In episode 427, Megan chats to Joanne Steckler about lessons she learned as an academic medicine and how she has applied those to grow her blog.
We cover information on reminding yourself that your path is your path, knowing that nothing will ever be perfect, persistence does pay off, and always being open to learning, even from someone with less experience than you.
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Connect with Ugly Duckling Bakery
Bio Joanne is a lifelong baker, but it wasn’t until 2020 when she was stuck at home with her elementary school kiddo, that she started baking and cooking with a purpose. You’ll find recipes on the Ugly Duckling Bakery blog that she makes for her family, ranging from 30-minute weeknight meals to more complicated weekend cooking, baking projects made from scratch, and classic cocktail variations. Joanne hopes to share some of the science and history, tips and tricks to understand how and why recipes work, and enough foundation so that readers can start to create their own recipes.
- Blogging is a marathon.
- This is your path and no one else’s.
- It’s not just about hard work.
- Always be connecting, networking, and putting your name out there to get opportunities passed to you.
- Always be learning. Learn from others. Share what you learn.
- You don’t know everything. There is always more to learn.
- Schedule out tasks, like email, and only do them in the dedicated time for it.
- Get help on things you can pass off.
- Say no.
Click for full script.
EBT427 – Joanne Stekler
Intro: Food bloggers, hi, how are you today? Thank you so much for tuning in to the Eat Blog Talk podcast. This is the place for food bloggers to get information and inspiration to accelerate their blog’s growth and ultimately help them to achieve their freedom, whether that’s financial, personal, or professional.
I’m Megan Porta and I’ve been a food blogger for over 12 years. I understand how isolating food blogging can be at times. I’m on a mission to motivate, inspire, and most importantly, let each and every food blogger, including you, know that you are heard and supported.
The world of food blogging has so many similarities to other professions and other experiences and journeys. In this episode, Joanne Stekler from Ugly Duckling Bakery joins me and she makes the connection with her career in academia and how so many of the lessons she has learned there also apply to food blogging. She talks about so many things that you will be able to relate to and things you’ll be able to learn from as well.
Things like, this is a marathon. It is not a sprint. You have to be persistent. You have to stay in the game for a long time sometimes. Your journey is your journey. It’s not anyone else’s. You can’t do this job alone. Surrounding yourself with good people is imperative. Many other things that we discuss inside the episode. It is episode number 427, sponsored by RankIQ.
Sponsor: Hey, awesome food bloggers. Before we dig into this episode, I have a really quick favor to ask you. Go to your favorite podcast player, go to Eat Blog Talk, and scroll down to the bottom where you see the ratings and review section. Leave Eat Blog Talk a five-star rating if you love this podcast and leave a great review. This will only benefit this podcast. It adds value and I so very much appreciate your efforts with this. Thank you so much for doing this. Okay, now on to the episode.
Megan Porta: Joanne is a lifelong baker, but it wasn’t until 2020 when she was stuck at home with her elementary school kid that she started baking and cooking with a purpose. You’ll find recipes on the Ugly Duckling Bakery blog that she makes for her family, ranging from 30-minute weeknight meals to more complicated weekend cooking, baking projects made from scratch, and classic cocktail variations. Joanne hopes to share some of the science and history, tips and tricks to understand how and why recipes work, and enough foundation so that readers can start to create their own recipes.
Joanne, thank you so much for being here. How are you today?
Joanne Stekler: I’m good, Megan. How are you?
Megan Porta: I’m doing good. Thanks for asking. I’m excited to chat about all the lessons you’ve learned from your career that apply to food blogging, but first, we want to know if you have a fun fact to share with us.
Joanne Stekler: My fun fact is that, not surprisingly, I’m a bit of an overachiever. Once I get an idea in my mind to do something, it’s hard for me to turn away from it. So that means I’ve done a lot of things that people think I’m a little bit crazy for doing, like going to medical school in the first place, but also I took a year off to backpack around the world. I’ve done an Ironman triathlon. I think some people think about it related to my blog as well.
Megan Porta: Oh, backpacking around the world. I feel like that could be a whole evening with a glass of wine or three and such a fun chat. What an experience.
Joanne Stekler: Oh, it was the best thing I think I’ve ever done in my life.
