Detailed strategies to getting all the work done when you're a work from home mom
You know what the problem with many of these posts titled "How I Earn Thousands Per Month As A SAHM and Blogger" are? They give you bogus tips. They say things like, "stay organized!" and "work during nap time!" and other obvious, no-brainer things. Generally, I don't learn much from them. So I thought I'd write my own non-bogus post about how I get all the work done when I have two kids under two and work from home to boot.
I'm going to get into the details here. No vagueness! I've seen this question come up multiple times in the last few months in some of my "mommy" blogging groups and I know it's on many women's minds. It applies to non-mom's too - y'all just have the added benefit of NOT having a major distraction on your hands! But the organizational tools can apply to you too. Fear not, non-mamas - read on!
Alright, so here's the deal: Last summer I monetized this blog, and quickly climbed into the thousands of dollars per month range. It doesn't come close to replacing my former income, but it's a solid part-time income that I'm happy about. With that comes responsibilities, as I outlined in this post about monetizing. (If you want to know how to monetize a blog, check that one out.) Here's exactly how I manage it all:
First, you have to get rid of "distraction work":
You have to hire some things out. We have a housekeeper come every other week. This means I don't need to spend any time doing deep cleaning - I just need to stay on top of the dishwasher and wipe down surfaces. Aint no work at home mom got time for no mops! Hire that out. We also hire out a gardener. While we don't have a large yard, I certainly don't have time to mow an ever-green lawn. If you're in Dallas, you know that most of us do this because 1) it's super affordable here in Texas and 2) who wants to mow a lawn when it's 115 in the sun by 8am for half the year? #nothanks Basically, hire out side work. As much as you can. Hire out cleaning, mowing, laundry, whatever you can/can afford. This stuff is only a distraction from your two main jobs: being a mom and blogging (or whatever you do professionally from home).
Ok, so the side work is out of the way. Now for how I get the babies taken care of and my blog written and promoted:
- I keep a strict sleep schedule. I'm not kidding y'all, I do NOT play around with bedtime! The clock strikes 7pm and those buggers are down (click here to see how I do it). And you know what? Even my one month old was on board with this after two weeks! This of course enables me to have guaranteed distraction-free time to blog. If my husband is traveling, I'll write posts and finish up post promotion. If he's in town, I just wrap up post promotion so that we can spend time together. I do this until I go to bed, sometime at or before 10pm. I usually have my laptop open AND my iPhone 6 Plus going at once during this time. Phone is used to catch up on Twitter and Instagram threads; laptop is used for Pinterest, Stumble Upon and replying to blog emails. God gave me two hands and I use them to their fullest potential during this time.
- Nap time is for photos. If I know that I can spend 7pm-10pm writing and promoting, then I need some "non baby daytime" to get all my photos in. My kids nap at 11am so this works well - I have light! I try to get as many photos done for both my blog and Instagram during this time. It's way to hard to stage everything and then have grubby toddler hands swoop in and ruin it, so use your nap time for essential kid-free activities.
- Mornings are for linking blog promotion threads. We get up at 7am (sounds luxurious but I've only slept about 5 hours from nighttime feedings) and have breakfast. Afterwards, Henry likes to play in our playroom. He's content with building blocks and train sets, and Otto is only awake for an hour before he's ready to pass out again. So he's in a bassinet at my side while Henry plays, and I get to linking up my post in various blog promotion threads found in Facebook blogging groups. I have a tab open for every social media channel with the direct link ready to be copied and pasted. This way, I can go from group to group and link myself up without having to find the link again! It takes about 30 minutes when you're organized and ready to go with your links handy.
- I use my phone throughout the day to stay on top of blog promotion and emails. If I'm nursing Otto, better believe I'm on that phone reading emails. Or retweeting tweets. Pinning pins. All that good stuff, just to stay on top of it - and so I don't have hours of promotion work to catch up on at 7pm. *Note* see how much time I spend promoting? That's necessary if you want to make the income I'm making as a blogger. 80% (or more) of my time is promoting my work. The other 20% Is simply creating the work to be promoted.
- Never be unprepared. You NEED an editorial calendar! I have mine scheduled out about a month, with lots of wiggle room for sponsored posts (that you typically only get a few days to a week advance notice on). This is essential because you never want to have a nap time where you're sitting at your laptop thinking, "I don't know what to write about..." or you're with your DIY photography backdrops and you're like, "I don't know what to take a pic of..." When you're planned out, you always know what you need to write about or take photos of! Always. I have a running list of blog post ideas and my editorial calendar to space them out so I don't have too many essential oil posts clustered together, or talk too much about baby items at once.
- Don't stress when your day derails. Because it will, if you have children around. Someone will get sick or some jerk will ring your doorbell and ruin nap time, right as you got your cute outfit ready to be photographed. Try to roll with it. One of the greatest things about this type of work is that we have such flexible schedules. So be flexible. Sometimes a play date will pop up in my texts and I think, "To hell with blog promotion, it's time for some fun!" My kids (like all children) do extremely well with routine, but sometimes a little veering off course is the best way to get through the day.
That's how I do it folks! We also get a workout in mid-morning, after I get all my links linked up in promotion threads. That's my sanity and my socialization time, so I'm not a shut-in who only talks to people via the internet or who only speaks to toddlers and babies. That's not fun for anyone! Clearly, you have to hire out mundane tasks so your day can be filled with beneficial activities and you need to be well thought out, prepared, intentional and flexible. It's not easy with two kids under two and working from home, but it CAN be done. And earning thousands per month as a SAHM and blogger is really the best job combination there is!