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Episode 216: Go The Extra Inch For Huge Gains with Megan Porta and Lauryn Piemonte

In episode 216, we are sharing a conversation that originated from a Clubhouse room recorded on 5/21/21. Inspired by an episode from The Ed Mylett Show, food bloggers discuss the concept of separating from “the pack” in order to make big business gains without a ton of effort.

We cover information about why you should do “extra” during busy seasons, squeeze tiny bits of productive work into your schedule and how to go the extra mile when you are reaching out and working with brands.

Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.


Takeaways

  • We don’t need to do huge, massive things to improve our lives, our businesses, we can do really little things over time.
  • Not only are there separations seasons, times of the year, but look for separation seasons in your week, in your day to take advantage of.
  • If your cutoff time for work is five o’clock, add in 15 extra minutes a day. That’s not a huge investment of time and energy but if done over the course of a couple of months, that’s a lot of work time added up.
  • Do that little extra thing that separates you from the pack. Use audio message vs text when talking to people. Get to know the mission statement of a brand before approaching them, etc.
  • All entrepreneurs need to get on other people’s platforms. Comb through previous topics/episodes and get to know the platform/audience/topics well before reaching out to apply and share a takeaway you learned on their platform. Be sure to spell names right and pay attention to details when writing.
  • If you know you’re productive and have energy at a specific time of day, take advantage of that time and keep your to do list very specific. Use a timer to keep you accountable too.
  • Write down tasks you can accomplish in a 5 minutes, 10 or 15 min increments so when you have a window available, you can be immediately productive. Take a bigger task and break it into smaller increments too.
  • What information can you provide on your food blog that would help you stand out from the pack – extra information or a table of contents are examples.
  • If you work with brands, try to go above and beyond with what is stated in the contract. Then if they have 2 people they could go with, you’ll stand out from the crowd.

Resources Mentioned

Ed Mylett Podcast

Whiteboard Notebook

[Book] Atomic Habits

[Book] Commons Paths to Uncommon Success

More on mindset

Make editorial planning easier to streamline in your personal life with tips from Marni Katz in episode 209.

Transcript

Click for full text.

Intro:

Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. And we’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself, because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host, Megan Porta.

Megan Porta:

Are you tired of feeling like your wheels are spinning all the time? Maybe you don’t know what you should be working on on any given day or what will actually move the needle forward in your business. We have started a new mentorship program at Eat Blog Talk, where we work together in a one-on-one setting to create an individualized plan just for you. Spots are very limited for this program. So if this interests you, go to eatblogtalk.com and grab your spot today. I will personally draw up a plan for your business for the next three or six months, your choice. I will check in with regular calls to make sure you are on track. Again, go to eatblogtalk.com for more information, and to grab your spot.

Welcome to Eat Blog Talk friends. Thank you so much for listening and for taking the time to press play today. This episode is going to be a little bit different. I decided to take a recent clubhouse room that I had recorded and put it on the podcast because it was so good packed with great information. Lauryn Piemonte from Plantivore Kitchen and I were co-hosting this room. We were discussing the concept of separating ourselves from other bloggers and from other competitors, in order to make those wins happen more quickly, make those gains come more quickly into our businesses. The inspiration for the chat came from another podcast called The Ed Mylett Show and a particular episode that he put up called It’s Separation Season. So within this clubhouse room, we have a super valuable discussion about this whole concept. I will let you listen, and I really hope you enjoy it.

Hello, Lauryn, how are you today?

Lauryn:

Good. How are you?

Megan:

I’m good. It’s Friday. I love Fridays.

Lauryn:

Me too. I can’t believe Memorial day weekend is next weekend already.

Megan:

Oh my gosh. That’s crazy. Isn’t it? Summer is basically here, which is insane.

Lauryn:

It literally is. Are you guys doing anything fun for it?

Megan:

For Memorial day or summer? We usually don’t do much for Memorial Day weekend. We just kind of lay low and chill. We have just plans for the summer. How about you?

Lauryn:

Yeah, I remember you saying that. For Memorial Day weekend we have some friends that are going to be here. So I think we’ll just do some paddle boarding, typical Austin stuff. I don’t know for the summer yet, we haven’t really planned it out.

Megan:

Take it as it comes, especially after last year, we find that planning, well we can’t always plan.

Lauryn:

True.

Megan:

I know. Well, I’m excited about today. So I ran this by you and I hope this is okay, Lauryn, but I want to actually record this as a podcast episode because you and I have both listened to this other podcast episode, from the Ed Mylett Show, that I loved, and I know you loved it too. So I would like to just have a little discussion about the episode and talk about it. I think it can really relate to food blogging, but I would also love to just open it up after that for our normal type of room. If anyone wants to discuss anything relating to food blogging, if you have something, maybe we’ll talk about the episode that I’m referring to for maybe 20 to 30 minutes, and then we’ll open it up for other things. If that sounds good, Lauryn, we can do that. Then if you just want to do a quick introduction to yourself, that would be awesome to start.

Lauryn:

Perfect. Yeah, that sounds great Megan. I’m so excited to talk about that. So my name is Lauryn Piemonte. I’m a food blogger at Plantivore Kitchen, where I share healthy alternatives. Plant-based eats, allergy friendly food, and I’m also the food content director of the app Jumprope. I am just so excited to talk about this because Ed Mylett is one of my favorite people. I love his podcast. I think that the idea of separation season just was so relevant with what’s going on in our world right now. So I was so happy to share it with you too, Megan.

