piper’s dream report: week two

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I have to say that you all had some wonderful ideas and advice on perfectionism, procrastination and my dreaded to-do lists!  Thanks for all your insights and helpful ideas.  It’s funny because that is exactly what I was hoping for…sort of a sharing of thoughts and ideas to help all of us.  It’s amazing how we all have things we can contribute…and your comments really helped to keep me going this week!


I started right away by tackling my 3 to-do lists.  And I have to say that just moving all the items onto one spreadsheet is making me feel somewhat better.  I don’t have to go to 3 different lists anymore to figure out what I’m supposed to be working on.  Sheesh, no wonder I haven’t been getting anywhere!   Once my to-do list was on one spreadsheet, I knew that in order to take “ONE ACTION EACH DAY” the next step was to prioritize it…UGH.  This has become my Mount Everest, I swear.

Because here’s my problem…what is my priority?

My personal life?

My blog?

My business?

My job?

My health?

My home?

Ahhh, serenity now!  Something’s got to give.  I’ve been running myself ragged working crazy hours…and I don’t feel like I have a whole lot to show for it.  I can’t tell you the last time I worked out, if it wasn’t for my husband our house would be declared a disaster area and I still don’t have a lot to show as far as the store goes.  What am I doing wrong?


Here I was, raring to go on the business after all your wonderful comments when somehow another day had gone by without me working on the store.  Well, this is how I had my priorities set for the day:  #1 updating & working on my blog, #2 visiting other blogs, #3 connecting with people/going through e-mails.  You would have to go way down the list to find business related items.  So first of all, I’m putting the hard things last on the list.  And secondly, my blog is taking up a lot of my time and now I’m wondering if I need to pull back a bit from it.  Okay, deep breath…because for me this feels incredibly difficult to do.  I started my blog a few months ago as a way to not only catalog things I come across that I love and might be good for my store…but also as a way to meet like-minded people and get used to the idea of blogging.  What I didn’t expect is how much I would enjoy blogging and connecting with people….and at the same time, how much time it actually takes!

I also didn’t realize that with my overachiever, perfectionist craziness tendencies, how much things like comparing myself to other blogs and how many readers that visit my blog would affect me…negatively.  I’ve tied up the success of an online store with the success of my blog.  And I’m having a hard time letting this thought go. So instead of every day working on my business…I work on my blog.

I’m spending so much time on creating my own posts as well as visiting other blogs and keeping up with social media that I don’t feel like I have time for anything else.  So I feel like this week opened my eyes.  I’m not Wonder Woman (I know, shocker, right?!). If my dream is to open a store, shouldn’t that be my #1 priority and where I’m spending my time and my mental energy?  (well, not counting that my family is #1!!)


I’m just not sure yet how to make it my #1 priority – because won’t blogging ultimately help with my store?  And without focusing on the blog, how do I grow it since it’s fairly small?  In other words…where should my time be spent?  How do I do both?

As you can see, a lot of mental energy is being expended…so many questions that I don’t have the answers to yet.  But maybe that’s how it works…because all these questions and thoughts resulted in a big action (well, for me it is!) that I’ll talk about next week!!

I would love to know your thoughts.  How do you manage blogging/social media and/or working on your dream?  How do you get things done without being a superhero?!

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  1. First of all…those quotes on those pictures, Piper, are from one of my FAVORITE quotes ever! I’ve even got a magnet with it on it–and it’s traveled with me through phases of my life and through all the places I’ve moved to. Brilliant brilliant brilliant. In fact, I love it so much that I want to share the whole thing for everyone here:

    “I would like to beg…to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”

    And I think this quote is very fitting for the time and place that you’re in, Piper. I believe that as long as you’re working toward it…as long as you’re actively thinking about it…things will work out. They will fall into place. I think so often we (I) get caught up in the end game, the answers, that we (I) get caught up in and forget that the journey–not the answers, the solutions, the end–is what we should be cherishing. I am so so terrible at this.

    But the beauty of following your own path is this: YOU get to chose which of those things are priority. YOU get to craft an intentional and beautiful life that aligns with your priorities and your hopes and dreams! By pursuing your passion and an intentional life, you get to decide all these things for yourself rather than having them dictated to you. So beautiful.

    So I guess the point for all of us is to pause and appreciate the journey–even the icky/scary to-do lists, the non-motivated days, the struggle of figuring out how we’ll make it all work. Because maybe that’s what we’re missing–and maybe we’re missing a big part of the point.

