Find Time To Blog
Finding time to get it all done is a challenge, especially if you’re a busy mom. And if you’re going to create a successful, money-making blog, you must add time to blog into your day. It will take time to find a routine that works for you. It’s worth the effort, because you will be working from home doing something you love. As your blog grows, you will build a steady income from your home, with your kids by your side.
As a homeschooling mom of eight children, I’ve discovered five key principles to making time to blog. These principles didn’t happen instantly. They all come from lessons learned the hard way.
You might have to think creatively to figure out what works for your family. The strategies I use may not work for you, but don’t give up.
I’m a huge fan of looking for bottlenecks in my day. When I notice we keep struggling with the same thing repeatedly, I look for solutions. Necessity really is the mother of invention.
For instance, when I first started freelance writing, I struggled to find time. It seemed whenever I sat down to write, my kids would all need me simultaneously. They’d whine and cry and fight, and I’d get frustrated.
I got tired of staying up late trying to work when they were in bed, so I started brainstorming. My mom taught kindergarten for years, and she always had “Quiet Work Time” in her classroom after lunch recess. This calmed the kids back down before jumping into the afternoon learning.
I knew there had to be a way to modify this idea for my family. One day, when I needed a little extra time to work, I asked everyone to bring down some paper and crayons. I got the baby situated in a booster seat at the table with some board books while everyone else found a spot around the room.
I set the timer for fifteen minutes and instructed everyone to create something they could show off when the timer beeped. The first day was a little rough, and required lots of redirecting. But I didn’t give up. We kept trying.
After a week or two, Family Writing Time had become a routine. The older kids model the behavior for the little ones, and everyone loves sharing time at the end. We added a few minutes each week, and now everyone can sit and quietly work on a project of choice for thirty minutes. The older kids could go longer, but I’d lose the little ones. We decided to stick with this length.
Family Writing Time isn’t the only way I find time to blog, but it’s one of my kids’ favorites. Here’s an overview of the five strategies I use daily to find time for blogging.
Strategy #1: Minimize Your Decisions
Your brain can only handle so much before it gets overloaded. If you’re constantly stopping to make small decisions, you won’t be as productive. To help keep your brain from experiencing decision fatigue, make as many decisions beforehand as you can. Here are three specific ways I’ve minimized my decisions.
1. Meal Planning
I used to spend a lot of time figuring out what we were going to eat each day. The kids asked about food so many times every day:
“Mom, what’s for breakfast?”
“Mom, what’s for lunch?”
“Mom, what’s for dinner?”
Since I didn’t know, I had to stop what I was doing and think about it. Sometimes I even rummaged through the cupboards to try to figure it out.
Then I created the annual meal plan. It’s been life changing. Now the kids know what’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack every day of the week. They no longer ask me. And I haven’t rummaged through the cupboard in a long time.
An annual meal plan might not work for your family, but I encourage you to find a meal planning system that fits your needs and stick to it. The time saved is incredible.
2. Cleaning Schedule
Each July when we customize our annual meal plan, we review our cleaning schedule and assign new chores. This helps keep the house running on autopilot. I don’t have to stop and decide who needs to unload the dishwasher this week, or whose turn it is to take out the trash. Everyone knows.
When it’s time, I can say, “Remember to do your chores,” and everyone knows what to do. By keeping the same chores for a year, my kids become experts at them. This cuts down the amount of time I need to spend checking their work.
When we complete our afternoon chores, we spend a little extra time on one area of the house each day. This gives us dedicated time to tackle some of the deep cleaning tasks.
Our house isn’t spotless, but this system helps it stay presentable. And I’m no longer trying to keep track of cleaning tasks in my head, or trying to remember what we need to do or when.
3. Give the Kids a Day
A couple of years ago, I assigned each of my kids a day. On their assigned day, each child can:
> Pick the bedtime story
> Select the TV show to watch during dinner prep
> Lick the spoon if I bake
> Pick who they sit next to during meals
> Be my helper if I need small tasks done
And no one complains, because they get to do the same thing on their day. Knowing I have one child each day to make many of the small decisions helps me tremendously.
4. Decide in Advance When You Will Work
You must make blogging a habit. To help make that happen, decide in advance when you will work on your blog. You might get up an hour early, or work after you drop the kids off at school. Find time periods that work for you and put it on your calendar. Set a reminder on your phone if that helps you remember.
Otherwise, you may not think about it. Especially at first. Since it’s a new endeavor for you, you must be proactive in making yourself remember to work on it. For more ideas on when to work, see strategy five below.
Strategy #2: Cut Tasks from Your Plate
It’s time for a hard truth. You can’t do it all. At least, you can’t do it all perfectly. If your schedule is already full, making time to blog means you need to cut something out. Or you need to decide to lower your expectations for some of your tasks.
Proactively making these decisions now will save you from feeling like you’re a failure or simply feeling overwhelmed. You aren’t dropping tasks, you are purposefully deciding to remove them. It’s a slight difference, but a powerful one.
Look for tasks you can cut completely or change to take less time. You might watch less TV, drop the weekly story-time outing, or buy bread instead of making it.
Think about everything on your plate and pick your priorities. Review your schedule a couple of times a year. Life constantly changes. Make sure your priorities are still a match for your current season.