Megan:

Yes, it was a great episode. So if you guys don’t know the Ed Mylett Show, this podcast is amazing. He provides such great information and tools for entrepreneurs just as far as mindset and general business practices and just common sense things too he brings to the table. But it’s a really great show if you haven’t checked it out, do it. But the episode that we’re referring to is called It’s Separation Season and this concept is really cool. So basically it’s the concept of separating from the herd, so to speak, in order to make small gains that over time, turn into big gains and big wins. This is a concept I’ve talked about on my podcast before, and I love this idea because we don’t need to do huge, massive things to improve our lives, our businesses, we can do really little things over time.

So the term separation season comes from just separating yourself little by little in order to make those really small gains, little bit at a time so that over time you are ahead. So I would just love to have a conversation. If anyone wants to come on stage and talk about this with us, we can give it, I don’t know, a good 20 minutes of discussion before we move on to other things. But I would just love to ask you to start Lauryn, what was your biggest takeaway? Do you have anything that you can implement in your business that relates to that whole concept of separation season?

Lauryn:

Yes. So to give a little bit of a premise for anyone who hasn’t heard this before, he recorded this, and I think around Christmas time, because he considers the holidays a huge separation season. But he also mentions how summertime, for example, is a really good time for separation because a lot of people are slowing down and they might not be hitting the gas pedals. So he talks a lot about how it’s like Megan was just saying, there’s inches that separate us from other people. During those times are really able to make the most impact and lap other people as he says, or not even about other people. He talks a lot about ourselves. So I love that part of it because for me, I try not to compare so much to others. I focus on where I was a month ago, a year ago, whatever it may be.

So I really resonated with that side of what he was talking about. I love how he says, not only are there separations seasons, times of the year, but what separation seasons can you find in your week, in your day? Something that I love that he talked about was Friday afternoons, for example., He’s like Friday afternoons, everyone gets off early people stop working, you’re just coasting. No one wants to make calls. No one’s going to answer emails. But he says, what if you could really push the gas pedal down on Friday afternoons and be super productive? So I loved that and just finding little points where he said, even in your evenings, you don’t need to work from six to 10:00 PM or something. But if you can say, all right, most people after dinner, they’re just going to watch TV, but I’m going to spend 30 minutes or an hour and actually work on my blog and get some emails out, do some things I needed to get done. Work on a project. So I’m going to personally be implementing that a bit more too, where I’m looking for the opportunities throughout the week. Also right now, just going into summer looking where I can be prepping for Q3 Q4, getting ahead too.

Megan:

Yes, the weekly thing is great because I do like his whole concept of doing this during the holidays and busy seasons for us, that would be Q4. But also just looking at those little times during the week and during your day when you can do it too. So you don’t have to go big. I mean, let’s say my cutoff time for work is five o’clock, which is what if I did like 15 extra minutes a day. That’s not a huge investment of my time and energy, but 15 minutes a day, if I do that over the course of a couple of months, that’s a lot of work time that I can add up. Then your Friday thing, Lauryn, oh my goodness. The last few Fridays, I feel like I’ve been 100% worthless and I’ve just kind of come to that point where I’ve accepted it. This morning. I woke up and I was like, oh, it’s Friday. I’m going to be worthless today. I just was like, no. I’m not going to be worthless. I’m going to record this Clubhouse. I’m going to turn it into a podcast episode. I’m going to put some effort into it. I’m going to actually sit down at my desk and work. In previous weeks what I’ve been doing is just sitting on my couch and casually working. So just that extra little bit and not turning it off at noon. Just staying focused and keeping your foot on the gas pedal, like he says. So there are little things. Then I wanted to point out too real quick. After I listened to the episode, I was super inspired and I sent Lauryn a direct message on Instagram.

I was like, no, I’m not going to type the message. I’m going to do that little extra thing that separates me from the pack. So I sent her an audio message, because that’s just one little way that I can differentiate myself and go the extra mile without actually putting in extra work. Actually sending an audio message is way easier than typing in my opinion, but it is an extra touch of that personal touch, I guess, is what I’m trying to say. So I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on this. If you have thoughts about times of the year or times of the day or week, when you can separate yourself and how you can do it. Or Lauryn, I’ll pass it back to you. If you have additional thoughts, I’d love to hear them as well.

Lauryn:

Sure. Megan, I loved what you were saying too. First off, I loved how you did the voice memo because he literally talks about what can you do that makes you unique to other people? He not only talks about business, which I love that side of it, but he also talks about your family, your identity. I found a lot of parallels between what he was talking about and The Atomic Habits book. I don’t know if you felt the same. But I love the idea of, even, for example, when you’re working with a brand or you’re pitching a brand, what can I do to just really stand out and be unique to all the other pitches that they’re getting? So my friend, Samantha, mentioned, she always goes to their about page. She finds their mission and she ties that in some way to the email, to the brand pitch.

I thought that was amazing. I think that’s a way to really separate yourself. How long does that take you, maybe a minute to just go check that out, but it’ll really separate it based on the basic emails that they’re getting that are just copying and pasting over and over again. So I saw what he was talking about. Just different little, little touches you could put on things. I felt like that was a way to apply it to food blogging too. I’m curious, was there anything else that stood out to you as a way that you could separate yourself? Like with your recipes or something like that?

Megan:

I’m sure there are, as far as recipe posts and recipes go. I think we can lean on our intuition with that because as you’re writing, at least for me, as I’m writing a post, I tend to take shortcuts because I’m busy and I want to hurry. So instead of doing that, just slowing down a little bit and asking yourself, how can I make this more unique? How could I add little personal touches into what I’m making? The thing I thought of as you were talking though, Lauryn, was more related to getting on podcasts because I just finished John Lee Dumas’s book, Common Paths To Uncommon Success. One of the things he talks about in there is exactly along these lines. So he recommends all entrepreneurs, you need to get on other people’s platforms. You need to get on podcasts, even if you’re a food blogger. That is going to help your business.