Megan Porta: Okay. I need to hear more about that sometime, but super excited to hear about everything that you’ve learned. Yes, I love how that fun fact applies to blogging because you did just dig into blogging. So tell us that story.
Joanne Stekler: Yeah. I’ve always loved food. So I’m an older person, I’m 50. I’ve always been cooking and baking. I’m an infectious disease doctor. So when the pandemic started in 2020, I was sharing as much information as we had in March of 2020. It was really scary. I think there was a lot of fear about it. I just felt bad about only posting about COVID. So this story I tell on my blog, and it’s true, that I think it was early on in March and I said, I’m tired of posting about COVID. I want to post something else. So tell me why my bean burgers always turn out mushy and how to stop that. So we had a bunch of conversations. A lot of my friends are foodie people also, about things that they did to make their beanburgers. I played around with it and I shared back on Facebook and I just kept sharing my food. I posted my dinners every day. Then people kept encouraging me for a while. I’d stop and people would ask me to start again. So I just kept doing it. Eventually, I said, maybe I should start a blog. I knew nothing about what I was going to be doing, but I said, okay, I’m going to start a blog. Why not? Sounds like fun.
Megan Porta: Oh, I love it. So you just dug in. You just started and you haven’t looked back.
Joanne Stekler: Haven’t looked back. It’s been so much fun. I really enjoy learning. I’m a lifelong learner. So all the things that there are to do with blogging, I have dug into and tried to learn, some more than others. Some I’ve enjoyed more than others. But it’s been a ride.
Megan Porta: So how does that fit in with your career, being a doctor? Have you been able to carve out enough time for blogging, do you feel?
Joanne Stekler: There’s never enough time. I think that’s one of my life lessons. There’s never enough to do that. Do you want me to say the things that I was going to say? One of those lessons is that there’s never enough time. Your to-do list is always going to be longer than you could manage to do. It’s really then just about prioritizing. So I’ve gone too far to some degree. It was easier at the beginning of the pandemic because I have a nine-year-old kid who was in school at the time. So she was at home and I couldn’t work as much as I wanted to because I was at home all the time with her. So I did a lot more blogging and cooking with her and focusing more on the blog. Since I’ve returned back to work and back into the office, I’ve definitely pulled back on what I’ve done, how often I’ve been able to post, how often I’ve been on social media and really trying to figure out my balance again.
Megan Porta: That time skewed so much for a lot of us. I feel like we’re thrust into being at home. So we had more time to blog and cook and do all the fun things we like to do. But then it was just not balanced either. So we’ve had to readjust as we’ve emerged from the pandemic.
Joanne Stekler: There are things that I think the pandemic has done for us in a positive way. I feel like I can work from home and that’s fine. I dropped down from hundred percent to 80%. So now I’m not working on my work on Fridays because there are other things that I want to do. I want to go hiking. I want to cook. I want to make cocktails. I think that’s become more acceptable. That people realized during the pandemic that there was life outside of work.
Megan Porta: Ooh. Yes. So true. Life exists outside of blogging. It’s true.
Joanne Stekler: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. So I am definitely a different person in all parts of my life than I was a few years ago.
Megan Porta: Yeah. It’s good to remind ourselves that some good things actually did come out of there. We get so overcome by all of the negative things that came out of it that we just need to remind ourselves of that sometimes. So thank you for that. Okay. So you have other things that you learned that you have taken from your career that apply to blogging. So why don’t you talk through some more of those?
Joanne Stekler: Sure. So the first is that it’s years, right? That blogging, like my career, like academic medicine is, it’s a marathon. It’s not a sprint and you have to be in it for the long haul. Persistence will eventually pay off. I think about this in the same way that I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro a bunch of years ago, pre-kid. There’s a word in Swahili that is pole for slowly. They used it, we had to do a guided trip, but they use it to say you’re not running up Kilimanjaro. All you’re doing is putting one step, one foot in front of another, and you’re keeping going. Eventually, if you put one foot in front of the other, you’re going to get someplace. So I think that’s true, no matter whether it was in academic medicine or for me thinking about blogging. There are some people who have success immediately, but for the rest of us, it’s just doing it and then keep doing it and doing it some more.
