The 60/30 Rule Final Report

I came up five hours short of my time goal. But I still got 56 hours of work done that I wouldn’t have otherwise done.

This was a very good exercise and it’s gotten me much closer to getting 3SMR in shape for publication. FFI, hasn’t progressed at all. Lesson learned about how much time it takes to start a website.

Fifteen minutes trying to take a good picture of myself

I need a good picture of me for the new websites and so I spent some time in the backyard attempting a timer photo. There were a lot of medicore results. Photos are hard.

This was perhaps the best one, but I got annoyed at several things: the background, my shirt, the shadows on my face, the fact that I’m not 20 anymore, etc.

I did some test photos while bundled up, adjusting the zoom and the tripod and such. For those I made funny faces, this being my favorite.

A photographer will have to be called.

The daunting task of updating Three Sentence Movie Reviews.

It was very easy to import all my 1000+ movie review posts. Thanks for that, WordPress!

And now I have 20 phrases with an SEO score and 1068 without a focus keyphrase. If I did two a day, I could have this task done in a year and a half. And two a day seems like a tall order.

The 60/30 Rule Report 11/18

Another week with not enough hours in it.

Part of the problem was that I had something Monday, (Librarian Book Group) Tuesday, (Business Fundamentals I) and Thursday (Birthday dinner, REI shopping) nights, which precluded me getting any work done on those nights. 

Business Fundamentals I is the class I am taking through Mercy Corps. The first class was last week and it was great! It was also three hours long, something I hadn’t quite realized until I sat down at 4 pm and realized 4-7 pm is three hours, not the two I was thinking. So there will be no blog work on Tuesday nights for five more weeks.

What did I accomplish this week? Ads finally showed up on the site! But they are only on the front page, not on any individual post pages. I poked around to try and figure out why they are not there, and eventually decided to wait a few days to see if they appear. That’s what happened with the front page.

I also wrote two posts, since I’ve pledged to myself to be officially “live” on December 1. That means getting up all the posts from October that haven’t been written since I’ve been working on the website.

I also decided I should figure out this SEO thing before I go any further with tagging posts. I starting reading an article et voila! my time had ended.

During my next session. I wrote two more posts, edited the previous posts I had written, and wrote drafts of three more posts. I’m still working on the flow of how to get things written and published. 

I read more about SEO and feel like I have a handle on it. I also signed up to be an Amazon Associate, so I can have affiliate links on my site.  I then went through and added affiliate links to my September top movies post. It took a long time. 

One of the things that makes tagging old posts and linking to Amazon products a very slow process is that my current monitor is 17.5 inches. I can only have one window visible at a time, which means I have to toggle back and forth a lot. Since I have three monitors at work (one very, very large) I’ve gotten used to having at least three open windows at once. Deciding that this one-window madness could not continue, I bought a 24-inch monitor. It should be available to pick up at Best Buy next Saturday.

My mental state this week has not been very good. I was disappointed not to meet my seven hour goal this week, and disappointed to not meet that goal for two weeks in a row now. Plus, I had a small flame of hope that I could avoid working at the paid job next week, but unfortunately, the work rolled in, so I must go to my day job on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  This more or less crushes my hope of catching up, hours-wise.

I’m also very tired. I was hoping to become more rested over nine days of not going to work. Now that resting must happen over four days of not going to work. Which, since it’s four days and two of those days are a weekend just like any other weekend, and the other day is full of family obligations, it feels like I must do all my catching up, resting and other various chores (Decorating for Christmas! Making a baby blanket! Shopping for the fall wardrobe! Getting a haircut! Writing back to people who have written me! Etc!) on Friday.

So I head into next week feeling defeated. I’m making progress, but I feel like falling behind. John Green’s video then, was quite on point.

John Green says that acknowledging it helps (I’m not really feeling that). He also says that prioritizing the most important relationships in my life is important. Okay, then, it was good that I spent time with Matt, and sang karaoke when I could have been doing work on the websites.  And I should not begrudge the loss of my Thursday to spending time with my family. 

