Blogging Monthly Challenges Organisation and Productivity

August Challenge Evaluation and September Plans

It’s time to review how my August Challenges went, and let you know my September plans!

In August I set myself two challenges:

  • Use up 3 products / items from my ‘use up pile’ each day.
  • Work on blog improvements for 1 hour each day.

So, how did I do in my challenges?

Using Things Up

August was my 3rd month of doing this challenge – I first started it in June. I managed to use 3 items from my ‘use up pile’ every day in August! 

Admittedly, on the 31st of August I used the same product twice, rather than using 3 different items. This was because I had gone away for the weekend and I intended to bring 3 items with me in order to use them up, but I forgot to bring one of the items. I only had 2 items with me from my ‘use up pile’ so I made the best out of the situation by using one of them twice that day.

This month I have fully used up a few things, including craft sets and magazines. I have also added a fair few things to the pile, mostly cosmetic products which I have quite a lot of in the pile now. These take a while to use up, but I am nearly through some of them.

I am carrying on this challenge in September because I still have plenty of things that need using up. It’s a really fun challenge and I enjoy using things that I haven’t used for a while. I am also enjoying the space that is being made in my cupboards by using up these things!

Blog Improvements

I succeeded in working on blog improvements for an hour on nearly every day. There were two occasions near the beginning of the month when I missed a day or only did half an hour, but I caught up on the next day by doing extra. Then, at the end of the month I missed 3 days because I was busy or away. I didn’t manage to catch up on these. However, I also went away at the start of August, and I was proud of myself for managing an hour of blog improvements (Pinterest board descriptions and covers) on the 3rd August when I was away all day.

I think an hour was a good amount of time to spend on blog improvements each day during this challenge. It was long enough to get lots done, and when I was absorbed in a task the time would fly by. Other times when I was tired, unmotivated, or unsure what to work on, the time would go slower. I would sometimes switch to ‘easy’ tasks when I was tired, such as checking hashtags for blogging opportunities.

What improvements did I make to my blog?

During the course of this challenge I made a lot of improvements to my blog and social media. These included:

  • Making Pinterest board covers and descriptions.
  • Improving old blog posts and optimising them for SEO.
  • Working on my email subscriber system and some issues I have there.
  • Allowing people to subscribe to comments on my posts.
  • Adding to my ‘Recommendations’ pages.
  • Making a blogger collaboration page.
  • Designing a new logo.
  • Improving my ‘About’ page.
  • Taking a profile picture for my blog and social media.
  • Adding new photos and featured images to some old posts.
  • Improving the speed of my site.
  • Adding anchor links into my posts, so that I can link to specific sections.
  • Improving my Tailwind Smartloop and sorting out a problem I had there.
  • Adding ‘Pin it’ pins to the bottom of posts.
  • Checking #bloggerswanted, #bloggersrequired, #PRRequest and other hashtags on Twitter and applying for a few opportunities.

Did it pay off?

August has been a good month for all my blog stats, which I think is the effect of all these improvements adding up. I’m glad that the time I’ve put into blog improvements is paying off.

I have by no means completed all of the tasks I had on my to-do list of blog improvements – far from it! In fact, I have added many tasks to my list that have arisen during the month. Some things, such as improving old blog posts, take a while to complete and will be ongoing tasks. Blog improvement is something that will never be completed because it is an ongoing process and development. There is always something that needs doing, something to learn and something that can be improved!

I have learnt a lot this month through focusing on blog improvements. I discovered ways to improve my blog that I hadn’t thought about before, such as the importance of having a fast loading speed. In addition I have tried some new things that I haven’t done before, such as applying for PR opportunities. As well as helping my blog stats, all these things have made me into a more experienced blogger.

What’s next?

I still have a lot more improvements to make on my blog, and I intend to carry on making them, but I’m not going to set it as a challenge for September. I will be adding ‘blog improvements’ to my to-do list each day (but not as a top priority), and when I get a block of time to do it, I will set a timer for however long I want to spend making improvements.

My plans for September

In September, I am going to carry on with my ‘using up’ challenge. I had planned to do another challenge as well (most likely a reading challenge) but in the end I decided to have a freer schedule this month. This way, I can continue to make progress on all the things I have been doing in recent challenges (skincare, using up, Pinterest, exercise, blog improvements) as well as working on blog posts and reading, but without the pressures of a specific challenge.

Lately, I have been adding so many things to my to-do list each day, and not getting through them all, let alone getting to the extra tasks on my general to-do list. I want to find a better way of organising my time this month, so that I can find a balance between getting lots done, and not cramming my days too full. 

I would like to be more free and spontaneous with my daily schedule, and do what I feel is important and motivating in each moment, rather than feeling pressure to get through a long list of pre-planned tasks.

At the same time, I also want to increase my productivity by reducing procrastination. I am aware that I procrastinate a lot, and one of the ways I do this is by taking too long to decide what task to do next. I aim to build the habit of just picking a task and getting on with it, rather than wasting time deliberating over what to do next.

These are the things I will have in mind as we move into the Autumn – the start of a fresh new season. I will of course update you on how my ‘using up’ challenge has gone at the end of the month.

What are your plans for September?

Have you set yourself any goals or challenges for September? Or are you taking it easy this month? I would love to hear from you – drop me a comment below!

August Challenge Evaluation and September Plans

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6 Comments

  1. Wow, August sounds like it was an amazing month for you blog-wise. I really need to make myself a similar to-do list, but I find myself so consumed by writing new content and sticking to my weekly schedule that I don’t have much time to do basic maintenance. But one day, when I am a few posts ahead, I will return to this post and use your list for reference.

    I also just wanted to say that I read about your using up challenge before, and it’s inspired me to do the same! I’m being very strict with myself about not buying new toiletries until I’ve used up everything of that particular item that I’ve got e.g. moisturiser, shower gel. It’s going great, so thank you for the inspiration!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I was the same – I spent all my time on writing new content and never got round to the basic maintenance, even though my to-do list kept on growing! It’s definitely worth making the improvements though, and I hope my list will be helpful to you!

      I’m so glad that I’ve inspired you to use things up as well! It’s so satisfying using things up and just having less ‘stuff’ and it makes me feel more in control of what I do own. I do still stock up on certain toiletries that I know I will use regularly e.g. shampoo & shower gel, but even with those there’s no need to have more than 1 or 2 unused products in waiting!

      Good luck with all your using up and blog improving! 😊

  2. What great plans you have for September! Such a great thing to reflect on your month and see what goals you have achieved! Thank you for sharing and I hope you have an awesome September x

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      Thank you so much, I hope you have an awesome September too! x

  3. I keep on trying to use up old cosmetics, I’m just not big on skincare and I keep falling out of routine – although I still buy them when I see them because they look so pretty!

    I like the idea of an hour a day for blog improvements – I have been trying to upgrade my SEO for a while, but I get distracted. I think that blocking out that time would be useful to try!

    1. Sophie Harriet says:

      I’m the same – I’ve been following a skincare routine over the past few months but lately I’ve hardly been doing it! But I have so many products to use up, and some of them take a long time to use up completely!

      Blocking out time for blog improvements definitely works – otherwise it always stays on the back burner because there are always more urgent things to do!

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