Have Blog, Need Life – How to Be Successful Without Letting It Take Over

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Having a successful blog can be a dream come true. You get to work from home, write and curate material about a subject you love dearly, grow creatively, connect with likeminded people, and devise brilliant new business models for monetizing your efforts. Plus, you get to say lines like, “They like me! They really like me!”

But running your own business – and that’s just what running a blog is, if you get right to the heart of it – can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to have anything resembling work-life balance when it all comes down to you. How, then, can you stay productive while still having a life?

The secret: give yourself strict limits, work as hard as you can within a set time frame, and close your laptop. To get started, we recommend reading this great productivity guide for a few great tips that will keep you on top of those daily tasks, and also taking these top 5 tips to heart as well.

1) Master Your Inbox

Whether it’s a standard technique like Inbox Zero or a hybrid of a few, mastering that inbox is key to work productivity. But that doesn’t mean instantly answering everything that comes through; in fact, even taking one minute for a quick reply can seriously interrupt workflow, especially if multiplied across many emails across the day. Instead, consider turning off access to your inbox with apps like SelfControl or to your internet entirely with Freedom.

Then schedule time to check your email like it’s just any other task, immediately replying to, labeling or filing each one, rather than letting them pile up. If you use Gmail, use labels and filters to automatically categorize and file regular email types; an industry newsletter, for instance, you might not need to read immediately, so it’s fine to archive it before it hits your inbox, and you can read it at a later time. You’ll be amazed how much more quickly you’ll process email when you do so in batches.

2) Learn to Say No to Coworkers Who Demand Your Time

Perhaps you run your blog with a partner, or maybe it’s guest posters and advertisers who demand a lot of your time. Whoever it is, being in business for yourself means learning how to say no. That’s easier said than done at first, because most likely you’ve grown your blog by saying yes to any opportunities that came your way. But now that you’ve got a good sense of what you’re good at, what you enjoy doing, and what does and does not work for your blog, don’t be afraid to turn things down, or to at least delay them to a later date when you might have more time. If it helps, think of your time like an orange. There are only so many slices to give out, and when each slice is gone, there isn’t any getting it back. Do you want to spend your life giving it away for free, or do you want to get something in return, and have time for your family and for yourself?

3) Set Specific Boundaries

All of that said, the most likely time thief is you. You can see it right in the term: when you work from home, it’s so hard to draw the boundaries between work and home. Perhaps you regularly decide to clean out the tub to avoid doing the accounting, or maybe it’s “just sneaking in” another hour of work after the kids have gone to bed…and pushing back your own bedtime by an hour, leading to a groggier tomorrow. While it may be tempting and sometimes even helpful to blur those boundaries, it’s best to set a very specific schedule and stick to it. It may feel weird at first, but try building downtime into your schedule, whether that’s planning a lunch date with a friend or just a regular slot like, “Chill Out Friday Afternoons” or, “Do Something Special with the Kids Wednesday Evenings” that you can fill as you please.

The same goes for your physical space, too. Try to work in an office, not from bed, and establish clear rules about the time of day family members can disturb you, so it’s not just open season on your time. You’ll be surprised at how accommodating and thankful the people you work and live with will be when you set and clearly communicate those boundaries, rather than lashing out as you feel yourself losing control.

4) Let Go of the Desire for Perfection

Our culture has created a ridiculous idea about what it’s humanly possible for working moms to do. We’re supposed to be super successful at work and always be there for the kids with peanut butter cookies and do it all in heels. While walking backwards. And singing. But the only people who can actually do that are hiding a secret…They’ve got extra help. These days, you don’t have to be wealthy to get at least some of the same resources on your side. While asking relatives to babysit or help you cook is always an option, don’t be afraid to outsource domestic duties like housecleaning, or work duties like data entry to someone online. Virtual assistants are becoming increasingly trustworthy and popular options as well. If you’re worried about the expense, think of how much you can make in an hour if you’re working and compare that to the time cost for doing that chore. If, say, you make $50/hr, and you know it will take you three hours to clean the house, that’s $150 right there. How much would it be for a house cleaner? And for a little peace of mind.

