Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Inside Info - Balancing Your Blog & Life

I haven't made it a secret that lately I am struggling with time management regarding my full time job, blogging and selling handmade merchandise. I've asked a few bloggers who seem to have it all under control for advice in case I'm not the only clueless blogger out there. How do they do it?!

Ana from Live & Enliven recently posted on this very subject:

I get a lot of emails from people asking how I manage to mother, blog, tweet and run a little business in the midst of feeling heart-broken to the point of tears every day. Most of them are in the tone of admiration and there's the occasional one that's meant in the tone of "don't you have a life?"- I take those with a pinch of salt and all other ones with an overwhelming love and yes, pride.

Well, as I mentioned on this post I have always strive to be real on this blog, myself whether happy or sad. I must admit that full-time blogging has its advantages too, when I don't find inspiration I take a break, when things get bad during the day I sign off early, when I feel I'm gonna spill my guts out I breath deeply and do it anyway (sans swear words).

I read a lot blogs too ok, so now you're all thinking I should really get a life. Just kidding.

I do read blogs, mostly those that are written by people who are real and open and who have a down-to-earth perspective of beauty but also dare to dream. Those help me a lot and inspire me.

I often try to find ways to make each day special, I give my daughter more quality than quantity time I pack little gifts and make pretend-birthday parties, I make tea parties for her and teddy, I sit and watch a movie with her, I listen to her and use anything as an excuse to smother her all day long.

Those are the moments that make everything else possible, those little times fill me up and give me a lot more energy than having a less busy or less chaotic life

Hello friends! My name is Thursday. I'm compulsive crafter, lifelong thrifter, hideaway hermit, baker extraordinaire and mama to a Georgia Grace. I blog about these things and more over at My Girl Thursday.

Answer to question:

I always seem to have an endless number of projects on the go so organizational tools are an absolute must in my life. Today I'll share three of my favourite time management tips with you all.

1. Carry a note pad with you at all times. You never ever know when a brilliant idea will strike. It would be a shame to forget that great idea just because you didn't have a way or writing it down. Don't want to carry a pen and paper? Use your voice recorder on your cell phone and tell it all your best ideas.

2. Plan Ahead. I try to plan all my blog posts a month ahead of time. This doesn't mean that I write them that far in advance, but it does mean that when I sit down to write I know what my topic will be. This simple idea saves me hours and hours of thumb twiddling in front of my computer.

3. Schedule time for blogging. Each Sunday I lock myself away in my craft room and write the blog posts for the next seven day. Doing this gives me lots of worry free time with my family for the rest of the week. If a full day or writing is too extreme, then try to schedule 90 minutes each night where you can be alone and produce quality content for your blog.

For more of my thoughts on how to staying organized and motivated you can check out this recent post on my blog. To learn more about how I found and developed my real voice through blogging your can read my post Being Afraid of Yourself and Why That's Probably Not a Good Idea.

Savannah from Maie Dae has a list of helpful insights on balancing her life:

Time management is a HUGE passion of mine. It's always been really important to me to balance my priorities and put time and effort into my family, friends, full-time job and passions (my business MaieDae). I'll break it up into categories about how I best manage my time:

Family: I've been married to my husband for over a year and this January we will have been together for seven years!! Holy wow! A major part of our relationship is our "Date Days"...once a week from when we were dating to married we've always established one day out of the week that is dedicated to time with each other. This day is viewed as a sacred day for us so we intentionally don't make extra work plans or friend plans on date day. This helps us to always know that no matter how busy out schedules get we always have a day that is dedicated to spending with each other. Also, since we've been married it's been very important for us to spend time with each others immediate every sunday is "family day". Having a dedicated date day and family day really make it a lot easier to spend time with those important people in your life.

Friends: Another important thing to Jonathon and I was that once we got married we didn't want to be the couple that never spends time with friends anymore. So every month or so we try to have a small house party and invite all our close friends to come and watch movies and play games....also when we are not having date day or family day we both try and put in some time with friends at least once a week.

Full-Time Job: Aside from running my own business on the side I also work full-time for Chick-fil-A corporate as their graphic designer. It's really easy to let a full time job completely take over your lifestyle but I've made it a point to really try and make sure that I "don't take my work home with me". Once I leave work at 4:30...I'm done. I don't obsessively check my email or worry about things. When I'm at work, I'm at work...and when I'm not...I'm not! This really helps me separate my work from my life.

MaieDae (passions): I currently run a blog, handmade shop and graphic design company on the side and the major thing that really helps me keep on track with everything is to plan and schedule! I carry around a Moleskine journal wherever I go and take time to jot down ideas and notes about my business. At the beginning of every month I sit down and schedule out my blog posts and dedicate specific days to working on graphic design or handmades. On top of scheduling out my months I also take time to set monthly goals and "steps" for my business so I can see what I'd like to accomplish and strive towards getting those things done. My number ONE tip for making goals, schedules and to-do's is to create something attainable. If you are trying to get too much done and set lofty goals for your timeframe you might find that you don't feel your getting far and decide to "give-up"...setting attainable goals helps you see progress. :) summarize everything; set specifics days for family, friends and yourself. Dedicate those days or evenings to that specific "day". Schedule out your time and goals for each month. Make your lists attainable!

Wow ladies! Thanks for all the great answers and advice. I appreciate your participation and your willingness to help me and other new(ish) bloggers. I have definitely taken everything you've said to heart and have set out to develop my own schedule for my evenings of blogging, creating and living.

Check out my new Blog Calendar on Google Docs. You can see I blocked off Mondays and Fridays as days off...let's see if I can stick to that!  You can download my template HERE. I hope it helps!

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