I love blogging and all of the opportunities that it brings us as a family but if I let it, it could very easily take over my life as there’s always something that I could be doing.
I also love my job which is fun, challenging and not too badly paid for what I do.
And it goes without saying that more than anything, I love my family. My family mean everything to me and spending time with them is my main priority at all times.
So how do I manage my blogging and working life so that they don’t impact my family life?
It’s not always easy I can tell you that but I manage and lately, it’s felt like it’s really working as I feel happy with all areas of my life. For the first time in a long time, I don’t feel pulled in two or guilty that I’m doing one thing when I should be doing another.
Let’s look at my work first of all with a few simple things that I’ve done to make things easier for me there….
- I’m lucky enough to be able to work part time so my usual hours are 8.30-2.30 although I do the odd 1.30-8pm shift here it’s needed. These shifts are amazing and mean that I leave the house on a morning just before the kids (Miss Frugal has a key to lock up) and that I’m home in time to pick them up from school on my way past. I absolutely know that not everyone can do hours like this but I’d always recommend speaking to your employer to see if they can offer any sort of flexible working arrangement to help you.
- I get organised with my holidays pretty early which means that as soon as I know when the kids will be off, I sit down with Mr Frugal and put in holidays across the year for both of us. I make sure that at least one of us has some time off with them every holiday and that all teachers training days are covered to avoid last minute panics.
- What happens at work, stays at work! Easier said than done but if I don’t have a great day at work, I make sure that I use the half an hour drive home to reflect on what went wrong and what I need to do to put it right. By the time I get home, I push work thoughts away and walk through the door free from all work thoughts although I may sometimes sit in the car on the drive and email or message work if I think of something on the way home.
- On the rare occasions that I work from home, I make sure that everyone knows that it’s the same as me being at work and that I can’t be disturbed unless it’s urgent. If I didn’t, I’d never get any work done which would mean that I’d need to work longer.
Now for blogging which could easily be a full time job for me as it is for many people it is. This advice doesn’t really apply to those who are full time bloggers because they need to make their money to pay their bills so deadlines and work might have to come first sometimes but for everyone else, this is what I do to help manage the time I spend blogging….
- I learned to say no more often and to value myself and my work more. I say no to lots of lovely offers for reviews and sponsored posts for a couple of reasons – some things may not fit with my blog, some may not be worth my time, some may be against what I believe in (I get a ridiculous number of payday loans companies contacting me), some might have tight deadlines that would push me and some I might decide I just don’t want to do. By being super picky over what work I accept and by charging quite high prices, I do less sponsored posts and reviews but what I do is worth it to me.
- I have the Wunderlist app on my phone which allows me to write lists for all sorts – I currently have one for photos I need for posts, one for ideas for posts, one for things I want to investigate and one for payments outstanding. It’s genuinely changed things for me as it’s so easy to use and so quick to make a note of something that just springs to mind. Having it on my phone means I can review it while I’m out and about which I usually do when I’m waiting for the kids to get out of school.
- Another game-changer for me with blogging was using an editorial calendar which I’ll write more about next week but it basically means that I have a plan of what I’m going to post and when. I have a month in advance planned and because I know what’s coming up, I know what I need to have in and if I need specific photos (all detailed in my Wunderlist app) which means when I’m ready to write a post, I’m pretty much sorted with everything I need. It saves me so much time in planning as well as I just write all my ideas on a list in Wunderlist throughout the month and then once a month I transfer it to my calendar.
- I set myself blogging limits now and try not to blog until 7pm on a night although there’s been more opportunity lately as the kids are out so often with their friends.
And finally, my family life….
- I find organisation is key so I have my six things to do on a night before bed routine which makes mornings easier and I have my meal planning which makes mealtimes and shopping easier (and much quicker) and I have daily and weekly jobs that the kids do which makes my housework easier.
- I involve the kids in my blogging as much as possible so they feel involved with it, in fact, Miss Frugal recently wrote a post for me about her monthly Birchbox subscription for me which she really enjoyed doing. I also make sure that if the kids do work for me or have to spend time posing for review photos that they’re rewarded for doing it.
- Family mealtimes make sure that we all connect at least once as a family as often as possible (daily isn’t always possible due to shifts and kids playing out) and family days out on a weekend, even somewhere local and free or cheap, means that we have fun together while the kids still enjoy spending time with us. I don’t impose and electronics bans on the kids on days out as I want them to see them as fun and not something they have to do. If they want their phones with them to play in the car or to take photos and send the occasional message to their friends then that’s all good with me.
- We don’t do screen free time (except at the dinner table) but I do make sure that there are always other options and that I’m available to go out and do something with them if they fancy it. Sometimes they choose me, sometimes they don’t. 😉
- One on one time is so important to me and I often go for a quick Costa with Miss Frugal or have a mini spa night at home. Master Frugal isn’t as easy although we’ve done the wrestling and a couple of football matches with him recently.
- As organised as I like to be, the kids love when I just say to them ‘let’s go get an ice cream’ or ‘let’s go play football on the beach’ – spontaneous things like that make life fun and they thrive on the unplanned fun things. I’d really recommend at least once a week just deciding to forget everything and have some fun after school.
So that’s how I manage my work:life:blog balance, it’s not hard when you’re organised.
How do you manage?
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