The whole reason that I started blogging in the first place, was because I was so frustrated being a working mum. I felt like I needed somewhere to have a bit of a rant. To moan about how much I hated the time I spent away from my child (I only had the one at the time), and to moan about everything I was missing out on. This in time, turned into further posts about our lives, said child, parenting, etc, etc. Which ultimately turned into a blog that is almost four years old and has over 1000 published posts on it.
It is very easy to become addicted to blogging. It is very easy to become all consumed by blogging. And it is very easy to want your blog to become your job. But getting to that point, whilst still working, can be incredibly hard.
I was working full time when I started this blog. Initially that was 35 hours a week and then when I moved to a different company, that changed to 37.5 hours (what was I thinking?!). I was out of the house from about 7.15am, back home somewhere between 6-7pm, and then by the time we had got Zach to bed and done dinner, it was about 9pm. So how the heck did I manage to write all of those posts? Schedule all the social media? Run a rather large linky?
Well, I was clever with the time that I did have available to me.
I have recently seen some working mum bloggers feel a bit downtrodden about the lack of time that they have. Wondering whether they should just jack it all in because there is no time to get the stuff done. But there is no need. If you love your blog, if you want it to become your career, to enable you to spend that precious time at home with your children, then jacking it in simply takes you back to square one. Heck, if I’d have gone down that route, I would still be in full time work instead of taking the littlest to playgroup and the biggest to school.
So how did I use my time wisely? Here are my top tips at getting stuff done when you are both a working mum and a blogger!
Use your commute to do stuff
It doesn’t matter whether you drive or take public transport to work, there are ways that you can blog on the go. If you take the train, write that post on your phone. Pop it all in your notes, save them, and then when you are fully connected to the internet, copy and paste them over to your blog. Both WordPress and Blogger have apps which means you can pop a post in and save it as a draft. I know with the WordPress app, you can even add featured images and set your meta description etc. Then all you need to do, is pop onto your laptop when you next get a chance, proof it, add in any social bits and schedule. Boom!
And if you drive? Well we all have Smart phones right? And they all have the ability to convert the spoken word to text. If I wanted to, I could open up my Samsung notes app, hit the voice recorder button and speak out an entire blog post (with full stops and commas too!). Obviously no phones should be in hands whilst driving and full concentration should be on the road, but it’s no different to having a conversation with someone in the car, and you get the premise of a blog post ready to edit.
I also used to do other stuff on my train commute like responding to comments, posting to social media, taking part in linkies and commenting on other posts. I would do this walking down the street too. I basically did 90% of my blogging on the phone!
Use your lunch break
We are all pretty capable of speed writing blog posts. If we are passionate enough and have the main idea in our heads, the words tend to just flow. So use your lunch break to do it. I often ate lunch at my desk and whilst I was munching, I would be writing a post. Even if just like above, the main post is written and you then just need to go in later to add photos and proof it. That main bit…the biggest bit of writing – is all done.
Plan your time
The amount of times I have sat down to blog and not actually known at that moment, what the heck I need to do. In fact, I did it just before I started writing this post. It was 19.45, the boys had just fallen asleep upstairs, I sat down, opened my laptop and was like, errrrm, I have no plan. And then luckily I remembered that I had the idea for this post and so I sat and wrote it.
If you are short on time (which I am, always), you need to plan ahead. If you know the kids are going to be asleep by 7.30pm, dinner will then be cooked and completed by 8.30pm and you therefore have from 8.30-10.30 to blog, you need to know what exactly you will be working on for those two hours. If you have an hour in the morning before the kids get up, you need to know what you will be doing.
Know your priorities for that day, know what will work for different lengths of time (if you’ve got an hour then write the post, if you have a spare 20 minutes, do some scheduling or commenting, reply to emails etc). If you are able to sit down and immediately know what you are going to be working on, you will be much more productive and you will get what you need to be done, done!
Of course, things come up, things get in the way (I was three quarters of the way through writing this post when Oscar decided to wake up for a spot of boob!), but it really will help to have a plan of action.
Get rid of distractions
Notifications on the phone, something on TV, multiple browsers open at once – there is always something to distract us from what we need to do if we allow them to.
No matter how often I look at my phone, there is always a notification. Someone has posted something in a Facebook group, I have an email, someone has WhatsApp’d me. And if I leave my email browser open, the little red dot at the top tells me I have a new email and I just have to go and check it out.
Distraction, distraction, distraction.
And all it takes is that one click through and pure procrastination kicks in! I will go into Facebook to look at one thing and fifteen minutes later I am still there. And I could have been using that time far more wisely.
So, turn off your notifications on whatever you can. Or put your phone away. Leave it another room whilst you are working on whatever you are working on. If you have a lack of time, you need to make sure the distractions aren’t there. I now don’t watch TV on whatever night the other half is out playing footie. I have the radio on instead and if I find that is distracting me, I sit and work in silence. I’m not turning it off right now though because Mike and The Mechanics is playing and it’s one of my fave ever songs!
Don’t beat yourself up
This is the most important thing. We are all parents juggling so many balls. There is work, childcare, school runs, poorly children, other half’s requiring at least some of our attention at some point of the week. We can’t do it all and there will be times when something simply has to give.
The amount of times I have felt so frustrated when one of the boys has played up at bedtime. When it has taken Oscar two hours to go sleep, rendering the evening a write off. When I have literally sat down, opened the laptop and he has woken up (how do they know?!). But there is no need to be frustrated. Yes we have work to do. Posts to plan, reviews to write, photos to take, social media to schedule. But if we don’t do it at that precise moment, if we don’t get it done tonight, if we just take a deep breath and realise that our children (or partners!) need us more than we need that blog post to go live – well, the world isn’t going to end is it?
Yes for some of us this is our job. For some, it’s a serious hobby that we want to be our job. But in the grand scheme of things – well it’s just another part of our lives that we have to slot in somewhere. Our children will always come first. Our partners will want us sometimes. The PR’s and brands know that we have families. They know that things come up.
If you are late for a deadline, or know you are going to be late for one – just drop them an email. Most of the time they will fully understand that your family has to come first. And if they don’t? Well, do you really want to be working with them considering their target audience is the very people that we write for? That their target audience is basically us.
So try not to be too down on yourself if you don’t finish that blog post or don’t manage to schedule that social. There will be a tomorrow. There will be another time-slot in which you can get it done. And also, don’t be mad at the kids. They really don’t have a clue that they are disturbing us – they just want their mumma.