While I was going through my old blog posts during a website revamp, I stumbled upon the How I spend my time at home blog post I wrote last month, and wow, it’s been almost a year since we are stuck at home! If you exclude the short break some of us had (including myself) during the summer months, it’s a long time to stay in one place.
Note: Stick with me through the end for an exciting update!
Although for me, this time passed in the blink of an eye, and I am still struggling to work through the to-do list I shared with you last year, I know that it wasn’t the same for many. So, here it is a short life update, summarising how the pandemic has helped me progress forward.
Last time, I gave you a detailed description of my home (especially the living room area), and I can confirm that not much has changed. We are still in the same flat in Ely, and the place only bears a few small alterations (ok and maybe a larger one). Let me show you:
Changes since last year
- We bought a second desk. As you can see the coffee table (aka Christos’ corner has moved next to the sofa) and a new shiny desk and chair are in its place now. The reason? I found a full-time job! And as you can guess due to the pandemic the offices are closed, so we are asked to work from home! Because I couldn’t make the kitchen table/breakfast bar a permanent office, I decided to buy a desk.
- There are some prints on the side of the bookcases and on the large clock (with some to-do items which never seem to go away), and my Disney photo frame is out of its box (look at the third-floor counting from the top of the left bookcase). This means that I completed point No. 9 from last year’s to-do list!
- Hmm… I can’t see another change here. Can you?
The place may haven’t changed much, but my daily routine has changed. Although here it is worth noting that if it wasn’t for the pandemic and the whole work from home situation, we would have moved, as my job is currently in London, i.e. 2.5 hours commute per way door-to-door.
Since the end of September, my wake up time has shifted and now I up and running (or better, up from the bed to the desk) by 9 am, some days earlier due to 8:30 am meetings. Normally, I work until around 5:30 pm with one hour break between 1 pm and 2 pm. After that, I try to get some virtual dose of family interaction, work a bit on my blog, prepare dinner and then relax a bit or work more on the blog.
During the day, I try to get some time on the following:
- Instagram – I guess bad habits never change;
- Facebook – I started using Facebook groups for bloggers, and it opened my doors to a whole world of blogging which I was unaware of;
- Duolingo – I restarted the habit, shortly after writing that post last year, and now I am playing daily and aim to reach a 365-day streak. Currently, I am learning French, Spanish and Chinese (because, yes now they offer it, last time I was using the app, i.e. ~5 years ago, they weren’t);
- Calm app – I got a 6-month subscription as a company Christmas gift and I am trying to use it as much as possible, although I am not a fan of meditation;
- Lumosity and Elevate – but to be completely honest I usually skip that, I need to restart the habit, as I like the training they offer;
- Exercise – last year I mentioned that I am too lazy to exercise, but at some time towards the end of lockdown 1.0, I started some daily home exercise using a 7-minute workout app. The habit was shortlived and I wanted to restart it in lockdown 2.0, but I didn’t. Be it lockdown 3.0 and I found a new app to use, and now I am trying to exercise 2-3 times per week. I also increased my workout time to 10-20 minutes;
- Language videos – I am still watching (almost daily) videos in French and Spanish;
- Read a book – I aim to read at least 12 books this year, 1 for each month of the year. Most of my books in my to-read list are young-adult literature, but after that, I would like to explore my reading horizons (maybe in 2022?).
Progress since last year
Last year I shared some of my immediate to-do list items. Let’s see how I did:
- Apply for a graduate job: DONE
- Work on a photography course: IN PROGRESS (abandoned it after assignment 2, due to an unclear question about the history of flash photography – in plans to restart it this month.)
- Plan a trip: IN PROGRESS (I always have a trip planned in my head, although now I have multiple! 😉)
- Write an academic paper: DONE (at least from my side, now waiting for my supervisors to move this forward.)
- Edit photo for the blog/social media: IN PROGRESS (and what it seems to be a never-ending task, let’s see if there will be a time when I will not share photos with one year delay. 😅)
- Back up my photos to the cloud: DONE (and not just to one cloud storage service, but two)
- Work on the blog: IN PROGRESS (I am up-to-date with itineraries for trips abroad, now I need to write other relevant articles.)
- Create a photo album: DONE (?) – I finished the photo album I was referring to then, but now I have three more to create, and as you may guess I am still at the initial stages.
- Print photos: DONE
- Write TripAdvisor reviews: DONE
Other than the usual tasks, this past year I have been putting a lot of effort on this blog. I really hope, that someday I will be able to get something out of it, other than a place on the internet to share my trips. To implement this, I focused on educating myself more on the topic.