Megan Porta: This is one of the most important points if you’re getting into food blogging, in my opinion. Because it’s so easy to look at those people that you referred to who get in and find quick success. It’s easy for people to look at them and be like, why is that not me? Why did that not happen to me? Then they get hyper-focused on that. We just need to step back and realize what you just said. It is a marathon for 99% of people, probably 99.99% of people. So just stick with it even through the frustration and comparing yourselves and all of that.
Joanne Stekler: I so agree. That’s my second point, which is it’s your path and nobody else’s. It’s so hard. We all do this. We all fall into the comparison trap. I do that in medicine too, right? There are people who I’ve trained who are younger than me, who are now running academic divisions. But that’s not what I want. There are people who. started their food blog after I did it a couple of years ago. There are people who started probably this year who’ve already qualified for Mediavine or whatever ad company they’re looking for. I think this is true in social media, right? One of the criticisms is that you only generally see the positive things, but it seems like people have everything going for them. One of the things that I always tell my patients who said, they have everything going for them. You’re not dealing with the things that I’m dealing with. And what I try to tell them is, I often tell them it may seem like that sometimes, but everybody has their own stuff.
Megan Porta: Yes. Your path is unique. That is something we so often lose sight of. I’ve done it so many times in my own journey. Just making my path someone else’s and having to remind ourselves that, yeah, I have my own journey. We all do. Mine’s been exceptionally long at times. I did things the hard way. It’s not always going to be perfect, right?
Joanne Stekler: No. I’ve thought about my blogging journey as I’ve been thinking about this conversation that we’re having. And I remember saying to myself, I started off wrong. I started off not doing keyword research and I probably didn’t think about SEO so much. I thought, okay, now it’s three months in and I’m going to do everything right so that I don’t have to go back and make all those changes. But of course, I messed up. We all mess up. It’s never perfect. Plus things are changing. It’s funny to think back now, thinking, oh, I think I was going to do it right the first time. No, you’re never going to do it right, and nothing’s ever done. You’re just going to always go back and update.
Megan Porta: It’s just like going through a blog post. For me, when I go through old blog posts, I’m like, okay, this time it’s perfect. I have everything. Then three months later, I’m like, wait a second. I didn’t know what I was talking about. It’s always changing. You’re always making tweaks to everything, every part of this business. Okay, what else do you have as far as lessons you’ve learned that you’ve carried over to food blogging?
Joanne Stekler: This is a good one. So my next is that it’s not just about doing hard work. This comes from the fact that I’m not the most outgoing person. I say I’m on the border between being an extrovert and an introvert. My husband likes to say I’m an introvert completely. But I would really, from a work perspective, just like to sit in my office or sit in the corner and do my work and do great work and get recognized for that. Unfortunately, that’s not the way the world works. We can put our noses to the grindstone and put out the best blog post. But unless we’re promoting ourselves, unless we’re on social media, unfortunately, unless we’re out meeting other bloggers and talking to other bloggers and getting our names and our faces known, we’re not going to get as recognized for that hard work. So I really stress to my mentees, I really stress the importance of going to conferences and networking and getting your name out there and becoming a real person. Because that’s how you get the opportunities passed to you. One of the stories I like to tell is how, when I was a young fellow, still in my training, is that we have divisional retreats every year, as we did before the pandemic. At one of those retreats, I just sat down at the poker table where all of the legends, old white men, all of these folks were sitting at the table playing poker. I think I might have been the only woman at this table and I just played poker. The fact that these legends got to know me and know who I was and know that I could play poker really, I think helped put future, it doesn’t make me sound great to have the opportunities to write manuscripts or give talks because it’s more work, but that’s how you get known. That’s how you expand your scope having those opportunities that people can give to you. So it’s unfortunately not enough to just do hard work. You have to get out there and self-promote.
Megan Porta: Oh gosh. That was so well-worded. I love how you said that. It is so true. I think we can talk ourselves into just not believing that. Oh, it’s fine. I did that for so many years. I’d be like, all I have to do is sit here and do the work over and over in my basement, by myself. But I wasn’t getting anywhere. It was like the wheel-spinning syndrome that just goes on and on. Then once you start connecting with people in real life, it is a game changer. I love this point. I feel like we probably could have a separate talk just about this point. I love it.
Joanne Stekler: I know you talk about Tastemaker. I’ve not been to Tastemaker and I haven’t done any conference travel since the pandemic started for a few reasons, but once I start doing work travel then I really want to go to Tastemaker and get to know people. All these folks whose names I know I want to actually meet in real person. I know that can only help in the future.
