Filling the Jars Update – 2nd Quarter of 2016

I’ve been blogging for about six months now. Wow, this year is flying!

It’s time to update my blog and household goals, talk about how things have been going, and contemplate whether or not I plan to make any changes.

Text blog and home goals update on dark salmon background.

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When I first started blogging, I read a daunting statistic: Most bloggers quit by the 6-month mark. I worried that I would be one of them, but decided to give it a try anyway.

I’m still here. Yes, I’m actually a little relieved about that. 🙂

Related post: Filling the Jars Update – 1st Quarter of 2016

Blogging Update:

What I love:

– Going back through the archives and remembering that some of the stuff I’ve put out is pretty decent. Don’t get the idea that I just read my own posts all the time. But I do look through them to get inspiration for future posts, and to help me try to focus on where this whole blog thing is going.

– Working with graphics. I know I said this in the first quarter update, but it’s still true! I don’t know if my title graphics are really getting better, but it’s fun to experiment.

– Connecting with bloggers and/or writers who aren’t afraid to be themselves and say what they really think. It helps me remember what’s real. If you’re a blogger or side-hustler and haven’t seen THIS post on Dre Beltrami’s site, it’s a must-read.

What’s surprised me:

– It still takes me about 4 hours to create a post. I really thought I would be faster at it by now. I imagined myself whipping those things out in half the time and publishing twice as often. Um, nope.

– I’m considering starting another blog in addition to Filling the Jars. I think that means I’m not focusing, I have too many thoughts.

Review of Blogging Goals for the SECOND Quarter of 2016:

Begin batching my work and developing workflow schedules in some sort of program like Evernote, Trello, or Google Docs.

– I haven’t been successful at batching my days into categories like “writing” and “graphics.” I still tend to do a full post from start to finish, including graphics and putting it all together in WordPress.

– I have begun to get a handle on the social media issue. BoardBooster and Hootesuite are my current lifesavers for Pinterest and Twitter. I still spend about 5 hours a week scheduling Pins & Tweets, partially due to my slow-as-molasses-in-January computer, but this is much better than the 2 hours or so that I was spending (including weekends) trying to keep up.

– My VERY favorite thing in the whole world right now is my Twitter spreadsheet!

Complete more of the Elite Blog Academy class.

– I’m kind of stuck about a third of the way through the course. I want to change a couple of things on my blog, but I can’t make it work on my own. Plus I still need to create a larger stockpile of more focused content.

[*note: The Elite Blog Academy course I took is no longer available. I now recommend Suzi Whitford’s Blog By Number course.]

Connect more closely with some bloggers.

– Slowly working on this. I’m pretty shy and introverted, so it’s difficult to reach out — I worry that people will think I’m stalkerish.

Create more posts to encourage and help people, especially focusing on saving and making money, organizing, and simplifying.

– I did some posts on menu planning and how to grocery shop for a month.

– There is now a monthly post with inspirational and motivational quotes, like these summer inspiration quotes for June.

– I didn’t really post anything about saving and making money. Kind of a bummer, I thought I would have written some posts on that by now.

My Blogging Goals for the THIRD Quarter of 2016:

Get back to posting twice per week.

– Posting on Tuesdays and Fridays seems to work pretty well. I got away from that schedule in June, but it feels like time to begin posting more again.

Complete three more modules of Elite Blog Academy.

– Spend the money if necessary to make my website work the way I want it to. (If I could just figure out coding and how to make drop-down menus in my header! Argh!)

Narrow the blog focus?

– My tagline is currently “Build Your Best Life by Planning, Simplifying, and Taking Action.” But I also found that I really liked posting my writing excerpts, and I’m not sure how that fits. At this time I’m going to try keeping with the organizing and simplifying posts.

Create more printables.

I would love to get into creating more useful printables. Focusing on simplifying and organizing is bringing some ideas to mind. Now I just need to make the time to get them down in writing and formatted! Or maybe spreadsheets… I loooooove spreadsheets.

Grow my audience and begin producing an income.

– I haven’t talked much about numbers on here. But, six months in, I need to get more serious about how this blog is going to at least pay for itself — right now the income is zero. Currently, the only advertising I have are some Amazon Affiliate links — because I absolutely love Amazon and I really hate the thoughts of putting other advertising on my site. Within the next three months, I need to create and implement a plan for income.

Household Update:

To see the original goals I had when I launched Filling the Jars, read this — Filling the Jars: Family, Home, Money, Life and this — My Buzzword for 2016: Positivity.


