5 Hacks Every Blogger Needs to Know

I miss the days when blogging was just a hobby I had on the side and I could choose how much (or usually, how little) effort I wanted to put in depending on my current workload at uni.

Now that I’ve been blogging for a while and Playground of Randomness seems to be a permanent part of my life, I’ve made it a priority to take it seriously. In doing so, there are lots of little tricks I use to blog more efficiently. Here are 5 hacks that every blogger should know:

1) Batch your work– Whether it’s generating ideas or creating graphics, make sure to batch your work so that you’re doing it all at once. I used to think of an idea, create the graphic and then write the blog post. Let me tell you- that got old FAST. It is far more efficient (not to mention easy) if you do similar tasks together.

2) Set up a system to respond to emails– I usually only reply to emails between 8AM and 5PM because those are my working hours. I also only ever reply to emails from work and usually from my cellphone (I am really lazy when it comes to switching the laptop on for anything that isn’t writing-related). If you are not swamped with too many emails, load your blog email on your phone or tablet so that you can reply to mails while you are on the go.

3) DO spend time on social media– A large portion of blogging is about writing but an even larger portion is about promotion. Put in the time and effort to promote your blog on social media. It will help you find new readers for your blog.

4) Have a content notebook– Have a notebook or an app where you can list content ideas. This helps if you ever get stuck with thinking about what to blog. This also helps you with deciding what content to publish when.

5) Use Google Analytics– I only learnt about Google Analytics when I signed up for a Digital Marketing course a year back. But from my very first second, I was glued. It was like magic. Google Analytics shows you what your readers are interested in so you can create the content that they want to read.

What other blogging hacks do you use? I’d love to know below.

Fiction Friday: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Hating Game

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I ordered this after seeing fanart of Feyre from “A Court of Thorns and Roses” reading it. This book certainly did not disappoint.
Lucy Hutton is everyone’s favourite good girl. Everyone except for her co-worker and office nemesis, Joshua Templeman.
From the very second that he walked into the office, Joshua has hated Lucy and so she has responded in kind.
When a promotion opportunity is announced, their competition kicks up a few notches. Lucy knows she cannot work under Josh and has to score that promotion at any cost.
But then Josh kisses her and IT IS A HELL OF A KISS.
Was it really hate between them or was it something more? And how will the promotion affect whatever it is that they have building between them?
I loved this book so very much! I devoured it and was really disappointed when it ended. Lucy and Josh have a very clear chemistry and lots of witty banter.
“The Hating Game” is well-written, funny and entertaining. This was everything!
I NEED SOMETHING SIMILAR AND IF YOU HAVE RECOMMENDATIONS, HIT ME UP!!!



View all my reviews

The Importance of Self Care and How to Make Time for It

candle

A little while back, I read a life-changing book on skincare called The Little Book of Skincare by Charlotte Cho. The book emphasized how important it was to make time for yourself and your skin. I followed the book religiously and it wasn’t long before I realized how much better I felt when I made time to take care of myself. Fast forward a few months and self-care is mentioned more and more often.

It goes beyond just the physical though. Whether it’s spending time with family and friends or just having a lazy day, self-care is what you make of it. It is taking time out to put your needs first.

What do we need self-care?

In today’s busy world, we put everyone and everything before ourselves which usually leads to burnout. By taking the time out for self-care, you put effort into making sure you’re running at perk performance. You cannot help others if you cannot help yourself first.

How to Make Time for Self-Care

  • Plan it in advance- Like I said before, self-care is important so if you need to actually schedule it in, do so. I have certain times and dates reserved for family or friends, Netflix and Chill or Korean sheet masks. Say it with me, “I deserve a break.”
  • Make it part of a routine- Maybe do your routine at a specific time or a specific day so that it lines up with your plans
  • Make it a priority- Life happens. If you miss out on your self-care once in a while it is no big deal but make sure you DO make sure you eventually get some down time.

What is your self-care routine? Do you make time to do it every week? I’d love to know below.