Megan Porta: Real-life connections are amazing.
Joanne Stekler: They are.
Megan Porta: Yes. Okay. What else do you have? What other lessons for us?
Joanne Stekler: It’s related to that. It’s about mentoring. You need to learn from other people. One of the things that’s important to me is sharing that learning. As I’ve gotten older, one is recognizing that it is true that people who are older than you and more experienced. You do have words of wisdom that you should listen to, but also that you can get those words of wisdom from people who are at your level, who are colleagues, or even your mentees. So that’s something that an academic doc, we learn all the time. Learning from people all around us. But I think that’s true of other bloggers. That as folks come up, that it’s part of the thing that makes the blogging world less frustrating is to have other people with who I can share even the few lessons that I’ve already learned. But also that there are people who can teach me about their cultures, who can look at what I’m saying and say from an equity standpoint, Hey, you really should think about not using the word crack or not talking about foods in a way that represents the colonization of food. There’s always stuff to learn and you should be learning it from everybody and listening to all the folks around you. I’m not sure if I said that right.
Megan Porta: Just keeping an open mind all the time and just always knowing that you don’t know it all and there’s always something to learn. From anyone, from everyone, right? Someone who has been blogging for a year or two, they teach me things that I never thought about. I’m always surprised by that. I interview people who just started blogging a year ago and I’m like, Oh my gosh, you just taught me so much. So no one is off limits and no amount of experience is off limits either.
Joanne Stekler: Yeah. That is another point, you don’t know everything and you will never know everything. There is always more to learn. I guess that one of the things that’s been really interesting to me about blogging and writing recipes is that I thought I was a good cook and baker. I would have said, Oh yeah, I’m a good home cook. But I have learned so much about the science behind writing recipes for baking and learning how to create a recipe was something I didn’t really do. I did some of it before the pandemic, before I started blogging. But it has been really freeing to take a keyword and create a recipe around it. You probably have that experience too, where, your family says, why did you make your recipe with this? Google told me to do it.
Megan Porta: Yes, exactly. Oh my gosh. I have learned just so much about cooking techniques. When I first started blogging, I was like, how do you properly cut an onion? So I would research that. Then I would experiment with ways to cut vegetables. I have learned so much that I never would have probably dug into it if it were not for being a food blogger.
Joanne Stekler: It’s just it’s having the curiosity to understand that there might be a problem. That’s true in medicine also, right? I focus on HIV. So how do I get someone to take their HIV medicines? You think about the problems and you research the problems. You ask the questions and then you try something. There is no end.
Megan Porta: There is no end. It never ends. That is something that we all have to accept. Because I think it’s an illusion that at some point I’m going to get caught up and know everything, but that’s just never the case. Things are always evolving.
Joanne Stekler: Oh, you’re never done. No. Never.
Megan Porta: Never done. It’s the mail. It’s the mailman mentality. You never ever finish what you’re doing.
Joanne Stekler: Yeah, I think that’s true for so much in all parts of our lives.
Megan Porta: Yes, that is true. And laundry. Laundry never ends either. I’m doing some right now, actually. Will you ever go away?
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Megan Porta: What other lessons do you have for us, Joanne?
Joanne Stekler: I was going to say, I don’t feel so oppressed by my laundry as I do by email.
Megan Porta: Oh, email. That’s such a great one. It’s a constant struggle for me. I’m always asking people. That’s my one go-to question recently. When I talk to another entrepreneur, I’m like, how do you deal with your email? Because I always feel like I need the perfect strategy to deal with this endless stream of emails that I’m deleting or replying to. It stresses me out.
Joanne Stekler: But that leads to my next point about prioritization. The fact that there’s never enough time. We just talked about that. There’s never enough time to do all the things. There are some things you need to get done. You have to take care of yourself and your family and other things. So how do you prioritize? I’m one of those people, I have tried so many different ways and I finally have a prioritization way that works for me, but I know that it doesn’t work for everybody. I’ll tell you about it in a second. But for the email question, the one thing that I have tried and seems to work best is by scheduling email. Because email comes at all hours of the day. And I don’t know, but I get hundreds of emails a day. Many of which I can just delete, but the others that I have to respond to. So what people say is to schedule it, just like you would schedule anything else. Don’t check it when you’re not scheduled. So block out however much time you think you should do. The problem is, of course, it is never enough time. Try and touch things once. So read it, delete it. Read it, deal with it, or put it in a scheduled time for some other thing if it’s going to take more time.
