5 Unique Ways to Promote Your Blog and Create Consistent Traffic

Blogging can be a very demotivating task. It is hard to get your content through the billions of existing ones. So you start searching for ways to promote your blog posts. Everywhere you go, you get generic oversaturated methods. You try them only to compete against a million people that do the same thing. I am not saying that using popular promotion methods is a bad idea. But only using them to promote your blog posts is NOT going to be a way forward. There is too much competition giving you too little results for too much work.

The only way to succeed is by employing more unique and creative ways then mix them up with more popular methods. This post describes 5 ways that either I employ or have seen successful people utilize it as it is more unique, creative and the best part, more adaptable to the type of blog posts one writes.

Using Pinterest

Pinterest is a popular website to share (“pin”) your ideas. This can be done on your profile. You can categorize your pins by creating boards. That way, related pins can be grouped. It is not just your profile, your board can also have followers. That means if you create a board for a specific genre and do quality pins, you can make a fan base for that board. This fan base can be used to drive traffic to your website.

But I‌ don’t have time to create quality pins!

I know me either. That’s why the re-pin feature in Pinterest is a lifesaver. You don’t need to make quality pins every day, you just need to share them on your board. The content is unlimited.‌ You can use other’s content to build a fan base around your board and eventually lead them to your blog.

I‌ haven’t even talked about the best part of Pinterest yet. It is so easy to get visitors and engagement. That is so unlike Instagram and Facebook where it is pretty hard to gain engagement.

This is my profile with just 2 weeks of regular activity. You can see I already have 5.8k visitors on my profile. I‌ do about 10-13 re-pins a day and I‌ mix them up with original content. Unlike Instagram, Pinterest allows you to link your content to your actual blog post.

So if I did a post about 10 productivity tips I‌ have for you, I would make a pin with 10 tips and link it to the actual post I have written. Since my board contains other re-pins from quality makers, I‌ will be able to leverage the traffic to my post as well. And this traffic converts well because they are the audience that’s looking for those productivity tips.

Want example?

Here you can see I have a board called “My Lifting Words”. It is the place where I post quotes from this blog. Naturally, it doesn’t have a lot of traction because I cannot be actively posting quotes there every day. But look at the other two boards, “For The Ones Who Judge” and “Be Inspired”. They are both completely made of re-pins. These boards only have 70-80 pins but have managed to drive over 5k+ traffic to my profile in just 2 weeks. These visitors have engaged with the “My Lifting Words” board and the pins there lead them to blog posts here.

The other example is a board I just created 2 days ago called “Deeply Productive”. The board intends to create pins with quality productivity tips. Right now I am building an audience on that board using re-pins. Eventually I will make original pins based on posts I have in How-to life category. That’s convertible audience at my doorstep.

Remember to always create niche-specific boards. That means you can draw the audience to your niche-specific blog post hence receiving a quality audience. The work is a bit tedious, but it converts way better.

Using Quora

Quora is a go-to place for quality-driven answers.‌ That’s because users will only vote for answers that have practical value and actionable steps. You can use Quora to find out what users are searching for in your niche and answer them on your blog. Then you can write the answer inside Quora and leave a link to the source. Cool? But it gets better this way:

If you want to write a blog post that ranks in Google, you will have to do blog posts that cover every aspect of that topic.‌ The way I like to use Quora (which is fairly tedious)‌ is to search up all the main questions and all the related questions.

So if I‌ want to make a blog post about writing, Quora will have many questions that are related to it. Like, How to write?‌ What makes good writing?‌ Where to find unique words? Where to get topic ideas?

Just by researching Quora alone, you will know what users want in a blog post. Now you can use this information to write a big blog post that covers every aspect of the particular topic.

Next step, refer your answers in each question leaving only the particular area that you need to answer.‌ Then provide a link back to your original source. Topic ideas and traffic all in one package.

Using Instagram theme page

Growing on Instagram is hard, getting Instagram users to visit your page is harder.‌ This is because the social media company figured out that they make way more money getting people to stay on their platform. But as social media with the highest engagement rate, Instagram cannot be ignored. There are many ways to use Instagram to leverage traffic to your website or blog. But the one I would like to talk about is using Instagram theme pages specifically.

There are two ways to go around here. You can either pay an Instagram page on your niche to advertise your site/blog post or you can create one yourself. Advertising on a niche page is pretty expensive, so I suggest the other way around. I have seen many big blogs employ this trick. Recently I started my own project which is too new to post any result.

Anyways, here is how I plan to go about it:‌ a few days ago,‌ I started this Instagram page called @deeplyproductive. Now writing on productivity and life is one of my plans for this blog and I have a dedicated category for that particular niche. I am regularly posting on this Insta page and with time to come (possibly months/a year), I shall build a community around it.

The takeaway point here is that I am not running an Insta page for this blog specifically.‌ I am picking on a specific niche inside this blog. That way I know what my audience wants and I won’t annoy them posting random things on my Insta page. This is a very convertible audience that I can later leverage directly to my blog.

The point of explaining my plans was to make you understand how this actually works. The result of magazines like Foundr speaks for itself.

Using Medium publications

Medium has over 65 million visitors per month and has a thriving reader/writer community. This is a most engaging reader/writer community out there (sorry WordPress.com). And it has a feature that allows you to import blog posts from your blog.

