Posted on 3 Comments

Creating and Managing Your To Do List

Feeling overwhelmed by so many tasks and not sure where to start? Overcome this paralysis with an organized system for creating and managing your to-do list.

Hey there, Blogger! Are you feeling overwhelmed by so many tasks and not sure where to start? Overcome this paralysis with an organized system for creating and managing your to-do list.

At the beginning of the year, I was feeling buried under a running list of items needing my attention. The list seemed to grow with more tasks daily but nothing was getting accomplished. Nothing was ever marked off the list.

The overwhelming feeling stifled my creativity, and my days were spent binging on episodes of “Fixer Upper.” A blogging friend would tease me by saying, “Chip and Jojo are not going to make you a millionaire.”

But when I would sit down behind the computer, my brain would freeze.

How is it possible to have so much to do and yet not know where to start?

I was missing deadlines and making a ton of excuses.

At a mastermind weekend, I was introduced to a time management concept that changed how I approach my to-do list each day.

SCRUM for Bloggers

SCRUM is a concept designed to help teams work more efficiently on large and multi-faceted projects.

Right about now you are tempted to bounce from this post because you are thinking:

Wait… I don’t have a team. It’s just me and this tremendously long to-do list.

I understand. But watch the video and then check the video notes for how I make SCRUM work for me.

SCRUM 101 Video Notes

1 – Make your work visible

Create a list of everything that needs to happen and place the tasks in order by priority. Make your list as detailed as possible.

2 – Choose your weekly tasks

Think of your week as a “sprint.” During your sprint, how much of your list can you accomplish?

3 – Break the list down again

From your weekly sprint, pull out any larger projects and create another list of everything needing to be done for those individual projects. Rank them according to priority or date due.

Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

4 – Create your daily to-do list

Based on the list of items you decide to tackle for the week, create a to-do list for each day. Keep the highest priority items early in your week.

5 – Review your daily to-do list at the beginning of each work day

Spend 15 minutes reviewing your list of items and plan how you will create blocks of time during your day. For instance, if you only have five hours to work, create deadlines within those hours to have each task completed.

6 – Keep notes

As you work through the SCRUM process, make notes of what is working and what is not so you can be more efficient during future sprints.

Read how Amy Porterfield uses SCRUM to organize her launch team.

Tools for To-Do List Management

You need more than a gazillion post-it notes to keep this task management system organized. These tools will help you make and track your to-do list.

Google Keep

Price: FREE

Available for Android, iOS, Chrome and web version, Google Keep allows you to create a to-do list, add reminders, and much more. With Google Keep, you can insert photos, speak voice memos, add labels, create a checklist, and share with a team.

The best part… the notes you save can be easily searched, creating a database of all your thoughts and ideas.


Price: Free but some features require an upgrade

Although recently having problems, Wunderlist was recommended to me by several bloggers. Available for free on iOS devices, Mac, Android, Windows, Kindle Fire and the Web, Wunderlist allows you to create a to-do list, set reminders, set due dates, share with a team, and receive notifications. You can organize your tasks using folders and hashtags.

The best part… you can forward emails to your Wunderlist account.


Price: Free but some features require an upgrade

Todoist is available for iOS devices, Mac, Android, Windows, every major web browser, and email. Build a to-do list with multiple levels using sub-tasks and sub-projects and share your lists with others.

The best part… Todoist has the capability of setting recurring tasks and for creating a color-coded priorities system.


Price: Free but some features require an upgrade

Especially useful for teams, Asana has a very simple system for tracking what needs to be done “today” versus what is coming soon.

The best part… Asana integrates with multiple apps including Dropbox, Google Drive, Slack, MailChimp, and Google Calendar.


Price: Free although security and administrative features require an upgrade

Trello is unique from the other task management systems as items are organized in “boards” and “lists.”

Since Trello is my preference, I must admit that it can be overwhelming when you are new to the platform. However, once you adapt to the organizational style, Trello will quickly become your favorite place for planning, goal setting, and managing your tasks.

