Once that final bell rings and the last scuffling footsteps of students running out the doors fades away, only teachers are left. After spending months working well over 40 hours per week, suddenly educators find their schedules considerably lighter for the next few months.
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Of course, some much-deserved rest and relaxation is on the menu—but even so, that teacher mentality doesn’t magically disappear. Chances are your brain will start whirring soon enough, reflecting on the past year and thinking ahead of the next one. This is when blogging and content creation can really come into play!
It’s only natural you want to use your summer vacation in a way that reinvigorates your mind and ensures you’ll start off strong next year. With this in mind, teachers and education focused bloggers are continually working throughout the summer to make sure they never lose a step.
Here are six ways for educators to utilize summer break productively.
Self-care is about more than pampering yourself; it’s about recharging the mental, emotional and physical “batteries” that you need in order to keep teaching well. Most educators end up putting their own needs on the back burner during the school year. So, summer is the ideal time to destress and regain some clarity. This will help you avoid burnout down the line.
Here are a few self-care tips courtesy of Edutopia:
- Spend time on hobbies: During the school year, it’s all too easy to abandon hobbies and creative pursuits. But summer is the perfect time to dust them off. Try drawing, baking, playing a musical instrument, knitting or sewing, cooking or gardening.
- Connect socially: Think about how many times you had to defer social plans during the school year. Now that your calendar’s wide open, you can reconnect meaningfully with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc.
- Unplug your mind: Take at least a few minutes per day to do, well, nothing. Walk without a destination, watch a new TV show, meditate, take a nap, read something light, listen to an album all the way through or try a new podcast.
- Exercise: Make time for regular exercise, be it your favorite intramural sport, yoga, running, dance, spin class, walking the dog, etc.
Continue Professional Development
Summer is also an excellent time to pursue professional development that’ll ultimately help you become a more well-rounded teacher and person. Look for local opportunities to take classes toward a degree or attend workshops for continuing education.
For teachers that enjoy writing, the option is always there to do some simple freelance writing work online, while also making some extra money in the process. Writing sites like Fiverr.com and iWriter.com make it easy to start getting paid for simple writing projects in your free time.
Go Over Feedback from Last Year
Once you’ve had an appropriate period of time in which to decompress, spend a day going over the feedback you received from last year—including any student evaluations, parent comments and employer assessments. Feedback is a great motivator to keep doing what’s working and switch up what isn’t.
If you have an active blog with real visitors, you can use the feedback form and commenting options on your site to get feedback on future lesson plans, or lessons learned from the previous year.
Plan Improvements for Next Year
Let’s be honest: Your mind is probably already thinking ahead to next year, even if summer break just started. It’s only natural. You can’t help but envision and anticipate teaching another class of students. Luckily, summer is an opportune time to plan improvements for next year.
Think in terms of teaching strategies and tech tools. What would help boost engagement and active learning in your classroom? For instance, many instructors nowadays are incorporating student response systems into their lesson planning. Plug-ins like Poll Everywhere integrate into presentation software and allow learners to answer multiple-choice polls, submit free-form questions and contribute to word clouds in real time. This has proven to be one strategy for breaking up long lecture classes and getting students involved—and it’s a straightforward addition to any teacher’s toolkit.
There are also likely some areas in which you can easily identify what you’d like to do better next year. Spend time reflecting on what fell short last year so you can improve it next time around.
Supplement Your Income
Teachers are notoriously overworked and underpaid. So, perhaps the most productive thing you can do this summer is use your skills to supplement your income. Try marketing your skills as a private tutor or writing coach for a reasonable hourly rate.
Again, if you have a blog that already has a nice following online, then why not explore your options with packing up a few creative lesson plans or education tools. There is no reason why you wouldn’t be able to sell such digital items to other teachers and schools throughout the country — as long as they are original and you have complete ownership of them.
Lead an Extracurricular
Missing school? Look for opportunities to get involved in extracurriculars. Maybe the cross-country team needs a volunteer coach. Perhaps the summer musical needs someone to help make costumes or manage props. You may even be able to start your own club! The possibilities are nearly endless here.
These are just six ways teachers can use summer break productively. Can you think of any more?
Do You Need to Respond to ALL Comments?
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One mistake holds back many bloggers who fail to scale. These folks obsess over responding to every single comment, every email, every message. Why? Pride. Obsession. Attachment to people. Fear of missing out on an opportunity. Fear of missing out on friendships.
