Balancing work and blogging, it’s a challenge not for the faint of heart. I love my job and what I do as a digital platforms manager handling content, social media, SEO, site development and any number of other digital marketing tasks, but being a blogger also rocks. One is set hours, the other one is flexible. One pays a steady paycheck, while the other one is like a rollercoaster, where one month I could buy a second house and another, I’d have to live in the car it could buy. While that isn’t a deterrent, obviously making the blog more profitable while still keeping it enjoyable for my readers is the end goal. But how do you do that while still balancing work and blogging AND family?
Being a mom is busy. We juggle many tasks each day — household chores, errands, doctor or dentist appointments, pet care, shopping, kid events, the list goes on. If you’re also a working mom, there’s yet one more layer. (I know, all mom works, but for the purposes of this post, I’m referring to work as a paid job. As a mom, I still have to do all that SAHM stuff but around work.) Melding those layers while keeping your sanity and not feeling like you’re failing at everything is no easy feat.
For me, balancing work and blogging is an ongoing struggle. When I commit, I follow-through, so it means my job has to get the best of me, yet being a mom means I have to give my best at home and then if I don’t give the best of me to my blog, it suffers. (And did I mention I have a social media business that needs my best as well?)
Back to my point, when I commit, I intend on doing it right. No half-baked efforts. When I say “Yes, I’ll be there,” I mean it. Barring a child illness (or that time I was having an antibiotic reaction and had my head in the toilet), I’m there if I say I’ll be there. And I say yes to being there a lot. Sometimes probably too much, but while I love my house and enjoying being in it with the family, or even in it alone (shhhh, don’t tell on me), I also love the opportunities blogging brings me. My kids have seen and done so much in the last few years, things they’d never have had the opportunity to do if it wasn’t for the blog. My husband and I have traveled more. The money is nice.
The biggest thing though may be the friends I’ve made. Don’t ever believe it if someone says you can’t make meaningful relationships online! We may start our conversations on the computer, but many of us have formed longstanding friendships that carry over into events where we see each other frequently. These ladies get what I do more than anyone outside of my immediate family, and we all need people who get where we put our heart and our time.
Tips on Balancing Work and Blogging
So on the business of balancing work and blogging, I do it by maintaining lists. Lots of them. I don’t go to bed without a pen and paper next to me so I can update a list of the next day’s tasks, from writing a post on X to making X for dinner and picking up X at the store. I prioritize. I number what I want to do first and then I update throughout the day as things change.
I have a calendar app that’s synced to my phone; I can pull up my appointments at a given notice on any laptop or mobile device.
At least one week a month, I turn down a lot of things and focus on my family and catching up around the house. Sometimes I have a slight case of FOMO (“fear of missing out”) but I remind myself that I already work full-time so it’s okay. I’m not missing out on anything I couldn’t really already do. The take-away from that? You’re still you. Being a blogger who is busy constantly doesn’t make you any better than when you take a break. You can’t worry if others don’t see you someplace or if they think you aren’t a cool kid because you weren’t there. You don’t need to be at everything to be taken seriously. Give yourself a break.
Many nights, I work after the husband is in bed and the kids are settling in for the night. Some of those nights, I pour myself a glass of wine, and a couple of those nights, I might say “nevermind, I’m going to read and/or go to sleep instead.” Unless you’re missing a deadline, sometimes it’s okay to just put away the computer. Your eyes and your mind will appreciate it. No one’s any good if you’re working yourself to death.
Some people will tell you that they block off weekends for the family, but if your week days are filled with a paid job, you don’t always have that luxury. Some times, I just tell the family “I’m taking Sunday afternoon to take care of business.” They leave me alone and I get a lot done in an uninterrupted block of time, so I don’t need to sequester myself away on a Saturday night instead of having fun.
Pick a goal — it doesn’t need to be a permanent goal, but it needs to be the goal you’re most working towards at that time. Some people may say “I need more money this month.” Others, “I need more traffic.” Work towards that goal. Sometimes getting more traffic means less about writing content and more about promoting. Another goal is growing your Twitter followers; this can be done from your phone app while cooking dinner. Think outside of the box about where and how you get things done and tweak your schedule to meet that goal. We all have a big picture but the steps we take to get there will morph and meld as you go.
Free up $25 a month to help automate some of your processes. Tailwind and Buffer are two things I pay for and they really help save me time. I can go on vacation knowing that I still have social media share keeping my name out there.
Bring your family into the circle of trust. If they are old enough to help you, give them something to do, however small. Having ownership can go a long way to being more understanding towards the time and effort you have to put in, and having less to do, even small tasks, will lighten your load. If a kid complains you’re not watching their every move during every soccer practice, remind them that the fancy soccer coach you got them is due to the work you’re putting in. It doesn’t need to be a big, heavy, scary conversation about money, but it’s okay for kids to realize that things take hard work. My kids have grown up used to having mom home, so there have been times where they’ve not understood why I can’t just go to xx in the middle of the afternoon. There are still times I have to explain that while I’m here at home, I’m still working and I can’t just drop it to go catch a Pokemon. “Hey, that football camp? Ka-ching. Or I can not work and you can stay home together, so we can watch reruns on cable tv!”
It gets quiet when I say that.
Date night. You still need it, even if it’s just a girls’ night out. Get away from the responsibilities and whoop it up for at least a brief period of time. It makes the rest of the work worth it and much easier to tolerate.
And remember, it’s not always about the money. I’ve had amazing fun at unpaid events. It’s all about balance. I’ll still pay my bills this month AND I’ve had a great time.
Speaking of great time, in the last month, I’ve twerked with the Bad Moms crew, learned a Polynesian dance at the Moana press event, been served a plate of seafood as big as a table, taken the Little Dude to test new Nintendo DS games and sat back with good friends over a good margarita. Blogging is amazing. I couldn’t be happier to be a California lifestyle blogger. Do what you love and don’t feel you have to sacrifice — balancing work and blogging is possible with some ground rules and flexibility.