So in order to do that, he recommends, instead of just filling out an application, why don’t you do this instead? You send them a personalized email. A few days beforehand though, you actually take the time to listen to their content and absorb it. Really study the most recent 10 episodes. Then you leave a five star rating and you review it. So when you send your email, you take a screenshot of your review and your rating and you send it and then you go the extra mile and you say, I would love to be on your podcast. Here’s what the title would be and here are some talking points. So you take all of the work out of the equation for them. Then you say something like, I love your show. I noticed that in the most recent 10 episodes, you don’t have this topic covered.

I would love to cover that for you. Here’s the title, here’s the points. Here’s my review I left for you. Just going that extra mile times five or 10. He said in the thousands of podcasts episodes that he has recorded, interviews he’s done, he has never once received an email like that. If he did, he would immediately allow that person to come on a show. So that got me thinking too. That was before you sent the episode over to me, Lauryn. Just those little ways where you can add personalized touches to really let people know that you’re sincere and that you care and you’re really listening and you’re leaning into their content. So, that was a really long-winded way to answer your question.

Lauryn:

That’s such a good idea. I love that because I know for example, clubhouse conversations are sometimes a little more casual and whatnot, but I had someone reach out over DM and they were like, I listened to your other clubhouse conversation you had recently. I love what you said about XYZ. Do you want to do one together? I was like, wow. They actually listened to what I was saying. They were able to bring some of the takeaways. I think one, it’s like you’re complimenting someone by listening to their content. Then two, by showing that you actually absorbed it, I think that that’s a huge compliment as well. So I love that idea. I think that that’s so powerful. I’m curious too, we had about two weeks ago, I think it was our last week.

We had someone in our clubhouse room and her name’s Avy, and she was talking about how she’s been pitching a lot of TV shows. She does like in each HGTV design show. So that even makes me think that if you were to pitch a show, whether it’s local news or anything like that, which as food bloggers, we totally should be doing that, if that’s something that aligns with your strategy. I think I’d love to use what you’re saying, Megan, of looking at some of their past segments, talking about what I loved, where I think there’s some opportunities that I could really fit in. You’re so right by doing the bulk of the work for someone. You’re saying, this is what we would talk about. This is what the title would be, et cetera. So I love that idea. I think that’s so powerful. I’m curious, is there anything else that stuck out to you from that podcast? I feel like there are so many good tidbits. I don’t even know which one to talk about.

Megan:

Yeah, I agree. There are so many things. I feel like I need to go listen to it again, because you know how that is when you are just absorbing all the information and it’s almost overload and you need to go back and relisten. That’s how I feel. But you referred to Atomic Habits earlier. I agree, there was so much in there that I felt aligned with what is talked about in Atomic Habits. But to go on your point about just doing that with news segments or TV of some sort, you could also do that if you were interested in being a contributor on somebody’s site, or really if you’re reaching out to any blogger to get any information from them. Or, you mentioned this earlier, to a brand, if you really want to work with a brand, put in the legwork ahead of time and do something similar to let them know that you really do know about their brand.

You’re not just looking for a quick buck or something. I was thinking, as you were talking about it, Lauryn, about people who reach out to me to be on my podcast and I can always tell immediately, if they don’t know anything about me. That is kind of a turnoff and I do that for people who don’t know about my show, but it’s just a given for me when people say, oh my gosh, I’ve listened to five of your episodes. This has been pulled out of it and I’ve really enjoyed this. My business is better because of X. I really appreciate your talk with X because, but when people reach out and they’re like, Hey, I see you have a food blogging podcast. I’d love to contribute this information, it’s so different.

It’s the same thing with our food blogs, because we all have people who reach out to us on Instagram and maybe they will send you an email about something. You always know if they truly know you or if they don’t. So just encourage everyone to put in that little bit of extra work when you are reaching out to people. Not not only when you want something, but when you are connecting, with what I did with you, Lauryn. I was like, I’m going to send an audio message because that is so much cooler than just typing out something on my phone. So I’m just really thinking about the way I connect with everyone now. That’s friends, my husband even. Yesterday I checked in with him in the middle of the day and just said, how’s your day going? I never do that. He was like, are you okay? But just little touches like that really make people feel special and important. I would just love to get other people’s thoughts too. Is it just me and Lauryn that are intrigued by this or are other other people as well? It looks like someone is coming up. Hold on one second. Hey, Julie.

Julie:

How’s it going?

Megan:

I am good. How are you today?

Julie:

Good. Thank you. I hopped in the room after you had mentioned what podcast it was. I know you’ve mentioned Atomic Habits. I love that book. I love listening to that book, but something you said, well a bunch of things you said about when you reach out to people, and I just wanted to just kind of chime in and say, we’ve all been reached out to by other people. When you feel like, eh, they don’t really know me or they don’t really get it, or they’re trying to pitch baby food to me and I don’t have kids. Do you know what I mean? You just know that they didn’t take that extra time. My tip is you have been pitched many times. If you’ve gotten the emails where you’ve been reached out to on Instagram DM, and you basically know how not to do it because of how you’ve been pitched.