It all started, when I first heard about travel blogging conferences on Instagram in summer 2019 and made me want to go to a relevant conference, which I did in November of the same year. This experience was an eye-opener and I could get some good insights. Although I made some plans then, I wasn’t able to start implementing them until the beginning of the pandemic when I had to stay put in one place.
A Facebook group which I joined months before, but neglected it gave me the initial push in around April time. I was instantly drawn in the community of Female Travel Bloggers (now named Your Blog Your Business). There, I had the chance to promote my work and collaborate with other bloggers on group posts. Also, it was at the same place, where I found pointers to other resources, i.e. SEO, Pinterest, other travel bloggers teaching people how to blog along with their own communities and resources.
From those other communities, I found other conferences I could participate, and due to the fact that face-to-face large events were (and still are) a no-no, it was very easy to join events in the USA from the comfort of my living room. A free conference I attended recently, called Brave the Business, equipped me with additional resources that I could use. At the same time, the conference introduced me to the world of bundles (collection of courses offered at a discounted rate) and additional resources.
All in all, I spent the last few months reading everything I could about SEO, Pinterest, etc. and now I am in the progress of applying this knowledge to my blog. It is not easy, half of the times I break stuff and the other half the changes I make don’t work. Currently, I am a bit behind the timelines I put to myself at the beginning of 2021, but I hope that I will catch up soon.
However, all this looking around for resources and tools to use, gave me a new idea (in addition to the bazillion other ideas I have that I can’t implement because I am not a millionaire). After some thought (enough to motivate me and not too much to discourage me) and discussions with Christos, we decided to start a new initiative.
Something new on the horizon
And now I would like to introduce you to Tips for Bloggers! tipsforbloggers.com will be our new website where we will be sharing all those blogging resources I came across the last few months. The aim is to create a complete blogging resource for anyone who wants to start a new blog (on any topic) or improve their blogging skills. Don’t be fooled, we are not blogging experts, but we can easily share with people the initial steps of starting a blog and giving pointers to quality resources on all matters of blogging.
In the next few months, expect to find resources on blog creation, writing, photography, SEO, Pinterest, affiliate marketing, and more.
What does this mean for Empnefsys and Travel?
I would say not much! I am not planning on using any of the time dedicated to Empnefsys & Travel for the new blog. Instead, it will be other activities that will suffer…
Once I finish optimising my website, I will re-start writing travel blog posts. To give you a small sneak peek, I have a little freebie coming your way very soon and finally 🤞, I will start sending out the monthly newsletter that I promised for so long. (The reasons I didn’t do this earlier are: a) not enough subscribers to make it worth crafting a newsletter and b) not enough content from my side to be able to create the newsletter as I have it in my mind). So, subscribe now!
Wrap Up and Future Plans
Wow, this turned out to be a much longer post than what I was expecting (as always). So, thank you for reading this far and staying with me through this journey in my mind!
To close this, I will share the progress of what I have planned to do one year ago and then share some of my current plans.
I will follow the same format as above and tackle each point one by one:
- Create travel vlogs for YouTube: TODO – Currently my planner says that I will start this task in June 2022. 😆
- Take French and Spanish lessons: TODO – Although I am having some interaction with the languages through Duolingo and some videos, I would like some time to take formal lessons and complete the B2 qualification for each language. This is quite a demanding task, hence not in my priorities right now – maybe in 2025? 😉
- Do some exercise: IN PROGRESS – I hope I continue my weekly workouts.
- Practice with 360 photos and videos: TODO – I totally forgot about this one.
- Restart daily brain workouts with Lumosity: TODO – discussed above.
Ok, so not much progress, mostly because I didn’t finish what I wanted to do before starting them. So my new goals are:
- Create content for most of the destinations I visited since starting the blog.
- Become more engaged on Instagram (although I feel that this is a losing game, so I am not very motivated to do that).
- Create content for the new blog.
- Create digital photo albums from my past trips and traditional albums from my time in Scotland.
- Improve my cooking skills (in the past year I tried making some new dishes, and they were not that bad so I may try again).
And it’s time to stop now. I started writing this seemingly short post two hours ago and I now I need to get some sleep!
P.S. Thank you for reading this far. Also, I would love it if you showed us some support for our new initiative. We may have just started and not have much content yet, but there are many things coming soon. Check out the Tips for Bloggers website, subscribe to the newsletter and follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest).