-evaluating things yet again. Why do I always pack my schedule so full? Why do I say I’m going to slow down for good, only to find myself still running mach speed? It seems to be a never-ending cycle. But one that I think I manage fairly well. I overload my plate but somehow always get by. It isn’t easy though. And I usually bring on a lot more stress than I should.

Last month I had decided to go back to school. I had my application filled out and ready to submit. I was lining up financial aid. But in the midst of my grad school preparation, I made plans on top of plans and overlooked my niece’s and nephew’s birthdays altogether. How terrible! I felt awful. Without hesitation, I put a hault on grad school. It will have to wait… and that’s perfectly okay.

Realizing that I need to amend my schedule yet again, I considered putting this blog back on hiatus and focusing solely on On A Mission. I am so frustrated, I even want to cancel my social media accounts. Don’t panic. I’m not planning on doing that just yet. (But the thought has crossed my mind!) After thinking carefully about how to recify this chaos better known as my life, I have come up with two things:

  1. A friend of mine suggested that I adopt a “daily schedule” where I select one day to focus on one task. For example; Mondays will be writing for this blog, Tuesdays will be for nonprofit work, Wednesdays will be writing for On A Mission, and so on. As rigid as this may sound, I think it may actually work. It’s worth giving a shot anyway!
  2. Perhaps I should remove several apps from my phone. I once attended a Social Fresh event in Charlotte where DJ Waldow confessed to removing his email from his phone. This allowed him to focus on his emails while he was in the office, and remove himself from work when he wasn’t. Maybe social media is too accessible to me right now. I waste too much time unfocused on things that shouldn’t be occupying my time during certain hours of the day.

I still struggle with this blog’s content. Right now it truly is a conglomeration of several different ideas. As frustrated as I get trying to make sense of this website, it would be easy to shut it down and walk away. But I enjoy writing. And I’m coming up on my second anniversary with this blog. So I just can’t fathom throwing in the towel right now. Bear with me. I am bound to streamline this website at some point. 🙂

All that said… I would love your input, your thoughts, and/or your suggestions. I’m in need of some changes!! Has anyone else struggled with reigning in your to do list? Do you have any scheduling tips for me? Is my blog enjoyable as it exists? Or should I work on narrowing my topics? Please comment below. I would love to hear from you!

In Search of the Perfect Blog

I’m a perfectionist. It’s an annoying trait to have, especially now that I have a blog.

I worked as a graphic designer in publishing and print advertising for over a decade. Because of that, I have come to expect drafts and corrections on a regular basis. I have always enjoyed writing but blogging does not come easy for me. I struggle to keep my blog current. I over-analyze topics and wonder if my readers will find them interesting. I am wordy. I spend countless hours editing. I nitpick every aspect until I feel like it is near perfection. Most posts take me several days to produce. You would think I was a copywriter for the World Book Encyclopedia.

Because of this desire to create perfect blogs, I find myself sitting in front of my computer contemplating the effort to write. Is it even worth the time to maintain a blog when I only publish a couple of posts a month? I am blown away by my blogger friends who can crank out multiple scheduled posts weekly. How can they have time to decide on topics, write them, and edit them all a few times before posting them? The more I think about it, the more frustrated I become. Maybe blogging isn’t for me.

I considered making this post my last attempt at blogging, but thought I should research perfectionist blogs just to see if I could find a helpful tip or two. What I found surprised me. There are a lot of folks who struggle with this very problem. It seems those of us in search of the perfect blog are the ones who are least successful in the blogging world. If you happen to be one of those struggling writers, let me share with you some great words of wisdom from folks who have overcome the desire to be perfect.*

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger encourages us to:
Realize that the web is flexible.
Understand that our readers know we’re human.
Recognize the value we can get from using reader feedback to improve our posts.
Respect the importance of our publishing schedule.

Darren states, “Of course, we all want our posts to be factually accurate and typo-free—that’s a given. But there are also considerable advantages to letting go and seeing where a less polished post might lead.” Great advice!

Jennifer Blanchard of Procrastinating Writers believes, “Other than fear, [perfectionism] is the main reason people procrastinate. They get so worried that the blog they create won’t be perfect from the get-go that they don’t even bother starting it. Perfectionism causes serious stress, which is always a recipe for disaster.”

She also reminds us that perfection is an idea, not a reality. No one is or can be perfect. “So rather than berate yourself for not being perfect, remember that life – and blogging – is a journey. And the only way to reach the end goal of that journey is to take the first step: Start your blog!”

Dr. Bob Clarke of Simple Solutions for Part Time Entrepreneurs
actually used a 20-minute exercise to break his perfectionist ways. He set a timer, started writing, and when the timer sounded… it was done. He posted the blog as-is, with no capitalization, no spell check, and no formatting. Who is up for this challenge?

And finally, Tristan at The Backlight writes, “Being perfect is overrated and unnecessary. Apart from the fact that perfection is impossible, your blog doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be better than the other blogs in your niche. No one cares if you’re perfect. Your readers care about your content.” I love this graphic included in his post:

Thanks to these bloggers, who imperfectly shared their advice, I do feel more comfortable. Although changing my habits won’t happen over night, I have decided to give blogging another shot.

If you’re a perfectionist blogger, do you think these suggestions will help you?
How critical are you, as a reader, of finding mistakes in other blogs?
If you’re a successful blogger, are there any additional tips that you’d like to share?

*Be sure to check out the links to each blog post when you’re finished here for even more helpful information.