How do you balance it all? How do you have time for everything?
These are the kinds of questions that I receive from people I personally know and sometimes even get asked those questions by other bloggers who are just starting out. It took a long time before anyone I personally knew realized that my blogging is actually a lot of work. They just thought it was no big deal and it was just something I did for something to do. And partly it is because it’s not like I earn tons of money with it or anything. I enjoy it but here’s a lot of work involved. I wouldn’t bother blogging if I didn’t enjoy it. After a couple years, I have been able to earn a little by monetizing my blog and working with advertising publishers. It’s not much. It’s not even close to working even a part time job or anything. But what little I do happen to make with it, we save.
My blog is also PR friendly and I have made contacts with brands and representatives to work with them on product reviews or sponsored posts every once in a while. Most of what I post is just me. Whatever I feel like writing that hopefully will keep my readers interested. If I do happen to have something I am working on with one of my contacts, there are deadlines I have to meet. Other than writing blog posts and coming up with content to share, there’s a lot of behind the scenes work. There’s all my blog’s social media, checking analytics not only for my blog but all my social media pages as well. Making sure everything is running smoothly on my website, etc. As my blog grew I had more and more emails to go through. Emails from readers or PR contacts so I have emails to respond to every day as well.
After a year or so after starting my blog I started taking on more projects than I could handle and there were periods where I got a little overwhelmed. I had to realize that I couldn’t take on as much as I was at one time. Blogging, being a stay at home mom of three kids, making sure I have time to take care of my house – I needed to get myself balanced with everything. It took some time but I finally got to the point of being able to balance things a lot easier. I had to find a way to work my blogging into my routine without disrupting family time, life, and things we just have to do. So after all my rambling, below are some tips that might just help you if you are struggling with balancing things.
Get Up Early
I know, I know. Sounds like such a drag to get up early when you don’t have to leave the house for work. Especially in the Summer and the kids are out of school. They get to sleep in. It’s so not fair! All kidding aside though, even before my blogging days I was always up early. Now that my kids are older and all three of them are in school and don’t have any babies in the house anymore, I am still up at 6:30 am every morning. Except for the weekends. Hubby always gets up with the kids on the weekends so I can sleep an extra hour or two. Even though school is out for the kids, I am wired to get up at the same time regardless. I get up and I’ll start on cleaning up around the house, start some laundry, and do some other little things that need done around the house. That way I have most of the every day house stuff out of the way first thing. Then I may sit down at the computer and start a blog post or check on my social media pages. Or I will look through my blog planner and try to make my “blogging plan” for the day while I wait for the sleepyheads to make their way down the stairs for breakfast.
Use a Planner
I have mentioned checking my planner above. Yes, I use a planner just for blogging stuff. I also write in anything going on with the family as well like appointments, soccer games, band practices, etc. so that I have everything right there and know if there is anything we have going on that day so I can work the blog stuff around it. The planner is really helpful to me if I happen to have any posts that I have deadlines for. While looking through a few days at a time, I make a plan for that day. I try to only stick to one or two posts a day. There are some things I post like deals, freebies or offers that I will just randomly write up really quick when I see them because they don’t take long at all. I just fit those in as I am working through my planned out posts.
Give Yourself “Work Hours”
In the mornings as long as I am up early like I usually am, I have a couple hours to myself before the kids get up. I don’t have any “dedicated” time until after my husband is home from work. When he gets home, I give myself an hour/hour and a half that is dedicated to my blog before dinner (I’m a lucky woman, he cooks!). Then after we sit down as a family for dinner, I have one more hour dedicated to my blog after dinner. I don’t give myself anymore time than that because I want to spend most of the evening with my family. If there is anything else that needs finishing, I finish up after they all go to bed. I don’t always need that dedicated time either but at least I have that set for myself if needed. Since I only plan one to two blog posts per day (because I don’t want to overextend myself), I can usually get what I have planned finished throughout the day by working on them here and there while the kids are busy playing outside or in their rooms, or they are using their limited screen time.
Have Your Own Work Space
This is helpful because having my own space, then my family knows I am working. If I am sitting on the couch with a laptop, it doesn’t look like I am really working on anything. I need my space to focus on what I am working on. This space is usually used when I am using my “work hours”. That is when I am working on my blog posts. All the other stuff like email, social media pages, etc. are things I do throughout the day. That stuff is easier because I can check for a few minutes here and there and it doesn’t matter if I am interrupted.
Utilize Your Spare Time
This goes along with a lot of the stuff I previously mentioned. When my kids are busy with something, then I can sit down and work on that blog post draft. Or when we are at soccer practice and we are waiting for practice to be over I can check in on my social media pages.
Get Your Family Involved
There have been times where I have been invited for an event to blog about or some campaign I was invited to participate in for a brand. We might go to an event or check out a product while in the store, etc. My kids like being involved. A lot of my product reviews are kid related. My kids love checking these products out and they know I write reviews and what I do with my blog. They enjoy being a part of it because I used their photos for reviews or to post about an event or experience of a product. They also know I write about our family and they love that they are on my blogging journey with me. My husband is very understanding of what I do and he always knows what’s going on with the blog. There have been times that I have needed help with something and he helped me out. Having them involved makes them feel included and makes me feel like it’s not just work.
There are times when I don’t write any blog posts. I always have a day or two during the week that I don’t really do anything with the blog at all. I will write up a blog post at night and get it finished but I won’t publish it. I like to have a couple blog posts finished just waiting in draft. That way I can publish it sometime in the afternoon and not have any real work to do at all for the day. That way I have a couple days during the week that I don’t even sit at my computer unless I check email really quick or check on the easy stuff that really takes no time at all. I will even schedule social media posts in the morning for the whole day so other than checking in on engagements here or there, I am completely free. I get away and take the kids to the park or whatnot a couple times a week.
Plan Family Time
I made the decision long ago that on the weekends, the blog doesn’t get much attention. Just a little of the here and there stuff. Weekends are for my family. My husband has the weekends off and we use that time to plan family stuff. We go out to dinner, visit state parks, invite other family over for cookouts, go hiking or canoeing (most of this stuff is summer time stuff) but we find something to do on weekends even in the colder months. I can’t let the blog take over. There was a time in the beginning when I didn’t have a plan and got overwhelmed and swamped. I vowed I will never let that happen again. The blog can wait.
So I think that’s about it. Of course things are much easier when the kids are in school. The summer changes things though. But I have a pretty good handle on things and found a good balance for me and my family. I don’t let the blog take over and I don’t lose time with my kids or husband. And I am not afraid to take a little bloggy break every once in a while like I used to.
Don’t let it take over.
So what are some other tips for balancing blogging and family? If anyone has any tips of their own, let us know in the comments!