Having been blogging for almost 5 years now, I have been on the roller coaster long enough to know that it goes up and down…and even sometimes in a loop. And while there are seasons in blogging, as with anything in life, I have come up with a few rules to help the crazy times be less hectic. Does this sound familiar?
I don’t know HOW you do all that you do!
Every single blogger has heard this at least once in their career. And the bottom line is, sometimes I don’t know either. It’s tough, really tough. Especially if you have a family you are the main caretaker for as well. But even without the added responsibility of husband and kids, blogging can become the black hole of time. Where you suddenly find yourself spending every minute thinking about the next project, checking your computer for comments / emails, and trying to respond to friends while staying on top of Social Media. Not to mention, if you are a DIY blogger of any sort, the creation process, photographing and editing. Add all of that up, and it’s no wonder your time suddenly feels stretched thin. So I have come up with some tips and rules that help my life remain balanced, while doing what I love.
How to stay sane blogging.
Now I will be the first to admit, it is not easy. The longer you have been blogging, the more it can drag you in if you are not careful. In the beginning it is easy to set up parameters, because you aren’t that successful yet. But the more traffic you gain – the more e-mails you receive – the more projects you have – the more time it requires -> and I think you see the cycle. It can suck you in if you are not careful, and completely take over your life. Especially when it all boils down to this…YOU LOVE IT!
Not being sucked in of course, but you love blogging. It is your passion. You love sewing or creating with your hands, you love weaving a story on-line and helping others discover their talents. You love connecting with people. You love blogging.
Now please note, many of these tips are focused towards blogging for business – not for a hobby. But they can be applicable to both.
Here are some tips I have set in place in my own life, that help me try to remain balanced. While still enjoying LIFE.
1. SET PARAMETERS
Set borders within your life, and stick to them. Whether that means keeping your computer in an ‘office space’ (i.e. closet – lol), keep it there and stick to certain hours within the day in which you are allowed to sit in front of the computer and work. No person was meant to be on-line all of the time – just like a job. You are meant to have certain hours in which you work, and certain hours in which you have time off. Anyone who tells you otherwise is LYING to you, and does not care about your personal life. Work should always come after family. That might be my biggest pet peeve with the invention of smart phones, that simply because we are connected – we should be ‘on-call’ 24/7. That is not so, nor was it ever meant to be that way. Somebody else can have that job, thank you very much. I value myself and my life more than that. And SO SHOULD YOU.
I used to make all sorts of excuses as to why I didn’t have time to exercise. Raising a family while working from home being at the core of them (and of course, because I just didn’t want to). I couldn’t take an hour out of my already busy day to work up a sweat. WRONG. More lies. I cannot tell you how much better I feel now that I have started running again – and guess what. It has not affected my work one little bit taking that hour off. My e-mails are still sitting there when I return, and I am more energized to answer them.
3. DON’T PROCRASTINATE
I am so guilty of this, not just through procrasti-surfing. But answering tough e-mails, working on that sewing deadline that I don’t feel like doing, etc. I have found the more I put off answering an e-mail, the greater the chances are that I will never get to it. So do it as soon as it comes in, it only takes a second. And don’t be afraid to say NO.
4. READ BOOKS.
I read almost every night, and it has been a God send to me. Reading books helps me ‘turn off’ my brain, and forget about everything else that is going through my head. I used to go to bed thinking about different projects I was working on, or my endless to-do list, and felt the need to keep a notebook on my bedside table so I could jot down ideas in order to stop ruminating over them. I haven’t had to do that in years now, thanks to my reading habit. I LOVE reading, and devour endless books on my eReader every month. Turn off the smart phone, climb in bed, and grab a good book.