Here is how to get the best of Medium: Writing on your profile is good, but you won’t be getting a lot of attention. The best way is to join Medium publications that already have 1000s of followers. Many of these publications allow you to post imported blog posts of relevant niche into their publication. Imported blog posts come with a source link that is gonna drive traffic back to your original blog post.

But, there is also a better way. Importing a complete blog post means users have no reason to click through your source link. I like to use Medium more creatively.

I will give an example.‌ I‌ have a blog post where I‌ have written a detailed article on how to use a particular productivity app. Now I‌ will go to medium and post an article like the top 10 productivity apps and leave a link back to my detailed article to the top app of the list. That way, I am going to get more user visits to my blog.

There are also other ways like posting an incomplete list topic and getting users to click to see the complete list. Medium has a huge reader community, how you utilize it is completely up to your discretion.

Using Facebook group

No, this is not about spamming your links in shady Facebook groups that will get you shadow banned. This is about creating a group completely for yourselves.

So many people create communities using Facebook page instead, which is a good option but ideally not the best option (You can use both). Facebook pages are very hard to grow compared to Facebook groups. It’s because only you get to choose what to post for your audience in a FB page. When you create community fan base for your blog in a FB group, your users will contribute too. They will typically be asking questions to you and you should be responsible enough to answer them. It comes at a cost of investing time.

But the community thus built is strong and engaging. That means when you share your next post on to your FB group, you are going to get a sudden spike of traffic that shall get you noticed elsewhere including Google. That’s your path to organic traffic eventually.

Conclusion

There isn’t a lot to conclude here. The hardest part of growing a blog is getting the initial audience. For that, you have to be creative instead of using main stream methods. For the continuity of your blog, you shouldn’t just be creating traffic from random sources but also focus on creating a community.

Make sure wherever you are sharing your blog posts, you are sharing it with the right audience. If you have an article about gardening in the backyard, you should choose relevant places to share it instead of spamming it for clicks. Doing it is not only annoying but the bounce rate of your blog post will be so high that Google will just shadow ban you. Even your best blog posts might not make the cut. So no matter what, keep to healthy ways to gain traffic and just avoid gray hat shady methods.

6 Handpicked Free To-Do List Apps for 2020

Gone are the days we are frustrated about writing down the minutest task in a piece of paper and keeping it on your pocket all day long.‌ Now we have apps to do anything and actively remind us of our tasks.‌ This post aims to rank 6 apps that are either completely free or has free versions we can use for our day to day lives.

The apps will be rated based on 4 qualities.

  1. Pricing:‌ Some apps are completely free while others have basic free versions.
  2. Easiness to use: Some apps have simple to use interface, suitable for casual hobbyists, school children, etc while others are advanced and have terrible learning curve.
  3. Multi-platform support: Almost all apps have cross-platform support.‌ It is important that you have access to your task list in phone, tablet or PC.
  4. Advanced features:‌ Won’t be very specific on this one but this is valuable for groups/organization especially when it comes to collaboration based features.

1. Microsoft To-Do

Microsoft To-Do is a cloud-based productivity app from Microsoft. It is developed by the team behind Wanderlust which is an amazing premium productivity app. Microsoft To-Do is free and minimalist. It is cloud-based, which means it’s also cross-platform. Access your Microsoft To-Do anywhere on‌ Android, iOS, Mac, Windows and even on your browser. You can access it with your personal Microsoft account or Office 365 account.

Price

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The product is completely free to use.

Easiness of use

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The product has fast learning curve.

Multi-platform

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The product supports all major platforms and is well integrated with Office 365.

Advanced features

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Lacks some advanced features especially in collaboration.

2. Todoist

Todoist is an increasingly popular productivity app on the market. Todoist was launched in 2007 and is one of the oldest continuing successful apps out there. The distinguishing feature of this app is an AI-powered feature called Smart Schedule which helps you schedule or reschedule tasks in a smart way.

Price

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Free version is available with limited amount of projects and users. Premium and Business plans are only $3 and $5 per month.

Easiness of use

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The product is fairly easy to use and has moderate learning curve.

Multi-platform

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The product supports all major platforms.

Advanced features

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Typical advanced features and group collaboration available.

3. Any.do

Any.do has a differentiating character that sets it apart from rest of the apps on the list. It lets you use your voice to enter your to-do list. So if you don’t wanna type long lists, this app is your cup of tea. Any.do has a very simple interface and lets you share your list with other people. You can set different colors for different tasks depending on your priority.

Price

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Free version is available but many advanced features are premium.

Easiness of use

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The product is easy to use and has fast learning curve.

Multi-platform

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The product supports all major platforms and has cross platform sync.

Advanced features

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Many features available with premium.

4. ToodleDo

ToodleDo is a simple to use app that is concentrated on task management. It allows you to add tasks and sub-tasks. It also has habit tracking capabilities and can be monitored through graphs. Interestingly, it has a feature to set a remainder based on your location.

Price

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Free version can handle unlimited tasks.

Easiness of use

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The product is fairly easy to use.

Multi-platform

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The product supports all major platforms and has cross platform sync.

Advanced features

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great features available with upgraded plans. Especially on collaboration front.

5. Habitica

Habitica is probably the most interesting app on this list. This app is designed for game lovers. You will get achievement unlocks when you complete your tasks and punishment if you fail. Interesting enough? At least for your kids.

