Blogging & Social Media Tips | Life as a self-employed WAHM | Pro-blogger

Monday, 5 September 2016

Hello September | My chance to gain that elusive work-life balance

September is a fantastic time for fresh starts and even if it's cliche - I'm going to grab this fresh start by the horns! I work from home writing my 4 different blogs, working on long-term brand campaigns and running blogger outreach for various brands. I'm a busy bee! I do like to be busy though and can't ever imagine a life of sitting in front of the TV. What I have noticed, is that I work too much.

When you're self employed it feels as if there is a direct correlation between the number of hours you work and the amount you earn and it is very hard to switch off when you kind of need money to feed and clothe your children. I have realised though that although this may be true in the first year of business, as your business becomes more established, you really don't need to work around the clock and you can still be successful. If anything, time away from your business is GOOD for you. It's good for your health, wellbeing and leaves you feeling refreshed and inspired. I think I am now ready to take a little step back.

In the past year, my working life has pretty much involved working from the minute I wake up in bed until the minute I go to sleep and I think it's time to change. My business is ticking along nicely now and I feel that I can take some of the pressure off myself, so here's my plan for my working day:-

How I am going to achieve a work-life balance

9:30am - 12noon | I know I am most productive in the morning and at night, so I plan to get up, get the kids ready, walk them to school (it's a couple of miles round trip so the exercise does me good), walk my mums dog, do a quick tidy up, make a brew and sit down to work 9:30am - 12noon. This is when I will get most of my writing, brand work and social media scheduling completed.

12noon - 1pm - Lunch break. I am actually going to give myself a lunch break and make sure I eat. Most of the time I look up from my laptop, it's 2pm and lunch has passed so I don't eat anything which isn't healthy for anyone. If I need to pop to the shops, this will be the time to do this (so it's just like having an employed job - yes?)

1pm-2pm - Baking/housework/walk. I am sure I'm not alone in feeling this way, but over the summer it is as if a bomb has been dropped in my house. There is mess EVERYWHERE. I seriously need to declutter and I think spending time doing this will really help us all feel better as a family. I also want to start baking again (we can blame GBBO for that) so I plan to bake for 2 days and declutter/clean for 3 days. On the days where Steve is off work too, we plan to head out for one of our hour power walks. It's nice to have this time just us two and it's good for our health too.

2pm - 2:50pm - Reply to emails/social media. Bloggers receive A LOT of email and I really need to dedicate an hour of my day to clearing my inbox rather than doing it on the move/whenever I can. I hope this will help me to focus and hopefully over time it will stop me from feeling like I NEED to be constantly checking/replying to notifications and emails.

2:50pm-6pm - A full three hours dedicated to the kids. I am SO guilty of working when the kids come home from school and I really don't need to be if I organise my time properly. So I will be picking up the kids (another nice long walk) then we have snack time at home until 4pm followed by homework club 4pm-4:30pm (where they need to read/practice spellings/complete homework) and then I will organise dinner/get them bathed ect.......I plan to completely switch off my laptop and put my phone away during these 3 hours.

6pm - 7:30pm - Another hour and a bit's worth of work. Quite often I receive emails/campaigns at around 5pm or may have some work that needs to be completed ASAP. Once the kids are playing (hopefully happily) or watching TV, I will take this time to complete any outstanding tasks.

7:30pm - Cook our dinner. Steve works until 8pm and he is in charge of cooking on his days off (check out his fantastic recipes if you haven't already). On his work days though, I have in the past been really lazy and will just pop a M&S dine in for 2 meal in the oven (or similar). I am really trying to get out of this habit and have started to teach myself to cook properly from scratch, If you add me on Snapchat (search NEFAMILYFUN) you will be treated to an occasional cook-a-long. I am really enjoying the process of learning a new skill and it's rewarding to create a delicious and nutritious meal from scratch for us both.

8:30pm - 9pm - Blog commenting/reading. I love reading and commenting on blogs (and I think it is good practice to do this too) and dedicating 30 minutes to this every day rather than doing it as and when will hopefully work better.

