Over the past few months, I’ve had a few people ask me to write a post on how I go about balancing blog life and real life. First of all, super flattered here. You would probably be less impressed with what I crank out of this little bloggy of mine if only you could see the neglected mountain of unfolded laundry on my bed. But, you can’t win them all!
But seriously, it’s a super valid question. Blog life kind of consists of a lot. Forget just coming up with content and writing posts–there’s social media promotion, sponsorships, blog consultations, networking, strategizing how to grow your blog, staging photos, editing photos, etc. Real life is no less busy. There are things called laundry, dishes, children, and husbands that need to be taken care of and washed (kids and sometimes husband included in the washing category) and some people have full time jobs on top of all that!
A lot of the time, I count myself really lucky that I can call blogging my full time job. I can stay at home with my kiddo, do something I’m wildly passionate about, and bring in a little extra somethin-somethin for my family. Not a bad setup. However, finding the balance can sometimes be tricky. These four things have really helped me streamline my blogging process and help me with balancing blog life with real life.
One // Getting Organized
Organization is absolutely the number one thing that helps me keep the blog life-real life balance. It may seem like overkill to have sheets and forms for things like tweets, but it saves me from having to keep track of things with just my mom brain that tends to space things. There are three major areas that I think are super important to organize when it comes to blogging:
Organize blog posts
This post about how I organize my blog posts should be familiar because I’ve referenced it several times. For me, it’s crucial to plan out my blog post ideas for the month and check off each post after it’s written. After that, all it takes is a quick glance for me to see what days still need posts and what ideas need to be developed.
After writing actual blog posts, my sponsorship program takes up the second largest chunk of my time. While it takes less time than creating blog content, it’s a lot more complicated. Because of that, there are a lot more tools I used for keeping my sponsorships organized. I use tools like Passionfruit Ads, sponsorship sheets, and an email scheduler for Gmail to streamline my process and make things easier on me.
For a more in depth look at how I run my sponsorship program, you can read this post.
Organize social media
My big not-so-secret secret for organizing my social media platforms is to use Hootsuite. Scheduling social media promotion for my posts right after I write them is a lot easier than trying to remember to do it throughout the day. I also use this Twitter schedule to help me post consistently on Twitter throughout the day–doing that has made a huge difference in the engagement I see with my Twitter following.
I also have a reminder in my phone set to go off at 5pm every day. My phone buzzes and the screen says, “Instagram photo???”. That way I remember to post something to Instagram if I haven’t already that day.
Two // Creating a schedule
This goes hand in hand with organization, but I feel like it deserves a separate category. I think of organization more in terms of the tools I use, and a schedule is more about time management.
Do certain tasks at the same time every day
There are some parts of the day that are for blog life, and other parts are for real life. I do the same things at the same time each day, so I never have to question whether I should be in blog mode or wife/mom mode. Fore example:
6:00 am – Joshua wakes up: Blog time. I schedule my tweets for the day, answer emails, and write a post or two if he sleeps long enough.
8:00 am – 1:00 pm: Mom time. Feed Joshua, go to the gym, do some activity to wear him our for his nap, do laundry, do dishes, etc.
Nap time (1-3ish pm): Blog time, BIG TIME. This is when I get the bulk of my blog work done. I answer emails, write posts, shoot photos, edit photos, network, etc.
Joshua wakes up – 8 pm: Mom time and wife time. This is when I spend time with Dustin and Joshua. If Dustin has meetings in the evening or other obligations, I work on blog stuff after Joshua goes to bed. If he’s home, we do something together after Joshua goes to bed.
Anytime I have to use the bathroom: Twitter time. I scroll through my feed and favorite, retweet, and reply. That way, I’m engaging with my audience and with people I follow instead of just putting tweets out into the universe.
Every night while Dustin showers: Pinterest time. I take 10-15 minutes and pin away! That way my boards always have fresh content.
Have a cleaning schedule
Let’s get a little bit more specific with the wife/mom duties. I would seriously fall so unbelievably behind with my housework if I didn’t find some way to make it easier on myself. Creating a cleaning schedule was a no brainer for me. I know what household tasks need to be done when–if it’s not the day for that task, I don’t stress about it. Obviously there are some things I do daily like making our bed, doing dishes, and wiping of the table and the counter after meals/meal prep, but other than that, each household chore is assigned a specific day. And I like spending only 15-30 minutes cleaning every day.
For more time management tips for mom/wife life, check out this post here.
Three // Setting goals
Having a clear goal for my blog as a whole, as well as for different social media platforms and specific aspects of my blog has been key for helping me decide what tasks are need-to-dos and which tasks are nice-to-dos. Defining what is important to me, where I want to spend my time, and how I want to spend that time makes it so I’m working lean and mean instead of running around like a chicken with my head cut off.
We bloggers have to realize something: we absolutely, no question about it cannot do it all. You have to define what’s important to you and what is not. For example, I don’t feel like my blog’s Facebook page does very much for me, so I don’t do to much with it. It’s not important to me. Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are however, very important to me. So I focus my time and energy there instead.
Four // Enlisting help
That quote was a direct answer to a question I asked a panel of bloggers at Build Your Blog Conference in February. I wish I had written down who said it, but I was quickly scribbling so many notes that I neglected to do that. That quote had a big impact on me though.
After hearing that quote, I realized I can’t do it all. There aren’t enough hours in a day for me to accomplish everything I want to accomplish for this blog by myself. When I heard that quote back in February, I was slammed with blog and design work and I just couldn’t catch up. It was stressful and causing me some major burnout. I decided that it was worth it for me to ask for some help. So I asked my 12 year old sister in law if she would be willing to watch Joshua for me for a couple hours after school, 2 days a week. I paid her $2 an hour. I finally got out from under my giant to do list, Joshua got to bond more with his favorite aunt, and Trinsica made a little extra cash. I’m way ahead of my blog to do list right now, but if I ever get behind again, I’ll immediately enlist help.
Figure out what is stressing you out and take some necessary steps to fix it! If you are feeling like you just can’t keep up with your blog’s social media, hire a social media manager. I’m pretty sure any high school student would love to make $5 an hour to tweet and pin away for you (just make sure you hire someone who understands your goals and can emulate your personal taste and style)! If you can’t juggle blogging and keeping your house clean, pay someone to do it for you. If you have kids who are old enough to tackle bigger chores, up the ante and up their allowance if they take on more work so you can focus on blogging.
How do you go about balancing blog life and real life?