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It seems like there is never enough time in the day to get it all done. Learn how to prioritize and make time for what you really love to do.
In the almost two years that I’ve been blogging, the question I get asked most often is “How do you find time to blog?”
The truth is, I really don’t ever “find” any time to do it. I have to create the time myself, or there would be no blogging (and my husband would be a whole lot happier, but that’s a tale for another time!).
First of all, I think people might assume that I spend more time writing a blog post than I actually do. However, once I have an idea in my mind, it is a very quick process for me to get those thoughts into a post. Maybe an hour, tops (depending on the subject matter, of course).
What takes time are things like creating attractive, pinnable images for the posts, scheduling social media promotion of them, and doing the other mundane tasks associated with having a blog.
Still, it does end up taking up a considerable amount of time when it’s all said and done, especially now that I’m trying to make my blog a credible source of income.
Before I give my tips, here’s a quick background of what my days usually consist of, so you can see where I’m coming from…
I’m a stay-at-home mom of a three-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son. I’m 22 weeks pregnant with my third child, another boy. My husband works a pretty standard 8-5:30ish schedule, travels occasionally, works late occasionally, and is a very hands-on parenting partner when he’s home.
I do all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and shopping. Add on entertaining the children, walking the dog, exercising, and my own social life and my schedule is pretty much full.
And now for my 7 Tips for Making Time for What You Love!
- Create the time. If I just went with the flow of the day, following my kids’ and husband’s whims, I would basically just be servicing them all day long. There is always going to be something or someone else calling my name, but I am willing to push that aside for my own personal time. Obviously I’m not talking about ignoring my kids if they are hungry and crying while I’m trying to take twenty minutes to write a blog post. But if my daughter asks me to watch Strawberry Shortcake with her on the couch, I’m fine with telling her “No, Mommy has some work she wants to do right now”…because I am wise enough to know that a free window of opportunity isn’t just going to magically appear every day. I have to create it.
- Get up earlier. I’m a natural early riser, so this isn’t very hard for me. My kids usually wake up anywhere from 6:15 to 7:00, which used to be when I woke up. Now I have been making a conscious effort to wake up at 5:30 and accomplishing some things. Truth be told, it’s one of my favorite parts of the day. It’s still dark outside, the house is quiet, and I get to enjoy an entire cup of coffee without being distracted by someone. When I have my coffee later in the morning, I end up having to reheat it at least 2-3 times. Am I right? (Sidenote: I was at my friend’s house last week and she didn’t have a microwave. I was flabbergasted..”But how do you reheat your coffee?!” I kept thinking.) Even if the early morning hours aren’t the time when you can do what you love, like go for a bike ride or take a knitting class, you can still use the extra hour(s) to get your other tasks accomplished.
- Just say no. I’m willing to bet this is a hard one for a lot of women, because we feel like we have to (should?) do everything that we are asked. I used to say yes to lots of playdates with my friends over an hour away, even though it was a real b**** to drive up there and back with the kids. Now I just remind myself that I don’t live up in North Jersey anymore so I don’t have to keep up with all the social gatherings of my friends up there, as sad as that may be. (Miss you guys!) Or maybe you get asked to volunteer for various charities or school committees. Guess what? You can’t say yes to all of them. Your time is precious. Running yourself ragged just because you don’t want to say no to a friend isn’t good for anyone. Figure out a way to help out that isn’t time consuming.
- Make it count. Schedule your time wisely! My three-year-old goes to daycare two full days a week, so on those two days, I have precious hours of free time when my son naps. Last week, I stupidly scheduled one of my OB appointments for during his nap time. You can bet I won’t make that mistake again! I lost out on a glorious three hour window of time because I had to go for my check-up. And of course, when I got home, my son was just waking up from his nap. An hour earlier than usual and just in time for my husband to return to work after watching him. Thanks. Next time, I will make my appointment during the morning hours so I still have the nap window for my own stuff.
- Have a daily routine. I spent so many days of stay-at-home-motherhood aimlessly wasting time…a little Facebook here, some Pinterest there, lots of Bravo shows…I felt like there was never enough time to get things done. Umm actually, there was plenty of time, but I was wasting it. Having a routine of when I meal plan, when I grocery shop, when I do the laundry, etc. has helped me tremendously.
- Ask for help. If getting a half hour each day to exercise is important to you, it should be important to those who support you, as well. Or maybe you need that happy hour with the girls each Thursday night. Whatever it is, just ask. According to a therapist I once had, all that most guys want is for their partners to be happy…really! Chances are, if it’s an easy fix, your husband will have no problem letting you close your office doors for a kid-free hour or escaping to book club when you need to. Don’t have a husband? How about asking a parent or a friend for help? If child care’s what you need in order to do what you love, offer to swap with a neighbor.
- Multitask. No, I don’t mean paying bills on your cell while driving. But be creative– get the boring stuff done during non-traditional ways. Yesterday I blew up our bouncy house in the yard (possibly one of the best parent purchases of my career), tossed the kids inside, and folded laundry. Outside. In front of my neighborhood. Did I look insane? Possibly. But my kids are thankfully getting to an age where they will play together somewhat-happily for a good six or seven minutes before the crying starts. So that’s my chance and I seize it!
And all of these help me to create the time I need later for doing what I love.
So what is it that YOU love to do? Want to run a half-marathon but don’t think there’s time for training? Want to start a blog?