Managing Time Between Work, Blogging and Your Child
If there’s one thing that has really come to light since I’ve started blogging and we’ve moved house, it is the need for time management skills. This is something that I used to struggle with a lot in my younger years, but I’ve become far better at it after working in agencies for years. You see, in agencies, we charge clients for our time, so we need to be able to manage it and use it strategically and carefully. I think this experience I have gained is now starting to really help at home.
So, for all those new parents out there, I thought I’d take a look at what I do in order to manage my time at home. After all, I have to split my time between my day job, my blogging and content writing, my own hobbies and (of course) my daughter. That’s a lot to fit into just 24 hours in a day… Oh, and I need time to eat and sleep too… So yeah, there’s a lot to manage and slot into a very small amount of time.
Now, the first thing that I’ve learnt working in agencies is the need for scheduling of daily tasks. Without this, you’re just kind of floating in limbo, never sure exactly what to do with each day. Whilst this can lead to spontaneous decisions of greatness, more often than not it just leads to confusion, things not getting done or you getting distracted. When time is of the essence, none of those are things that you want to happen.
That’s why, for everything except my daughter, I use a task management system to help me keep track of everything. Personally, I use Asana, but there are loads of different options. I only really went with Asana because it is free for 2 “projects”. I’ve got these set up as “blogging” and “personal”.
The Blogging project basically keeps track of my various posts, planned retro gaming reviews and events that I am planning to attend. I’ve got it connected to my Google Calendar as well so that I can look at my calendar in the morning and see what I’ve got to complete that day. Then, I can use Google Calendar to plan out the day itself, but we’ll get on to that in a bit more detail later.
The Personal project is a huge list of places we plan to visit, things we need to do, games I want to play or test… In other words, it is a list of everything outside of my work and blogging. This allows us to plan out our day excursions or “me time” around everything else. Again, it is connected to Google Calendar so that I can plan out when each of these various different “tasks” will be done, meaning that we can work our life around itself with ease.
Whilst being impulsive with life was great when I was a teenager or young adult, these days it just makes things difficult. For example, if we were to decide to just go out one day on the spur of the moment, it would mean getting all the following things sorted out first.
- My daughter’s “outside clothes”
- My clothes
- My wife’s hair and makeup
- My wife’s clothes
- My daughter’s changing bag
- My daughter’s packed lunch
By the time everything is ready to go, about an hour or so will have passed. When you’ve got limited time to even go outside because of your toddler’s nap times and feeding times, this additional hour of preparation time can have a significant effect on how successful a spontaneous trip out of the house really is.
That’s why we plan a lot of things, but also why we have a routine for regular outings. For example, we have a specific day that we go shopping. This way, we can be prepared in advance and not have to spend an unplanned hour or more getting things ready.
On top of this, we have a set day when the weekly deep house clean takes place. This means that, since the deep clean takes roughly 4 hours, we can plan everything else around it.
Having a routine just makes life easier in the end.
A Blog Planner
This is more of a recent thing and works in conjunction with my Asana projects. Basically, I realised that I spent a lot of my scheduled blogging time trying to think up a topic for that particular day’s post. Thus, I had less time to actually write the post.
Therefore, I now have a Blog Planner, where I can plan out what topics I’ll be covering for each post well in advance.
I schedule some time on a Sunday to sit down and plan out the next week or two so that I am already ahead of the game when it comes to my scheduled time to write. This has meant that I cut down the number of posts I do in a week since I need to spend time planning, but it means that I actually waste less time just thinking of a topic at the last moment.
As mentioned previously, I use Google Calendar a lot. Asana connects to it so that I can see each post, event or trip we have planned and when it is planned for. Then, I can set how much time each individual calendar entry is allowed (for example, 1.5 hours of blogging), and order them around the hours of the day.
Doing this means that I not only know what I am supposed to do each day but that I also know what order I am doing it in and how long I have for each thing.
Working like this has allowed me to maximise the amount of time I spend with my daughter as well, so it will be having a really positive effect on our relationship. This is incredibly important to me as she grows up, so being able to find a way to spend a lot of time with her whilst also getting everything else done was imperative.
And That’s All Folks
Those would be my top 3 tips to start taking control of your time. By putting plans and schedules in place, you can make sure that everything gets done when it needs to be. This makes your life far easier, as it removes the confusion and panic of not being sure what to do each day.
What tips do you have for time management as a parent? Let me know in the comments below!