I think that being a blogger is one of the best hobbies/jobs I have ever had. No, seriously. I make my own hours, I accept assignments or choose topics that I want to write about, and I can blog from anywhere due to the wonderful advances in technology. What I also have to take into account is that I have other responsibilities: my family, my home, and my extracurricular activitities. This is why I know that when I create a writing schedule for myself, I know that it will be shuffled, and I will have to reschedule my schedule from time to time in order to make everything happen while blogging from home.
Below is a list of things I do in order to make my writing schedule work for me.
1. Get To Know Your Boss’ Schedule
I have three kids, two of them are too young to go to school. I could have both of my kids in daycare or in a pre-school, but I really enjoy being a stay-at-home parent. I love taking care of them, and being around them. They are everywhere and into everything, but that is what kids do at this age, and they learn from exploring their world. This is why I take this fact into consideration when taking on assignments and planning when I am going to write posts. Since they are my world, they are also my “bosses”. So getting to know their schedule can then help me figure out approximately how much time during the day I have to write. A typical day looks like this:
• Wake up
• Entertain (colouring, playing with toys, reading, listening to music, TV time)
• Park/Bike Ride
• Snack/Lunch 1
• Lunch/Snack 2
• Entertain while making dinner/bath/family time
• Quiet Time
It may not look like a lot happens in throughout their day, but trust me, it does! This is why I need to know where their heads are and what they are like in order to get a sense of when I can fit in time to write. This schedule could get flipped around a bit if one or both of them have an appointment, have a bad night’s sleep/grumpy day, become sick, or if we have company over to visit. We try to stick to this schedule for them in order for them to have some stability in their day as well. Most days are good, and I can use their schedule as a base to make my schedule.
2. You Schedule Should NEVER Be a Firm One
Just as your kids’ schedule will never run like clockwork, neither should your writing schedule. There will be times that life decides to throw a monkey wrench into your plans, and it could take you away from your writing schedule. Your kids could get sick. You have other errands to do during the day. You could get an emergency phone call that you have to deal with. If you had a fixed schedule, any number of these incidents could throw off your schedule, putting you behind.
What I like to do is to set loose guidelines for my deadlines for myself. This way, I try to finish my assignments as close to its actual deadline as possible. For me, it’s like setting my clocks in my home a little bit ahead so I get up and go earlier than I need to so I will not be late. If I do finish a post earlier than I thought I would, this gives me more downtime to hang out with my kids, and it allows me to take on other assignments if I can.
3. Write It Down, Write It Down, Write It Down!
There are times when I could become busy and accept a lot of post requests. To keep up with all of the writing I have to do, as well as the schedules of my kids, I have to write down what has to be done and their deadlines. If I do not write assignments down, something will go through the cracks, and something will be forgotten.
There are many ways of organizing yourself in order to keep track of all of everything you have to do. Me, I write down all of my assignments the old fashion way as well as the newer, tech-friendly way. My desk has a white board where I write down all of my assignments and their deadlines.
Throughout the week, I cross off what I have accomplished or what is awaiting approval, so I get a sense of what is left to tackle on my to-do list. I also jot down post I need to write in my smartphone in my Calendar application.
This way, I can get notifications as to when posts are due and what is coming up later down the road. Both of these methods are so helpful to helping me schedule future posts as well.
4. Learn How To Say “No”
This tip is an easy one to explain. I know it is great to have a lot of proposals given to you, but there are those times that you simply cannot take on more work because of family priorities or other deadlines. Putting too much onto your plate will only stress you out, and you could, potentially, miss a deadline. This could lead to being passed up for future opportunities. It is better to wait for another opportunity to come around than to try to do too much and not be able to do something else.
5. Come Up For Air
As much as getting a lot of writing done every day would be ideal, I do have to think about scheduling “Me Time.” I need some time to decompress from everything that is happening for the day, and I find that I cannot do this by shutting my eyes and falling asleep at night. I work best when I have time peppered throughout the day to not be thinking about a post that has to go out.
I am so glad for when I have these times to shut the “writing machine” down and to think about something else. I am more relaxed, and I may become inspired or think of an idea about something that I will be writing about because I am not writing. Depending on the time of day, I like exploring the world with my kids, having some quite time with my other half, watching my “stories,” checking out my social media sites, or surfing the Internet to find the best GIC rates in Canada for my investments. It could be only be five minutes, but that time away from that post feels great!
So, there you have it! These are my tips I use to reschedule my schedule while at home with my kids. It took a bit of experimentation to figure out what works for me where having some form of a writing schedule down pat, but once I got into (somewhat) of a rhythm, I learned what my limitations are, and how much I could realistically do day-to-day. I also learned how to make fun time for kids, my other half and for myself. These tips do not just pertain to blogging, but to other professions or hobbies you may do while at home with your kids.
What other tips do you have for parents who need help rescheduling their schedules?