Megan Porta: I like that. Yeah. Touch things once. I’ve never thought of that.
Joanne Stekler: The touch things once is I think really important. Because you either have to deal with it or just get it off your plate. Or put it in a place where it’s never going to impact you again. Some people never delete their emails. They just keep their inboxes thousands and thousands of messages long. Which gives me anxiety. I like to have my inbox at about 200 things that I have to deal with, or I want to keep track of it. Then I file the rest of them away. If it’s something that I want to keep forever. But I think from a prioritization strategy, it’s what system works best for you, and figure it out. You just may have to try a bunch. But it’s just important to have one. Because otherwise, you’re just floundering around thinking, I don’t know what I should do. That itself can be paralyzing.
Megan Porta: So let me ask you this. How do you deal with email when you are on time off? Because that is my struggle. Do I just ignore emails for an entire weekend or holiday and then come back to a million emails? Or do I go in for 10 to 20 minutes a day when I’m taking time off, to weed out the garbage?
Joanne Stekler: I would say it depends on what your goals are. We just went away for a long weekend for the Memorial Day weekend, and I came back to just a hundred emails that I had to read through and respond to, but I had deleted all of the stuff that I knew I was just going to delete. So I touched it. But when I’m really on a break, when I say I’m not responding to anything, I just turn off my email. I don’t even put it on my phone. I turn it off. So I don’t even want to look at it. People know that they can get ahold of me in another way. Because I do research with people, my staff needs to be able to reach out to me if there is an emergency and that happens occasionally. So I’m never completely off the grid, but I really do try when I’m on vacation. When I’m really on vacation, to turn it all off. Now, I know you were just talking to Jenna, right? The idea of scheduling and scheduling all posts so that she could take a block of time off, I have never done that for my blog. I would find responding to emails to be one of the hardest things to figure out how to do. Because you could schedule your post. That’s not an issue. It’s just when you get a comment, you want to be able to respond to a comment. I haven’t in my mind figured out how I would want to do it. I don’t have a virtual assistant, obviously, because I’m so young in my blog. But I might, if I were going to take us extended time off, I might pay somebody for that period of time to respond to questions or comments, just because I feel bad about saying, I’m gone for two weeks when somebody says, how do you make this thing? What do I do? How do I deal with this?
Megan Porta: I think that is a good investment of money if you, especially if you are just a new blogger looking to free up some time. One of my email accounts is completely run by my VA and it didn’t take a ton of effort to train her. I just went through some you’re going to get questions about recipes and you’re going to get replying to comments. Put things in categories and it took a little bit of time just going back and forth what do I do with this kind of request? But she’s amazing. I don’t even touch that account. So maybe that’s my answer. I just get help with my email account that is out of control, I feel like.
Joanne Stekler: Yeah, that’s a whole nother question I think in my mind of what things do you farm out and pay for other people to do? I’ve never done Pinterest. I’ve never done Pinterest. I’ve never done Pinterest really at all. I would have no problem having somebody do my Pinterest because again, it came around after. Most of my friends are older and don’t use Pinterest. So I’ve never felt compelled to do it. But my emails, I personally feel yeah, I should do it. But again, I’m not saying you should. I’m just saying, that’s how I feel. I was so struck. I’m friends with Julia Quinn who wrote the Bridgerton series. I think I assumed she didn’t do her social media. She does all of her social media. I thought, how do you have the time to write, to have a family, to do all these things, and do all of your social media when you’re much bigger than I am right now? She’s no, I just, I couldn’t imagine passing it off. I think for me, it’s what are the things that need to be my voice. I feel like I have a unique voice and I’m not sure anybody else could do it. What could I do versus what can I pass? I can pass the back-end stuff. I can pass that off. That doesn’t need to be my voice.
Megan Porta: Yeah. I hear you. It’s a battle. What should I be doing? What do I feel I should be doing? It’s a journey.
