I’m a big supporter of having a blog as a side hustle and keeping it on the side rather than trying to turn it into a full-time gig. But when you work full-time, blog on the side, and have a family and social life, it can be really hard to balance everything.
Over the past few years as my life has evolved and my responsibilities have changed, I’ve learned some things about balancing a job, a blog, and a family. It’s not an easy task, but when you keep a few main things in mind, it gets much easier.
Know That You Can’t Do Everything Every Day
I recently read about the supposed “Pick Three” mentality on Lovely Indeed, and, like Chelsea, I agree with some of it and disagree with some of it. The idea is, there’s a list of overall categories of things you can work on (work, sleep, family, fitness, and friends) and you can only have three of those things in any given day.
I don’t think reality is quite so rigid, but I wholly agree with the idea behind it: you can’t accomplish everything every single day. You’re not going to be able to work an 8-9 hour day at work, crank out a blog post, spend as much time with your family as you want, make a homemade dinner, take care of your hygiene, and get 8 hours of sleep that night.
But you know what? That’s totally okay. Because that means you get some variety in your day, so you (hopefully) don’t get bored.
The biggest thing is deciding what your priorities are for the day, and don’t feel guilty when you don’t get to the other parts of your life.
Don’t prioritize your job and your family, and then put “draft a blog post” on your to do list and feel guilty when you don’t cross it off. That’s just setting yourself up for failure. Accept that your blog isn’t a priority that day and keep those tasks off of your list, until you decide it can be a priority.
Once you’ve decided on your priorities, communicate what they are with your significant other, your family, and whomever else it might impact. That way they know how much to expect from you on a given day.
If you decide that you’re not going to work on your blog today, so you want to spend your entire evening with your family, let them know so they don’t plan other things for that time. And similarly, if you are planning on working on your blog for an hour or two this evening, communicate that with them so they don’t get their hopes up for a family game night.
Plus, if you’re struggling to find time to work on your blog, let them know that it’s bothering you. If you don’t tell them, they have no idea! And chances are, they’ll want you to find time to work on it so you’re not silently resenting them for it.
Schedule Time for Things
One thing that has helped me and Sean a lot is scheduling time for things like blogging, house projects, and date nights.
We’re creatures of habit, so we’ve designated certain days of the week for certain things. For example, every Tuesday we go to a movie, and every Thursday we go rock climbing. Having this schedule means I know not to expect any blogging work to get done on those days.
If your family is like us, it could be really useful for your family to have designated times or days when you prioritize your blog over family time. Maybe your kids already have practice on a certain day, so you know you won’t be missing out on time with them. Or maybe your favorite Mexican place has an unbeatable special every Monday, so you can get takeout instead of cook at home, and everyone can fend for themselves.
Having it on the calendar helps you mentally decide what your priorities are for the day, and helps prevent anyone from making you feel guilty about prioritizing your passion project every once in a while.
Once you’ve determined how best to allocate time to all of your priorities, the next thing you need to do is come up with an organizational system for your life.
Whether that means digital, paper, or a combination of the two, find a system that works best for you so you know where everything is. Appointments, tasks for all of the facets of your life, notes from meetings and webinars, mail… there should be a process for taking care of and organizing everything.
When you have a lot going on in your life, it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. Having a solid system will mean you know where you’re supposed to be at all times, you don’t over-book yourself, and you know what projects you need to work on.
Take a Break When You Need To
Self-care is incredibly important. It doesn’t matter if you crank out all the things for two weeks straight while sacrificing sleep and your mental health, because you’re likely going to burn out and spend even longer recuperating.
There are plenty of ways you can take a break if you need it. Take a sick day or a vacation day from work. Schedule “me time” away from your job, blog, and family. Take a hiatus from your blog and/or social media.
Whatever that break looks like to you, make sure to do it if you need to. There’s no point in pursuing a blog if it gets in the way of your mental health.
Cut Yourself Some Slack
And finally, cut yourself some slack. You’re only one person, and you have to be your own advocate.
That quote about how you have the same amount of hours in the day as Beyonce? It’s just not true. Sure, you both have 24 hours, but she’s got a whole team of people helping her, so she has a bunch of other people’s 24 hours, too. You don’t.
So don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get everything done or need to take a break. Do what’s best for you, including cutting yourself a little slack.
Balancing a job, a blog, and your family isn’t easy. But with some prioritization, communication, and self-love, it can be at least a little bit easier.