Price

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The app is completely free.

Easiness of use

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The app is easy to use.

Multi-platform

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Available in iOS, Android and Desktop.

Advanced features

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Not the best app for serious people looking for their task management.

6. Google Keep

Google keep was kept for last on the list. This is probably the most minimalist app in the entire series. It is very basic and simple. The core reason it was kept last was because of its lack of advanced features. But it’s extremely easy interface made the cut. Best app for causal hobbyists as it also supports audio input.

Price

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The app is completely free.

Easiness of use

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The app is very easy to use.

Multi-platform

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Available in iOS, Android and browser.

Advanced features

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Severely lacks advanced features.

Conclusion

There are way more than 6 apps on the internet that can help you get through your life. If you are a casual hobbyist or a simple user, I recommend completely free to use apps like Microsoft To-Do or‌ Google Keep. That’s because they are not only free but have very short learning curve.‌ You can start to use these apps almost immediately.

If you are more of an advanced user or want apps for your company/group/organization, it is best to go for any feature-rich premium apps. You should research more on the internet about apps this post hasn’t covered. There are many completely premium (not covered in this post) apps that have advanced features that could help your journey.

5 Step Process to Writing Anything

Writing something can be a daunting task especially when you do not have a step by step procedure to follow. Whether you are writing an essay, a blog post or doing your college presentation, you must have at one point or another aimlessly wandered trying to get your work done.

There is nothing unusual about ‘aimlessly wandering’, it is quite normal for most people. This happens because people do not have a clear direction to take while trying to complete their work. Knowing what clear steps to take from starting to finishing and trying to get your work done with proper workflow can make a big difference.

Luckily, there is a clear 5 step process I employ while writing things. I have used this to write my project presentation, project reports, essays and now I am implementing the same for my blog posts. There are two things I‌ love about this method.

  1. It’s universally applicable. That means whether you are trying to write a blog post, an essay, or a research paper.‌ You are good to go.
  2. It’s easy to remember. Can you remember the word‌ ‘POWER’? I‌ am sure you can. I will get into the details down below.

What makes good writing?

Before we go deeper into the ‘How’ part of the question, it is important we answer the ‘What’ part.‌ Unless you don’t know what makes a blog post or an essay classified ‘good’ and stands out among the rest, no step by step process will be fruitful. So let’s first discuss what makes good writing.

There are prominently six qualities for a well-written article. Each quality is important and a writer should make maximum effort to stress each quality in his work.

FocusA well-written article will have a central theme. That means each line and paragraph should have a clear point it is making about the theme.
ExpansionAll lines, all paragraphs that are written in the article should assist the main subject. Illustrations are an important part of expanding the main topic. Avoid paragraphs and lines that do not contribute to the central theme.
CreativityThis should come across with no surprise.‌ Creativity is a principal part of great content making. One of the easiest ways to be creative in your writing is to find analogies for your concepts. If you can connect your central theme to everyday activity, your reader will grasp it easily. The point of adding creativity to your writing should be to make things effortless to understand for your reader.
OrganizedThe entire content in your article should be well organized. Make sure it can be read smoothly.‌ From top to bottom, everything should be logically connected and the reader should not be having any rough transitions. More about this down below.
UniformAll paragraphs should have their own purpose. A paragraph is made for separating one idea from another. Do not make paragraphs based on a specific word count, but a specific idea.‌ That way uniformity can be maintained throughout the article.
Grammar and styleOne should try to make his writing error-free. It’s hard but not impossible. The writing style should be determined based on the type of article. A news article won’t be written the same way a product review article will.

POWER writing method

Now that we are done discussing what makes a writing ‘good’, let’s reflect on the 5 step formula that can help you achieve it. It is called the ‘POWER’ method which is an acronym for Prepare, Organize, Write, Edit, and Review.

It is as simple as it sounds, easy to apply and remember.‌‌ But to adopt each step can prove to be difficult for a new writer. So let’s get in-depth with each step of the method, shall we?

Prepare

The first step is pretty basic but often overlooked. You must make sure that you do thorough research on the topics you plan to cover. Writers tend to research as they go.‌ But that means you will have to spend time rewriting and reframing the entire article. You might have to end up writing from scratch if inconsistencies become severe. From a time point of view, that is a costly mistake.

This makes the first step ‘Prepare’ highly significant.‌ Make sure you conduct thorough research before you even think about writing the article. Make sure you use credible sources. Make sure the number of sources you use is fixed. Do not go after new sources at the time of writing.‌ Everything about ‘learning’ the topic should start and end in the first step.

Organize

Being well-organized is one of the fundamental qualities of an article. No matter how intense your research is or how well versed your paragraphs are if they are not organized properly, your readers will not appreciate it.

To make your article readable, all parts of it from top to bottom should be logically connected. Readers should not struggle to make meaning between your headings, subheading or paragraphs.

Now, getting organized is a difficult job. Especially after your first phase of research, you are probably overwhelmed and struggling to make sense. One of the easiest ways to get all your ideas organized is to draw a mind map.

I have a complete article on how to organize your thoughts and ideas. It describes an easy method to draw a mind map and start making logical connections between your ideas. If you have your way to organize things, you can do it.‌ But if you have no clue or you are not confident about your ways, I‌ urge you to read the article.