The best part… You can drag and drop your tasks from list to list as well as click to move them to another board.

Using Trello to Manage Your Goals & To-Do List
Subscribe and receive a sneak peek behind the scenes of my personal Trello account. View a tutorial video where I walk you through how I use Trello to track my goals and create a manageable to-do list.


More help for overcoming the overwhelm

Posted on Leave a comment

3 Tips for Enjoying the Life You Blog

Most of us starting out blogging because we enjoyed it, and were thrilled to learn that maybe we could make money doing what we enjoyed. However, if you’re like me, as time went on you ended up blogging both to make money and for enjoyment and found that the enjoyment side began to lack. And one day, perhaps, you even woke up thinking you didn’t enjoy blogging anymore and you didn’t even seem to be enjoying life so much anymore either.

Here are 3 practical things that you can do to once again enjoy the life you blog.

Enjoy the Life You Blog,

1. Schedule.

Schedule your time well. Don’t try to do it all at once. Even though you work from home, establish a “home time” and a “work/blog time” and respect those times in the same way you would if you left your home to work. Have a specific spot in the house or outside the house, or a specific thing you wear or a sign on the office door, or something that designates this space and this time for work. And when you leave that space at the end of the time, truly come “home”. Be fully present with your family during non-work times, and you may see that you can enjoy life again.

2. Organize.

It’s impossible to enjoy blogging without being organized. Either you must organize yourself, or you must have someone who organizes for you. It must be done or your life will become a chaotic mess. Use file folders, use digital folders, use notebooks, use boxes on a shelf, use Evernote, take pictures on your phone and give them meaningful names so you can find them again. Somehow you must have a system in place that works for you to organize the giveaways, linkups, posts, guest posts, parties, sponsors, freebies and other things that come and go with blogging. Life and blogging are so much more enjoyable when you are organized!

3. Track.

Do you spend three weeks of the month dreading the one week that your financial reports are due because it was so much work tracking it all down. Having a system for tracking gifts given and products received, income and expenses, and/or having someone else do the actual monthly reports so that you can enjoy that fourth week each month as well will do great things for your overall life enjoyment. When you regularly track the important data you need for financial and statistical reporting (not to mention taxes) it makes it so much easier in the long run. I used to have to scour mounds of papers and click through months of digital receipts, but now I’ve found a way to keep it all together, tracked regularly and organized.

My Favorite Tool

Want to know the number one tool I’ve used to schedule, organize, track and begin to enjoy blogging again? The Blog Like a Pro Planner.

I couldn’t ever find one planner out there that had everything I needed. Something was always missing or had too much that didn’t apply to me, and I’d have to create my own forms anyway. Over time hose forms have become the Blog Like a Pro Planner.

The Blog Like a Pro Planner has broken down everything into small packets of printable forms to organize literally everything. It includes over 80 printable forms for organizing 12 different categories of blog and business potential chaos. And you can get it all in one (plus bonuses) or build your own planner to get just the forms you need to help you organize your trouble areas.

I think you’ll find that as a blogger/online entrepreneur, this is one planner that has everything you need to keep you scheduled, organized and productive. I know, because it has helped me to once again enjoy the life I blog.

Now through August 31st InspiredBN readers can receive a 25% discount on any of the Blog Like a Pro products using the exclusive discount code “ENJOYLIFE25”.


Katie Hornor paradisepraises.comKatie Hornor is an international speaker, author, educator and online blogging entrepreneur. She and her husband reside and minister in Mexico where they homeschool their five children and are leaders in the Spanish homeschool movement. You can follow Katie at her blog:

Posted on 3 Comments

6 Resources to Help Bloggers Focus

What did we do before technology gave us wonderful tablets and apps?

6 resrouces that can help bloggers focus, find balance, and get more done.

If you struggle with motivation, goal-setting, or… cough… time management, these resources will help.

