Before I start, can I do some shameless shilling of my Patreon? Only a buck a month will get you access to exclusive flash fiction and sneak peeks (like today's post) at possible covers for upcoming stories. *puppy dog eyes*
Back in February, I got an email from someone from Express VPN asking if I'd like to try out their Chrome extension and write a review. I've been hearing people talk about VPNs a lot and how they can be useful so I figured why not? Now, it's four months later and I'm finally getting around to writing how it went for me.
Short story: Kinda-sorta.
Long story: I followed the links they sent and got it installed on my computer. Which was weird given they wanted me to try the Chrome extension. I figured the link they gave me would be to the Chrome extension, but that's not what downloaded. In fact, I never found the Chrome extension. Me being me, I just rolled with it.
It was easy to install and use. On basic browsing, I didn't notice any slowdown. The problem came when I went to do my surveys. In my March #IWSG post, I talked about things I do to make some extra cash since I don't have a job due to my back refusing to tell me what the hell is wrong with it. Surveys wouldn't work. They wouldn't load. I'd just get kicked back to the survey site's main page.
At first, I was baffled, but then I figured out it was the VPN. I turned it off and tried a survey and no problem. Turned it back on and I couldn't do the surveys. I'm fine with turning things on and off. I do it for Survey Savvy's app on my phone, but the money is flowing in a different way. I get paid to deal with that hassle. Express VPN I would be the one paying to deal with having to turn it on and off if I wanted to do surveys. If I'm going to shell out money for a VPN, then I shouldn't have to turn it off to do anything. Why the survey sites don't run on the VPN I haven't a clue. There was too much going on at the time for me and I didn't think about bringing the issue up. Maybe it's something that can be fixed.
In the end, I shut off the VPN and never turned it back on. I kept forgetting about it. Then the free trial ended and they started bugging me to subscribe and pay. At that point, I think I unsubscribed from their emails. I can't recall, but I haven't gotten any since.
If you do basic browsing and stuff on the internet and want a VPN, I say go for it. Between browsing Twitter and Google, watching Youtube, I didn't see any slow down. The issue only was the surveys not working and since that is one way I make some extra cash for myself that made Express VPN pointless to use because I shouldn't have to turn it on and off. You can check out Express VPN. I believe they have a free month's trial, so you can test it and see if it works better for you than it did me.
Disclosure: They offered me one year free for writing this review, but I don't think that's going to happen even if I wanted to use it since this review is, like, four months late. I felt I had to write something at least, though because I said I would.
2019 is the year of productivity for me. I decided I wanted to be organized and set a schedule to stick to in order to be more consistent. Before, I'd worry about being productive 24/7. It resulted in me being too exhausted to write. I was spending too much energy on worry about getting stuff done and that left me with no energy to actually do stuff. Then I'd guilt trip myself as a result.
Alternating writing and art, I make daily to-do lists, one for each day, the month, and for chores.
At the beginning of each day, I write down tasks. There are some I do daily, like Swagbucks (I talked about what that is in my IWSG post.) A dash next to a task means I do it every day. I mark a D for done instead of checking it off and rewriting it the next day. Those I ensure I get done every day and are usually the first things I work on.
The other change I've made that has been a huge improvement in my productivity is I clock out. Hubby comes home at noon and I eat lunch with him. I don't write or paint. I break for lunch. Then in the evening, I clock out for the day. Anything I didn't get done gets moved to the next day.
I've only been doing this for a couple months, but it's been a tremendous help in keeping me consistently productive. I'm also not feeling as worn out all the time. When I sit down to write, 99% of the time I write. Even when I'm tired. Same for my art. I'm getting stuff done and it feels really great.
How do you stay productive? What tricks and tips have you learned? Curious to try mine? Have you checked out Kathryn's Whiteboard? Did you read my IWSG post on how to earn a little extra cash to help with book marketing?