Write

It is time that we start the actual writing process. The two steps above is a prerequisite for the flawless execution of this step. If you are well researched, you know what you are writing without having second thoughts. If you are well organized, you don’t have to worry about structuring your article.‌ You already have a clear direction to take and a conclusion to reach.

You are no more stressed about what to write and how to do it. So take full freedom and start writing from the main heading to the conclusion. Do not worry about the choice of words, typos, complex sentences, style issues, etc.

This step is to write all the ideas out completely.‌ Do not go back and fix even a single typo. Any distraction from the writing process will cost significant time and probably cause a lack of clarity in your presentation. If you are bothered about all the grammar issues in your article while you are writing, you will not be productive while doing so. It is important that you solely stick to expressing your ideas to congregate maximum creativity.

Edit

Okay, I know you are frustrated about the all red marks from your word processor. Now you can finally take care of them. If you are a newbie, I highly recommend you hire a professional proofreader for this purpose. But if you don’t have the money or resources, it is fine.‌ You can do it yourself.

Now editing is a tedious task. You have to thoroughly read your article word by word and if possible, syllable by syllable. That way you make sure that your article does not have any grammar mistakes.

It is inevitable to create an article completely free of mistakes, but the goal is to make it as error-free as possible. Make sure there are no errors like typos and basic grammar mistakes. Make sure the words you chose are simple to understand has the same meaning in the context it is applied. Make sure there no complex sentences users have to deal with.

You can use tools like MS Word’s inbuilt spell and grammar checker or browser extensions like Grammarly to assist you in this process. Note that programs are programs and work on algorithms. It will never be good as an actual human being editing your work. Make sure you edit the complete article top to bottom and not just rely on algorithm-based grammar checkers.

Review

This is the final step in the whole process.‌ Once you are done writing and editing, your article is supposed to be complete. If you are a really good writer, this step is optional. But chances are you should review your article from scratch regardless.

During the review process, you should fundamentally check for the readability of the article. Try reading the article out loud. You should try to read the article as presenting in front of an audience. Imagine yourself giving a Ted talk. That way you know if the tone of the article resonates with an actual conversation. This will ensure that readers remain engaged throughout a lengthy article.

Note: Iterating between different steps are sometimes inevitable.‌ No matter how well you researched, you might discover your knowledge gaps during the organizing and writing process. No matter how well you edit, you will probably find mistakes during the review process.‌ Keep in mind that going back and forth is also part of the process.

Points to take away

  • Aim for six qualities in your writing: Focus, Expansion, Creativity, Organized, Uniform, Grammar and style.
  • Remember the word ‘POWER’: Prepare, Organize, Write, Edit, and Review.

Conclusion

A lot is going on in the writing industry. The Internet has made writing and sharing it more of an accessible option. Whether you are writing for a living or trying to complete the project work, keep in mind that it never has been easier to find resources to do so.

If you are struggling specifically with the writing process, the easiest way to do so is to just start writing even if it is gibberish —Of course, after you have done your proper research. Remember that you can always edit a bad page but not a blank one.

How to Organize Your Thoughts and Ideas

Has your mind ever been cluttered by overwhelming thoughts and ideas? I know mine do all the time.

Have you ever felt trying to organize them inside your brain is a mentally demanding task?‌ That’s because it is.

Whenever I sit down to write a blog post, an essay or try to do something creative, I get bombarded with random thoughts and ideas.

It does not help when these thoughts or ideas come highly distorted without any meaningful connections between them.

To make maximum use of our brain, it is important that we organize our thoughts and ideas clearly.‌ One easy way to do it is to create a mind map.

The technique I am about to discuss can be fully utilized just by using a pen and paper. I used digital infographic for the sake of better clarity.

This shall help you organize your mind and maximize its creative potential.

Organizing your thoughts

As I already mentioned, organizing your thought is really important. Thankfully, it is easier than you think.

For the sake of better understanding, I‌ made an infographic. This shall give you an instant idea about mind maps. But if you want to walk through step by step process or see an example, read below.

Mind map template

Step 1:‌ Main topic

What exactly is the center of your thoughts? This is your main topic. In the example below, I wanted to make a post about blogging.

So I chose ‘blogging’ as my main topic. The rest of the ideas branch out from this specific topic.

Step 2: Subtopics

These are your thoughts that branch out from your main topic. This will effectively help build a second layer around your primary motive.

This step will make your understanding concrete. You can establish the relationship between the distorted sub-thoughts and your main motive.

Step 3: In-depth details

This is the step to become a bit more descriptive. What are the best features of each subtopic? Include them in the yellow space.

Normally I stop my process at this final step. Going above 3 layers can make things complicated. But if you have a bigger broader idea, you should try it.

Once all the necessary steps are taken, you have a logical flow in your thoughts and ideas. Now you can start writing them down, or if you are trying to study, remember them way more easily.

Mind map example

So I want to write a blog post explaining ‘blogging’ to newbies and how they can get started. Here is how I do it.

Here is a basic mind map I came up with. Looking at it, I can now easily write the blog post. I got my ideas organized. That means writing them down is a simple task and I don’t have to deal with all the noise while doing so.

Mind map for idea “blogging”

Note: As I said above, you can do this with pen and paper. It’s better.

