Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Guest Post: Time Management for Blogging Mamas

Today's guest post is from Rachel, who blogged at DIYMommy, Modern Mommyhood, and Small Red Kitchen prior to bloggy burnout. She is recovering nicely and plans to blog at Life Off the Shelf evermore. Thanks, Rachel.

The baby is crying, dinner is bubbling over on the stove, your husband is working overtime, and there’s still a pile of laundry that needs washed. Your “to do” list is long and daunting, and you’re out of milk again, but you’re in your pajamas! After more than a few days in a row like this, you throw up your hands and say, “Something’s gotta go!” And it’s usually your blog.

This was me. Three times.

Just about two years ago, I started blogging. I gave up on three blogs before I finally figured out what I was lacking: time management.

For me, blogging wasn’t just writing a post every day. It was also reading blogs, commenting on blogs, social networking, teaching myself HTML, taking photos, participating in memes and carnivals, and interacting with readers. Like most bloggers, I wanted to promote myself because I thought I had something good to share. But it’s a lot of work, and a lot of time on the computer.

Once I found my niche and decided to dedicate myself to blogging, I immediately got myself organized. Since then, I’ve been able to fit in blogging (and all that extra stuff) without complicating the rest of my life. The following steps helped me tremendously:

Set goals for your blog. When you have a written plan, it’s so much easier to stay on track. Decide what you want to get out of blogging. Do you want to make friends? Do you want to make money? Maybe you just want to write for YOU. Make small goals that you want to complete this month. Then make larger goals you want to reach by the end of this year. Where do you want your blog to be in 2010?

Brainstorm post ideas. It’s not a good idea to turn on the computer every morning and stare at the screen until you come up with a post for the day (although, you know, it happens sometimes). Sit down with a cup of coffee at the beginning of the month, and make a list of posts you’d like to write. Then go back through and organize them. I usually put a star next to ideas that will require more research, a ‘P’ next to those that will need pictures, and I underline posts that will be short and sweet and easy to put together.

Make a Calendar. I like to use Google Calendar. I schedule my posts appropriately each month for the following month. Be sure to schedule time to promote your blog, work on your design, etc. Schedule BREAKS (yes, days with no computer) as well. Now you know what next week will look like, and you can work ahead!

Plan computer time. This can be difficult, but it is doable. When are the best times to work on your blog that won’t interfere with your other responsibilities? If you’re a mom, that probably means the wee small hours of the morning, nap time, and bedtime. Choose one or two of those times to work, but not all three! Set a timer for an hour or thirty minutes and STOP when your time is up. The same goes with reading blogs (I could spend hours reading them). And remember – if you don’t have time to join in someone’s Mr. Linky, don’t do it. You’ll survive, I promise!

Keep things organized and you’ll have no problem staying on top of your blog. Make lists. Weed out your feed reader once in a while. Take time to clean your inbox - EMPTY it – it’s a beautiful thing.

Want to write a guest post for BlogCoach.org? Email me with your idea!