  2. Hi, Piper! I’m just going to share what blogging has been at times for me – a distraction. I’m currently putting together a new blog to help support my writing career. But guess what I haven’t been doing? You guessed it – writing. And while blogs are great promotional tools, I think they’re probably most effective when we’ve got a solid foundation for the actual thing we’re promoting. Maybe I’m just projecting, though, and needed to have a talk with myself about getting back to writing!

  3. Maddy

    Oh Piper! I hear you loud and clear! I know how time consuming blogging/ commenting can be! It easily eats up at least 3-4 hours of my day, that’s not counting all the picture taking and editing that goes with it and work and family life as well! And afterall, blogging is just a hobby at this point. It’s not your ultimate life’s purpose. Prioritizing is hard and those bloggers with the gazillion followers and comments, usually make their blogging part of their business that’s why they’re so successful – like The Pioneer Woman or Perez Hilton. But it’s hard not to give way to the negativity! Hell, I feel down too when blog traffic isn’t what I expect it to be! I find it important to remember why I started doing it all in the first place and remember the days that a hit (or two) was enough. The rest (the followers, comments, hits, etc…) is just the icing on the cake. I’m a big a big believer that you can have it all….just not at the same time. Or at the very least, you can have it all in very small dose. Maybe it’s time to cut down on the blogging and bulk up on the business time:) Your followers will undoubtedly miss you, but be completely understanding!

  4. Carina

    So this is a practical idea that I’ve tried for school with some success (I say some because university is an overload in schoolwork and no matter how hard you try you’re always up the night before something big is due!!!). In your case, think of all your priorities or tasks as school courses. I found (for myself anyway) that it was very difficult to study 5 courses in one day so I began to allot each day of the week as a study day for one specific course, based on how much time I had during that day (more difficult courses getting the most study time i.e. a Sunday or my Fridays off would be “Micro Day” or “Biochem Day”, easier courses getting days when I had a lot to do but at least I could squeeze in study time for that course).

    So maybe you could try doing the same with your priorities? Have one day of the week where you specifically work on your business (business day) – no blogging! – and maybe another day where you work on your blog for the rest of the week and the rest of the days can be split between the two and other priorities like your family, your home, etc etc.

    So that’s just a suggestion for what works for me. Hope it helps you too!

  5. Wooo boy. Do I hear you on this one! I do think your blog is an important part of your marketing plan, and a critical way to get the word out before you launch. But you’re right to question its prominence in your daily activities.

    I like Carina’s approach — you can even work on your blog intensely one day and schedule the posts to go out through the rest of the week. Additionally, think of your content in terms of your business goals — and only post when it helps you build those goals. Perhaps you want to showcase your style. Perhaps you want to show off some of the product lines that you’ll stock. Focus on the content that helps you build your online brand (I hate that word, but it’s true), and you won’t feel as though you’re off track.

    The real time suck, in my case — and I suspect yours, is the reading and commenting on other blogs. I’ve found that I have to separate that time from my writing, or I lose focus on what I want my site to be about. I’ve found that by identifying a few bloggers that I really identify with and really focusing on limiting my time to interacting with them has helped me build both relationships and traffic (which is still quite small but growing). I’m struggling with finding a balance in this, though, and I’ll be checking back to learn how others manage the same!

  6. Cara

    Piper,
    You are inspiration to me! I love your insight and comments. I hear myself in your words. Thanks for being an inspiration to all of us out here. I feel the same way one minute I am inspired to write some thing and the next I feel so overwhelmed I don’t know where to begin…
    Keep up the great work!

  7. Melony

    Oh Piper! Your post REALLLLLY resonates with me today. As I was reading I had lots of thoughts popping through my mind. Here are a few:

    1. I absolutely love what Krista said. Beautiful!

    2. Blogging can be many things — fun, rewarding, marketing, … — but it can also become a burden, a time-suck, a procrastination tool, …

    Here are a couple of thoughts you might consider for blogging and working on your business:

    1. Limit the number of blog posts. Post once a week, for example, instead of everyday. Would that help you keep the blog going but also free up some time to focus on other things?

    2. Alot some time up front to work on several posts and schedule them to post in the future. You can always throw in little snippet posts if you find things you’d like to share in between the “formal” posts.

    3. How about changing the focus of your blog for the time being? Perhaps your blog could be about the process of starting your business. Setting your goals for the week, laying out your plan, and then posting as you move through the steps. I for one would LOVE to follow you through the actual process. The ups, the downs, and all the in-between. And go ahead and share the photos of items you like, things you might want to have in your store, and so on. That’s all part of the process.

    4. Some combination of all of the above. : )

    Finally, if you’re really struggling with how to get from point A to point B, how about utilizing the services of a coach? A coach can be very motivating and will help you stay focused on what is important to you. Keep you moving forward.