Now, this is not the best map I can come up with, it’s a 5 minutes job. Pardon me for any inconsistencies. I hope you understood how it works.

Tips

  • If you are doing this on paper, start at the center. I have innumerous times went out of the paper as I unevenly branched out.
  • There maybe mind mapping apps you can download on your phone. I have tried one called “Mindly” which is a great app. But I can tell you from experience that our thought process isn’t as good compared to writing on a paper. I prefer paper and always use it.
  • Adjoin small description along with the topic/subtopic. That way you can solely concentrate only on the main points as you branch out.

Conclusion

Mind mapping is an effective way to organize your thoughts and ideas. There are no doubts about it. One thing I have learned about mind mapping is that you actually learn more trying to do so.

Once your mind mapping phase is complete, you are automatically ready to write your blog post, essay or whatever you were trying to do. You are less blurry as you sharpen your ideas. You have a logical structure in your mind and can easily present it.

10 Things We All Secretly Hate About Blogging

Blogging is a great way of self-reflection, realization, and expression. I have been blogging for years and tried everything from BlogSpot, Weebly, Medium to WordPress and everything in between.

That means I got some really bad vibes from failing numerous blogs. It still echos in my brain. After failing more than five blogs, I feel I am qualified to write this post.

While blogging is an enjoyable and sounding job, it is necessary to understand and accept the strings attached. This is not the “terms and agreements” you checkbox without reading while signing up for a random website. Make sure you are prepared for it before investing time and money in blogging.

#1. A dried idea well

So one fine day, you started your new blog. You are really excited and pumped up about it. You seem to have unlimited blog post ideas and can make the most active blog in the world. That is until you realize you don’t.

This is a very common phenomenon among bloggers, especially new ones. Most people get excited about their new blog but eventually their ideas and motivation dries out.

It happened to me a few times and I was forced to shut down multiple blogs. I was posting daily in the beginning, then it turned to weeks, then months and eventually shut shop.

In my post 3 Free Websites That Will Make Your Blogging Life Easier, I discussed a way to get more ideas using HubSpot Blog Ideas Generator.

#2. SEO obsession

As soon as I started my new blog, SEO started popping up everywhere. I tried googling “how to be a successful blogger” and the amount of “SEO experts” seems to be unlimited.

I went on a venture to implement them and lost my blogging activity in the process. Now that was effectively worth nothing but a waste of time.

SEO matters, but your content matters even more. Concentrate on building quality content first. As your blog grows content-wise, you can start implementing SEO tips.

But if you are going to try to do SEO and be obsessed about it in each post, you are going to give up real quick.

#3. Theme customization

I hate this part of my blog’s existence. Why am I so tempted to keep making adjustments in my blog? I am doing this even after years. I guess I am a veteran now.

I am pretty sure some of you bloggers can relate. It is very tempting to keep making minute adjustments in your blog. Sometimes this is done only to be reversed a week later.

This costs hours from your time which you are being totally unproductive. Realize it and get the better of it.

#4. Blog stats obsession

I used to have this obsession especially when I started new blogs. I tend to check my stats all the time. If you have a new blog, chances are your stats won’t have any significant difference over short periods.

I constrain myself from looking up the stats every time and limit it only to Sundays. That way, there will be a sizeable difference to look at, learn and take actionable steps.

So do not waste your time looking at your blog’s stats. Convert those hours to do something productive in your blog.

#5. Grammar

This one is a bit obvious. This comes due to the fear of judgment. We are all concerned about how readers will perceive us because of bad grammar.

It is necessary that you try your best to keep your posts clean of grammar mistakes. However, there is no need to be over hyped about it.

Excessively spending time fixing the minutest grammar mistake will take so much effort for too little results. You have to make sure that you don’t have any typos and your basic grammar is correct. But you don’t need to pull out The Huffington Post in each article you write.

#6. I should/shouldn’t have wrote that

Every time I click publish, turn off my computer and leaves the room, I get another spike of ideas I should have included. I have learned to fight the urge to edit my posts again, at least not immediately.

Remember when you are in the shower after a debate and all the points you could have said travel through your brain. It’s the same thing.

I have a hack to avoid this from happening. I let my posts sit for a week before publishing. I get some astounding ideas over the time which I include in my blog posts. Eventually, when I am ready to publish it, the post is automatically organized and thorough.

#7. Niche relevance

Is my post really relevant to my niche? or is it going a bit off-topic? I hate it when this struggle happens. I started this blog to post things in practical life. Anything that helps add positive improvement to the reader was my primary motive.

However, when I start writing about blogging tips, I start to wonder whether this blog actually fits for it. I mean I have sleeping tips in the same blog (LOL). That was an odd combination.

Chances are, picking a general niche will give you freedom on what to post but you will be always confused whether it goes off-limits or not. This struggle is real but can be overcome with time as you develop a concrete idea in your mind.

#8. Forgetting blog post ideas

Whenever I find myself thinking greatly, I am in the shower or shaving my beard. And those aren’t the best times to take note.

A minute into the game and I forget what I had in mind. It’s an instant regret when it happens.

Personally I have a note-taking app on my phone to write down instantaneous ideas I get from my mind. It works fine except the majority of them happens when I cannot use my phone. Deal with it, I guess.

#9. Unable to reach a logical conclusion

This post might have been a great example of blog posts not being able to reach a logical conclusion. Thankfully I had “10 things” in my mind.