Joanne Stekler: I’m saying, Megan, I’m saying all these things. I should hire somebody out and I haven’t. I know I should do it. Yeah. But I haven’t done it yet.
Megan Porta: Yes. All right. What other lessons do you have for us?
Joanne Stekler: Oh gosh. So prioritization means figuring out what you’re going to say yes to, but the other is saying no and celebrating saying no. I just told you, I don’t do Pinterest. I said no to Pinterest. I’ve dabbled in video, but right now I’m still saying no to video. I just don’t have the time. I don’t have the energy. That’s one of the things that I feel like, again, you can’t say yes to everything. So you have to figure out what you’re going to say no to. I know somebody in my work who is so busy that he actually has a “no” work buddy. So every time he gets a quote, unquote, great opportunity, he calls his “no” work buddy and his buddy says, no. You don’t want to do that. My friend has to justify why he wants to say yes. If he can’t justify it to the “no” work buddy, he doesn’t do it to encourage us to say no more. Because again there’s no end to all the things that we could do. You have to figure out how to say no and celebrate by saying, I said no to this manuscript for requests today. I said no to these things. When we started one of the other newbie bloggers and I started a Facebook group called food blogging for beginners. Really just to have a community, because I think I’ve looked on the Eat Blog Talk forum and couldn’t find any sort of a group for newbies. I felt that the food blogger central information was so great, but I felt so stupid asking questions. Started this. So every week, a, what are your goals for the week? To have some accountability, to do some short goal setting in order to get those, what’s the next step? What’s the next one? I think it was last week. I said we’re not going to have goals for saying yes to things. We’re going to have goals for what we’re going to say no to.
Megan Porta: I love that. We don’t often think of that either, because the no is powerful. If you say no, it’s like you’re opening up space for the yes things that you need to come in, and it’s so good to celebrate those. I love that you do that. That’s amazing.
Joanne Stekler: Yes, I’m trying to celebrate. As an academic doc, I get requests to review manuscripts that other people have written and we get no money for it at all. It’s just an hour or two each. This one journal just sent me two. I’m complaining to you right now, just sent me two requests, the same journal, two requests, five minutes apart. No, I’m not even looking at either one of them. I’m saying no because I’m so offended by that. Now I’m joyful that I’m saying no to things.
Megan Porta: Yes, yeah, that feels good. Okay, so knowing when to say no and celebrating it, what other lessons?
Joanne Stekler: Okay, I’m just going to give you one last one that I think is really important. It’s learning how to take and give feedback. I had this eye-opening experience with my food blog that made me think back about starting in medicine and writing manuscripts. You’ll understand how I’m getting there in a second. But when we write manuscripts and you write with other people. Some folks give you comments that are helpful and some folks, give comments that are not so very helpful. I remember one time when I was working with my mentor who thought he knew everything and he decided to write a whole section of this manuscript that I had written. I read it and I thought, wow, he’s so dumb. He didn’t understand what I meant at all. He completely missed the point. I realized, after I thought for a while, he’s so dumb, but it just makes me happy to say that. After I thought that for a while, I thought, maybe I didn’t explain it well enough. Maybe the point I was trying to make, he didn’t get it. Maybe that is not so dumb, but I didn’t convey it well. So that’s how I’ve taken comments in my work over the years when someone says something completely ridiculous based on my writing, I think, okay, I clearly didn’t explain this. This has come up a couple of times in blogging. The first was, I don’t remember exactly what the wording was. It was some baking recipe. I think I said, to add the sugar and cream to it. It was a cake recipe. I’m going to just make it up. It was a cake recipe where there was butter and I was adding sugar and then you were supposed to cream the butter and sugar together. But the way I wrote it, she thought you add the sugar and cream, but there was no cream in the ingredients. That’s so obvious. She apologized when she realized that it wasn’t actually cream, it was cream as a verb, blah, blah, blah. But I thought this is great. If you’re confused, I’m just going to rewrite it differently. But it really was clear to me how our writing needs to be so clear for folks with the whole apple cider vinegar issue. You’ve probably yeah heard do you know the explanation for this?
Megan Porta: No.
Joanne Stekler: So there is Reddit where people make fun of people leaving comments and how idiotic they must be. One of the famous ones is someone who substitutes apple cider vinegar for apple cider in a recipe. I have a post on my site that me trying to make one of the recipes from the Great British Bake Off and trying to translate a British-written recipe to what ingredients I might have.