So take those and just do the opposite. Like you said, take the extra time to do some research. I love the tip that you said about finding out what their mission statement is, but really diving deep and going, okay, well, this is just not how to do it. Spell people’s names right. Really pay attention. I’m a big fan of copy and paste, especially if someone’s name is spelled differently. I know Lauryn, I’m sure people misspell your name all the time. It’s one of those indicators where someone’s actually paying attention to detail. I know sometimes it’s not part of your personality to pay attention to detail, but if you’re pitching a brand to get to pay you, those things really matter. So I just wanted to share that. We have so many examples of how not to pitch them on and we can definitely learn from each experience. Thanks for having me on stage.

Megan:

Julie. That was so awesome. I’m glad you brought up the name thing, because that is one of my huge pet peeves in life. All around when somebody calls me or somebody else the wrong name, or even spells my name wrong. I know it happens sometimes, I’ve done it before and I’m terrified every time it happens when I do it. But it’s just a little thing that really, you couldn’t take the time to make sure that my name was on the email and I’ve done that. Oh my goodness. I did that when I was asking for testimonials for my cookbook. I used someone’s name wrong, because I did like a template thing, copy and paste because I was sending so many. I sent the wrong name and I felt bad for months after that. So it is a huge pet peeve, but just taking the time to make sure if you’re sending someone an email and you really would love something back from them, make sure those details are right and make sure you know something about them.

Julie, you get pitched for baby food when you don’t have kids. That’s a big detail. But I love that. So pitch the way you want to be pitched and then add maybe extra touches along with it. So thinking about what people have done to you and changing that. So I really appreciate that contribution. Then I just wanted to talk about a few ways we can do this as food bloggers. We’ve talked about a few things as far as pitching brands, putting yourself out there in different ways. What about also working on weekends? I know I’m a huge proponent of not working on weekends and just taking care of myself, but there are a few magical hours on Saturday morning when I feel really good. I’m super alert and I could probably be really productive.

So what if I sat down for an hour. That’s not a huge investment of my time, but that would be enough to move me forward if I did that consistently. It wouldn’t burn me out. I wouldn’t be put out over my weekend. Lauryn or Julie, do you guys have other ideas for just little ways? By the way, Julie, you asked about the podcasts we were talking about. So it’s the Ed Mylett Show. The title of the particular episode we’re talking about is called, It’s Separation Season. He talks about just separating yourself from the herd or from the rest of the pack, either by doing a little bit more or by being just a little bit different. So I’m just curious if you guys have other ways that we can just incrementally separate ourselves.

Lauryn:

Megan, one thing. So what you were saying with the weekends, something that I really took away from his podcast is that, you don’t have to say, okay, now my whole weekend is dedicated to food blogging. You don’t have to say, I’m going to spend the whole entire day. It’s what you’re saying, just adding that extra hour where you know that you feel productive. I think that a tool that we can use to make the best of that time is really like writing down a list of exactly what you’re going to work on. Because I know sometimes for me, if I say, oh, you know what, I have an extra day, or a day off or something, I’m going to work on a ton of food blogging stuff. Sometimes when you have so many things that you could possibly be doing, especially in the food blogging world, there’s always a million things we could be working on. It gets overwhelming. You almost get that freezing moment of, I don’t know where the heck to start. So I find that just writing down, maybe like the top two or three things I want to accomplish. Because he talks about being so targeted; write down, today I’m going to write emails because no one else is doing emails at 8:00 PM or something like that. So I think that’s a way that we could separate ourselves where you’re not overworking yourself, but you’re still really putting just a little bit extra input and getting a lot of output. The other thing that just came to mind, I know we were talking a couple of weeks ago about the table of contents, for example, adding something like that to a blog post.

I think someone had brought that up and I thought that was such a good idea. Just adding, I already add frequently asked questions, for example, but can you take that extra time to look on Answer The Public, or just even Google what your recipe is and pull a few of the top questions and say, all right, I’m going to proactively answer this. I’m going to really separate myself from someone else who doesn’t answer these questions. So I think that’s another way I see it, as food bloggers. What are your thoughts on that?

Megan:

Oh, I love that. Yes. The table of contents is definitely a way you can stand apart because not everybody does that. It’s going above and beyond. When I saw it, was it last week or the week before when Taryn actually mentioned it and I was like, wait, what? People do that? When I started looking through a couple of sites, I was like, wow, this is really helpful. I personally think that the blogger that put this together is going way above what they need to, to make my life easier. So that is just one little way. Love that. Also Lauryn. Yes. Completely agree with being really intentional about your time. If you are going to work on a Saturday, or if you are going to work 15 minutes extra every day, over a span of time, be sure you’re going into that chunk of work, knowing exactly what you’re doing. Because otherwise you get that deer in the headlights. What the heck am I working on? I have no idea. We all know how that turns out. Not very well. So Taryn, welcome to the stage. What do you have for us?

Taryn:

Hi, thanks for having me up. I’m outside. So I apologize for any outside noises that may be around. There’s two things I was thinking about. One is based on what Lauryn was just talking about, where you have tasks for the day. I don’t know if it was you, Megan that was saying this or maybe in other podcasts that I heard of, where they were talking about having really small tasks. So things that you could do in like 10 to 15 minutes, because you don’t always have an hour chunk of time to get something done. I’ve started doing that as well as what you were just talking about, Megan. If you add an extra 15 minutes on your day, what can you do with those extra 15 minutes?