Summer is definitely here, but my husband & I haven’t done anything more than discuss our DIY projects! The priorities are:

Redo the master bedroom. The last time we did any work in there was 15 years ago. Time to refresh! I have pinned some ideas on my Pinterest Bedroom Decor Ideas board.

– I thought I would begin this in June, but it’s being put off to focus on yard projects. This may wait until October.

Build a new pumphouse. We live in the country and our well pump is in a small shed. After years of water issues, the building is falling apart and we need to build an improved version. We also need to fix some of the water lines.

– This should happen in late July.

Build a walkway from the house to the driveway.

– This will happen at the same time as the pumphouse. Not looking forward to the work, wishing we could just call “the guy,” but remembering that we are perfectly capable DIY-ers and that we have no extra money for labor. 😉 Even though I associate “concrete” with “boring” and “ugly,” I do plan to do something slightly interesting like staining so that it’s not that glaring horrible white-gray.

Adding a new one:

Another round of decluttering.

– Last year I got rid of a lot of things, and now I’m ready to go deeper, get into letting go of that next layer. Most of that is in my “office,” a.k.a. The Room of Everything where I don’t even have a real desk. I need a desk. My computer monitor & keyboard sit on top of two filing cabinets and I try to work with my knees & feet all smushed up against the cabinets. Not good. Not good at all.


Our current budget is something we can survive on, but I’m going to have to really step it up and create more income for us to accomplish the goals set out at the beginning of the year:

Pay off the home equity loan.

– We were able to make a nice extra payment on this in May, but once again extra funds are being redirected. Our younger son will probably need braces, and I have absolutely no idea how much that will cost. I’m trying to set aside as much cash as possible for that.

Fund Roth IRA’s for this year. Still trying to figure out how this will happen. My husband and I do both contribute to retirement plans through work. His pension plan is better than my tiny 401k, but neither one will be enough to live on.

– No progress on this.

Help out with college expenses for our older son. We are contributing approximately the amount of our education tax credit toward his tuition expenses. We would love to help more if our own retirement accounts were fully funded, but that is not the case right now. As every financial book I’ve ever read says, “Your kids can borrow money for college. You can’t borrow money for retirement.”

– Done for this year. 🙂

Focus on SOME sort of freelance “side hustle” that actually makes money.

– I’m completely floundering on this. It seems that for everything I think of, the market is flooded — or else it’s not something people would pay for. (Like when I see fabulous blog posts that NEED to be shared on Pinterest or Twitter, but they have no graphics or a graphic that’s not formatted for sharing — I just want to email and ask if I can fix it. I’m not even a graphic designer, but it bothers me. A lot.)


As I talked about in the “Home” section, I’m ready to do more decluttering. My physical and mental space is feeling crowded. My general goal is 10 items per day (anything, even throwing a piece of paper into recycling counts), but I want to bump that up to 20 items during July and August. Hmm, maybe I should post about that?

Related: Declutter Tips for When You’re Overwhelmed With Too Much Stuff

In my first quarter update, I talked about writing. I’ve been working on beginning to develop some of my storylines, but the sparks have not ignited my “I must write a book” fire. I’ve been distracted and have slacked off on writing At the end of May, I stopped posting my random writings on Mondays because it seemed like that wasn’t supposed to be the focus of my blog. But you know what? It was scary at first, and then it got to be normal, and now I kind of miss putting my stuff out there. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been considering starting a separate blog only focused on writing. But, time & money, time & money…

There it is, my 6-month blogging and household update. It felt like I was spinning my wheels in some areas, but I think that’s because I was trying to do too much all at the same time. But now that I have a few things under control, I’m excited about moving forward to the next quarter! I hope you stick around for the ride — and don’t be afraid to hold me accountable and tell me what you REALLY NEED from this blog!

Text blog and home goals update on dark salmon background.

6 thoughts on “Filling the Jars Update – 2nd Quarter of 2016”

  1. You definitely have some big plans. So glad you are enjoying blogging. Keep going, you will achieve your goals. Thanks for sharing at Let’s Get Real.

  2. Hi Julie,
    I agree with what you wrote about blogging. People think you can just “whip out” a blog post, but it also takes me four hours from start to finish.
    Thanks for bringing your post to last week’s Blogger’s Pit Stop.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

  3. Wow, you are organized and analytical. I thought I was, but you have me beat! I got to this article by way of Janice Wald. I’m researching to write some articles for time management and thought yours looked interesting. Nice work. Good luck with getting all this done. Now you’re in a new quarter, so it’s time to update again. 🙂

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