Now, not everyone who reads this blog is a parent. Obviously. Not all bloggers are parents, also obvious. Not all Mums-who-blog are Mummy bloggers (not obvious, but worth saying). I’m not interested in a conversation about who has it harder – parents or non parents – but I am interested in helping you have a fabulous bloggy year in 2014 and I know that many of you reading this blog ARE parents (particularly Mums) so here we are!
As I see it (as a Mum to three small children myself) one of the unique challenges of parenthood, and, dare I say it motherhood, is the pure unpredictability of the gig. You never know when you are going to be up all night with a sick child, when you are going to have to cancel your plans to deal with doctors or even, hospitals. You can’t predict when your children will, or rather won’t sleep nor can you know when your partner is going to pull a late shift at work. If you are working full or part time then you never know when a client will need something at the last minute or on a tight deadline so you can pre-arrange extra childcare or help at home and if you’re a single parent then quite frankly you are just amazing. There are just so many variables. Tired yet?
If you’re also a blogger who loves their craft and wants to pursue it passionately, this can be a source of great frustration because blogging, is a labour of love and sometimes somethings just gotta give. But, there is a way. I promise! These are my 5 top tips to keeping your blog in tip top shape amidst the crazy and unpredictable nature of family life!
1. Make it a priority
Before we talk about any of the ways you can keep your blog going during the frantic years of life with children, you need to decide that that’s what you want. I know, I know – there are a million things making it super hard for you and I promise, we’re going to get to that. But first, you have to look inside yourself and ask yourself this question: “If I can find some spare time in my week, is this how I want to spend it?”
Assuming you have decided the answer to that question is “YES” or even if it’s a delicate ‘maybe’ read on…
2. Start to plan.
Now, I’m not really a planner – I used to think I was, but it turns out I was wrong. While I luuurve a good list, it so happens that I love “the vibe” of things more. It’s taken me a while but I’ve come to learn something that all good planners know; planning leads to flexibility. Strange hey? But it’s true. You think that planning will be really restrictive but actually it gives you focus and purpose – you tend to get things done faster and more efficiently and because you’ve planned it you also end up with time for the things you want to do. Now, I’m not promising you endless time, but a few hours here or there can be done. Don’t believe me? Take 20minutes today and schedule your time, then give it a whirl for two weeks and see what kind of difference it makes.
Now there’s an important caveat to this – if you are a Mum with a baby or small child who is waking through the night every night then now might not be the time for you to push yourself harder. Be gentle with yourself during this time of your life because I promise you, it won’t always be like this. I think it’s important to say this because that season of life is super, super intense and really different from any other season of your life and it’s OK to give yourself a break. Blogging, your blog, the world of blogging isn’t going anywhere.
3. Use the right tools.
Start using The Pomodoro Technique. I learnt this trick from the talent Nicole aka The Planning Queen. The Pomodoro Technique divides your time into 25minute slots with a 5 minute break in between to help you get things done in a focused, efficient way. Nic blogged about it, and three other great organisational apps she uses, here.
4. Set some goals
If you’re going to give your time to something, when time is such a limited commodity, then it must be important – right? Set realistic goals – I love this quote from Bill Gates, We overestimate what we can accomplish in a day and underestimate what we can accomplish in a year.
Takehome? Be realistic but don’t be afraid to dream. There’s nothing quite as motivating as having something to work towards!
5. Build some community, and accountability
Once you’ve got goals the best and most exciting thing you can do is start achieving them. I have found that community, and particularly people who hold you accountable, is a wonderful encouragement and motivator to staying on track.
If you’ve got some fellow blog friends perhaps together you could share one of your goals and then agree to keep each other accountable and check in on how things are going? If you prefer to keep some things offline then perhaps a partner or friend who supports you in blogging could do this. However you do it I would really encourage you to build some accountability into your goal setting –the unpredictable nature of daily parenting can mean that you constantly feel distracted or like you’re forgetting something. Part of being, or feeling, on top of things is setting some structures around the things that matter to you, to help you continue to pursue them. Similar to planning to “do” I think it’s helpful if you can plan to “succeed”.
What do you think? Do these tips help you or is there something you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!