Unfortunately, if you spend 14 hours daily responding to every single social request and chat and email and blog comment and message – even if it feels fun – you lose opportunities to scale through blog posts, guest posts, podcasts and doing interviews.
Please; if responding to virtually everything feels fun, do it. But 99% of bloggers BS themselves on this because they respond to EVERYONE from an energy of fear, pain, lack, resistance, force and hustle. Bad idea guys. Force negates. But, power attracts. Meaning if you are willing to use power, and love, and fun, to inject into your work, you quickly see: the cornerstone of massive scaling and persistent growth and freeing blogging success is writing, publishing and placing blog posts and guest posts.
Today, how do I have most fun growing my business, reaching more people, helping more people, and leveraging my blogging presence? Do I achieve these feats by spending 3 hours responding individually to every retweet, Like, blog comment, and so on, and so on? Nope. I spend those 3 hours effectively and efficiently by writing and publishing 3-6 blog posts and guest posts. Blog posts and guest posts scale. Blog posts and guest posts help me reach hundreds to thousands of targeted folks through each blog post and guest post.
Blog posts and guest posts never seem to be written by people who complain about having no time to blog post, and, guest post. Meanwhile, a hefty chunk of these humans spend 1, 2 or 3 hours responding to every Like on Facebook, from a strained, forced energy, fearing they miss out on traffic and bonds, not having fun doing it. But the wise move would be spending 10 minutes responding to comments on Facebook and maybe a few Likes, then, devoting 2-3 hours to writing and publishing blog posts and guest posts.
Think Scale Not Small Time
WAY too many bloggers play small, giving most of their attention and energy to building 1 to 1 bonds. Making friends is important but meeting new friends is even more important.
One lesson I learned from millionaire bloggers: scaling through blog posts and guest posts is the quickest way to reach more people, make more money and increase your blog traffic. Building 1 to 1 bonds by engaging commentors plays a role in succeeding online, but the top bloggers on earth are not running around, spending endless hours responding to Likes on Facebook.
Titans also build one to one bonds through engagement, but if you are not getting 1000 page views a day, something is wrong in the scaling department. Namely, you are playing it small, not thinking about scaling. Scale. Guest post. Post to your blog. Make this the focus of your day. Then, feel free to engage folks 1 to 1 in a limited time frame.
You need to let go responding to every single person all day long to genuinely scale, to reach an increasing number of folks and to do what matters most to your business.
People will buy your stuff without you engaging them. Guaranteed. Folks will find your blog, love your content and buy your course or eBooks. This is a simple, organic process that you muck up every time you believe you need to respond to and engage every single person who reaches out via all online channels.
Should You Aim for Blog Post Quality or Quantity?
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The human mind is silly. It thinks one or the other. It thinks you cannot have it all. You can have blog post quality and quantity but you need to make a clear decision on what you define to be a quality blog post.
Quality posts do not mean 2000 to 4000 word, pillar style masterpieces. A quality blog post answers the question you asked via title or delivers on the promise you made on the title.
I do understand how Google ranks 2000 word or longer, SEO-optimized posts requiring hours of work for even skilled bloggers to write, package and publish. But Google also ranks 600 words posts. 600 word posts are quality posts. Guess what? For the 30,000 bloggers out there asking the title question, I just wrote a quality blog post because they get a clear, concise, dead on answer.
Avoid Scarcity Thinking
Any time you FEAR posts are not quality because word length is 600 words, you think scarcity, or, not enough, or, not quality. But fear is not true. Fear is illusion. I can write 10, 600 word, quality posts today to make a massive impact and to help people IF I think abundance. But if I only believe I write quality, helpful posts in the 2000 word range, I stopped thinking abundance and began thinking scarcity. I chose fear over love and abundance. Naturally, all bloggers who think scarcity either struggle, fail and quit or work like beasts just to make end’s meet. Not good.
Go for quantity and quality. Some posts may span 800 or 1000 words but you can answer most questions and solve most problems in 600 words if you have immense clarity. Seth Godin answers most questions in 100 to 300 words. You have so much more to work with. So…work with it!
Think abundance. Blog abundance.
