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5 blogging hacks that will save you time
So You Can Be A Successful Blogger & Give Your Best To Your Family
Being a Mom is a full time gig
As mom bloggers, we need all the blogging hacks we can get, amirite? All the marketing experts are out there screamin’ that you’ve got to hustle and devote your life to your online business if you want it to succeed.
But being a mom is a full-time gig. You work until you sleep, and then you often work even more b/c a kid needs sometimes need you at 1 am…and again at 4:30 am. You wipe bums and other places you’d never thought you’d find poop. You spend precisely 203 minutes every day, making sure no one starves, fish who knows what out of toilets, and polish your conflict resolution skills hourly. You are a superhero.
But I know a Secret
You wouldn’t have it any other way. Sure, being a mom is harder than you imagined, but you love it. You don’t want to hustle and devote your entire life to your online business while pushing your kids’ needs to the back burner. While important, this business is not your top priority. I get it. I’m living that life too.
As intentional mothers, the time we have for our online businesses is limited – as it should be while we have kids at home. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be successful business owners. It doesn’t mean we can’t spread goodness and light beyond the walls of our home – worldwide even.
I’m going to share a few blogging hacks that I’ve learned since 2008. Pick 1 hack to implement this week. Then, apply a 2nd blogging hack next week, and a 3rd blogging hack the week after that. Eventually, you’ll find that the hours you’ve set aside for your business seem like enough – like you just might be able to balance this whole mommy + blogger thing after all.
Blogging Hack #1 - Keep All your Ideas in one place
This first blogging hack was kinda life-changing for me. I know that is saying a lot, but I’m being real here. I think, as entrepreneurs, we tend to have ideas swimming in our heads ALL. THE. TIME. It can be overwhelming and distracting. It can make it challenging to be truly present with our kids.
So, we try to get our ideas out and written down somewhere. A notebook in the car, one near the shower and another near the bed. Sticky notes all over the desk. Even more notes on our phones, Evernote, Google Keep, the notes app, Mindly. It’s messy, and it makes finding the idea we need – for an article, social media post, podcast episode, product – so time-consuming.
The solution is to keep all your ideas organized in one place. You’ll save time by not always having to find somewhere to record your thoughts. You’ll record more ideas for the same reason. You’ll save time again when trying to figure what to write a blog post about or post to social media – which means you’ll likely do it more often. And the products you do post or the products you create will be higher quality because you’ll have a plethora of ideas to use.
You’ll also feel less stressed – less “all over the place” and be able to focus more on your family. You’ll be more present during family time. Instead of having those ideas taking up all your mental space, you can quickly record them for later and get right back to enjoying your family. This is the #1 blogger hack I recommend.
I use Trello
I use Trello (free!) to track all my ideas. With a Trello account, you can create digital boards that you can access via an app on a phone, tablet, or computer. Each board holds multiple lists.
For example, I have a “social media” board. That board as a list of ideas of questions I can ask, a different list of ideas for quotes I can use, etc. I also have “done” list where I put everything I’ve already posted to social media. Trello (using a powerup called Butler) automatically moves those posts to a new list called “ready to re-post” after 9 months. This way, I can re-use content – I don’t have to come up with an entirely new idea, I only have to tweak an old post a bit.
I have Trello boards for all sorts of business ideas – a blog post board, a product ideas board, a board of ideas to help my coaching clients, etc. I also use Trello for mom/home stuff. I have a board full of books I want to read – categorized by work, parenting, church, marriage, fun. I have a to-do board (lists = to-do today, to-do this week, to-do this month, done and to-do sometime (where I jot down to-do items without figuring out when I’ll do it yet). The possibilities are endless.
I LOVE having one place to record all ideas that pop into my head. I LOVE that it is digital – I can access it anywhere (as long as I have my phone, which I usually do). I can even record ideas via dictation if my hands are busy. Using IFTTT, I can also add things to a Trello board via Alexa.
If Trello doesn’t sound like it would work for you, that’s okay! But pick something! Having all your ideas in one central location is a blogging hack that is well worth the time it takes to get it set up.
Blogging Hack #2 - Set Screentime Limits
This blogging hack was so SO hard for me to commit to, but it has been worth it. I started it in mid-Jan 2020 at the request of my kids. We had a family council, and one of them pointed out that they had screen-time limits, but their Dad and I did not. They wanted us to spend less time on our screens. (ouch) We talked about how parents use their screens for more than 9 to 11-year-old kids do (planning meals, scriptures, exercise, recipes, banking, etc.) and then came to an agreement that I would limit my time on everything else.
I set this up via the native “Screen-time” settings on my iPhone. I had my husband create a pass-code so that I couldn’t override the settings myself. I set specific limits on social media apps and other apps like YouTube TV and podcasts and Marco Polo. I also set my screen-time to turn off at 9 pm and not turn back on until the kids left for school at 9 the next morning. During that time, I can only access things like the weather, my scriptures, and an exercise app I use in the mornings.