5. LISTS, LISTS AND MORE LISTS.
I still keep my lists though, I have them next to my computer and they help me stay on track and stay focused when it is ‘work time’. I have my Monthly List (things I need to get done this month), Weekly List (things to get done this week), and my Daily List (things I am working on today). I also schedule items in Google calendar so that I will get reminded of deadlines a couple of weeks in advance, and keep a printed out calendar on my wall next to my computer – so that I can pencil in deadlines for the month. So maybe I sound crazy, but guess what. It is a RARE occasion when I am working last minute on a project and worrying about hitting a deadline. When that happens – it is typically because I am planning on taking a vacation – and am cramming everything in before I leave. Which leads me to…
6. TAKE BREAKS / VACATIONS.
Your blog does not need new content every day, and your readers will not go anywhere if you don’t post for a week. We all need to take breaks and recharge. Whether that means physically getting away, or just taking a mental staycation. DO IT, and stick to it as best as possible. My husband and I both work on-line, so when we do travel – we often go to places where we will get very limited internet access. This helps us both to completely unplug, and our family comes back well rested and filled with fun memories. And the best part? You don’t need a lot of money to do it. Try camping!!!
7. GET HELP.
If you are truly blogging for business, and you have a family, then you are going to need help! It is quite simply not fair to your kids if every time they come to you, you are ‘busy’. Or ‘need a minute’. They deserve your attention – and if you cannot give it to them, then hire someone who can. Now, please do not take me wrong. I believe every kid should have the ability to play by themselves for a limited amount of time, and I also believe watching TV is ok. But when they are doing that all. day. long…there is a problem. Get help. Hire a baby-sitter, or get your kids in a pre-school or day care for a few hours a week. Not only will your children benefit, but you will find yourself so much more productive during this free time, that you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
8. REALIZE, YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL.
I love it when I attend blog conferences and hear how these super successful ladies respond to every comment in their Social Media feed. I call BULL. I say, they have assistant’s who spend their time and get paid to respond to your comments. Why? Because any person who spends all of their time responding to comments on IG, FB, Twitter, etc has no time left over for anything else. That is not to say I don’t love comments, and try to respond whenever possible. But if you spent all of your time responding to everything…you will have no time left over. So pick and choose your battles – choose what is important to you and let the rest fall away. Why is this important? Because if your entire life is spent on-line responding to people you don’t even know, guess who gets left out when they are asking you a question? The people actually IN your life and looking up to you. It’s a simple choice really.
9. DON’T SIT IN FRONT OF THE COMPUTER EVERY NIGHT.
I think I just heard a collective gasp from adult bloggers everywhere. Why? Because for many people – this is their blogging time, after the kids go to bed and they are sitting in front of the TV with their spouse. Guess what is wrong with that picture? Your SPOUSE. This is the time in which you are supposed to spend with them. So can you blog / be on the computer at night? Of course. Just remember not to do it every night – to continue to put time into your marriage.
10. REMEMBER, IT’S JUST A BLOG.
And at the end of the day, simply remember – it’s just a blog. I used to get all bent out of shape if someone didn’t follow through with their commitments. ‘But they said YES to my series, how DARE they not follow through!!!’. Lol – oh please. At the end of the day, it is just a blog. It is not curing cancer, and it is not putting out vital information that people cannot survive the day without. Sure – you may consider it your business (as you should), but even employees get a ‘sick’ day. So if something isn’t working out, no matter how many times you bang your head against the wall, remember – it is just a blog. It is just a job. In the greater scheme of things, of life, it really isn’t that important. Sorry. But 10 years from now when you look back – will you recall that one GREAT blog post. Probably not.
The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that, and I speak for myself when I say this, ‘if we can only finish this one task’. If I could just have 10 more minutes, which turns into 30, which turns into 60 if you aren’t careful. THEN I will be happy, THEN I will have peace and can enjoy the rest of my day. The problem is, once that task is finished something else will always pop up. Something will always be waiting for you in the wings to take its place. Trust me – step away. It will still be waiting for you upon your return. And the things you don’t get to? Who cares, it is just stuff. If it falls off the pile, it wasn’t meant for you to complete anyway because it obviously wasn’t that important.
You can still blog for a living, and not miss out on LIFE. It just takes practice!
Thanks so much for stopping by, and until next time…