    Good luck, Piper! I look forward to following your dream journey!!!

  8. Kate

    I love reading your posts! Jess is a genius at picking a new MML dream reporter – thanks for introducing us to Piper!

    I think that blogging is a key part of building your brand. I don’t think ‘brand’ is a bad word, I just think that’s where we’re all headed: branding ourselves for who we are. It’s better than a stereotype, right? I’m a tree hugging, dumpster diving, very chic hippie. I work in corporate america but 80% of what I own is second hand and you’d never know to look at me. I reduce my impact on the planet and look great doing it. Now..what the heck do I call my blog? Silly thing to be stuck on, but that’s where I am….

    back to you: I think you can still blog often (3 times a week) and keep it to 3-4 hours of input work. I love the idea of hammering it all out on Sunday/Saturday and then letting it auto-post throughout the week, what a relief that you can do that (look, it’s friday and I haven’t even thought about my blog and here’s a post!) Maybe something like 1 day of “i love this stuff” (like a ’round up’ of links/photos) 1 day of “Store updates” (Piper’s progress opening the store) and 1 day of “piper pipes up” (sorry if you think that’s corny…haha I liked it :)) where you actually BLOG your brain out. I would recommend “Crush It” by Gary Vaynerchuck – he’s the WineLibrayTV guy who really tells you how to use social media to your advantage, and services (free and cheap!) that can help you simplify your presence in the online world. Here’s their blog on social media and marketing: http://vaynermedia.com/blog/

    Remember, a comment in the blog world can be 2 sentences and get your site link on there. Maybe you’re over thinking the commitment?

    However, I think opening your store should be your top priority. Talking about it on your blog will help you stay focused on it (If you intend to blog once a week about your progress, you better have progress, right?).

    AND, don’t forget about your personal life! Keep up with your to do lists and when you get stuck, pick SOMETHING you can accomplish, whether it’s picking up the mail, going for a walk, or answering an email. Then cross it off so you feel you’ve got the ball rolling and pick something more challenging. You can do this!

    Anywho, those are my thoughts. I love going through this with you!

  9. Kristin

    For me, it’s family then blog. The hubs and the dude come first. If I don’t feel like I’m giving fully to my personal life then I don’t have the zeal I need to work on the blog. Growing your blog does take up a lot of time…but if you can’t devote as much time as you’d like to never fear. It WILL still grow. It will just take a bit longer. I definitely wouldn’t put your business on the back burner.

  10. Emma Jo

    Hi Piper!
    I agree with Carina, each day should be set as “work day” or “Blog day” etc.
    I also want to add my own recipe for doing things if you want to do many different things each day. Set the alarm on your phone for as many hours you’d like to be doing for example blogging, when the alarm goes off you switch to working 😉 easy! I also do it for my breaks, otherwise I can be stuck in front of he computer for houuuurs researching for school.

  11. Katie

    Piper! I am fighting with the same problems myself… I started my blog a couple of months ago also and am spending a lot of time trying to grow my readership and make quality posts… and am spending less time sewing!

    One thing I have found out recently that is helping me some is writing several posts in a day and then spreading out the times I publish them. When I know I have a few posts ready to go, I feel less pressure to spend a lot of time on my blog each day and I think that I get more done when I sit down and work on it all in one go. I can sit down for a little while and read other blogs and comment but don’t necessarily have to worry about my post for the day!

    Love reading your posts by the way! So many of us seem to know what you are going through!! ;]

  12. Sing on sister! I am SO with you. In my job (I’m an graphic designer for a small ad agency by day) I am constantly barraged by a million clients telling me that their project is priority #1. But if that were true, then EVERYTHING would be priority #1!

    I didn’t realize until I read your post that this is exactly how to articulate my problems with getting my freelance illustration career off the ground! Everything is fighting for top of the list, my health, my business, my blog, my job, my happiness, everything!

    It is a hard thing to juggle, and then I look at people trying to do everything I’m doing only add going back to school, or becoming a mom, and I am just so amazed at their ambition (which sometimes adds up to feeling worse about my own inability to get simple things done!)

    It is SUCH a hard thing to manage, but it’s all about taking it one thing at a time, mapping it out and remembering that the bigger picture gets put together one thing at a time. I’ve blown up this poem and read it daily to help remind me:

    http://www.gratefulness.org/poetry/guest_house.htm

    best of luck and I really enjoy keeping up with your posts here!