Make sure that you know the logical conclusion you want to reach before starting to write it. I have written posts that took me days and I ended up trashing them because I am unable to reach an actual conclusion.

#10. No one read your post

This happens especially to newbies. You spend days writing a quality blog post and still no one actually read it. That’s an instant red flag to your motivation levels.

It is completely natural and there is no need to be demotivated. Just because your post didn’t gain traction today doesn’t mean it won’t go viral tomorrow.

Remember, success is an average of what you do every day. You don’t have to stress about failing at the beginning or performing low in a given day/post. In due course, they will add up to give better results in the future.

Why One Should Write More on Paper Instead of Word Processors

I love writing and I do it every day even if it is just a scribble.

I have been writing for a while and over this appreciably long time, I have learned a few things about writing. It derives totally from my personal experience. Even though I was not the most active writer here in my blog, I was still doing it somewhere else — which was largely my first attempt to write a novel.

While I decided to write my first novel titled “I And The God”, I took a different approach. Usually, when I write something, I tend to utilize a word processor.

However, against the larger advice, I started writing my novel in plain A4 papers. And there was something interesting about it.

The pros of writing on paper

There are a few things I liked about writing manually. Some perhaps strictly personal and not applies to everyone. But I believe every aspiring writer shares a common characteristic that unites us. So here is my rationale that one should try it.

  1. Peace of mind: This is invaluable and should be pretty evident. Switching off digital devices gave me a boost in my peace of mind. This comes mostly in the form of no notifications. I was way more creative writing on paper than typing on a keyboard for this sole reason. Less noise in your mind is equivalent to high-quality creative content. When you are writing on your personal computer, that may not always be guaranteed.
  2. Fear of no reversibility: This is something that many people see as a con of writing on paper. But for me, it is one of the pros. When you have eased to just hit backspace and edit whatever you like and whenever you like it, you are likely to fall lazy on your sentences. When you write on paper, you are always cautioned about having to strike through or having to rewrite from scratch. I am way more alert trying to write on paper. This helps me come up with the best sentences and always keep the past and future in my mind. No loosing out on lazy edges.
  3. Sense of accomplishment: When I write 100 words in a paper, which takes thrice the time than when I just type them down, I have some significant sense of accomplishment. That must be true because I have a typing speed of 53 words per minute and can effectively finish a 100-word paragraph in 2 minutes or less, that is if I am not taking time thinking. I feel twice as proud when I pull a new paper from my stack. When I reach a new page on MS Word, it is just another digital white blank page. When I am finally done writing for the day, just taking a look at the paper stack I wrote gives me a great mood of relaxation. This is nowhere close to scrolling through a piece of document.
  4. More engaging: When I am writing by hand instead of just typing on a keyboard, I am way more engaged in my work. Maybe this has to do with the fact that it takes more mental stress to write down using hand than just typing on a keyboard. But whatever that is, it helps me concentrate on the work instead of being distracted. I am always conscious and not just casually going to Google or check my social media profiles. The sole idea of just being able to engage 100% into the task at hand has made significant progress in my work.
  5. No sleepless nights: This is may not actually be directly helpful for your writing, or maybe it is. Whenever I use digital devices to write at night and I assume, just like me, a lot of you also write at night because of busy mornings —  I end up losing sleep. This is probably due to the bright light from the digital display that is messing up my biological clock. Whatever it is, once I started writing on paper, I also get good sleep. This is a warning too because I fall asleep less than 1 hour of concentrated writing. It is a brain exhausting process. But it works pretty well and my brain is supercharged the next morning. Normally when I go to sleep after using my laptop, I ended up waking so tired and demotivated.

The notable cons

All this isn’t to say that it is best to write on paper. There are many cons to using paper over modern word processors. I did end up struggling a bit.

  1. Not being able to edit: Yes, this is an obvious con. Although this gave me good motivation to frame my sentences properly and keep cautious about the future and past while making each sentence. It was a pain in the neck trying to go back and rewrite the whole thing. It was a very time-consuming process and killed 10s of hours every week. So, this drawback will cost you so much time.
  2. No sharing: If you want to get reviewed by a friend or a professional, you are not supposed to send them an image with your handwriting. You have to type it and make a digital copy. This means you have to do it each time you are looking for a review. This is an awful back and forth process.
  3. Hand ache: It hit me bad when I write for long hours. Typing is easy as a physical job compared to writing down. Your hands will ache badly and you are not going to like it when it happens.
  4. Keeping it organized: Eventually, stacks of papers become a little messy. It is easy to keep things organized and orderly in a PC. But when you write on paper and after taking enough of them from the stack, you are going to find it very hard to keep things organized. This is not just about your main writing, you have to keep track of random thoughts on the side, keeping track of points, you have marked for review, etc. Over time, your work will become a huge mess that is going to be very difficult to navigate. Keep it in mind and be prepared for it.
  5. Exhaustion: You will get sleepy real fast. I already told you and it kind of helps me get a decent sleep. But if you are on the other side that already has a decent time and sleeps to do things, physically writing is going to be a daunting task. You will feel exhausted way quicker than typing on a keyboard. 