I have referenced Gary Vee many times recently and his 2000 video interviews on YouTube. Before he landed world famous speaking gig he had a pure abundance mindset, doing videos left and right, offering quality insights on a high quantity of channels. Blogging fools would try desperately to land an interview on a TV show, pitching, fearing, worrying, striving, and wasting months of time, thinking scarcity. Gary thought abundance, seized every opportunity through interview requests from some entrepreneurs who registered zero views per video, gained massive exposure organically, and, the dude became famous through his abundance mindset.
He thought quality and quantity. He did not hold back.
I am beginning to gain massive exposure through the 5-10 guest posts and blog posts published under my name daily. I do not turn down a microphone. I also know the easiest way to become well known is to focus heavily on quantity and quality, to share the wealth.
Many bloggers would obsess over a quality post being 2000 words, SEO-optimized and all that jazz, spending 4 hours to write said post on blogging tips. Meanwhile, I just wrote and published 8 quality, 600 word posts during those hours. I am being seen helping people in 8 spots. While you are on the sidelines. Even if that SEO’ed out, 2000 word post gains massive traffic over the long term, via Google, I am gaining even more massive traffic, being in 8-10 places daily via my posts and guest posts.
Think exponential increase. Imagine my 10 guest posts building up over 365 days. That is 3,650 guest posts, 3,650 spots where I am spotted online. That is a lotta spots!
See why it pays to think quality and quantity?
How to Leave Your Blogging Struggles Behind
Exit your comfort zone on a daily basis.
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Leave blogging struggles behind.
I love blogging. Blogging feels fun, freeing and quite easy to me. But sometimes, on this journey, my feelings change a bit. Sometimes, blogging feels uncomfortable and I nudge into resistance. Fear rears its head. Mental blocks arise. Sometimes I fear running out of time or perhaps I fear wasting my time. In these moments, I have 2 choices: remain in my fear-filled comfort zone or leave my comfort zone.
I left most of my blogging struggles behind because I choose to leave my comfort zone on a regular basis. Traffic, profits, and all manner of sweet blogging success greet bloggers who feel their fears, leave their comfort zones and do the blogging task, anyway.
What Is Blogging Struggle?
Blogging struggle is doing things or not doing things based on fear. Fear drives you. You blog from a fear-based, scared energy. You avoid traffic and profit and success boosting activities because you fear the opportunities. Example; you struggle horribly to make money and drive blog traffic. I advise to begin generous, relaxed, enjoyable guest posting, to help you increase traffic and profits and success. The split second you THINK about guest posting, you feel a range of emotions, from excitement, to happiness, then, from terror, to anxiety, to a general fear of wasting your time.
If 2 people visit your blog daily and you see zero blogging profits now, and you say “no” to guest posting because of some fears, you will likely struggle horribly, because you avoided guest posting to stay in your comfort zone of fear.
Traffic and profits sit on the other side of fear, outside of your comfort zone. No way around that one. We all pay a fear tuition doing freeing, success-promoting, uncomfortable things. I remember when Zac invited me to guest post on Blogging Tips. Fear invaded my mind. Would he reject my posts? How about if he hated my posts? What if I wasted my time? Would I be able to follow all the rules? Would he criticize me? Of course Zac is the nicest, kindest, friendliest iconic blogger on earth. He REALLY is, guys. He is an exceptional human being. But fear is irrational, distorting the truths of love, harmony and abundance.
I had to feel all those scary, intense fears, and keep blogging anyway, to write and publish my first few guest posts here. 800 plus guest posts later, I am still going strong. Why? I left my comfort zone those first few times and instantly began leaving blogging struggles behind.
Exit your comfort zone every single day. Do something that scares you. Do something that tests your limits. Publish a 4 paragraph long comment on a top blog, even if you fear:
- nobody is listening
- nobody is reading comments
- nobody will click through to your blog
- you are wasting your time
- the comment won’t get published
This happened to me recently. I spent 15 minutes writing a 9 paragraph comment on Pro Blogger. But Disqus suffered some connection problems and prevented me from publishing the comment. I feared I wasted 15 minutes. But after feeling and releasing the emotion, I let it go, moved on, and devoted 10 minutes to writing and publishing the comment later in the day, when Disqus was working.
Struggles happen if you choose to blog mainly from fear.
Success happens when you nudge into these fears, toward your blogging fun, taking inspired but uncomfortable action on a daily basis.
Go for it!
Exit your comfort zone.
Leave your blogging struggles behind…for good.
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