So having smaller tasks like that, where you’re breaking a larger task down into a lot smaller task. If you were making a blog post, just writing the meta description or putting together the table of contents like we were just talking about. Those sorts of things. The other thing I wanted to say, earlier on we were talking about adding on extra time to your day to try to get in those off seasons, I’m not using the right terminology there. But one thing that I found is, a year or two ago when I was first starting my blog, I was working really late at night. I had a different job that I was working during the day. I was always tired. I was like, why am I doing this? So recently I’ve switched my day around where I’m taking care of myself better in the day so that I can work later at night. I still have energy. So if working more sounds daunting, maybe try and evaluate your day and see, okay, where can I fill my cup up more so that I have more to give in those extra hours.

Megan:

Taryn. I love that so much that you saw that that was not effective for you and that you made a plan and changed it. I think that we all could probably tweak our days and our weeks to do that. That’s something I’ve been giving a lot of thought to lately, because I do, like I mentioned earlier, I just have these days that are just typically not productive or not good. I need to plan around that a little bit. So I love that perspective. Lauryn or Julie. Do you guys do anything like that?

Julie:

I love that Taryn and I do try to plan based on my energy level too, because certain times of the month where I’ll have a streak of a week or two where I can do anything. I could lift 300 pounds. Then there are other times of the month where I’m just like I just need to sleep. So when I know that I’m just going to be filled with energy, then I’m going to try to get as much done as I can. Also Taryn, piggy backing on what you said. I’m just not a morning person. I actually am more effective in the afternoon and then even late in the evening, but it’s not really conducive to spending quality time with my husband and my family.

There’s some weeks where I’m just going to be working late and then some weeks I’m not. Just being okay with I’m not someone who gets out of bed at 7:00 AM. I’m like such a grumpy person too, if you wake me up early. That’s just the way I am. I had read something about how it kind of depends on what time of the day you were born too. I was born at like eight in the evening. I’ll notice that my brain is fully awake after 11:00 AM in the morning. I just thought there was something wrong with me. Everyone else was getting up so early, am I doing something wrong?

It’s really just knowing how your body works. You were talking, Megan, about setting yourself apart. When I’m working with a brand and I have a contract, and usually it’ll say, you need to do this many social media posts and basically a lot of times it’ll say, one pin or two pins. I try to set myself apart by going the extra mile and actually doing additional work. It doesn’t take that much extra effort to do a couple of extra pins. If I have to do one Facebook post, sometimes I will do an additional one or I will reshare my old posts. Because you know how you can just hit the share button and you could share yourself. I know you’ve seen other food blogger pages where they’ll share an older post from a couple of years ago, but actually will do that with sponsored posts too. A week later or even a few days later, it’ll get more impressions, more engagement because different eyeballs will see it. I’ll even make a point to share here are the links to the social media posts that were required. I did some additional ones. You know, hopefully the brand likes that and hopefully your client likes that. So share those additional links and point that out.

Megan:

I love everything you said, Julie. That’s so great. Lauryn, were you going to say something earlier?

Lauryn:

Yes. First I want to respond to what Julie said because I loved it too. That’s something that I’ve been talking to a lot of people about even at Jumprope, because how you get the 15 downloads, once you create one thing. So I’ve seen a lot of bloggers who, because it’s no extra effort to do anything, you just have to upload it to your social media or give it to the brand. I’ve seen people who ‘ve sold a package, let’s say four things. Then they ended up giving the brand an extra IG story video or something like that. Then the brand is so thankful and they’re like, oh my gosh, thank you for sending this over. Julie, I think that’s a great way to separate yourself and then really solidify your relationship with that brand in the future.

If they’re deciding between two people, they’re going to be like, oh, I want to work with Julie again, obviously. So I loved how you said that. Then I wanted to respond to something Taryn said. I really liked how you were talking about breaking things up into very small tasks. That’s something that I think was one of the biggest keys that I unlocked to help my productivity, because when I would write a list down, a to-do list, I would just say answer emails. Prep blog posts. Prep Instagram posts. It was so generic that when I looked at that to-do list, I thought, wait a second. I don’t even know where to start, “prep blog posts”. That could be five different things. So now when I write down my to-do list, it’s so granular. I write down, answer the email from X brand. Do this part of the blog post, take the photos for this part, edit the pictures. I break it down to really, really small and get very micro with it. That has helped me because it’s so much easier to check something off. Like you’re saying Taryn, when it’s 15 minutes versus if I put something on there and it’s truly going to be an hour or two of work, it’s a lot more daunting. I just wanted to add that. I love what you guys were saying.

Megan:

It does take some time to do that sort of planning beforehand, I feel like. But it’s so worth it. It saves you so much more time if you do it than if you don’t. So if you take the time to sit down and make those really detailed to-do lists, like you guys were talking about, it seems like, why would I do that? That’s going to be half an hour of my time or whatever. But later you are going to save yourself emotional turmoil and you are going to get so much more done. So I love that whole theme. Go ahead Taryn.

Taryn:

Can I chime in? I was going to say one thing with that too, is it can feel really good to have a whole list of checkboxes and be like, well, look at all I accomplished today, even if it was just like all these 15 minute tasks. It’s self reinforcement.

Megan:

We all like checking off to do items. I think that is common with every single person in this room. Katie, welcome. Do you have something to share? Just glad you’re here.

Katie:

Thank you so much for having me. I’m Katie. I blog at Katiescucina.com and I share modern comfort food for the busy family. Oh my gosh. So much of this resonates with me, especially as we’re about to transition into the summer season. We have to, if you have children, now you have to re-imagine your schedule because they’re going to be home and you want to be a little more present throughout the day. I definitely agree with Taryn about just trying to break down the larger task. There’s some days that I just can tell I’m not focused and I’m like, all right, you know what? I’m going to channel my blog work energy for later and work on something that needs to be done at the house. We were also talking about on the weekends and stuff, trying to be more present and put work away.