He further says I should remember what actually matters. Which I guess is that I’m making progress, even if it’s not all the progress I want to be making.

I don’t really feel that, John Green. But I appreciate you for mapping it out.

Still not sure when I’m going to get a haircut.

The 60/30 Rule Report 11/4

Whew. This week was a tough week. In the Three Sentence Movie Review world, I’m cleaning up some details while also trying to revise old posts into the new format. The revision is very slow work, made slower by my 17-inch monitor. If my monitor was just a big bigger I could have two windows open, plus my spreadsheet and could speed up the process a lot.

Speaking of the spreadsheet. I have a spreadsheet of all 1000+ movies I’ve watched since 2007! Very exciting. As I tag the reviews I note the genre category/ies, if it’s recommended, if it has a female director or writer, and also the year the movie was released, as well as the decade.

The plan is that once I get everything in the new format, I can use that spreadsheet to help me make recommendations. I already know I’m going to have to go back through again and tag everything with affiliate links. Fun!  But then I can also add in recommendations.

Speaking of affiliate stuff, I read up on how to be an affiliate marketer. I learned that if you click on someone’s affiliate link, Amazon doesn’t care if you buy that exact thing that was linked to. Your cookie is good for a period of time (35 minutes) and anything you buy during that time will give the seller a percentage of the sales. (At no cost to the buyer.) I found that interesting. 

I took Friday off from work and was trying to figure out how I was going to do the shopping, the week’s cooking, the special entertaining cooking AND also spend four hours working on the sites. I needed to do four hours to meet my weekly goal. I knew I was going to spend all day Saturday at WordCamp and then Sunday entertaining, so things had to get done by Friday.

And then I realized that WordCamp is the WordPress conference. So the entire day counted as working on sites. Phew. This was a very good realization because shopping/cooking took up most of the day.

WordCamp was amazing. Three sessions in, I realized that every session I attended had a woman presenter. And that none of the questions asked by the audience were the type of ego-fellating questions I usually hear from computer people (ahem *guys* ahem). People even asked questions that could be considered dumb (“What’s a slider?”) and no one made fun of them for it. I didn’t feel like a tool for taking notes with paper and pen, instead of on my laptop. And the content ranged from very good to fantastic.

The last session I attended, which was about how anyone could give back to the WordPress, shed some light on my observations. Everything I experienced was by design. The WordPress community works very hard to be inclusive, kind, and to avoid ego feeding. Once I better get things up and running, I will look into how I can volunteer.

The 60/30 Rule Report 10/28

I guess I didn’t take a picture for the 10/28 report. Pretend you can’t see into the future

Another eight hours this week! I’m back on track for my hours per week goal.

I did all eight hours Monday–Thursday after I got home from work. By Thursday, it was rather grueling. 

Part of this 60/30 exercise is to do a trial of how it will be to come home from work and get right to work again. I learned that I need to have my dinner plated ahead of time. This week I often would not be hungry when I came home and I would get right to work. But then, around seven o’clock, the hunger appeared, but I didn’t want to stop what I was doing to get a plate of food, so I would eat bits of things. My goal next week is to plate my food for dinner when I am putting together my lunch.

I got a lot done, though. 3SMR is coming along nicely. It now has a lists page, and there are category descriptions for each category. (I think this helps with SEO?) I also picked posters to illustrate each of my genre categories and am excited that every single one of the movies on that page is directed by a woman. Katherine Bigelow has three separate posters. Women need to direct more action and suspense movies.

I also got some help on fivrr this week. That’s a gig economy website where people offer to do things for not very much money. I have contracted with a woman to make a spreadsheet of all the movies I’ve watched since 2008. This will help me with my tracking and recommending.