  13. Heather

    Wow , some really good ideas on here! I will have to come back and read in more depth! I think you spoke whats on the minds of many of us going for our dreams! I would say the 4 things I would suggest are this. ( it started out as 2!)
    1- Don’t Should on yourself, right now at this point, what is on your list that is a should? Put it aside or get rid of it! I am not saying do only fun and fluffy things, in any dream coming to life there are things that are maybe not so fun but worth it and part of the journey that is needed!
    2-Looking at your list, does each step seem sort of broad and overwhelming? Try to break it down more, I am not saying to micromanage each thing so it gets so tiny it’s annoying! I am suggesting, break the broad items down, -Example: you say about working on your blog, what is it that you want to do with it, what is your sort of vision for it? Maybe it’s add some things to the side bar, maybe it’s specific posts, make those part of the list, break them down. Not just work on my blog.. that way if you have say 15 min to snag some time to work on it, you know there is a very specific thing you can focus in on.
    3-I totally get being in that place of comparing, I urge you to work on being inspired by those people, what are they doing , the heart of it that you want to bring to your own blog or business? The more you tap into that you will get some clarity on what it is you want to express and don’t be afraid to bring your voice, that unique voice forward.
    4- Personally as far as the list goes, set time frames, if you want to work on it daily set a timer for how long you have decided to work on a certain set of tasks. Make yourself stop when the time goes off, maybe for some things it’s 15 min, maybe way more..

  14. Piper

    You guys have some AMAZING advice on this – a million thanks for your comments and helpful ideas. Glad to know I’m not alone in this :)! I’m taking your ideas to heart…and I’m going to try some different ways of scheduling my time!

  15. Suze

    Piper: reading your post today is like reading my own thoughts written down! Seriously. I’m there NOW, in this very moment.
    Prioritizing is always difficult but having to neglect the blog to work on my store set up is somehow even more difficult because both the activities are in the same “field” for me and so much connected with each other as you say. Yes, you might think I’m crazy but I find prioritizing “shop” versus “blog” even more difficult than prioritizing it over personal life and my full time job! 🙂

    Here’s what I’ve decided to do and how it went so far: I realized I needed to stop procrastinating, I really have small free time for my shop set up (which takes an incredible amount of time, even if it’s a little project, certainly smaller than what you’re planning) and I realized blogging was such a pleasure it was eating a lot of that limited time, but I really didn’t want to suspend it! I’ve decided to switch to “light” blog posts for a while and communicated it on my blog explaining why. In the last 3 weeks I’ve been posting flickr inspiration collages with no text or little collections of prints and illustrations I love.
    Well, I was surprised and delighted to discover that not only my little blog visits didn’t decrease, but on the contrary I gained several new readers and maybe for the first time I’ve realized there’s now a little and fantastic group of people I met online (and I’m honored to consider you, Piper, included in the list!) that bear with me sending encouragement and positive energy through their visits and comments! I couldn’t be more honored and grateful to each and all of them!
    So my suggestion is to prepare “light” posts in advance (of 1 week): your readers will be happy to get simple quick eyecandy from you and I’m sure they’ll stay with you while you work on your dream, looking forward to see what you are planning for your boutique (I definitely will, Piper!).

    That said, crossing fingers I should finish this week but my little store is still not launched, so… I’m not sure I’m so well positioned to give advice! 😀

    THANK YOU Piper for sharing all this!

    It’s evening here in Italy now… So have a lovely evening Piper and everybody!

    Ciao!
    Suze

  16. rose

    ooh great comments. i think that i might need to be putting some of these ideas into practice too!

  17. In order to help you prioritize, I would suggest that you first create a project list. A complete project list will give you a stronger footing when you go to prioritize tasks. Are your tasks lining up with projects? Are you spending huge amounts of time on something that is not your top priority (like your blog)?

    For a laundry list of reasons (the most recent being ongoing computer problems in our house) I post very sporadically on my blog. Once the computer problems are solved, I have to take a really honest look at how much time each week I will be devoting to the blog as opposed to say, housework, freelance work, time with my kids, and marketing my business. You might want to try the same. Honestly track how much time you are spending blogging and look at your investment of time in the context of where the blog lies in terms of bigger priorities. You might have time for your business by borrowing it from the blog.

  18. Kelsey

    Hey Piper,
    I just want to say I’m really excited that this kind of posting exists.
    I’m pretty new to following blogs (just became obsessed with my google reader in the past few weeks) but I do find that I have the same problem of trying to keep up with so many blogs there isn’t time for anything else.
    I’m a few steps behind you but it sounds all too familiar- boring office day job while trying to get my Etsy shop going. It’s very overwhelming.
    Which is exactly why it’s so great that there’s this kind of information and community available. It’s very encouraging and I love your posts.

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