Great Apps


MindMeister (mind mapping) – MeisterLabs

Since my husband has a difficult time setting a sequence of what is necessary to accomplish his tasks and goals, he started using MindMeister to help him picture what needs to be done first with mind maps. Quickly, I realized how beneficial this app would be for giving a blogger focus.

As someone who believes mind maps can help you focus and motivate you towards your blogging goals, MindMeister is a MUST.

303030/30 – Binary Hammer

This app could help anyone with time management… even me. 30/30 gives you the ability to set your tasks and the amount of time you want to spend and synchronize it with a timer. Only have an hour and want to divide it between research and social media? You can! You can plan your entire day or just divide your one hour task into pieces so you do not lose track of time.

Fabulous Extensions



Boomerang for Gmail

Boomerang is a quick fix for ignoring email. Did I just admit that? You can use it to: “1. Write messages now and schedule them to deliver at any time; 2. Schedule messages to return to your inbox at a later time; and/or 3. Remind yourself to follow up on messages that don’t get a response within a certain time.”

strict workflow


Strict Workflow

Need to gather some focus and avoid social media? “1. Click to start a 25-minute work timer, and work without distraction. 2. Click to start a 5-minute break timer, and kick back and relax. 3. Repeat until all your work is done.”

Must-Have Ebooks

Tell Your Time: How to Manage Your Schedule So You Can Live Free by Amy Lynn Andrews is a short, to-the-point ebook about managing your time effectively by setting goals and scheduling your time.

21 Days To A More Disciplined Life by Crystal Paine is an extremely practical ebook that will help your overcome any area of your life where you lack discipline. Have more than one area where you struggle? Read it over, and over again!

What resources do you suggest?

Posted on 3 Comments

How to Set Office Hours as a Blogger

Hopefully, you have taken the time to track the amount of time you spend working on blog-related business during the week and have an awareness of any time that you are… cough… wasting and maybe even found a way to focus using the Strict Workflow extension for Chrome.

Help setting office hours for bloggers

So, now that you know how much time you need in a week to blog, you can decide when you are going to place those office hours.

When to work on your blog

Depending on your family structure and whether or not you have another job, your hours are going to vary. For me to tell you exactly how to set up your office hours would be useless because I don’t know the details of your life or what type of support you get from others.

Talk to those in your life

My husband and I frequently talk about how many hours I am spending at the computer and what type of impact that is having on our family. For me, it is important to maintain the balance we have found and to keep him as the supportive spouse that he is. I never want my business to be an unfair burden on him or our children. So, we work together to fit my blogging into our lives.

My week looks something like this…

  • Sunday evening – After the children go to bed, I work on writing posts for the week and scheduling social media.
  • Early morning – Before my feet hit the floor, my hubby brings me coffee and I try to get as much accomplished as possible in one hour.
  • Weekday afternoons – While the kids give me “peace and quiet time,” I check social media and respond to email.
  • After hours – Before bed on most nights, I do a final check to make sure everything is set to run for the next day.
  • Monday nights – My hubby watches the children after dinner while I lock myself in the bedroom to work on writing posts, checking social media, and plugging through long-term projects.

If I have an intensive project on my calendar, I will have a bonus work night on Thursday evenings.

Know when your readers are online

The second part of setting your office hours really has more to do with scheduling your posts and social media. You can work at any time during the day or week as long as your posts and updates are being published at times when you target audience will see them.

I have watched my analytics enough to know that Sunday nights are big for publishing a post. Sunday is also a prime time for pinning to Pinterest.

On Monday through Thursdays, I know my readers are coming through Facebook during the day between 7 AM and 6 PM and I try to consistently publish posts and social media updates at those same times.

Fridays and Saturdays are much more laid back. I post on Friday morning but then you probably will not hear from me again until Sunday evening.

Again, this works for me but the attention you receive from your readers will vary greatly depending on your niche and location.

When NOT to work on your blog

While I cannot tell you when exactly to establish your business hours, I can tell you when you should not work on your blog.