The other thing I did on fivrr was to have an informal logo design contest. I picked four logo designers (pretty much at random) and sent all four the same information about what I wanted. They all sent me back logos, between one and five logos per designer. For this, I paid $38.00. Total.  There’s one logo I really like so I’m going to contract with that designer to give me the logo in several sizes and also a favicon (that’s the square thing in the browser tab, next to the name of the site.)

Finally, I uploaded all my three sentence movie reviews posts from this blog to the new website. I was worried about that process but it turned out to be super easy. Now comes the very long slog of tagging all the posts into the new format. It takes me an hour to do about 20. I have 53 total pages. It will be a slow and steady wins the race project.

While the site is live right this second, I haven’t advertised the fact. My plan is to do a little site design and re-tag 20 posts each work session. Once I get to 100 posts re-tagged, I will officially “launch” my site.

The 60/30 Rule Report 10/21

Whew!  8 hours this week. And that was with feeling under the weather on Monday and not hitting my 2-hour goal.

This week was my transformation week.  I went from feeling uncomfortable with the Jupiter theme to having something click. Tech support helped me make a page where all the posts went. And I finished most of the home page and set up the framework for all of the pages. It’s looking like a draft website now.

Also, I enlisted the help of my writer’s group and they wrote some tag lines for both sites. I put together a google survey and put it on Facebook. We shall see if anyone fills it out or not.

I’ve got a few cleanup things to do, but I think next week will be the week I import all my existing three sentence movie review posts. I’m very nervous about this. Importing posts has gone well in the past, but who knows if it will still go well when I do it this time.

And once things are imported successfully, there comes the long task of coding all the posts to the new framework. And will I have to download all the posters again? Time will tell.

How many three sentence movie reviews do I have, anyway? I just sorted my posts by category and it seems as though I have 1,080 posts tagged as three sentence movie reviews.  Yikes.

The 60/30 Rule Report 10/14

Hoo boy, it was a busy week. I had activities on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings, plus things on both Saturday and Sunday. Plus, the movie A Star is Born  has been out for two weeks and I’ve still not seen it.

All that is to say, I did not make my goal. I’m okay with it, though. I could have cranked out two more hours, but I did not. I chose to rest. Because I need to rest as a part of this project.

I may or may not make up the time in future weeks.

As for work done, the five hours I did were pretty frustrating. Though I’ve been using WordPress for several years now, it’s a learning curve. Plus, I have a new theme and have to figure out how it works. I feel like I’m only 30% good at what I’m doing and that’s a pretty uncomfortable space to be in.

All of my work this week was on the Three Sentence Movie Review (3SMR) site. I’m going to get that up and running and then focus my attention on Female Financial Independence (FFI)

I did use GIMP (an open-source Photoshop-type program) to design a favicon. I’ve learned that “favicon” is the official name those squares that go in the browser tab, next to the name of the website. I used to call them “those square things that go in the browser tab” I also set up a Three Sentence Movie Review profile in Gravitar, which is the universal icon that comes with me whenever I comment on something.

I also made the pages AGAIN in 3SMR. And I have a lot of pages. I’ve now twice made the same mistake, but I’ve learned. The 50 Essential Things post I’ve been using to get the website up and running tells you to create pages. But then, when I download a template, it erases all the pages. For FFI, I’ll know to download the template and only after that run through the 50 essential things list.

For my second work session, I made categories, which right now are the same as the pages. The categories will help with sorting. My plan is to have a main blog page, but to set up the home page so people can quickly navigate to buckets. The link to Genre will then flip to a page with all my genre categories (Action, Adventure, Crime, Comedy, etc.) From there, a person can click on a genre, like Action,  which will take them to a page where all my action movie reviews will be listed. There will also be buckets for “Liked,” which is subdivided into Good and Recommended, Not My Cup of Tea, movies by women–subdivided into directors and writers–and of course, the CT Film Festival. I should probably have one for lists, too. Top Movies, fun lists I make, etc.