But I have found recently that suddenly after I put the kids to bed, I have this burst of energy. So I try to set myself up for the week by making a list and even going in and maybe working on emails for the week or for a couple of weeks worth of newsletters or going through and deleting old blog posts or doing SEO research. Just channeling in on whatever I can be the most productive at. That’s what I’ve been doing lately. I’ve just been writing a list at the beginning of the week. Alright, these are the blog posts that I want to do a full revamp on. But with the new photos and editing and stuff. I’ll just work off that. I also always have this other list; I need to be updating these categories. I need to work on adding more fresh pins, stuff like that. So I’ve definitely been trying to give myself flexibility because when I’m not focusing, I’m just wasting the time. So I’d rather just try to channel it, even if it’s something that I wasn’t planning on working that day, I want to try to just get something done. So I know something is better than nothing. Even if it is only for like 20 or 30 minutes versus spending hours on one task.

Megan:

Yes. I love it too, Katie. Thank you for sharing all of that. To go along with your taking advantage of those bursts of energy, on the flip side of that, what I’ve started doing is noticing when I have the opposite. So when I am really dragging and forcing myself to work, it’s usually later in the day or like three o’clock in the afternoon and just seeing it and then stopping and doing something else. That’s probably what you were talking about, Taryn. Clearly I’m not being super productive right now, so I’m going to do something else. So I can be productive later and just work with what works for you, because I think we all work so differently. But yeah, Katie setting yourself up in small ways so that you can be successful later. Planning your week is kind of annoying, but when you do it, isn’t it great. You just feel awesome going into Tuesday. I know exactly what I’m doing today.

Katie:

Yes. I have tried to get a little more granular. On Monday I’m going to work on this and Tuesday. I found that that just does not work for me because some days I’m more focused or I have more energy to put on other tasks than others that I had planned on. So I started saying within the next week and a half, I want to have these eight blog posts republished and updated to be fully optimized. I also still know that I have this other running list going on. Then of course I have another blog that I’m trying to revive, but I’m also currently working on really updating and getting Katie’s Cucina up to the 2021 standards.

But I’m kind of at the point now where I’m feeling a little bit better about, okay, I have some more time. So when I have this burst of energy to go work on my DIY lifestyle blog, I will go back and I’ll start working on it. There are days where I’ll spend the whole day and I’m like I got nothing done for Katie’s Cucina, but I did get probably a month’s worth of work done on my DIY blogs. You have to learn to follow your instincts and see what is going to work best for you.

Megan:

I think the way you do it is just fine because that seems to work for you. Some people work really well when they’ve got every day booked. That’s me. But I don’t think that that is going to work for everyone. But having a running list of things that you can work on, I think is really important. Knowing, at least in your mind, what is the most important, one or two or three to five tasks, so that if you do have time and you find that burst of energy, you can tap into those things immediately. You don’t have to think about it. You know, I have to do that. Go ahead, Taryn.

Taryn:

I’m curious. I think that might be good for just sharing in general. Where do people keep their to-do list? Cause I know I keep mine in a note taking program called Evernote. It has formatting where it will put check boxes that you can check off that’s really good for me to be like, oh, I can pull up this and I see the check marks. But I know there’s other ones out there and I’m just curious what other people use.

Katie:

I do like Trello, like to organize a lot of that, but I will say I love writing things down. However, I love being sustainable. So what I got is this notebook that you can get on Amazon and it’s basically a white board. I don’t know if anyone’s familiar with it and it essentially has probably 10 different whiteboard pages. What you can do is just write down your own check box to do list. Then I’ll erase it at the end of the day or when it’s done. So I personally love that thing and I can also use it. I’m just a very visual person. So I like to see it right there. I can also use it if I want to start planning something out with my blog. It comes in handy a lot of times. I think it was probably like $15 on Amazon.

Megan:

Does anyone else want to share how they managed to do lists? I love the white board idea, Lauryn. I’ve never tried that, but what a great idea. Well, I’ll share what I do. I rotate between different strategies. So there is something inside of Google calendar, it’s a little blue icon called tasks. Do you guys ever use that? I go through stretches where I use this for exactly what we’re talking about. Having my top five things that I need to work on when I’m feeling great. But sometimes I will just use a pen and paper and I’ll do that for weeks. Then I’ll kind of get tired of that. So then my to-do list goes back on to my Google calendar. So Evernote, I used to use it too, Taryn, and I really liked it. Are you looking for a new strategy? Are you happy with Evernote?

Taryn:

I really like Evernote. I was just curious, it’s always interesting to hear what other people use. I’ve never heard of a whiteboard journal before. I think that’s really awesome, Lauryn. So it was just interesting to hear because maybe there’s something that I could be doing that would be more efficient or better or easier.

Megan:

I love the whiteboard idea and I might steal that. I use my whiteboard for goals and I always have running goals like three month goals and then year goals. I put it in my bedroom and I’m always looking at that, but I never thought of doing that daily or weekly. But that’s really intriguing. Because then you can just wipe it clean, right? It’s not even like turning a page because then the page is still there. Just completely wiping it clean sounds good to me.

Lauryn:

I think you would love it, Megan, because it has separators between each page too. So it won’t erase unless you actually want to erase it. So I love it. Whoever came up with this idea was very smart. If anyone can’t find it and needs a link, just DM me.

Megan:

Email me the link and I am going to turn this clubhouse room into an episode. So I will link to it in the show notes. I’m probably gonna purchase one today because you sold me.

Lauryn:

I love it. I’ll send it to you.

