When I first started blogging, I researched a lot of experts about workflow and time management. I certainly appreciate all of the information that is freely offered online, but after trying to implement so much feedback, I felt overwhelmed and frustrated.
I was trying to fit myself into a formula that didn’t work for me. Attempting a 9-5 schedule with a toddler at home just added to my mom guilt because I wasn’t able to give my child or my work full attention. I tried to follow the advice of a friend who suggested I get up early and work before my family got up, but it wasn’t a good fit either. Honestly, I wasn’t awake enough at 5 a.m. to be productive, and a large majority of the time my youngest son would wake up. It never fails ,right?
So, I took a break and asked myself what would work best for me. I let go of my expectations or conclusions about the “right” way to do it, and embraced what I’ve lovingly coined as “the mom schedule.”
Here are a few ways I get my blogging and writing goals accomplished without taking away from family time or getting behind on my full time job of being a homemaker:
- The “after-school shuffle” – We are blessed with my husband’s schedule. He is a college professor, and is able to work a full day and still be home early enough to pick up my daughter from school. Because of this, I am able to use the hours of 3 pm to 6 pm as work time.
- Bedtime – My husband and I trade off evenings for bedtime duties. On the evenings it’s his “turn,” I use those after dinner hours to get to work.
- After the kids’ bedtime – Yes. These hours of the day are challenging for work time because I am often tired and just ready to go to bed, but even 1-2 hours of concentrated work time can make a huge difference in my overall goals.
- Weekends – We make sure to schedule special family time on our weekends, alongside our normal chores and errands. Plus, my husband is a part-time professional musician, so we have to pre-plan our time on the weekends to accommodate everything and everyone – but I’m typically able to spend 8-10 hours over Saturday and Sunday to get my work finished.
I aim to spend 25-30 hours per week working on my blog and writing. I spend about 30 minutes of my work time each week working on my calendar and making my to-do lists so that when my work time comes, I’m ready to sit down and get it done. This schedule definitely requires organization on my part.
I do my best not to sacrifice valuable time with my children. We have family dinners and read books at bedtime and have fun days on the weekend. During normal business hours, I am with my 3-year old son. Sometimes I jot down ideas or look over my calendar when he’s playing, but he’s at an age where he requires a lot of attention so I can’t rely on it as official work time. Plus, we go on outings and weekly classes together because I don’t want him just being at home all the time.
My husband and I still have date nights, or at the very least, one evening a week when we consciously connect and try to do something special, even if it’s at home. Volunteering in my spiritual community is also a necessity, so I still make time for that a few hours a week.
But, I make sacrifices in other areas. I don’t watch a lot of television or movies. I don’t feel like I have a lot of extra leisure time and I don’t want to be tempted by a potential binge-watching session and sabotage my goals. We aren’t going on a vacation this year because I’m still building my blog to be a source of income and we’re primarily living on my husband’s income.
This isn’t a perfect schedule. There are definitely times that I’m interrupted by unexpected challenges, extra meetings, or a sick kid. I’ve learned to be flexible. So far, embracing the “mom schedule” is working well for me and it’s taught me to be open-minded and less rigid in my expectations. At the same time, I am determined and focused to be a success, so even if something doesn’t go as planned, I can’t use it as an excuse to give up. This process is making me more accountable to ME.
How do you manage your time? Do you have a traditional schedule, or do you do things your own way? Drop your thoughts in the comments and let’s share our ideas.