I also downloaded three icons from Flat Icon, and made buttons on the front page that connect people to the Genre page, the Women page and the CT Film Festival page.  Those pages exist right now, but they have nothing on them.

I also found this great resource (https://www.colorhexa.com/e86b24) for the color I randomly picked when I made my front page image. It shows other colors that work with that color and all their numbers.  Good old #e86b24. Such a lovely orange.

Next week, I’ll keep chipping away at the front page.

The 60/30 Rule Report 10/7

Week one went great! Because week one always goes great. I love starting things. It’s why I enjoy Mondays.

The start of this project also coincided with a work drought. No matter how hard I try to find an office work job that will keep me busy–or even just steady–for all 8 hours, I have not been successful.  In this job, sometimes projects push and then there is nothing to do.

After decades of being frustrated by this, I have rebranded that time as “paid blogging time.” This makes me feel much better.  And so four hours of my “after work” work was done at work this week.

I finished going through all of the steps in ESI Money’s “Five Steps to Creating a Winning 25K Blog” It’s a five-part series and was quite thorough. Having just completed a business plan for my copyediting business, this felt similar. Plus, I learned a bunch of website things I didn’t know, even after having this blog for more than 10 years.

I also worked through 50 Essential Setting after Installing WordPress for Three Sentence Movie Reviews. I did that with my copyediting website and found it helpful.

I did the exercises in the “Start your 25K blog” series for both websites, but now I will focus on Three Sentence Movie Reviews.  Next week I will download a theme and get going on getting it to look like I want. This tends to be challenging as I am only 20% WordPress confident. (Yes, even after all of these years.)

Post 3000

post-3000Clockwise from upper left:  The current blog’s dashboard; the original blogspot Out & About; the current Out & About at stenaros.com; the now retired–but still readable–house blog.

I’ve written 3000 blog posts for this blog.  Three thousand posts!  This blog started as kind of a lark.  I was writing the house blog, which I started because we bought the house and I thought it would be a good way to not only keep track of what we were up to, but also a good way to loop in Matt’s side of the family, who live far away.  I soon found I wanted to make blog posts about unrelated things and so I made my own blog.

I didn’t do any sort of introductory post. I just launched.  In fact, the first post, is fairly typical of many of the posts to come.  I was grumpy.  I wrote about it.  The next post included song lyrics and my memories of the song.  The third post was an installment of the (now abandoned) Bike Project.  The fourth included ample quotes from a book I had just finished reading. (Which are still really good quotes and worth reading.)  I wrote four posts in the first month.

And that’s kind of what I still do today, except there are many more posts per month.  I write book reviews. (First listed 11/2/07 Things I read, started to read and didn’t finish in October). I write three sentence movie reviews. (First one 2/7/08 Charlie Wilson’s War). I report on various projects.  I wander around my life and take pictures of particular things. (First one 7/22/07 Porch Conundrum).  I write essays. (First tagged 1/5/12 My Secret Resolution).

From May 2007 to December 2014 I used blogspot as a platform.  After that I bought my own domain name and tried using Squarespace.  I found it didn’t work well for blogging and moved things over to WordPress.  Sadly, in the move I  now have a range of posts without pictures.  Someday I will put those back.

Blogging is fun for me.  I kept a journal for many years, until my life became undramatic and there wasn’t much to write about.  But blogging fills the journal niche.  I rarely look back, but when I do, I usually find something that’s fun to remember, or something I don’t remember at all. Like (randomly) The time I got to tour the Art House, after chronicling the building process. Or when I didn’t like the movie Lincoln (this is one of those posts that needs its pictures put back). Or that time I reported on book check-out receipts I found in my library book.