In this recipe list is cloudy apple juice. Which I interpreted to be apple cider and I wrote it and the recipe didn’t work out as well. Somebody commented and said of course it didn’t work well. You used apple cider vinegar. I thought, no, I used just apple cider. It turns out that in Britain when you say apple cider, they mean Vinegar. So apple cider there is cloudy apple juice. It’s unfiltered apple juice. I thought, Oh my gosh. Rather than just saying this person is so stupid for thinking that they should use apple cider vinegar, you think, where could I have gone wrong, and where could I have not explained something slightly better? It’s still very frustrating when people leave comments that are that they did something different with your recipe but maybe there’s a point where you should think, did I do something that wasn’t as clear in this?
Megan Porta: It’s easy to get upset and defensive, right? Who are they to leave this comment? But if you just take a pause and read it. Sometimes it is actually helpful.
Joanne Stekler: Sometimes.
Megan Porta: Sometimes. Not all the time. Definitely not.
Joanne Stekler: Sometimes they really did substitute too many things.
Megan Porta: Yep. Or they just left a really rude comment. So from all of these lessons, which are all amazing, I love every one of them. What do you think is your favorite or maybe most important? Do you have one that tops the others?
Joanne Stekler: Ooh, I think for me, because if you asked me if I could have anything in the world, it would be more time. So I think for me the lesson that I have is about prioritization, which is figuring out which things are most important to you. Everybody’s going to be slightly different. Which things do you need to get done? What can you not ever get done? And. Figure out how to make a to-do list and how to prioritize. I have found from my years and years of trying different ways to do lists and to prioritize, is that I personally use a two by two table of, I put things that are easy to do and high priority on the left side of that two by two. I put things that are high priority, but harder to get done on the top right. Things that are quick and low-priority are on the bottom left. Things that are low priority and take a lot of time are on the bottom right. I know that I’m never going to pretty much never going to do the things that are on the bottom right unless they change in priority or they become easier to do. I know that those things that are on the top left that are high priority and easy to do, that’s going on my daily list every day. You’re hearing a little bit about the dysfunction of how I have so many to-do lists. But on my daily to-do list, I want to get all of those things done that are high priority, easy to do. I want to make some progress on the things that will take longer. But it’s really about prioritization but again, I’m going to emphasize that everybody does their to-do list differently. You just need to figure out what’s going to work for you. You just have to prioritize in some way.
Megan Porta: So many of your other points relate to that. Part of the prioritization is knowing what to say no to and what to eliminate. I like how all of it ties together. So love this. This was so amazing. Thank you, Joanne, for your time and for all of this incredible value you shared. We so appreciate you.
Joanne Stekler: You’re welcome. It’s so much fun chatting with you. I listen to you all the time, but I’ve not ever had the chance to chat with you. So it’s been fun.
Megan Porta: Yeah, it’s been great to connect finally. I’ve seen your name so much in the Eat Blog Talk forum and now I actually have made the connection. It’s been wonderful on my end as well. Do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with?
Joanne Stekler: Sure. It’s probably along the same lines, but it’s something that my father who was an economics professor, was also an academic. Something my father always used to say to him when I’d get on the phone and I’d complain about all the work that I had to do and I didn’t know what to do and I, I just felt overwhelmed. He said to me, Just do something. So much of that feeling of overwhelm is that being stuck. One way to get yourself unstuck is to do something. It doesn’t have to be that highest-priority thing on your to-do list. Just do something. Often it’s just checking one box that gets you to the next thing.
Megan Porta: Oh, that’s amazing advice. Love it. We’ll put together a show notes page for you, Joanne. If you want to go peek at those, go to eatblogtalk.com/uglyducklingbakery. Tell everyone where they can find you, Joanne.
Joanne Stekler: I am happily Ugly Duckling Bakery everywhere.
Megan Porta: Perfect. No one else had the name.
Joanne Stekler: There are a few out there, but somehow nobody had those handles on any of the social media.
Megan Porta: Oh, I’m glad you got lucky with that. That’s awesome. Thank you again, Joanne, for being here, and thank you so much for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Eat Blog Talk. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d be so grateful if you posted it to your social media feed and stories. I will see you next time.
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