  • Don’t blog over holidays. Use Instagram to autofeed to Facebook but let your blog rest. Since Christmas is so important to our family, you will notice that I take a two week break during that time to focus on my family and to pray over my goals for the next year.
  • Don’t blog during stressful times. If your feelings are hurt or if your family is going through a difficult time, blogging can be an unnecessary burden. Let it go. Your readers will be there when you get back.
  • Don’t blog when you need to focus on your family. If your children are small, don’t spend your days on the computer. Work when they are busy playing or sleeping. I admit that I need to take my own advice here because I don’t want my children to grow with the memory of mommy always being on the computer.

Setting your office hours is about finding the balance between what you can do (structure of your life) and what you need to do (attention of your readers) while remembering what you should not do (working when you need to ficus elsewhere).

What tips do you have for setting office hours?

Posted on 3 Comments

The Importance of Office Hours for Bloggers

Recently on the TODAY Show, the anchors created a new word – DIGIN. The exact definition of “digin” is vague since everyone had some fun interpreting how it could be used but my interpretation is:

DIGIN – di-jin (noun) A person who is always typing into their phone, involved in social media.  (verb) The act of constantly being online and active in social media.

Instantly, I identified myself as a Digin. Oh yes, I spend many, many hours online each day. As a matter of fact, being perfectly honest, I probably spend more time on my computer than any other activity. Gulp… including having meaningful interactions with my family.

time management advice for bloggers

When you don’t have office hours

Since I blog as a business, I think it is important to have hours set aside where I can concentrate on my blogs and social media accounts. When I don’t have a definitive time for social media or writing, I just sit with the laptop or iPad and get drawn into the ultimate time sucks of Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Without office hours:

  • I lose the spontaneity of playing with my children because I always think, “I need to be working.” My home stays in a shambles because I am “working” so much. I will have dark shadows under my eyes because I am staying up late to “work.”
  • I am unavailable for my husband and unwilling to listen to his stories and concerns because I am focused on what I need to do.
  • My home stays in a shambles because I am “working” so much. I will have dark shadows under my eyes because I am staying up late to “work.”
  • I will have dark shadows under my eyes because I am staying up late to “work.”

Ask me how I know? Because I lived in that constant state of mind where “work” was defined by always having the laptop in front of me and thinking that time wasted did not matter as long as I was doing something online.

But, is it work or is it an excuse? Worse than that, is it a habit, laziness, or an addiction?

Why you need office hours

As a professional blogger, I need structure to: 1) keep me from being a workaholic; 2) help me focus on the most important business within the hours I set; and 3) give me unstructured time with my family to watch them grow because the days are short.

Avoid working all the time

I am a workaholic. Honestly, I am a perfectionist and can easily become addicted to anything because my inclination is to seek a self-esteem boost from my performance.

While I could write an entire post about why you should not seek to find self worth through your business, let’s suffice to say that working all the time is not healthy.

I need office hours to provide a healthy boundary for where my business belongs.

Prioritize your to do list

When I know that I have a set number of hours and a list of things to do, I am forced to prioritize my agenda based on what has to be done first.

By creating a list and then setting a priority to the list, I can overcome the overwhelming feeling that I have something to do but have no idea what to do first.

>>READ: Learn more about overcoming the overwhelm in your day.<<

Stay on task

I am also easily distracted. I can go to Pinterest looking for a specific post and an hour later find myself wondering what I was looking for in the first place. Same deal for me with Facebook.

When I am on the computer, I have to designate what I am doing and when. I use a handy Chrome app called Strict Workflow to keep me focused during my writing time. When active, Strict Workflow does not allow me on social media.

Using the Chrome extension Strict Workflow to help abide within your office hours.You can change the defaults to work with your timing and you can edit the list of banned websites if you have an inclination to… I don’t know… stalk movie stars on TMZ or something that is not set by default.

>>READ: Find more practical resources to help you focus<<

Focus on your family

Most of us are blogging as a business in order to improve our family’s situation.

I am painfully aware that when I am sucked into the abyss of social media that I am creating an entirely new set of issues within my family that is working against my ultimate goal.

