Guest blog post by Kristy Ricard of The Imperfectly Perfect Me.
Life can be hard at the best of times. I used to wonder how people were able to work full time, do extra-curricular activities, have a social life and then do something like run a small business or blog as well!
From having a large family, I have learned many things about how to make a busy life seem less chaotic and more functional. When I started my own blog, I was genuinely concerned about time management. I already felt like there just wasn’t enough time in the day to do all the “normal” stuff.
We have six children and have a very busy life, to say the least. When I am not at work, we have a slew of extra-curricular activities for all of us, including dance, hockey, football, parent council, swimming, the gym, date nights, parent meetings, etc.
How the heck was I going to be able to set up and run a successful blog too?
Guest blog post by Kristy of The Imperfectly Perfect Me
I really had to look at the current plan that I had in place for our family, how well it was working and what I could do to be able to incorporate writing a blog into our schedule. These tips and ideas will hopefully help you to be less frazzled with the every day and give you even just a little extra time for yourself.
1. Plan Plan Plan
I am all about the pre-planning. When I started my blog, I decided that I would set aside my lunch hour every day for blog maintenance and writing. Even if I was unable to do it all in that time frame, I was still able to make some progress. I am lucky enough to get an hour for lunch and live very close to where I work, so I am able to get a solid 30-45 mins of work done in that timeframe. I also will take a minimum of 15 minutes after everyone else goes to bed to do some cleanup and finishing.
For the house, I am all about meal planning and prep. I set a time and pre-make a week or two’s worth of meals and freeze them so that dinner time is never a hassle or a chore. That way, there is always a healthy meal ready to go, and you don’t have to rely on fast food and less healthy options.
I am all about organization, so I have a calendar on my fridge where I map out time slots for blog work, extra-curricular activities, date nights and bills all in one place so that it’s a no-fail system where everyone knows what the plan is. This makes it easier to manage and saves my sanity every single day.
2. Don’t Bite off More Than you Can Chew
When I first started my blog, I was all about the content. I had over 50 ideas in my notepad that I wanted to write about and small paragraphs of notes for almost every topic!
I learned that spitting out a large amount of content isn’t as important as the quality of work.
I still jot down ideas in my notepad, but now I concentrate on only a few at a time. I get way better work out of myself by taking a few days with one topic, than I do spitting out a blog a day or just random, incohesive crap.
3. Write About What you Know
I have a huge family, work with children, love to travel, and am interested in finances and the outdoors. I have a lot of things that I feel educated enough in to write about.
If I were to write about golf, for example, out of the blue, it would not be a quality piece, and it would be very evident to my readers that I should never have written it. It is not a sport I enjoy; I do not know all the rules, it wouldn’t even be enjoyable to write- so why do it? Even If it is a topic that I enjoy, but feel a little less educated on, I will still write about it, but may reach out to fellow bloggers or professionals for information.
There’s never any shame in asking for help. Which leads me to….
4. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
Whether it be at home, for writing help, for an ear to listen, or a shoulder to cry on, help is out there. I have leaned on numerous friends, family members and fellow bloggers for advice, help, and direction when I felt that I needed it, both in the home and at my desk.
We all want to see each other succeed so use that help!
5. Join Blogging Groups
I joined a few groups when I first started and have learned so much from so many wonderful people.
I have learned things about the technical side of blogs that I had no idea about, which topics people are most interested in, things that I want to try and places I want to visit.
It forces me to stay on top of my blog and be accountable. If I post a link to my blog and someone questions something I wrote, it forces me to reframe things (in a good way usually) and edit or take the credit that is given.
These groups have been amazing for myself and many others. I strongly suggest joining some!
6. Take Risks
Step out of that comfort zone. Try something you never would have before. Force yourself to write something a little deeper than you normally would. Think outside of the box. Experience new things to gain the knowledge to write about fresh topics. You WILL BE pleasantly surprised.
7. Don’t be Afraid to Say “NO”
I have had to learn this one the hard way. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, and you’re just running in circles with no time to breathe or even enjoy anything that you are doing, then it is time to step back and say “No” to some things.
It’s okay to say that you have too much on your plate and say no to writing that guest piece, joining that parent group or hosting that sleepover once in a while.
As a mom, I have found myself falling victim to that Supermom mentality and trying to do and be everything to everyone. It’s exhausting and not worth it, and in the end not healthy.
So, if you need to step back, do so temporarily. It’s okay.
8. Self Care
It’s not just a made-up thing that doesn’t work, It’s the real deal! A little self care can go a long way.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and that there’s just so much going on, try just taking a few minutes for yourself. A bath, reading a book, a walk, gym time (if that’s your thing), a massage, a phone call with a friend, a glass of wine on the patio, anything at all! Anything that gives you a feeling of “ahhhh.” If you feel your body relax and the tension in your shoulders lessen, then that’s your thing. It will help you not get flustered with the rush of so many things going on.
Make time for others
Part of this also includes carving out time for your significant other and children. I plan out a date night with my husband once a month and I “try” to schedule a date each month with one of my children. When you have a gaggle like I do though, it takes six months for them to get that special one-on-one date again, BUT I make it as special as I can and it’s usually a whole day adventure.
9. Get a Little Bit of a Thick Skin
Not everyone is going to like everything that you write and publish. And, so what? Some of them will even let you know exactly how they feel, and they are completely within their rights to express that opinion.
Please try to ignore the haters.
When this happens in any area of my life, I make a point of connecting with a very supportive friend or even read through positive comments that I have received. There will always be haters.
We all fall; what matters is that we take that moment to be upset and even pout, but then get right back up and say “screw them” and move on.
10. The Biggest Thing is Having Fun
When it gets to the point where you are just going through the motions, in any area really, then it is time to re-evaluate the situation and then reframe it. I love to write, so I don’t see this ever not being a fun thing to do, but if that happens, then it’s time to rethink it. So as long as you are having fun with it, it should work out! Just keep plugging at it!
About the Author
Kristy is a married mother of six who lives in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada. She works as a full time Registered Early Childhood Educator. She also has her own blog, The Imperfectly Perfect Me, where she writes about real, raw, parenting and the struggles women everywhere go through on a daily basis. In her free time, she is a very creative person who dabbles in painting, photography and fitness. She has been praised for her no holds barred approach to writing and interactiveness with her audience. She can be followed on her Instagram account as well