It just hit me that January is almost over. When did that happen? So far, I’ve been doing really well at knocking tasks off of my to-do list and let me tell you, it feels really good. I am much more focused and organized than I was one year ago. I am also being brave and challenging myself to do things that would usually scare me into inaction. You’re probably wondering what’s changed? I’m still a busy mom of two young children who need loads of attention, a wife, mommy blogger and I am working on starting a business. Well, the truth is I have become much more organized and deliberate about how I use my time. I know when I started blogging, I always wondered how other moms manage to do it all so I wanted to share what I discovered works for me to balance blogging and motherhood. But first, I wanted to discuss what I have learned the hard way doesn’t work for me:
- Multitasking blogging and parenting.
- Trying to stick to a hard schedule.
When I started blogging I squeezed it around my then newborn son, three year old daughter and my breastfeeding schedule. My kids were and still are my top priority but I started to feel frustrated that I wasn’t posting as often as I would like to. I knew that I would be able to produce more work if I had the opportunity to do so. I tried multitasking, sitting on the computer while the kids mulled around but oftentimes they wanted me to play with them and I would be interrupted too frequently to get anything accomplished. I moved on to setting a hard schedule with set times for blogging but I found myself stressing about my inability to stick to said schedule. Plus, I was concerned about cutting into sacred family time. That’s when I realized that I just had to work much smarter in the time that I did have. Here is how I am working smarting and doing much better:
1. An Editorial Calendar
I love blogging and I love hitting the publish button. There is a high that I experience each time that I do so. Having an editorial calendar have really helped me to plan my posts. I’m now able to write a post ahead of time and schedule it. In the last few months of 2014, I used my regular planner but for 2015 I decided to invest in a blog planner not only to streamline my ideas and group into themes for publishing but all of the tasks that go along with blogging such as social media management, website maintenance and keeping track of my statistics. There are many free downloadable editorial calendars available on Pinterest and you can even create your own. I decided to buy one, my friends MJ of Fab Haute Mama and Vashti of Veepeejay recommended the Epic Blog: One-Year Editorial Planner and I love it and I’ve found it to be a good investment. I am not only able to plan and schedule my posts but I am also able to track my progress, keep all my blog post ideas in one place, and jot down inspiration. I keep it in my bag and I pull it out while I am in waiting rooms, grocery store lines or anywhere I get some inspiration. It’s not particularly small but it’s lightweight and that works for me.
2. Cozi Family Organizer.
I sit down each week to plan everything in our lives out. Of course with kids, especially small kids. Things don’t always go as planned but having the parameters of a schedule is what’s most helpful. I try not to stress myself focusing on staying on a rigid schedule. For this purpose, we LOVE the Cozi Family planner, it’s really good for organizing our lives. You can access it from desktop, tablet and your mobile. We use it weekly for shopping, keeping track appointments and school holidays. Some of my favorite features about this app include profiles for each family member to add/edit items. For instance, I can start a shopping list and Mr. Rattles add things that we need to that list from his phone. We can also make different lists for the different stores that we shop in and you can move the list around. I have this thing where my grocery list must be in order of how I walk the supermarket so I before I get out of the car, I move the list around to suit. Oh, did I mention this is the free version. I didn’t buy the GOLD but I heard it’s pretty good. Cozi is basically my mom brain, I’ve even heard a few celebrities tout it’s glory. You can get Cozi for any of these devices iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and Windows 8.1 Tablet.
3. Bulk Tasks
I am a creative individual and I produce better content when I am focused and in an open creative mental space. The more that I am focused on something the more excited I become. As a result, some days I just want to edit while others I just want to take photographs or write. Once, I embraced this about myself I started to do certain tasks on a particular day. For instance, I would edit all pictures for pending posts, writing, photograph on the day that I feel really excited about doing that tasks.
4. Cut Down Time Spent On Social Media
Most of us spend more time on Social Media than we would like to admit to. It usually starts with a quick check and before you know it 40 minutes rolled by. I give myself limits, remove all alerts and log out of social networks when I am working on my blog. I do dedicate certain time periods for social media because as a blogger that’s the way I get to connect with my awesome readers in a meaningful way, share and get to know the women who read Rattles and Heels better.
5. Put your kids on a schedule
A schedule didn’t work that great for myself but I put my son on a schedule during the day. He naps twice, once while his sister is at school and again when she gets home and takes her nap, then they go to sleep at 8:30pm which give me a few hours to make the most out of my blogging and try to focus on some blogging education as well.
6. Ask for help
As women, we hate asking for help but sometimes we have no other option. Whenever, I feel overwhelmed I ask my mother to help me with my kids or wait until Mr. Rattles is off so I could catch up on my blogging.
What are your organization tips and ideas?