Becoming a More Productive Garden Blogger

It's a beautiful day at the botanical garden, and each visitor is dazzled by nature's splendor in all its variety; from the songbirds in the treetops to the tiniest details of each intricate flower. Everybody is enjoying the gardens except for one gentleman shuffling through the park with his eyes and thumbs glued to his smartphone, live-tweeting and status-updating while those songbirds watch on with pity. That would be the garden blogger.

That's the tricky thing about combining social media with nature. At some point, you just have to stop tweeting and 'liking' so that you can listen to the real live tweeting and look upon the garden with such emotion that it can't be expressed in 140 characters or less. Social media has become so portable that for many (myself included) it has become a distraction from the real world. I've noticed that people who constantly 'share' to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest often have very little to share of their own making.

While they're a welcome relief from my ancient and lagging computer, my iPad and Blackberry have been accomplices in my negligence. I'm pretty sure that I've spent more time checking for updates than I've spent posting anything useful, and apart from editors and clients, most of my email is just fluff.

So here's what I hope to do this year. I'm making an effort to be less active on social media and more active when it comes to the important stuff: Writing and illustrating. Rather than post ten status updates a day, I hope to post a single one that made ten people smile.

Since a big part of the problem has been my incredibly slow computer, I've decided to get a laptop instead. With Windows 8 apps and a touch screen, it effectively replaces both my computer and the iPad, which means I'm less likely to get distracted by games. (It's an Asus X202E and it cost me less than an iPad, by the way)

I've used the new Metro 'Livetiles' to categorize my day and make me more productive. The goal is to structure my day and put the important stuff front and center so that my ADD doesn't get the best of me.

The first category contains a to-do list, calendar, social media apps and other apps that I use for writing. The second category contains live feeds of blogs that I hope to read, (let me know if I should add yours!) news and weather.

The third category contains all the apps I need to upload and edit photos. A week ago, if I wanted to add six photos to a blog I was forced to upload them to my slow PC and edit them in Photoshop. While Photoshop is great for specific projects, this everyday task took me thirty minutes to complete. Now I can do all of that in a few minutes, thanks to a speedier computer and fast touch-screen apps.

Every photo from this blog post was edited in either Fotor or Photoroom, and both turned out to be lightning fast and easy to use. My only complaint is that while Fotor has the coolest effects and best interface, only Photoroom lets you change the image size. But there is plenty of time for updates and new apps to turn up.

Here's a question for other writers: How do you get things done? Do you use a traditional desktop or a mobile device? Photoshop or Picasa? What tips would you have for being more productive? Be sure to let me know in the comments


  1. I've had your blog on my b'roll for ages, and only actually clicked on it today and thought....ugh Florida....that's an easy garden proposition. But then I tagged on your pinterest. Your pins are wonderful. Although I'm stuck in the cold.dead.snow your pins were uplifting. Maybe I will be inspired in april to return....till then....

  2. I just have to say that I love your screen name, by the way. Thank you so much for taking the time to make that comment... we still get the winter blahs here (less light, lots of brown plants) and knowing that my pins made somebody happy snapped me out of today's funk. Thank you.

  3. We have windows 8 on our computer at home, and I find I much prefer doing my photo editing with microsoft office at work. I will look into the photoroom program and see what it is like. I don't actually edit my photos much at all - mostly just cropping. Your photos are always amazing - guess I should maybe be doing a bit more to mine :)

  4. Well, I'm a big fan of your photos too! There is a learning curve with Windows 8 but you can always use regular desktop programs when necessary too.

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  6. I bought a new desktop in July and have had to adjust. I could multitask with the slower one ... writing out checks, making to do lists, phone calls. Now I have to schedule a time slot for them because all my computer time is productive.

  7. Well, I certainly love having my to-do lists, calendar and everything right on my laptop instead of all over the house. It helps get me on the computer where all the writing happens! My old computer moved at a crawl, so it was time consuming to do basic things.

  8. Last year I got a HP Pavilian dm4. I really love it but it doesn't have Win 8 or touchscreen. I used to edit in Windows and then watermark in Picnik. But then Picnik stopped. I switched to Picasa. The only thing I don't like it the fact that I can't lower highlight levels in Picasa. But I now can edit and watermark in the same program that has saved me a lot of time. I then add my photos to Flickr where I grab the html and add to my blog. I use Blogger and if you want a decent size you have to do this.

    I am not a Twitterer. Just don't get the whole Twitter thing at all. But I am lively on my Facebook page. Much prefer that platform. I got a Asus Nexus 7 for Christmas but haven't blogged with it yet.

    I agree with you that people don't talk as much anymore, they text, even in each other's company. I say, turn them off and talk to each other.


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