When I discovered blogging a few years ago, I would spend hours surfing the web, learning how to customize my blog, searching for that perfect template, as well as reading a million other blogs. Except for when I was at work, I had plenty of time to do all of this.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I wasn’t working and truly had all the time in the world. Sadly, during that pregnancy, besides losing interest in eating, I also lost all interest in blogging.
Now, as a stay at home mom to a very active 18-month old toddler, I’ve started blogging again and find that free time is extremely limited. I don’t think italicizing was enough so let me underline it as well: extremely limited. Yet I feel that I am able to publish higher quality posts than before because I am strategizing and managing my time more wisely.
The main times I get to work on my blog are when my son is napping, between 12pm to 2pm, and when he goes to bed for the night at 7pm. Although in the evenings, by the time I make dinner, eat with my husband and tidy up, it’s usually about 9pm and it’s a huge effort to force myself to sit in front of my laptop when I’d rather just poop out on the couch.
I also need to fit in time to exercise, read for leisure, do housework, and time to spend with my husband and friends.
I hope to have more free time when my son goes to nursery in a few years. In the meantime, here are three time management tools that I utilize and that have proven successful for me. Guru-dom, here I come.
Tip #1: Create a Blogging Schedule
I set a target of two posts per week and strategize around that.
As a food blogger, I have to plan out what I want to create in the kitchen a day or two ahead in advance so that I can have all the ingredients ready. Since I use natural lighting for my photography, I can only photograph my food during daylight hours. As soon as my son goes down for his afternoon nap, I have two hours to prepare the ingredients, cook the dish, plate it up, and photograph the results. If I’m lucky, I even get to clean everything up before he wakes.
On days when I’m not cooking or photographing, I use his nap time to edit photos and draft posts. My mind is freshest in the mornings and afternoons so I try to get the bulk of my blogging done during those times when the creative juices are flowing. Evenings, when I’m drained, I mostly edit and proofread.
Tip #2: Limit Time Wasters
I can easily spend hours on Facebook, Twitter, and reading all the links that come out of those two sites. Sometimes, at noon, I sit down at my computer with the intention of banging out a blog post but before I know it, my son has woken up from his two-hour nap and I haven’t even touched or started a draft.
I now limit the time I log on to Facebook and Twitter to twice per day – once in the morning when I get up, and once in the evening if I get all my blogging work done. It takes a lot of willpower but I find that I’m so much more productive if I can manage it.
Tip #3: Blog On the Go
My iPhone has been a great blogging and time management tool.
Whenever an idea or catch phrase for a blog post comes to mind, I immediately type it up using my iPhone’s note app. I have separate notes for blog ideas, blog-specific to-dos, and sometimes I even draft a blog post on my note app and then email it to myself so that I can copy and paste it to WordPress. If I wait until I’m in front of my laptop, I find that I either can’t remember the idea or can’t get the wording as perfect as when I had first thought of it.
I get many of my ideas while driving and since I can’t type and drive, I utilize my iPhone’s voice memo app. I record my ideas as I think of them and then type them up later. In fact, I recorded most of this post as I was driving home from the gym.
I also get a lot of ideas when I’m in the shower – if only the iPhone came as a waterproof version!
What are your time management tips and how do you successfully fit in blogging, family, and “me” time?