I’m so excited to welcome Cara Harvey, the writer behind the blog A Purpose Driven Mom! If you have not yet heard of her you will soon fall in love with her! She is full of great tips and this post here today is so helpful!
She focuses on self care, mom life, healthy living, and financial fitness. Make sure to go check her out on her blog after you read this amazing post she has for us today!
I used to equate success with burn out.
I thought that if you worked harder than everyone around you, put in more hours, and sacrificed your life for your career than you were successful.
It wasn’t until multiple panic attacks and crying episodes on the way to work hit me that I realized how far from the truth that was.
I was a teacher for 8 years and I absolutely loved it. Teaching is very much a spiritual gift I feel God has given me, and even though the work was hard, I felt so happy going into work. I felt like I was making a difference, I felt like I mattered, and because I knew I was staying later than everyone else and saying ‘yes’ to more commitments I THOUGHT I was successful.
You see the school I worked at was a high performing charter school where the kids would attend from 8 am – 5pm and every other Saturday which meant that I was there from 6 am – 6 pm (at least) and would come in on the weekends from 9 am – 12pm to work on grading, lesson plans, copying and other tasks. I thought I had it all under control, or so it seemed.
Then, after not taking a summer break and going straight back into work (I went from the school year to working summer school and right back into the school year) I realized I had had it. I cried for the first time before school started. I realized that I had sacrificed my relationships with friends, my husband, my family along with my own self care for my career. And I knew that wasn’t how my story was meant to be.
It was time to make a change
After many discussions with my husband, we decided that year would be my last year of teaching and that I would begin to work from home. This would allow me to take care of myself, my family and my mental health.
I got into entrepreneurship via network marketing and knew that if I continued to work hard, I would see success and be able to pay my bills. I am happy to say that 5 years later, I am still able to be a stay at home mom for my 3 kids, work on my direct sales business and now, run a mom blog.
Related: How to Become a Mom Blogger
When I began to run my blog and business, I made the decision that I would not allow this career to own me. I decided I would do whatever I could to learn about effective time management and ways that I could have both my family and passion without feeling attached to my phone or computer all day.
I went through and did training through the Franklin/Covey system, read books like Eat That Frog and the 12 Week Year, and bought journals to organize my life like the PUSH Journal by Chalene Johnson.
After much trial and error, I feel like I have come up with a great system that allows me to not only spend time with the kiddos (the reason I do this in the first place), take care of my duties at home, but run my blog and ministry to empower other moms to empower themselves to design a life they love!
I want to toss you a FULL DISCLAIMER before I dive right into the system that allows me to feel balanced and purposeful… it isn’t always perfect! This is most definitely a work in progress and each week there are some moments of success and some failures but, going into my week with a PLAN is what sets me apart from the Cara of 5 years ago.
Now don’t get me wrong, if you want to be successful you have to put in WORK. You will have to do things you don’t want to do (yes, I’m talking about getting up early and giving up some Netflix shows) but there is 100% a way that you can plan and strategize your work week so you feel successful as both a mom and a blogger (and get the work done!)
(If you’ve never studied the Franklin/Covey system, I highly recommend it and much of what I am going to reference came from my training in that!)
When planning your week you’re going to go through a simple system that, if you do it consistently will be like clock work in just a few week. It may be bumpy in the beginning as you figure out what works so give yourself grace, and take what works best for you!
Step #1: Schedule your Big Rocks
Franklin/Covey talks about putting your big rocks down first and these are the most important. Big rocks are the things that have to get done, the ones that you can’t change and have a time stamp. These also include things that are most important to you and your priorities (if you need any help identifying your priorities, you can head over and get my FREE video series on balance and priorities)
Each Sunday, sit with your calendar on the weekly planner (I recommend a calendar with a great weekly view and hourly time blocks) and write down all of the appointments you can’t change. This includes kids doctors appointments, repair man visits, hours you may work if outside the house, or playdates that you’ve scheduled.
You want to block these out first because you can’t change them and they have to happen at a certain time. The rest of your time is flexible and yours to play with! I am a firm believer in a routine to set myself up for success. Being a mom of 2 under 2 makes a ‘schedule’ tough but routine doesn’t have to be. Having a great routine allows for me to call audibles when potty training doesn’t go well, newborn babies aren’t sleeping, or I just need to pause my day because the kids are going a bit crazy!
Step #2 Do your Goals Align with your Time
Now, I want you to take a step back and look at your week. It may be super crazy and it may be empty, each week can be different. But one thing you will notice is that you DO HAVE TIME TO GET THINGS DONE.
Your time might be at 5am before the kids get up, 1pm when they are napping or 10pm after they’ve gone to bed but mama… the time is there! It’s now up to you to tell it where to go! This is the part that may not be the most fun.
When we do have that time in our day when the kids are asleep, we often want to pause, sit on the couch and do nothing. And honestly, I have days where I do that! My mental health needs a break sometimes and there is NOTHING wrong with taking care of you! I actually schedule in moments of self care in my day such as prayer, working out, reflection, and even couch/Netflix dates to catch up on This is Us with my husband! But to ACTUALLY get things done as a mom blogger you have to… actually put in hours to work and write!
You need to decide how many hours a week you want to put into your blog before scheduling your time and what your blog goals are.
- Is blogging a hobby for you or something that you want to make your full time income?
- Do you want to share your passions with the world in a part time or full time capacity?