Fiction Friday: Book Review- Playing the Odds by Nora Roberts (The MacGregors #1)

Playing the Odds (The MacGregors, #1)

Playing the Odds by Nora Roberts

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


When career-orientated Serena MacGregor refuses to find herself a husband, her father, Daniel MacGregor steps in and sends gambler, Justin Blade to the cruise ship where she is working.
Daniel is confused that Justin and Serena will suit and he is right. Sparks fly as soon as the two of them meet.
However when his scheme is discovered, Serena is reluctant to go along with his plans.
I had mixed feelings about this book as Justin is originally a forceful ass to Serena. He is unable to take no for an answer which made me put the book down the first time I read it.
However I loved the description of life on a cruise ship and exotic travel locations so I picked it up again, prepared to ignore Justin’s stubborn ways but he eventually won me over.
I thought this was a good read and I can’t wait to read more about the colourful MacGregor family.



View all my reviews

Fiction Friday: Book Review- Finding Perfect by Colleen Hoover

Finding Perfect

Finding Perfect by Colleen Hoover

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Daniel and Six once met in a closet and impulsively had sex which resulted in a pregnancy. Since it was dark and neither of them knew each other, Six gave the baby up for adoption only to unknowningly fall in love with Daniel a while later.
In “Finding Perfect”, Daniel and Six are going through a rough patch. She’s distant and he knows that their baby is part of the reason.
Desperate to reunite the woman he lives with their child, Daniel embarks on a journey to track down their baby.
I thought “Finding Cinderella” ended rather abruptly so this was the perfect ending for me. I loved returning to this world and seeing so many familiar characters especially from “All Your Perfects.”
I actually didn’t read all of “All Your Perfects” because I fell in love with Quinn and Graham from the very first page and couldn’t bear to see the sadness of their marriage in the first few pages but this book has more than made up for it.
If you’re looking for a short but emotionally charged read, this is your book.



View all my reviews

Fiction Friday: Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3) by Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Isla has had a crush on Josh ever since her freshman year in their school in Paris. They’ve barely spoken and Josh has always had a girlfriend. Until now.
When Isla runs into Josh during summer in New York, the two of them share a moment. Isla is excited t0 finally have some sort of connection with her longtime crush.
But as they start a real relationship, Isla and Josh have to deal with opposition from the staff at the school, their family, friends and a whole lot of drama.
This was a well-written, quick read that I enjoyed immensely.
Josh and Isla have very clear chemistry and it’s almost not to root for them. This book had me laughing and crying throughout.
Definitely give this a try if you are interested in a light, fun book.



View all my reviews

New Series: Previously On

How many times have you started a book in a series only to realize you don’t remember what happened in the previous book?

For me it has been happening far more than usual so I’ve decided to make a post recapping what happened in a book. Also I was watching “The Vampire Diaries” and I love the way they say “Previously On The Vampire Diaries”. (Be still, my Nian- shipping heart).

Usually I use Wikipedia for this however Wikipedia doesn’t have all the YA or Historical Fiction that I read.

So I am starting a new series called “Previously On” which does a quick review on what happened in the previous book.

The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Cutting Carbs

Dieting is a resolution that all of us make and very few of us actually get around to seeing it through. Now I’m not going to lie, I am a bit smug about this one since I have tried cutting out carbs and it worked great for me.

But also, I’m a really greedy person so it was important to me for me to find a way to keep the weight off without depriving myself of my favorite foods. Here are my tips as a lazy/greedy girl for cutting out carbs from your diet:

  1. Make a commitment and stick to it– For me, I had tried time and time again to cut out carbs and it never stuck until my doctor told me I was at risk for diabetes. Never have I stuck to a diet so quickly and so strictly in my life. Think about why you want to do this and remind yourself often. Is it to look better in your jeans? Are you trying to live a healthier lifestyle? Find your why and use it as motivation.
  2. Expect the first weeks to be hell– Remember that it is going to be hard but it is going to be worth it. My first two weeks of cutting out carbs gave me stomach cramps, no energy, sleepless nights and I was miserable. At some point the pain was so bad I just curled up in a ball and (no joke) begged for death. Just remember your why and try to stick to it.
  3. If it’s too difficult, try cutting DOWN on carbs instead of cutting them out completely– If the pressure gets too much or if you would prefer a less intense change, try slowly cutting down on your carbs instead of cutting them out completely.
  4. DO treat yourself on occasion– Don’t forget to reward yourself every so often for doing a good job. Make sure it’s a reward that you would enjoy but also make sure that you’re not overdoing it.
  5. Try to make it a lifestyle change and not a quick fix– For a more permanent result, try to make your new healthy lifestyle a part of your everyday life instead of a quick change. While I no longer cut carbs completely, I am used to life without them and have found a happy balance between no carbs and my previously unhealthy lifestyle.

