When I started my blog, I struggled to find balance when working from home.
I didn’t even consider it a business venture for the first month!
As a brand new blogger, I was stressed that the house was a mess and all I wanted to do was write.
I needed to learn how to create an email list, make Pinnable images and optimize something called SEO.
There was so much to learn! When would I have time to actually write? My husband commented that my hobby was becoming a full time job.
That’s when I realized that I needed to treat blogging like a job in order to find balance and keep my sanity.
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Be Intentional and Realistic
Be intentional with what you want to accomplish. Then, be realistic about it.
You may be able to check your emails and respond to all of them in 30 minutes, but catching up on emails and writing a new blog post in the same amount of time? Not as realistic.
Let’s imagine that you scheduled your work time and your family time beautifully. You plan on waking up early to write a new blog post for 30 minutes.
During nap time you will edit. By the time the kids go to bed for the night, you will be hitting publish and promoting on social media.
Then, your usually late sleeper wakes up at 5:00 AM and refuses to go back to bed.
At nap time, you find yourself torn between writing and doing the dishes. By the time the kids go to bed, you are exhausted.
Has your day been ruined? Should you give up? No, absolutely not!
You just have to remain flexible during your day. So, you didn’t get to wake up early and write for 30 minutes. That’s OK.
Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, look for what you can do. Is there something else on your weekly goals list that you can accomplish?
I have found that I can make 2-3 images on Canva from my cell phone while waiting for my daughter to get out of school. So, I don’t wait until my work sessions. I do them from my car while parked in the pick up line!
Write Down Your Big Goals
I prefer to use a notebook and a daily planner. Use whatever works best for you, but make sure you write it down.
In my notebook, I write down my big goals.
These are the things that I want to accomplish over the next 6-12 months.
Next, I break those big goals down into smaller goals that I can accomplish one month at a time.
Finally, I write down the to do items that I need to complete in order to accomplish those goals.
In a separate planner, I jot down a few of the daily goals and to do items per day. This gives me accountability, so that I don’t spend all my time making pretty pinnable images on Canva (I could spend all day doing that).
How do you S.T.O.P. stressing and start producing?
One thing that I learned from my time working as a theme park manager is that acronyms can be a simple and effective way to remind yourself of important practices.
I created S.T.O.P. as a way to remind myself to STOP stressing out. By using the STOP model, I am able to decrease my stress levels and increase my productivity.
Set a Schedule = S
When I first started blogging, I found myself regularly working past 1:00 AM!
There were times when I had been in bed for less than 2 hours when my son would wake up for his 4:00 AM feeding. While I was technically getting it all done, I wasn’t giving my best to being a mom or a blogger. I needed a schedule.
First, I had to find a time when I could be the most creative and productive.
For me, that’s early in the morning and again after the kids go to bed.
Maybe during nap time is better for you. Whatever time works for you, identify it and cherish it! That will be the time of day that you will be the most productive.
Once you know what time of day works best for you, determine an ideal length of time.
I found that after two hours, my productivity begins to decrease. So, I give myself a two hour time limit. There are days when I can work for longer or shorter and that’s OK. I try to make sure that’s the exception and not the rule.
Take Notes = T
With all the driving around I do taking my kids to and from activities, it’s inevitable that I will have an idea for a blog post while out and about. In the beginning, I was going crazy trying to remember everything!
I started carrying a notebook in my purse. Now, when I get an idea or learn a good tip, I quickly jot it down and move on.
I divided my notebook into three sections.
- Resources: URLs for quick reference, hex codes for my blog’s color palette, helpful HTML code
- Monthly Blog Plan:Big goals (the ones that will take 6-12 months), weekly goals, daily goals, and To-Do items
- Outlines and Ideas: writing prompts, outlines, ideas, and brain dumps
Optimize Your Time = O
When I have trouble focusing at home, I found that going to a local coffee shop about an hour or two before they close helps create a sense of urgency. I can normally knock out quite a bit of work when I know that the barista is going to kick me out in 45 minutes.
I like to give myself no more than three goals or to do items per work session.
By doing so, I can stay focused on completing tasks that will help me achieve my goals. For example, when I start a work session for my blog, my goals typically look something like this:
- Content: write a blog post from yesterday’s outline
- Social Media: post a new Instagram picture for last week’s blog post and share it to Facebook
- Pinterest: Pin on relevant group boards and spend 5-10 minutes looking over trending pins that align with my blog niche
If I don’t get to all of them in that work session, I know exactly where to pick up the next time I have a chance to work. It also helps me to realize that I have accomplished something when my work session is interrupted or ended early.
Pace Yourself = P
When you are passionate about your work, it is so tempting to want to do it all at once. That isn’t going to produce your best work.
You also run the risk of burnout which is no good if you are trying to build up a business.
Set a limit for yourself.
I knew that I didn’t want my blog to take away from family time so I make sure to write during times that my kids are either sleeping or participating in other activities.
Balance Takes Practice and Constant Commitment
I won’t pretend that I am perfect at achieving my ideal balance. There are still days when I feel distracted during the day because I am anxious to get to the computer so I can write.
On other days, I ignore my blog entirely because I am busy focusing on my family. Overall, I have more productive days both in regards to parenting and blogging.
It takes practice and commitment to find balance between driving your at home business and being a stay at home mom.
Remember, when it comes to your at home business you want a quality product and connection to your consumers (readers/clients).
That will require that you take care of yourself and give yourself a break when you need it.
Be honest with yourself about how much time you can spend focused each day on your at home business. And forgive yourself if you have to take a few days off from working to focus on your top priorities: yourself and your family.
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