Strategy #3: Use small bits of time that were otherwise unaccounted for
My days are full of tiny chunks of time. It’s important to have a plan for those minutes, or else they’re wasted. There are many blogging tasks you can do in five minutes. Here are ten:
1. Schedule some social media posts.
2. Leave a comment on some blog posts in your niche.
3. Brainstorm headline ideas.
4. Find a creative commons photo to use in your next Pin.
5. Create a new cover image for your blog post with a template.
6. Test some headlines in the Headline Analyzer.
7. Brainstorm a freebie you could make.
8. Start outlining a post.
9. Think through the topic you’re writing about and jot down any ideas you have.
10. Check your comments: deal with any spam and respond to real ones.
Create a list of small tasks. When you have five or ten minutes, you won’t have to waste any time trying to decide what to do.
These small chunks of time add up. If you can find six five-minute periods throughout the day, you just dedicated thirty minutes to your blog. That’s 2.5 hours after five days.
Strategy #4: Accept Help
What can you let other people help you with? When I started blogging, my kids helped more in the cooking and cleaning departments. They’re learning important skills, and I have more time.
My spouse has also helped out. For instance, he often tackles my table chores after dinner. This gives me a few extra minutes of work time.
If I have a tight deadline approaching, I occasionally ask my parents to take a couple of the kids. They enjoy spending time together, and it really helps.
I also let my kids help me work. They’ve taken pictures, created pins, proofread posts, and more. Kids can do more than many people give them credit for.
I used to think asking for help meant I was a failure. I wanted to do everything. But all that did was wear me down. There’s no such thing as Supermom. Cut yourself some slack. The world isn’t going to end because you weren’t the one to cook dinner or clean the toilet.
Strategy #5: Find Multiple Work Periods
When you are juggling kids and blogging, it’s a lot harder to create a strict schedule. Life happens and so do interruptions. So, you need a flexible plan.
I’ve discovered the importance of picking four different work periods during the day. When life is crazy, and I miss one or two, I still have opportunities to use the other ones.
Here’s my current plan for carving blogging time into my day.
1. Early Mornings
I enjoy the early mornings because it’s one of the few times my house is quiet. It’s a good time to focus on writing before the kids wake up. But getting up early is definitely easier during some seasons of life than others. When I’m up with the kids at night, I opt for sleep in the mornings instead of word counts.
2. Family Writing Time
Each weekday, we spend thirty minutes on Family Writing Time. During this time, I write. My kids sit quietly and work independently on a task. They might:
> Color pictures
> Do crafts
> Write a story
> Draw characters from a book they read
> Create stories from game pieces (Memory, Tell Me a Story, and Morphology Jr. are current favorites)
> Write a poem
> Practice their cursive
> Cut letters out of a newspaper
> Stack up letter blocks
> Play with our foam letter puzzle
They just need to work quietly and not disrupt anyone else. When our timer beeps, we clean up. Then we take turns sharing what we did. It’s a fun way to spend time with my kids while working on my blog.
3. Quiet Time
Once my kids turn three, they start fighting naps. But I didn’t want to give up that long work time, so we transitioned to quiet time. For ninety minutes each afternoon, my youngest kids nap. While they sleep, the rest of the house has quiet time.
The kids each select an activity and a space and play independently during this time. Quiet time goes most smoothly when we create a schedule. This keeps the kids rotating through activities. Here are ten of my kids’ favorites:
1. Working on a jigsaw puzzle
2. Doing an art project
5. Using pattern blocks and a book of patterns
6. Train tracks
7. Building blocks
8. Baby dolls and the toy kitchen
9. Doing dress up
10. Playing with playdough
While the kids have quiet time, I get to work. This is when I do a lot of my blog post writing. The key here is having the kids engaged while I work. If I just turn them loose without a plan, I probably won’t like the choices they make. That’s when I end up with crazy messes to clean.
By spending a few minutes to plan and get the kids settled, I’m able to get more done.
I’m not a night owl. By about nine o’clock, my brain starts shutting down. Which means when I try to stay up late to write, it takes me longer than it should. And the quality is never as good.
To combat this, my husband and I put our kids to bed early. By 7:30, everyone but our teenager is tucked in. This way, I can write for an hour in the evenings before it’s time for me to call it quits.
And since we moved their bedtime up, my kids are getting enough sleep. As a result, they whine a lot less during the day.
Do What Works for You
When you are trying to find time to blog, you must do what works for you and your family. If you work best late at night, stay up later. If your kids are in school, work during midday.
Keep trying different strategies. If one doesn’t work, don’t give up completely. It doesn’t mean you weren’t meant to blog; it just means you haven’t found the strategy that works for you and your family yet. Keep experimenting and brainstorming.
Prioritize Each Day
At the start of each day, make time to look at what you need to do for your blog. Then, prioritize your list. Decide what to focus on first.
This stops you from getting sidetracked by tasks that aren’t as important. You only have so much time to work on your blog. You need to focus on tasks that attract income and build an audience.
If a daily prioritizing session doesn’t fit your schedule, try doing it weekly. Is there time you can spend each Sunday going over the upcoming week and prioritizing everything you want to get done?
It doesn’t matter what your prioritizing time looks like. All that matters is that you look at everything on your plate and decide where to dedicate your attention and energy.
Consistent baby steps pay off. Make it a point to work on your blog each day and do something to manage your monetization plan.
1. Think about your current schedule. When can you fit in time for blogging?
2. Make a list of tasks you can accomplish in 5 to 10 minutes. Whenever you have spare time, get in the habit of doing something from this list.
3. Make a list of activities to engage your kids while you work.
4. Commit to doing something every day to help grow your blog.