Blogging is also work. For many of my years blogging, I’ve often been behind, sometimes several months behind. In fact, I’m writing this post in November, not September. (Though I set it up in January, not wanting to miss the day I would hit post 3000). The only time I wasn’t behind was the year I had the volunteer gig where I hosted teens in the library computer lab for two hours per week.  Very few teens showed up, so that gave me two solid hours per week of blogging. Once that went away, I slipped behind again, and it’s gotten worse with the return to the 40-hour work week.  But even when I’m behind, blogging is something that I still want to make time for doing.  So I do.

I love comments.  I cannot lie.  Comments are the most awesome thing.  Mostly, I write these posts for myself.  But I dream someday of having more than two people comment on a regular basis.  And maybe having random somebodies comments.  My blog hasn’t grown into that kind of blog, but that means that the comments I do get are that much more wonderful.  So if you are a reader and have commented, thank you.  I really appreciate it.

Onto selected favorites in each category:

Books (221 posts):
Boise Public Library!
From individual reviews in 2007, to monthly review posts beginning in 2008 (the year I discovered Goodreads) I write a lot about other people’s writing.  But the post I’m featuring was from 2013, when I went to Boise for my 20th High School Reunion.  I went back to the place that made me a reader and delighted in the details and the memories.

CT Film Festival (45 posts):
Plan Your Own Channing Tatum Film Festival
In 2007, I had no idea I would fall in love with Channing Tatum.  (“It’s a pure and true love,” a friend said once about my obsession).  I had no idea I was going to watch every movie he had ever been in.  I had no idea I would be quoted on a podcast about the CT Film Festival post being “a bit disturbing,” a comment which cracked me up. The video store clerk saying, “Are you the lady who is watching all of Channing Tatum films?” was still in my future. No, I had no idea this was coming at all. I analyzed my obsession in this post, but mostly I have just bowed to the inevitable. When Channing Tatum appears in a movie, I must watch that movie. Usually in the theater.  Often on opening weekend.

Mail (198 posts):
Postcard from Singapore
Postcrossing was something I discovered a few years ago.  Participating has meant that I have sent and received postcards all over the world.   In one case, a postcard sent has meant a blogging friendship with Kathleen. (I’ll start reading your blog again soon, Kathleen.  But in the interim, I’ve loved keeping up with you on Instagram.)  When it seems like the world is a terrible place, receiving a friendly postcard from the other side of the world is maybe one of the best things about my day.  Which is why I need to find time to start Postcrossing again soon.

Music (45 posts):
Power Ballads, A Blog Post
Music is something that fell by the wayside as I entered adulthood and I’m still working my way back to it.  The Song of the Month posts help.  But most of my music posts are about music I listened to growing up.  Like the above retrospective of a time when bands could really write a ballad.  And wear some amazing clothes while performing it.

Structures (451 posts):
Comparison Contrast two houses on Belmont Street
I love looking at buildings and houses.  Love it.  Hence the incredible number of posts about buildings and houses.  I enjoyed writing this post because it not only got into the nitty-gritty details of two houses, but it also let me use PortlandMaps.com for some research, which was fun.

Three sentence movie reviews (788 posts):
It’s Complicated
With this many posts to choose from I was a little stuck as to which to feature.  I went with this movie, not so much because I think it’s a fabulous review, but mostly because of the long aside sanctioned by the asterisk.  Knowing my propensity to use many words, I wisely put a sentence limit on my reviews.  But I do enjoy going around that limitation.

To Occupy My Time (1223 posts):
Egg Puff
This is a catch-all category. 65 different tags feed into it. In the WordPress dashboard, there are 62 pages listing posts that chronicle things that occupied my time.  I picked one randomly from page 42.  Then I linked to the blogspot version of it because the current blog has no photos.  If you are looking for a quick dinner, Egg Puff is your friend.

Writing (90 posts):
It turns out I have very strong feelings about the movie the Notebook
This essay still amuses me because I still feel very strongly about that movie.  I hate to harsh on the Notebook-loving public’s mellow, but that is a terrible and creepy film.

So that’s it.  3000 posts.  Good job me.