A Time Management Challenge

As you carefully consider whether or not you need office hours, I want to encourage you to do what I plan on doing this week…

Keep a journal of your time online.

I’ve created a printable time log so you can have it next week when we decide how many office hours we really need to blog as a business and when to designate those hours during our week.

Free printable time management logSubscribe and receive this time log to track your hours.

Let’s be honest about what is truly necessary in our businesses and be accountable to our family and to one another.

Are you a Digin? What is your biggest time management struggle as a blogger?

Posted on 12 Comments

Time Management Tips for Bloggers

Being a mommy blogger is not as easy as it looks, is it? How do you find the balance between family, home, business, and all the other items that are vying for a spot on your to-do list?

Lots of time management tips for bloggers from the bloggers of the Inspired Bloggers Network

The bloggers of the Inspired Bloggers Network have shared their best time management tips and encouragement to help you find a better way to control your day.

As you read through their advice keep this in mind: Balance is not universal. What works for one person might not work for another because we are all unique. Our families are different just as we ourselves are different. You have to create a daily habit and office hours that work for you, and once you find that groove, stick with it.

Best tips for managing your time as a blogger

My best tip for balancing motherhood and blogging is to avoid procrastination! Like the boy scout motto, “Be prepared.” It never fails that when I am behind, unprepared, and have a million blogging things to do, that’s when the kids need me or something goes wrong and I have to try to juggle everything at once. When I plan and prepare, those little mishaps are far less devastating to the schedule.

Crystal at Serving Joyfully

Break your day up into 3 parts- morning afternoon, and evening. Break your to-do’s up and add what you can reasonably do into those slots with a reward for yourself and/or your children when you complete the tasks in each portion of your day.

Suzette at The Joy of Homemaking

First…TRAIN your children in chores they are capable of, and expect nothing less than THEIR best. Then delegate, and do chores together, get them done. I have kiddos that can do laundry, animal chores, and cook. I don’t expect them to do it all, all the time, but if I have a promo to work on or something urgent, I ask them to help out.

Betty at Peace Creek on the Prairie

Meal plan. With the right planning you can have meals all week and only have to actually “cook” two or three nights. Bake a chicken for quesadillas, chicken and rice casserole, and chicken salad for example. It’s a lot of work the first day and a snap to throw dinner together the next two days.

Trixie at Just Trixie

Designate different days for different tasks. Monday is shopping for the week and snack/meal prep. Tuesday is bathrooms. Wednesday is dusting and vacuuming, etc. After a while it becomes routine and things are broken down into easy to manage steps and while it may never be perfect, it will be done.

Lara at Lara’s Place and a Cup of Grace

Planning and starting our “day” the night before. Making sure we’re ready from the inside out with whole foods and essential oils and Jesus in our hearts! Keeping up with Bible study and prayer time. Family first.

Jennifer at Royal Little Lambs 

Meal plan, use of the slow cooker, pass chores to children early (such as teaching them to do their own laundry at 7), designate a certain day for town errands, and most importantly… honest talks with your hubby about what he most desires in your homemaking. You might be surprised to find what really signals a happy home to him.

Laurie at Our Abundant Blessings

Buy a crock pot! Chop and bag everything into the recipes you plan on using and freeze that way when you are putting the groceries away. In the morning toss one into the crock pot on low and dinner will be done on time.

Jennifer at Upside Down Kids

The best tip I have for achieving balance between family and social media is, sometimes we simply aren’t supposed to be juggling all we do. When our children are young, we have this incredible blessing and opportunity to invest into their lives. The test for me is to think how I will look back on this time and if I will regret any of my choices. It might mean a major rethink of our priorities!

Victoria at Homemaking with Heart

Block out a period of time every day that is sacred for your homeschool and chores. Don’t even open your laptop or check your iPhone notifications during that time. Give your older children (10 and up) permission to request 30 minutes of your time uninterrupted every day. Just for the two of you. Use a crockpot. Cook double batches of seasoned ground beef, soups, chili, and shredded chicken and freeze them for quick meals.

