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My son Owen has Angelman Syndrome. He doesn’t speak, has epilepsy, and is globally developmentally delayed. He’s also a happy, loving boy. At least most of the time.
But lately, he’s been different. Instead of interacting with the other kids and trying to be involved in everything, he’s been hanging out in front of the fire.
His change in attitude and energy is so significant, we’ve been trying to figure it out for two weeks. Since he can’t speak, and isn’t using his typical methods of showing us what’s wrong, we’re kind of working with his doctors through the process of elimination.
In the past two weeks, we’ve had two ER visits, follow-ups with his pediatrician, blood work, and more. He’s still not himself, and we’re no closer to knowing what is going on. Though we now have a list of things it’s not…
Anyways, life with a child with special needs can mean spending a lot of time in waiting rooms. And when you throw in regular checkups for the seven other kids, we spend a lot of time waiting.
Emergency room visits. Outpatient surgeries. Waiting at the specialist’s office.
Wait. Wait. Wait.
But, when you’re trying to grow a blog and run a freelance business, unexpected doctor appointments can be stressful. There’s always so much to do.
And I’ve discovered having something to do helps me not worry as much. It keeps my mind off what is going on, which I appreciate.
So, here are seven blogging tasks I’ve been tackling in the waiting rooms.
1. Tackle Email
One perk of the smartphone is the mail feature. From my phone, I can easily tackle several emails in the waiting room.
- Read new emails
- Unsubscribe from email lists I no longer want
- Review the emails in my inbox to help set priorities
- Reply to any emails that don’t require attachments (turning the phone sideways and getting the bigger keyboard helps!)
- Go through each folder and see if anything can be deleted
The great thing about dealing with email on your phone is that you can stop at anytime. If it’s your turn to go back, you can simply stop what you’re doing and pick it up again later.
I love how well Gmail syncs between the phone and computer!
2. Post Research
I tend to do most of my initial research on my phone, so this is another great task for my waiting room productivity list.
When I research, I try to find as many articles on the topic as I can. I look for:
- Reoccurring themes
- Questions that remain unanswered
- Any comments that added useful information
- A new angle that comes to mind
I’ll do an initial search, and open each article that I think will be useful in a new tab. Then as I read them, I either leave them open or close them out.
If I leave them open, it means there was something useful there for me to check out later. I’ll occasionally open my Notes app and write down what came to mind as I was reading. That way I don’t have to start from scratch again the next time I read that particular article.
It’s a system that works well for me!
3. Social Media Marketing
Blogging means so much more than just writing a blog post. No matter how great of content you create, if no one reads it, your blog isn’g going to grow.
So spend some of your wait time working on social media marketing. Like a few posts on Facebook, Pin a couple of things you like, or retweet something profound.
Add comments on Instagram, check out links, and just work on that whole social media networking side of blogging.
If I have time to read articles, I use Buffer to schedule them. It’s easy to do on my phone, and helps me share content of others.
4. Brainstorm Future Topics
I keep a “Headline Idea” note going on my phone for each of my recurring clients and both of my blogs. I can add to it whenever inspiration strikes, and pull from it when I need an idea.
Often in a waiting room, I’ll people watch for a while. Then I’ll flip through a magazine or two. These often give me plenty of inspiration for posts I can write.
If I have time and feel up to it, I’ll even add an outline to my headline to make writing it even easier.
5. Create a Pinnable Image
Did you know that you can now use PicMonkey (<=aff. link) on your smartphone? I love their app! You can access anything you have saved on the Hub, and use images from your camera roll.
You can add text, edit all elements of your photos, and place stickers. Then you can save them back to your phone, or on the Hub to access on your computer.
Since I’ve had time in the waiting rooms, I’ve been going through my A-Z Guide to Working at Home with Kids posts and updating the images for Pinterest. Here’s one I was working on while waiting:By making templates on the computer and saving them to the Hub on PicMonkey, it’s easy to create several pins quickly.
6. Check Blog Stats & Deal with Spam Comments
- Check your stats
- Create a draft of a post (I typically just get my outline in and then flesh it out more on the PC.)
- Approve or spam comments
- Reply to comments
The comments are my favorite to attend to while in a waiting room. Connecting with others is also enjoyable, especially when I’m trying to keep my mind occupied.
I also check my stats and see how I’m doing. Since I’m in end of year planning mode, I’ve been figuring out which of my posts were the most popular in 2017! I know my stats aren’t nearly as good as many other bloggers, but I’m making progress and that’s what matters most!
7. Create a Content Calendar
My phone’s battery was running down during a recent doctor appointment, so I pulled out the paper and pencil instead. I was able to quickly throw together a content calendar through the end of the year for both my blogs.
I made a table for each blog. As headers, I used the dates I’ll need content published. I publish on Tuesdays for this blog, and Wednesdays on my homeschooling/large family life one. Then I skimmed through my headline list of ideas, thought about upcoming events (like Christmas and New Year’s) and thought about what would resonate with my audience.
I filled in the table with possible headlines for each date. Then, I circled the ones I decided to go with. It kept me busy for a while, and will be easy to transfer to the computer.
Having a plan is essential when blogging!
What Are Your Tips for Waiting Room Productivity?
Do you spend as much time in waiting rooms as I do?
Are there other tasks for your blog you knock out during this time? I’d love to hear what works for you in the comments section.
This post was originally published in March of 2016. In light of all our recent waiting room time, I decided it was the perfect time to dust it off and share it again!
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