5) Don’t Feel Guilty About Not Working

Yes, when it comes to your blog, it is all down to you. But that doesn’t mean that the blog is going to explode if you take a break once in a while – and we’re talking vacations here, too, not just sleeping at night. If you need more justification, just remember that taking breaks is rejuvenating, and you can only push yourself so hard before you need a recovery. Chances are, when you return to work on the blog, you’ll have more creative ideas than before you took your break.

Additionally, when you’re really feeling drained, take a step back and evaluate all of the activities in your life for how much they give and how much they take. Have you outgrown anything? Is there something that used to give you more and now is just a mental drain? Don’t be afraid to let go, even if you’ve committed to something. Because your energy is like an orange, too. Save a slice or two for yourself.

Running your own blog is an exciting and stimulating adventure, and it’s a great means for independence, too. But if you are your brand, you have to keep that brand healthy and relaxed. So, close out of that email, kick back, and let go once in a while – for the blog’s sake.


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  1. Great tips and advice, with my job there was never any down time I was on call 24/7 but then my job title was “mum” now it is “mum & nanna” but at least I do have some down time now days……….

  2. Susan Cooper says:

    You are absolutely right when you say that having a blog is running your own business. It is so hard to balance work and home life. You have some wonderful tips. 🙂

    • It is like running a business depending on what your blogging goals are. I’m if you treat it like a business it would be more profitable for those that are trying to make money at it.

  3. Susan Cooper says:

    Boy can I relate to all that you’ve said. I have been a bit overwhelmed of late, partly because of my own doing, party because of the normal life challenging and finding a balance between the two. I marvel at how you do it all so seamlessly, but then again looking outside in never really tells the whole story does it. 🙂

    • I’ve been super overwhelmed too. I recently lost my contracting job I loved and I was out of town. It’s hard to keep on top of all my online stuff when I am out of my routine.

  4. Geek Girl says:

    Yeah, trying to be perfect. Been struggling with that one forever. 🙂

  5. I feel like writing a blog should be fun and exciting, if it is getting to the point where it is overly stressful or taking up too much of your time I agree it is time to step back and breathe for a little bit!

  6. Hola BackGrinder says:

    One thing I would mention, running your blog as a business means handling sales and customer service, and while you don’t need to answer everything right this second you need to plan on checking e-mail often and giving fast, accurate responses to all business correspondence. I’ve been on both sides of this equation. Blogs are small affairs, and I can tell you from experience if a blogger blows off an e-mail from an ad buyer it can get them tagged as unprofessional, and possibly untrustworthy. Running your blog as a business means taking care of all aspects of the business.

  7. These tips couldn’t come at a better time. I often feel overwhelmed by my commitments. And it’s so true, you do have to save a slice or two of life for yourself because if you burnout or get sick, nothing is going to work out the way you wanted. So you have to be ok with taking time away from business tasks now for the greater good of all your interests.

  8. Kelly Wade says:

    I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to try and balance work and life, when your work basically is your life. Blogging for those who use it as their main income source seems to be a 24/7 thing. Setting boundaries and treating it more like a job seems like the best way to manage it.

  9. Tommy Tan says:

    I find blogging very enjoyable. The only problem is managing the time to blog and my work life.

    • I think it’s fun too. It’s all a juggling act I supposed whether you are dealing with a blog and kids/work or both.

  10. I need to bookmark this page and reference it at least once a week! Every weekend I feel guilty for taking the weekends off from posting and daily I get frustrated with myself for getting sucked into working on the blog and having no free time left. Thanks for posting.

  11. Jon Jefferson says:

    Time is the great equalizer. No matter what we all have only 24 hours in any given day. How we use those 24 hours will determine what we get from our lives. As you have pointed out, there are a good number of ways to use or lose our precious time.

  12. Thanks for putting things into perspective. In just over a year of blogging, I’m amazed how my attitudes have shifted. Trying to have a successful blog is certainly just like running a business. Hopefully I’m past the steepest part of the learning curve!

  13. Great Article! Its very true that these are things that every blogger must face. Quite a few of them, I’m still learning to adapt to. I started seriously blogging about a year ago, and I never dreamed that it would turn into all that it has. Don’t get me wrong, I totally love it, but it really has been time consuming, so I’ve been trying to find ways to work smarter, not harder…so this post really helps me alot!

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