Marcy at Ben and Me

Life first, blog second with a list for everything so the bunny trails don’t trip you up! I have office hours and try to stick with them as best I can, but life always trumps blog because without it, I wouldn’t have anything to blog about.

Amy at Raising Arrows

I guess I just quit trying to make it all look perfect: my kids, my house, my parenting…and as a result we had more room for joy and increased time for laughter.

Allison at The House of Hendrix

I try to remember that we all have to find our own personal balance and it might change often. For example, with two young children I don’t clean nearly as much as I used to. Yes my house gets messy, but it’s always to a reasonable standard within 24 hours and that is my standard. I just don’t pick up every 2 hours like I used to because it would be never-ending if I wanted it 100% clean all the time. With that time saved from not constantly cleaning, I am able to do other things. Every so often, I try to find balance by considering what I am okay with doing/not doing; it changes by what season I’m in and what season my kids are in. But I know for sure that I cannot do it all.

Chelsea at Moments a Day

Don’t compare yourself to any other blogger. EVER. She might look like she has it all together, but in reality she struggles just like you. Do your best. Keep your priorities in line. Your family must come first. Make a work schedule and stick to it. Your children will understand that Mommy has specific work times, but if they constantly see you attached to a laptop, tablet or phone, they won’t respect those work times because they will feel like they are competing for your attention.

Heather at Upside Down Homeschooling

Women in our generation have unprecedented opportunities. Any ‘humble homemaker’ with enough initiative and creativity can build an online business or blog that reaches thousands. However, any opportunity can be a blessing or a curse! Like every other blogger, I get distracted by the details and carried away by the desire to succeed. I like to remind myself that the CAREER I have chosen is MOTHERHOOD. Everything else (blogging, writing, making money) can take the back seat at a moment’s notice.

Kristy at Little Natural Cottage

Large family logistics is a life saver! You don’t need a lot of kids to use it in spite of the name since it really just refocus’ priorities without long, poetic chapters. Short, sweet, ‘get your butt in gear and honor God’ stuff.

Jenn at Planet Mommyhood

Make sure your priorities are in order: God, family, others. Ask God to give you Kingdom eyes to be able to work with the end game in mind. Pray for God’s direction and guidance and commit your ways to Him (Proverbs 3:5,6). And then act based on what you feel He is saying to you. Remember that we only get a glimpse of someone else’s “real” life; don’t compare yourself to someone else. Act on what God is telling you to do.

Becky at Journeying Outside My Box

I have found that the key to being organized in my blogging is to be organized in the rest of my life. I’m obviously still struggling with balance and as organization does not come naturally to me, I fall off the wagon more often than stay on, but I am slowly inching towards success in this area. Meal planning, freezer meals, homeschool planning, delegating, scheduling, and using technology to my advantage are all tools that I am using to this end.

Sharla at The Chaos and the Clutter

I try to remind myself that taking time away from blogging to enjoy other things, such as family, household tasks, and life in general, usually provides new ideas for blogging. Is everything perfectly balanced, probably not, but placing my focus on other things helps generate new ideas and viewpoints.

Robin at Be Social Get Success

All this is easier said than done. Don’t get caught up in a mom competition…even within your own mind and heart…with others who homeschool, blog, etc. Each of us has our own struggles and our own triumphs. No two families are alike in their needs and you need to keep focused on what’s best for your own family. Again, I struggle to remind myself of this constantly over the course of our family homeschooling journey.

Chris at Campfires and Cleats

I like to prepare supper first thing in the morning. I work during nap time, but often it is hard to get off the computer and start supper if I am in the middle of working on something. If supper is already prepped we can still eat a healthy meal and I can keep powering through my work.

MaryEllen at Imperfect Homemaker

If you enjoy your work, do household chores before sitting down to blog. If not, time gets away from you.

Alicia at Extreme Christmas Savings

What is your best time management tip as a blogger?

Drop us a comment.