Conclusion

Overall, I still prefer to do the long writes on paper. This is strictly a personal decision but has many accompanying features I believe a lot of you might want. For short posts, I upright use a word processor. When I want to get creative, especially when trying to write a story, I prefer to do it in the paper. The final choice depends on the actual author. Whatever it is, keep writing forward. 

How To Learn Anything Like a Pro

Learning something can be a difficult task. This is especially true when the topics you are trying to learn is boring, which it normally is. This post aims to breakdown various practical methods you can implement right now to help you learn better and faster.

Now before we go in to actual topic, I would like to address you about what you are going to read.

  1. This blog post has many elements that is subjective. Implies, I have tried it and it worked for me. I hope it will work for you, which I am pretty confident it will.
  2. This post is a lengthy and I have tried best to keep it precise. You can easily scroll and just scan the headings if you don’t want to read through all of it.
  3. I aim to provide a 3 step formula for learning. This breakdown is to keep things simple and less overwhelming.

So, let’s get started…

STEP #1: Understand why the subject feels difficult

The first step about learning anything that is hard is to understand why it is so. It can be an easy subject but you are feeling it difficult because you are lazy and distracted. This is one of the core reasons for aspiring young students because they are easily occupied by modern tech.

However, it can also be because you have a hard time understanding a certain concept, or you do not have sufficient background knowledge about the subject. It can be due to the bad presentation of content on your study material. These are all usual factors.

As already explained, you cannot study a difficult subject until you understand why it is so. Normally it comes in to any of the following category.

  1. You are genuinely not interested in the subject.
  2. You lack knowledge of the topic’s background information.
  3. The concept is too hard to understand for your caliber.
  4. Your material is badly presented.
  5. You are distracted by modern day junk. (Too obvious)

1.1 How to figure out what’s wrong

In case your subject isn’t making it obvious why it feels hard, then you have to take some rest, sit back and relax. The chances are you will find out what is wrong. Try this:

  1. Do an introspection about the subject in your mind. This can help reveal your relationship with whatever you are trying to study.
  2. Try downloading notes from different sources for the same topic to see if it isn’t the bad material.
  3. See if you understand small parts of the topic, like how they wrote this equation or came to this assumption. If you don’t, chances are you are missing out on sufficient background knowledge.
  4. If the topic is beyond your brain’s caliber, it should be obvious by now. Don’t worry about it, I have some practical ways below to counter it. There is no such thing called “beyond one’s caliber.”

Step #2: Take practical steps

Understanding why your subject feels difficult is the easy part. Once you clearly understood what causes your subject to be difficult, it is now time to implement practical steps to improve your learning. This is where you have to take some strain, do trail and error and come up with creative ways to learn something.

Below are some key ways to address common issues when it comes to learning.

2.1 How to tackle an uninteresting subject

This is the most popular reason why most of you are reading this post. Being not interested is not something that you can actually tackle with a brain hack. Unless of-course, if you can make the subject interesting again. There are some ways I personally used to get through my engineering. I had to be at crossroads with many subjects I didn’t like and was completely off-topic and irrelevant to engineering. Here are two of my ways to tackle uninteresting topics.

  • Learn real life practical side of the subject.
  • Going out of syllabus

2.1.1 Learning real life practical side of a subject or topic

I remember when I stepped in to the fourth semester of my engineering degree and I had to learn business economics as a mandatory paper. This was an absolutely boring, clearly off-topic subject for me at that time. I had a hard time studying it because I couldn’t find any meaning to do so. Everything I cared about started and stopped at the flip of a switch.

I soon identified the biggest problem with this business economics paper was that it was a complete theory. There were only definitions, laws and graphs. So I decided to dig deep in to what exactly is the relation between this paper and mechanical engineering. I am not assuming my university is just too apathetic and added a subject out of the blue.

I researched my paper thoroughly and it’s applications in real life. I soon found a logical way to connect business economics to mechanical engineering. There is a lot of things a professional mechanical engineer should know about economics in general. This is related mostly to supply of rare earth elements, cost of power production, taxes in machined goods, labor charges and much more.

This has turned a light on me. I now know how most of the laws and graphs apply to my would-be carrier in mechanical engineering. I understood how things like recession can cost me my future job. Suddenly my subject turned interesting and I could study it, relate it and apply it.

So my piece of advice for uninteresting subjects is to find the real life applications of the same. See how it affects your life, job or business. This will get you inspired and interested in the particular subject.

2.1.2 Going out of syllabus

I know what you are thinking, you barely want to study what you are assigned to let alone going out of syllabus and covering topics that aren’t propping up your internals. But what if I tell you, it will in turn prop up your internal marks or finals, whatever you are dealing with.

Your syllabus is a fixed document and if you study only your syllabus, you are pretty much limiting yourself from the liberty of knowing more. Your syllabus can be uninteresting and boring but your subject will have many things that is interesting but beyond the scope of your syllabus.

If you are studying Fourier series and you find it boring, please learn how this mathematical concept is helping you read this article on your screen. (Fourier series applications in signal processing.)

Going out of the syllabus can get you many things. You probably never thought Fourier series has applications in such scale. There are also side topics that isn’t in your syllabus but that is quite interesting. Chances are, you can learn your topics better after seeing grand scheme of things about your subject. This is closely related to what I said above where I specifically mentioned learning real life applications.