Megan:

Awesome. so it looks like Raquel. I was trying to get you on stage. I don’t know, this sometimes happens where it looks like you’re on stage, but you’re not. Are you there?

Raquel:

I’m here. Sorry. I’m sort of new to speaking on Clubhouse. I’m usually just listening. So I wasn’t sure what I needed to do.

Megan:

No, you’re fine. This is great. So what do you have?

Raquel:

Okay, so my blog is Organized Island. I’m actually a former productivity manager, and now I’m a full-time blogger. One of the things that I really love is I love to use Google sheets for all of my to-do lists. What’s nice about that is that you don’t have to rewrite the list because a lot of our work is recurring, right? We know what we’re doing. A food post, a food blog post. We have the recipe creation, editing, et cetera, et cetera. So I found that really helpful because my list is there. One of the things I do is I also break it out to 10 minute tasks. So I have a separate list, but just 10 minute tasks. So whenever I have 10 or 15 minutes, I can do those little things that are usually maybe not as important, but they’re still somewhat important. I could kind of squeeze them in my day that way. Does that make sense?

Megan:

That does make sense. I like that. I like hearing different people’s ways to manage to do lists. That’s a great way too. 10 minute tasks and even smaller tasks you could do, right? You could do five minute tasks. I remember somebody saying a few weeks ago in this room, was that you Lauryn? I can’t remember. But somebody was saying, is this going to take me 60 seconds to do or less? If the answer is yes, then do it. If it’s not, then maybe add it to your to do list. But I love that too. Because we can break things down into such small chunks. They don’t have to be two hour chunks of time. So that’s such a great concept. Was that you that mentioned Lauryn or was I dreaming that?

Lauryn:

Yes. I ask myself that all the time. Is this going to take me 60 seconds or two minutes or less? Or is this going to take me longer? If it’s gonna take me longer, add it to the list. Otherwise I’m like, just do it. Just get it done. Even not for blogging, stuff around the house. If I’m like, I can just wipe this down or clean this in a minute and be done. I always ask myself that.

Megan:

So what if you have a series of those things, then what do you do? I can do X, that’s going to take a minute. Then another thing, you know, like, can they just pile up on top of each other?

Lauryn:

I guess that kind of goes along with what Taryn was talking about last week with habits stacking in a way. You could do like little tasks stacking. So for example, if I was in the kitchen and I was like, oh my God, I just made so many recipes. I have dishes everywhere. I might say, okay, you know what? I need to just block 15 minutes later to do it. But then if it’s something that I’m just using as the option to be lazy and just leave it or I can just do this in two minutes, I’ll usually just get it done.

Megan:

I have this weird thing that’s ingrained in me where once I start a task, I feel like I have to do the whole thing because my dad was notorious growing up for starting the lawn and he would do 10 minutes and then he would leave and then the lawn would be half done. We’d be like, okay, are you going to finish? So I always have it in my mind that I can’t do that. I can’t do five minutes of dishes. I’ve got to do the whole thing. So maybe that’s just a personal issue I have to get over. But I was going to run this by you guys, because as we’re talking, I’ve sorted through a solution to a problem I’ve been having. There’s a new project I want to start that I’m super excited about, but I just don’t have the time for it right now.

But what if I took 15 minutes a day, like I was talking about and just worked on that project for 15 minutes a day. Because if I did that over the summer, the project would probably be done because it’s a big project. Have you guys ever done anything like that? I did that early in my blogging career when I was still working a corporate job. I would come home and I would just set a timer. I have to work for 15 minutes until this blog is up. I’m curious if any of you have a history with that?

Lauryn:

I can relate to what you’re saying with working your job and everything, and having to set a timer for whether it be the evening, the weekend, whatever that may be. So I definitely do that. Lately I’ve been trying to group them based on little projects I’ve been working on. So I’d be really curious, Megan, if you try it out. I want to know how it works out, how efficient it is. Julie, I know you’ve been working on a project, so maybe have you been doing something like that too or any tips?

Julie:

Hey, can you hear me? I was driving earlier. So now I’m somewhere where there’s music and I have a mask on. I’m hoping you can hear me. I really love the Atomic Habits, but like I’m terrible at developing new habits. At least I know that about myself. I know he talks about doing the thing 15 minutes a day and really moving forward. For me, it was really hard because it was hard to focus. I’m writing a book right now and I just actually sent it to Lauryn to test and review for me. I sent it to six other people, so I’m really excited, hoping that I can launch it next month, but it’s been a labor of love and also labor of hate, because it’s really hard for me to write. One thing that’s really helped me is this email course last September. It was actually a really helpful class because instead of being like an on demand course, she had six different classes. They were on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday for two weeks. You met for 90 minutes. I felt like, oh gosh, that really works for me because I could, I could attend it live because I’m not gonna just be like, oh, I’ll watch it later. But a couple of people in the chat, they said hey, let’s meet up and be accountability partners and actually get the stuff done that we learned in this course. So I met a couple of people out of that and I do these zoom sessions with one of them now. We do it every week, every Monday afternoon. We meet for an hour and a half once a week and we just get the stuff done together on zoom that we don’t want to do. We hold each other accountable. At the beginning for five minutes we talk about, okay, what are we going to work on? We set a timer for 45 minutes, work on it and then sync back up and then do another 45 minutes. That’s been really helpful. So when I was really working on the meat of that book, she was meeting with me three or four times a week, for a couple of weeks. I actually asked her. It started out as a group, but then now it’s really hard cause she’s in the UK, someone’s in New Zealand, someone else is in New York. So the person in New York dropped off. We were doing it every Monday afternoon. With the time change for the time that we’re meeting, it’s six or 5:00 AM in the morning. So it wasn’t working. It just turned into this one person that I met with and I brought it to the group at one point. I said, Hey, I need to work on this book, not getting it done. Can someone meet with me? She works on all this stuff that she needs to work on. She’s an occupational therapist for kids who have special needs and she’s doing a lot of it over zoom. I’m a food blogger. We actually will bounce ideas off of each other. So I’m actually up for starting even a food blogger group where we just meet on a certain day and literally just work on the stuff that we cannot seem to get done on our own. I’ve been calling them co-working sessions because that’s what it is. She’s my ability to have a water cooler session basically, similar to when I used to work in an office. But that’s what’s worked for me.