While I did it for my kids, it has helped with my productivity in every way, so I include it here as a blogging hack for you. I’m less distracted and more focused. For example, I know I’ve only got 30 minutes on Facebook each day, so when I do get on Facebook, I make it count. I scroll less; I’m much more purposeful. I get the important things done (exercise, scriptures, healthy breakfast) b4 I can access anything else. I sleep better because I have at least an hour of no screen-time before I go to bed. I’ve also found I’m spending more time with my husband in the late evening b/c I’m not distracted by my phone.
Bonus Hack: Use Focus
While not part of the native screen-time settings, I also love using the “Focus” feature on my phone. It allows you to silence all calls, text, and other notifications except for those from any group of contacts I choose. I added my husband and my kids’ school to a group and made that the group that could get through my do not disturb. Then, I set my do not disturb to automatically turn on and off from 9 pm – 9 am, AND I turn it on manually while I’m working.
My ‘focus’ settings allow for distraction-free mornings with my kids, evenings with my husband, and distraction-free work during the day. I LOVE it.
Blogging Hack #3 - Browser Bookmarks
This blogging hack is something I did NOT do with my first two online businesses that I really wish I had. I have done it with this business, and it has given me so much of my time back.
I have very well-organized bookmarks in my browser (I use Chrome) for family stuff AND business stuff. You can see all my folders in the image below:
Each folder has sub-folders and some of those even have subfolders. This way I can quickly find whatever I need online.
This blogging hack will likely take a bit of time for you to implement (if you haven’t already), but it is super-duper worth it. Remember:
All of these blogging hacks are not just places for you to spend your time; they are places for you to invest your time. I probably use those bookmarks 50+ times per day. If I save just 5 seconds each time, that’s nearly 22 hours saved every year. And honestly? I bet it’s more than that. 22 hours is an entire week’s worth of work for me. No way it will take you 22 hours to get those bookmarks set up. This hack is worth your time!
Blogging Hack #4 - Name your Images Wisely
Let me guess? When you save an image from your phone, you leave it as img29082-5938590, amirite?
This isn’t helpful for your SEO, but that is a topic for another post.
There is another reason to change the file name of your images when you save them: it makes them search-able! Have you ever spent 20 minutes trying to find an image you KNOW you took/have, but you can’t remember exactly where you saved it? Or maybe you need a picture with a clock in it (like I did for this post). You’ve purchased lots of stock photography over the years, but sifting through it all to find the right one is taking forever!?
What if instead, you named your images with the overall feeling of the image and what’s in it? Something like “happy desktop keyboard clock notebook”? Then, next time you need a picture of a clock, you’d search “clock,” and all of them will pop up instantaneously. Sweet, right?
Bonus Hack: Enlist your Kids help
Depending on the number of images you have, you may not want to take the time to go back and re-name them all. I had this problem, so I hired my 12-year-old twins to do it for me, and I paid them $5 / hour. Totally worth it!
Blogging Hack #5 - Attach value to tasks
One problem we often run into as bloggers – or really just human beings – is not focusing on what is truly important. We get distracted by the things that feel urgent, but aren’t that important for moving the needle toward our goals.
Take email, for example; it’s a never-ending task. It can be emotionally draining. It is not something that requires your focused mind. It isn’t something that helps move the needle in your business – at least not in a direct and significant way.
And yet, we often give our best selves to email, and other such tasks – email and social media are often the first things we check in the morning – when our mind is the freshest, and our self-discipline is the highest. Then, we try to do something like create a product or write a stellar blog post later on when our mind is tired. We put off the tasks that feel overwhelming in favor of those that are so easy we could almost do them in our sleep.
What to do instead:
Look at your to-do list each day and rate each item from 1 to 10 based on how much it would move the needle in your business. And by move the needle I mean three things:
- Bring you more income
- Give you more time with your family
- Make a more profound or broader impact for good in the world
Then, start with the higher-rated items – those in the 7-10 range and work your way down. Do this for your yearly, quarterly, and monthly goals as well as for your weekly and daily to-do lists. This blogging hack will help you give your best self to what is most important and start to see the needle really move in your business. If you do have to skip something on your list in favor of your family some days, it won’t be the essential tasks.
If you have ever thought that building a business on Instagram is enough, then this post is for you. Websites are still alive and strong and you need one if you want to build a business that lasts. Your business needs a website and here are 3 reasons why it’s so important to have one and how it actually helps you serve people better.
As Latter-Day Saint mompreneurs who want our families to be first in our life, we have to make the best use of our time. We need to get more done in less time so we can give our family our full attention during family time. Start with these 5 blogging hacks:
- Keep all your ideas in one place
- Set limits on your screen-time
- Create well-organized browser bookmarks
- Name your images wisely
- Attach value to the tasks on your goals and to-do lists and then focus on those with higher value and let the rest go!
Tell me, which of the 5 blogging hacks will you implement first?
Or, do you have hack you’d like to share? Leave it as a comment below and I may use it for an upcoming post!