However, going out of the syllabus is not just looking out for applications you can relate but also look for theoretical topics that you can learn that supports your syllabus. This will increase your chances of retention and knowledge.

This also helps you get background information about any particular topic you wish to study which makes it easy and interesting. This can also help you get through a badly presented material since most of them exists due to lack of necessary supporting information.

2.2 How to out perform your brain and learn things that is off your capacity

I have been to situations where I have to learn difficult concepts and I couldn’t do it. It was beyond what my brain could digest. Whenever I encounter such topics, I do a few things that gives me a boost.

  1. I read the entire topic even if I don’t understand it:
    This is because a lot of the reasoning about particular topic is probably towards the dead end. Knowing the topic in general as a whole is important to start with.
  2. I teach an imaginary student:
    Whenever I encounter concepts that is difficult to digest, I try to teach them to an imaginary student. This may sound weird but this works and I bet it. My thought process flips from being a student to a teacher. When I came up with ways to explain something, I understand it thoroughly.
  3. I Keep re-reading it:
    This is a boring task but I assure you this works. If you don’t understand something, keep re-reading the topic from top to bottom. At sometime, you are going to get a click and eventually you will grasp the concept.
  4. I try to make analogies with concepts I already understood:
    You will be amazed how much your topics actually compare. For example, if you know linear motion, you can learn circular motion by drawing parallel analogies. If you dig deep, most of your topics have analogies in other subjects or concepts that is pretty interesting to compare and learn.

Step #3: Rinse, Repeat

Your third and final step is to keep revising whatever you studied. I am not giving you a typical advice to casually revise everything. Students usually revises once they are completely done with their study material. That’s probably going to take too long and you will stop in the mid way.

What I want you to do is to stop whenever you feel the subject is difficult and start learning from wherever you began AGAIN.

When you start reading things that you already understood, it will give you a short burst of energy and motivation.

I do this a lot whenever I get hit by a wall and I easily make it through. This helps me retain my information and also break the hard concepts that was bothering me.

3.1 How to revise: Use hand notes

If you are that kind of guy that writes hand notes while studying, you are doing the best thing you ever can. If you aren’t, I highly recommend you do. This is because taking notes in a laptop or phone, while it is easier and fast has very low retention rate. That means you are less likely to recall it.

Hand notes is a time tested method for studying. Whenever you write something by hand, you are more likely to recall the information. It is easier to revise using hand notes than going through your text or printed material all over again.

I know you hear this all the time, but don’t underestimate this method. Make sure you use it whenever possible.

3.2 Prepare a study chart

This sounds time consuming but it is not. I am not asking you to make a big chart that comprises every element of each topic (Although, if you want, you can). I am just asking you to make a chart that covers each topics in order you studied.

Basically just list the names of all the topics in order you studied them. I use this when I have to cover large portions.

What I do with this list is, when I am done studying, I remove all the study materials from my table. And take this list and start recalling anything I remember from each topic. I usually don’t recall half of them right off the bat. I go through each topics and try to recall it individually.

Once I am done trying to recall each topic, I start revising the topics again. This time, when ever I see anything that I didn’t recall, I get a hit. It works like magic and chances are, these points that gave me an adrenaline rush actually acts as my reference to recall the entire topic during exam.

3.3 Making graphical representation

I do not recommend this for students that are doing professional degree. I have been through engineering and making graphical representation for something so lengthy is not possible. It’s time and energy consuming.

What is graphical representation?

Whenever I study a concept, like a force acting on a static body, I try to represent it with an image. More than equations and definitions, this image has very higher chance of retention.

But if you are doing professional degrees like I did, it will be very hard to keep with the limited time. So I urge you to search up graphical representations of any concepts you are trying to learn. Then learn that image first before going to definitions or equations.

Because during exam, and this happened to me many times, I always end up recalling those images. This helps me come with any definition or equations that need to support it.

These images are very easy to revise and recollect than the usual notes. So, always remember, visual information is much easier to understand and retain.

Bonus step: Make sure you aren’t missing out on these tips.

  • Study on short intervals instead of going for long hours: I study for 50 minutes, then revise the whole thing I studied in the next 10 minutes. After that, I just wander off for 10-15 minutes before coming to my next session. I can tell you this works.
  • Sleep is important for retention: Scientific studies have proved (if it isn’t already obvious) that brain develops permanent memory during sleeping. Sleeping is when things move from your short term memory to your long term memory. So without proper sleep, success is next to impossible. (I know schools have their own theories, but make sure you take care off yourselves.)
  • Stick to the same text/notes: A common tendency especially for students pursuing professional education is to refer to to multiple texts or switch their material from time to time. This is a disastrous move in my strictly personal opinion. Revising the same book 10 times is more important than trying to study 2 books. Please make sure you aren’t wandering off and being overwhelmed by plethora of information out there.

Conclusion

You can learn anything. If one human being can conceptualize a certain topic, then another should be able to understand it. Do not fall for things like “average”, “high IQ” etc. First of all, these aren’t exactly scientifically agreed up on. There are no solid reference lines to compare one person to another. I see so many people fall for comparison traps and that isn’t any good for you or the society. This kind of system, especially enthralled by grading in schools keeps too many talents away from pursuing what they love.

They underestimate their capability to learn programming or pursue a career in engineering because apparently they got bad grades for math. You are beyond what some grading system rate you to be, go up and conquer your world.