Megan:

Accountability, right? Just having someone say, Julie, are you doing this? Because I know you don’t want to, but you need to. I think accountability is so huge in our world because there’s so many things that we don’t want to do. At least speaking for myself. I could be alone in that. Go ahead Katie.

Katie:

Oh, so to add onto that, Megan, I know that you’re in the same boat as I am where we’re updating an insane amount of old blog posts from the past 10 plus years. What I have been doing, for some reason in my earlier days of blogging, I thought it was a good idea to make these roundups of 50, 75, 100 different recipes and they’ve always done well. So I’ve been working on trying to update them, but I will only do it for 15 or 20 minutes at a time, every other day, because I cannot sit there and work on a hundred plus recipes, adding links into the WP recipe maker plugin. So that’s one way that I’ve been breaking up a task that’s daunting and just giving myself 15 or 20 minutes to work on it. So eventually, each one will be updated.

Megan:

In the same boat and those tasks that make you want to pull out your hair and gouge out your eyeballs. I totally agree that you need to break it down. That’s the theme of what we’ve been talking about. Just break it down and put little tiny increments into your calendar. So I use this app called Sorted and that’s exactly what I do. I’ll do like 15 minutes working on audit stuff. Then I will literally spend 15 minutes. Or 15 minutes on Instagram today. That’s all I can handle for those tasks because otherwise I feel like I’m going to go crazy. So that is a great strategy. Lauryn sent me the link to that amazing notebook and I’m looking at it now. Oh my gosh, this is so cool. How have I never known about this before?

Lauryn:

It’s so cool. I love that thing. Megan, can we talk? I actually just was thinking about one other part of that episode that I’d love to briefly talk about before we wrap up. It was how Ed talked about identity and I loved the analogy that he used, it really stuck with me. He said that when you do these tasks, think about if you went to the bank and you deposited a thousand dollars and you got your deposit slip. You get that validation of, that’s how you know that you just need to happen. He says that you really need to get your own deposit slip, essentially. You need to make sure you’re saying to yourself, like, yes I am someone that accomplished this. Yes, I did this today. You need to recognize it because then it helps become part of your identity more so, and encourage yourself to continue with it. So I thought that was a really big part of it. I don’t know if you had any thoughts there. I know Atomic Habits talks about identity too.

Megan:

Yeah, that goes with the theme of Ed Mylett. Just that mindset piece of it, instead of figuring out your calendar and your schedule and figuring out which things are going to set you apart from others, you also have to work on your mindset. What are your limiting beliefs and what do you feel you are capable of? So identifying with what you’re doing, like you were saying Lauryn, is a huge piece of it. If not the most important piece of it, in my opinion. But if you guys have not listened to Ed Mylett, thank you Lauryn, for introducing me to him. You should go to your favorite podcast player and pull up his show. Start with that episode. It’s Separation Season, it’s called. He’s so full of great stuff. Everything he says resonates with me. Love it. This has been great. What do you guys think? Has this been good? Would you rather have more scattered food blogging topics? I suppose we could do a combination. We can occasionally do just really focused topics like this on Fridays, but I thought this was amazing and I didn’t realize we’d all have so much to contribute. So thanks you guys for all of the great stuff. Any last words, Lauryn Taryn, Katie?

Lauryn:

No, not for me. Just to echo what you said. Definitely check out Ed Mylett. He’s amazing. He’s one of those rare people where I love listening to his podcast episodes that he does just when he’s not interviewing someone else, because he is so full of actionable tips. That’s like my favorite thing. So highly, highly recommend.

Katie:

I was just going to say, I agree, Megan, this was a great chat. I feel like there was a lot of good information that people were sharing. I’m going to connect with Julie about doing a co-working session because I think that’s a great idea. There are definitely tasks where I do not want to do this so Julie and I can do them together.

Megan:

I love that idea. That’s why coworking is so popular too, to get the social interaction, but also to get that accountability. Well, if any of you guys have ideas for future topics we could cover, or if you have a podcast episode that resonates with you, like Lauryn did and send it along to me and then we can chat about anything that relates to food blogging. Obviously this was a huge piece of food blogging because we need to separate ourselves from others in some way, because there’s so much competition. Just great, great nuggets. So thanks again, Lauryn. Thank you guys so much for being here and we’ll see you next Friday.

Outro:

Thank you. We’re glad you could join us on this episode of Eat Blog Talk. For more resources based on today’s discussion, as well as show notes and an opportunity to be on a future episode of the show, be sure to head to eatblogtalk.com. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll be here to feed you on Eat Blog Talk.


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Megan
Megan

Megan started her food blog Pip and Ebby in 2010 and food blogging has been her full-time career since 2013. Her passion for blogging has grown into an intense desire to help fellow food bloggers find the information, insight, and community they need in order to find success.

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