- Do you have specific income goals or bills you’d like to pay with your blog? How many times a week do you want to blog and how much content do you want to get out there?
When I recently re-launched my blog I had to look long and hard at my goals so I could determine my hours. I was in a season with an almost 2 year old and a newborn and knew I needed to adjust my goals and hours according to my season.
Once you’ve decided how much time and how often you want to blog, then you can start to schedule the rest of your week and what you will get done to be most effective.
Step #3 Batching Your Week
My goal is to blog 5x a month. This ends up being 1x a week + one bonus blog that I like to throw in there. You’ll want to unpack all the things you do to set up your blogs to make sure you don’t forget a step in your planning. Do this each week for a month so you can write down all the little details we often overlook because we do them naturally.
I also think it’s important to not only batch content but try to get ahead by at least 2-3 weeks. I spent some time getting a few extra blogs completed and drafted so I can publish when it is time. This way I am never scrambling for content or rushing something amazing I want to share with my audience.
Here are the tasks I need to do for my blogs (this is not an all encompassing list and I bet you can add to it)
- Outline Blog
- Draft Blog
- Edit Blog
- Design Graphics
- Insert Graphics
- Create an awesome freebie/download
- Publish Blog
- Write Social Media Posts
- Pin to pinterest
- Email out to newsletter
When I am planning my week I make sure to batch all that I am going to do so that I am not going back and forth and wasting time. I am a HUGE proponent for batching your work time. I find that batching (or simply doing one task for a long period of time or projects before moving to another) is the most effective way to do things.
I encourage you to start with mapping out your week and a focus area for each DAY. If you only have enough time to do the actions for 1 blog, great! If you can write 2-3 during that day, amazing! Do whatever works best in your schedule and fits for you!
Here is an example of how I schedule my week
Sunday: Outline Blog
I normally don’t work much on Sundays, so I do this on my phone in Evernote while we watch GOT. I also casually do this over the weekend when ideas come to me
This is my BIG writing day, I write all my drafts out and then leave them to come back to. It’s always best to come back and edit another day, not after staring at the same post for a while.
Tuesday: Edit, Insert Links, Graphics
When editing my blogs, I am reminded of links i want to reference, affiliate programs I want to share and where I’d like to insert a graphic or two.
Wednesday: Work on my freebie/download
This takes me much longer than I’d care to admit sometimes because I want to be able to share amazing content with my readers and honestly, I’m not that great at graphics! If you can afford to use Fiverr or hire a designer I recommend to cut your work time. This is also the day I make any landing pages or email sequences for this new freebie I need.
Thursday: SEO/Create social share posts and email blasts
I take the time to prewrite and schedule out any posts I will use to promote my blogs.
Friday: Project Work Time.
I HIGHLY recommend scheduling one day a week to just work on the fun projects you want! I have a few ebooks and courses that bring in extra income from my blog, and I know that if I never scheduled anytime to actually do them, they’d still be up in my brain
Planning Your Time
Now that you have a general idea of what you are going to focus on each day, go back to your calendar and pick the times each day you will work. I do this on Sunday for the entire week. The times I schedule out don’t always work perfectly but at least I made an attempt. Blogging IS my full time job and I need to treat it as such. And, if you want to make it your full time job too (on top of being mama of course!) then you need to put those types of work hours in NOW so that you can live that life ASAP!
Right now, I am super blessed because my husband also works from home so it gives me some freedom and flexibility to not have to hire a sitter so that I can work. On either Mondays (writing day) or Wednesday (freebie day) I will go out of the house to Starbucks to work for 2-3 hours and hubby stays with the kiddos. If you can’t do that, and hiring a sitter one time a week is out of the budget, then be creative with the hours you have.
I get up at 5am for my mental health and self care time. It’s when I workout, pray, read, SHOWER (seriously… if I don’t do it before the kids get up, it’s not happening!) and get myself ready for the day. If my kids miraculously are still asleep when I am done with those things, I’ll answer emails or do a little blog odds and ends.
The bulk of my work time is during nap! Currently, my kids only sync up for nap for around 45 min-1 hour a day and that’s not always the case. So when I do have that time I HUSTLE! I get to work, scarf down my lunch and get my task list done. (ALWAYS come to the table to work with a list of what you plan to accomplish, you can see my example below!) If those things don’t get done during my planned work time (because you know .. .life happens) then those are the days I stay up a little later.
This is one of the best parts of being a mom blogger… you get decide how long and when you work! Just make sure you make the most use of your time!
Here is the example of my week and how I plan out WHAT i am doing during my work times. You can see they aren’t always the same and trust me, things get carried over, but most of it will get done! I try not to overplan either because it truly will set me up for failure. Work to find the balance between planning to get things done without stressing about it! Like I previously mentioned, getting 2-3 weeks ahead (so spend one weekend writing and getting ahead) will really help your stress levels with your blog! This way, if you have an off week, go on vacation, or have sick kiddos, you don’t have to worry about scrambling for a post to use.
I use my weekly planner to plan my work times and then use my blog planner to plan exactly WHAT I am doing during that time. If you like to work electronically, you can create an awesome list on the WUNDERLIST app! You can make these things repeat each week so you don’t have to retype of re insert them anywhere.
I hope this helped you feel like, no matter how crazy life is, you can most definitely get it all done as a mom blogger! Want to start planning your weeks and taking more control over your time? Head over and download my blank weekly planner template HERE.