Do you ever feel like you are a balance beam blogger? By that I mean, do you find yourself trying to balance your responsibilities as a busy mom with the demands of your blogging business? I find that the best way to make my way across that four inch blogging beam with confidence is to manage my time. So today I’m going to share my top 10 time management tips for blogging moms.
Top Time Management Tips
Take A Time Inventory
Make a list of all of the major tasks you do each day. Then beside each task write down how long it takes to complete.
- Prepare breakfast for family – 15 minutes
- Make lunches – 20 minutes
- Write a blog post – 3 hours
- Comment on other blogs – 30 minutes
You get the idea…
Continue making your list until you have recorded all major tasks. Now you are ready to conquer the next assignment.
Create A Master Schedule Keeping Seasons In Mind
Now that you know how long various tasks take to complete, you can start plugging that information into your preferred planner. For some that will be a physical planner, and for others it will be virtual. Either way, I recommend that you choose a design and style that you find fun and visually appealing.
Keep in mind that your schedule may vary throughout the year.
I have three children ranging in age from 2 ½ to 10. My older children are in class during the school year, but are home during the summer. We travel during certain times of the year and I also coach tennis. This means that certain seasons of the year are busier than others. So I have found that I need to assess not only what my days look like, but also my yearly cycle.
This is particularly important for bloggers because you may need to write and schedule more blog posts during months that are not as busy. Then you won’t find yourself trying to squeeze in a post during Christmas dinner.
Maximize Your Productivity
What time of the day to you typically accomplish the most? Do you rise and shine ready to check off boxes on your to do list? Or do you put the pedal to the metal after the sun goes down? There is no right or wrong answer, the key is just to know your time frame of peak productivity so that you can schedule the majority of your blogging tasks in that window.
I am not even kidding when I tell you this story. I have a friend who is highly productive starting at 4:30 am. She had a 40 hour a week, work from home job. She she accomplished the majority of her work between 4:30-6:30 am and exceeded all of the recruiting goals the job demanded.
During other parts of the day, she built up a blogging business. Over a period of 3-4 years her business became so successful, that she had to quit the 40 hour a week job, because she was losing money by maintaining that job. Incredible! Just goes to show that maximizing productivity can be very effective.
Discover Accrued Benefits
Image via Flickr by McBeth
I would estimate that I spent a good 6 months to a year studying ways to be more organized and productive so that I could prepare myself to become a WAHM. An old, organizational book called Confessions Of An Organized Homemaker by Deniece Schofield that my husband’s grandma gave me, introduced me to the term accrued benefits.
It’s basically a 2 for the price of 1 principle. Freezer meal recipes are flying all over Pinterest these days, and are good example of an accrued benefit. You make one large mess in your kitchen, but you score two meals out of it.
I like to use this principle by making my lunch, and my son’s, in the morning at the same time I help the girls make their lunches. That way when the 12 o’clock lunch hour rolls around, I can pull out lunch for me and my little guy without any clean up.
Think about ways you can apply the principle of accrued benefits to your kitchen, blogging, or any other routine. What are some of the ideas you came up with? Write those ideas down to determine how you can manage your time more efficiently.
Use FB & Google Docs For Group Collaboration
I recently started a series on my blog called Compassion Sundays. Each Sunday I feature a different blogger who writes a guest post for the week. In order to streamline the group communication involved for this project, I used Facebook and google docs in a few ways.
- I set up a Facebook group for my guest bloggers so they could find all the information about the Compassion Sundays Series in one location.
- I created a google document with all of the guest post guidelines including information about desired word count, key points to highlight in post, type of photos required etc.
- I created a google spreadsheet with four columns of information for my guest bloggers to fill out. You can see what the spreadsheet looks like in the screenshot.
The guest post guidelines and sign up spreadsheet have been great reference tools so that the guest bloggers and I can minimize time exchanging emails regarding the guest post details. What are some ways you can use Google docs to better manage time spent on group projects?
Focus And Minimize Distractions
This is a tough tip to implement. It is so tempting to quickly check your email, Facebook, or other social media accounts. So often, however, that quick check can turn into an hour of wasted time.
In order to focus on one project at a time and minimize distractions, I recommend…
- Prioritizing projects – choose the task that is your first priority and focus on completing it.
- Schedule a time for checking email and social media accounts and stick to it.
- Set a timer – if you have blocked out 15 minutes a day to check your Facebook account, set a timer for the allotted time to keep yourself on track.
Focus and minimizing distractions demands discipline. I recommend tackling this area in bite size pieces. For example, start out with the goal of completing one project per day from your priority list. When you consistently reach that goal, try completing 2 projects per day.
Create An Organized Workspace
I imagine you’ve heard the saying, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” The concept seems so simple, but there are still days when I spend 15 minutes looking for a stamp to mail a letter.
Whether it is an entire room, or a corner in your bedroom, make sure you set up a clearly defined workspace, and keep it organized. This tip is fairly obvious, but when you know where all your office supplies are located, you can utilize your time for actual work, rather than looking for lost items.
A tip that may be less common, is to set up stations within in your workspace. Keep all of your supplies for a certain task in one location. To create a mail station, for example, keep all of your mailing supplies including envelopes, return address stamp or stickers, address book, and stamps in one drawer or container. That way you will not spend time opening one drawer to grab a stamp, another to find envelopes, and yet another to locate your return address stamp.
Use Downtime To Your Advantage
Do you have any downtime? Are there any 5-10 minutes blocks of time when you are a passenger in a car, in a waiting room, or standing in line? Make a list of tasks you can complete in 5-10 minute intervals. Then work on those tasks during your downtime.
For example, it takes our family about 20 minutes to drive to church. My husband usually drives, so I bring my ipad and update my editorial calendar for the week on our way to or from church. I also jot down my meal plan for the week.
Do An Ultimate 10 Minute Cardio Workout
Work out at least 10 minutes before cleaning or doing daily chores. This is one of my favorite ways to quickly clean up at home. I find that when I work out before doing my chores, I can get them done much faster because I get a boost of endorphins that raises my energy level. When I vacuum following a workout, I’m done in no time!
The past year or so I have been working out with Coach Kozak on a completely free fitness website called HASfit, which stands for heart and soul fitness. I love it because I can follow one of their 30-90 day fitness programs, or simply choose a workout suitable for my fitness level. The Ultimate 10 Minute Cardio Workout is one of my favorites.
Avoid Too Much Screen Time Before Bed
My husband recently sent me a message on facebook with a link to this Huffington Post article warning me of the dangers of too much screen time before bed. Reading from an iPad before bed, which of course is my tablet of choice, makes it harder to fall asleep and decreases alertness the following day.
The article states that reading a printed book is a better choice than reading from a screen prior to sleep. This is a tough one for me to swallow because my nightly routine has been to check sites including Pinterest, and then make my “To Do” list for the following day using an app on my iPad.
Because I know I cannot manage my time as effectively if I am sleepy and less alert, I have changed my routine. I now read a printed book before bed and make my list in a printed planner.
I hope my top ten time management tips are helpful to you. Becoming more productive and efficient with time is a new habit forming journey. So don’t try to implement every tip all at once. Try incorporating one time saving tip at time into your daily routine to maximize results.
What time management tip will you try first to best manage your time as a blogging mom?
Share in the comments below!
Mommy Maleta (mah-lay-tah) is a world traveling mother of 3 who can be found on tennis courts, soccer fields, sipping coffee with friends, reading in comfy corners, and delivering backpacks to children in Nicaragua. You can explore the world with her, over at www.mommymaleta.com.