9pm-11pm - TV time & reading. Steve and I have started reading for 20 minutes before bed and it's something I am really enjoying. Not only does it help you to relax but I think as a writer, it's very important to feed your brain with as much vocabulary as you can. I am currently reading The Mansio which is a collection of short stories and poems inspired by Hadrian's Wall and I'm really enjoying it.

A Plan for weekends

My weekends fall into two categories - Steve is either working the full weekend or he is off the full weekend and this happens on alternative weekends. When Steve is working, I usually have a 'chill' day at home on Saturday and work for around 5 hours of this. I very rarely publish a post over the weekend now and I like that the pressure is completely off. Then on Sunday we will either go out for a walk/to the park/do something fun. On the weekends that Steve is off work, I try not to work at all on a Saturday and we usually have a whole weekend of quality family time.

I do work for a couple of hours on a Sunday evening before X Factor as it helps me to get prepared for the week ahead and I don't think I am ready to regularly incorporate a FULL weekend away from work just yet.

Obviously, my days might sometimes look different to this, especially when I have meetings or events to attend (or a sneaky lunch with the girls) but I am hoping that I can mostly stick to my plan.

So, according to my schedule, I should be only actually working for 32 hours every week. Eeeek! It feels like I work double that at the moment so let's hope I can pull this off. I REALLY want to achieve a better work-life balance and I am hoping my plan will help.

Let me know if you have any tips for achieving a good work-life balance.



  1. That would be an AMAZING schedule if you pull it off. That's why I want this to become a job for me by time both my kids are in school. It would be awesome! Good luck with it.

  2. This definitely sounds like a fantastic schedule! Good luck xx

  3. Great ambition - will be interesting to see how you go. I really struggle with this, always more to do.

  4. Sounds like you have a great plan in place. Good luck!

  5. Sounds like a great plan. 32 hour week sounds a lot better than working all hours :-) Good luck x

  6. It's all just about working smarter not harder and you really can do it, in fact I think you could probably cut it down to even less, I haven't counted how many hours a week I work and I know some days I can work 17 hours in a day if I have a wedding but genuinely some days I do a couple of hours!

  7. As I've been a freelancer for the past 10 years, I completely understand you. Good luck with the balance this month :)

  8. I'm new to this gig. Currently 1/3 of the way through the Digital Mums course with a view to freelancing in January. My main revelation has been understanding when I am at my most productive. For me waking up very early (5.30am - eek) means I can get a lot of work completed first thing. Although working from home has its challenges it feels like such a luxury to be able to shift working patterns to suit. I'm looking forward to hearing how you get on.

  9. What a great plan. I think blogging/social media is so tricky because the line of work/enjoyment/obsession can become very quickly blurred. I think the worst is when I just 'putter' around on the computer so in the end I haven't a)relaxed or done something non-work but I also haven't gotten anything done. I am inspired to try a proper schedule too!

  10. I work as a virtual assistant so all my work is done from home too. I really need to create a schedule for myself like you have. I overworked myself today without any breaks and I got the worst headache, so I really need to plan my days better!

  11. This sounds fantastic. I really feel I need to set myself a routine. I find I get so stressed with the kids around and muddling work when really if I dedicated time to each there wouldn't be that stress! I need to be more disciplined!

  12. Work life balance is so important - I have a full time job and post regularly, as well as doing extra freelance work so it can get really overwhelming at times!

    Milly // Mini Adventures

  13. I loved reading this post Sam, and it sounds as if it will work perfectly for you and your family. I quite fancy devising a schedule for myself too. It is so easy to sit on the settee with your laptop and grunt occasionally at the husband. I work 10 hours a week and love being able to blog on the 3 other days when the kids are at school. But I still think I need a proper schedule x

  14. My work/life balance went out of the window. Because I choose my own shifts at work, sometimes I have weeks where I have terrible shifts and end up burning myself out, doing nothing on blog, like the last week. I need a kick up the butt!


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