Have you ever tried a diet? What did you think? I’d love to know below about your experience.

Fiction Friday: Awkward Abroad

Awkward Abroad

Awkward Abroad by Rachel Rhodes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Amber Holland has the perfect life. Lavish, luxurious and all funded by her father. When a night out goes too far, her father decides to cut her off and ship her off to Beijing.
Amber has to stick it out for a year and make it on her own with the assistance of her former best friend and her father’s current employee and watchdog, Kent James.
As Amber adjusts to her new life abroad she makes friends and a life on her own. But Amber soon discovers an easier although riskier way to make a living.
If she’s successful she can get through the year without a hitch. If not, Kent might drag her back home to face her father.
I bought this immediately after finishing “Awkward in Print” and I loved it immensely. This book is well-written, hilarious and entertaining. It is a quick read that can be read in one sitting and I strongly recommend this book if you want something light and fun.



View all my reviews

Year in Review: 2019

I cannot believe that 2019 is finally ending. For me, personally I feel like this was a hellish year and I CANNOT wait to see it leave.

Here is my year in review of the best and the most brutal moments from 2019:

January– I started the year on a pretty good note by signing up for an online Digital Marketing course that I was convinced was going to change both my life and my career. While I have picked up some great blogging information from the course, I am still sadly in the exact same career field. Oh, well.

February– Had my first ever interview at a magazine which was my dream job. But I blew it which led to this blog post as well as the realization that I place way too much importance on my job.

March– Attended the Ed Sheeran concert and made time for family. Because I was a changed person now…mostly. I also spent R1300 on a discounted Johannesburg bookstore and then put myself on a book ban. It was supposed to last for 3 months but it ended up lasting for most of the year.

April– Watched my father’s company close down. Helped him make arrangements to move out of town for 3 months for a new job with a lesser salary.

May– Watch the company that promised my dad a job, ghost him and then ultimately turn him down. Had a meltdown on the blog about it. Also received a counselling letter at work from the two new managers because I was unable to go to work since we had no water for three days. Was repeatedly victimized by the lower of the two managers because HR decided to speak to her about it. Unfortunately for me she was also my new reporting manager.

June– Got shortlisted for a job that could possibly solve all of our problems. By this time our only source of income was flea markets and it was NOT looking good. Got turned down for the job the Friday before my 24th birthday. Also important to note, said manager made sure to grant me leave for all the days except my birthday. She has a wicked sense of humor that one *rolls eyes*. Gave up shopping

July– Turned 24 while still working at the call center. Cried when my wonderful manager didn’t even let me go home for my half-day for my birthday. Got put on a diet because all I had left going for me was food and now I couldn’t even eat my feelings.

August– Found out father’s heart is worsening. Laughed hysterically coz nothing goes our way.

September- Accepted that life sucks and whatever. Literally nothing worse can happen so things have to get better, right? Discovered the wonder that is Diwali flea markets and night markets. Finally started making some sort of income with the flea markets.

October– Got a warning at work. Got in trouble at work. Repeatedly. Stuck it out coz last October I had an even worse manager and October is our financial year-end. Watched in disbelief as the staff complained about our new reporting manager who was apparently screaming and demeaning ALL the staff (and here I thought I was special). Watched the department head speak to the reporting manager (and then she cried in a corner of the office which unfortunately everyone saw. I felt bad for her. Don’t worry, she’s back to her normal self now). Watched her hire newer managers for our team- one of whom has been applying for the position for over ten years.

November– Inspired by my new manager who was applying to be a manager for over ten years, I applied for writing jobs and finally got one.

December– Used my bonus to buy large amounts of alcohol. Because IT HAS BEEN A YEAR.

How has your year been? Better or worse than mine? I’d love to know below.

Follow

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: