As a blogger, mom, and woman with a full-time career,
I find it extremely hard to balance the demands of everyday living. Each morning, I’m up before the rest of my family is (and wont be for another 3-4 hours). I’m at work by 6am each morning, and then home at 4:30pm.
Once I get home in the evening I’m bombarded with tasks, events and people demanding my time.
Do I spend 2 ½ hours giving my daughter undivided attention?
Do I do housework?
Or work on the blog?
From the time I come home, I have 4 ½ hours before I need to be in bed to do it all over again the next day, so how do I spend it?
I battle guilt every single day.
Mommy guilt. Career guilt. Homemaker guilt. Blogger guilt. In each of these scenarios, I could be doing more. I could be giving more time and attention to my daughter, husband, home, my job, or my blog. And no matter what I choose to prioritize, I feel guilty.
Have any of you ever felt that way?
I know mommy guilt is very common among working moms, but how about you bloggers? What types of guilt do you deal with when you have to prioritize your very limited time?
I’m torn between wanting to blog a) because I love it it and b) because all of my blog earnings go to paying off debt faster, and wanting to spend time with my daughter. I also need to work out, and I find that increasingly more difficult as my time is demanded more and more. And what about dinner? Clean toilets? Time with the hubs?
Managing (and prioritizing) my time is something I’ve been struggling with for some time, more so as the blog has grown. The constant guilt and struggle has been very hard on me mentally and physically. I knew something had to give, but I wasn’t sure what, at least until recently.
I have been a longtime fan of Ruth Soukup and her blog Living Well Spending Less. It was her course that has revolutionized my blog, and I utilize many of the tips on her blog every single day.
So when I was given the opportunity to be part of her book launch team and receive an advance copy of her book, Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life, of course I jumped at the chance! I was just excited to read something by one of my favorite bloggers (for free, no less).
What I did not anticipate was the impact that just one section of the book would have on my life.
There are 12 challenges in the book, each very applicable to my life, all along the lines of Ruth’s blog slogan: “The Adventure of Living the Good Life On A Budget.”
But the Challenge to Take Back Your Time really struck a chord with me.
Ruth pointed out that time management and self-discipline are learned skills, both of which are helped by routine. As her story of her own experience with filling the time jar played out, I found several strategies that Ruth used to manage her own time and guilt were applicable to my own:
- Eat the frog: Sounds completely unrelated to time management, doesn’t it? Eating the frog refers to getting the hardest or most dreaded task out of the way first thing in the morning. From there everything is downhill. For me, this is social media scheduling, and proofreading what I’ve written. “When we start our day by focusing on the mundane and easy stuff, we waste our reserves.” True story. Even though I hate rising early each morning, I am most productive then.
- Write down your goals: It’s very easy to talk about goals, and have amazing aspirations of meeting them, but then fizzling out a month down the road. Although I’ve known the power of writing down my goals for some time now, I haven’t actually done it it years. I’ve actually already written down my 2015 and beyond goals and posted them in my office.
- Creating good habits = Energy saver. When a trait you desire becomes a habit, you don’t even have to think about it. You simply do. For me things like cleaning, being super productive at work, and many blog tasks are things that I want to become habit. By creating the habit of eating the frogs first, and making every other task a habit, I save my energy, and maybe have some left when I get home for my family, or *gasp* read a book.
- I need to ask my husband: This involves swallowing my pride and telling him what’s up. Telling him that I feel overwhelmed and that something’s gotta give, but that I don’t really want anything to go. My husband is my best friend and the person I trust the most, so I need to stop feeling proud and ask for help.
The last point is the biggest – and yes, I did as The Big Guy for help. You know what he said? “You need to find a different job.” Literally, like 5 minutes into the conversation, he said that to me very simply and calmly and I was dumbfounded.
I didn’t say anything for a full minute while I thought about it, but then it dawned on me. I don’t particularly want him to go back to work, so if we want our financial situation to change faster, it’s up to me. I’m feeling burnt out at my job, not because I don’t like it, but because I work 10 hour days, 5 days a week, and I only have 5 days of vacation after working there for 2 years, and then had to use most of them around the holidays.
What’s more, the benefits at my current job are crappy. Not only do we get virtually no vacation, there is no 401K match, the health insurance premiums would break us if we didn’t have military health insurance, and there will be no more promotion for 3-4 years. I am bored. I need a new challenge. I need a better job. Not necessarily more money, but a job with more opportunity for promotion and a better benefits package.
Once that conversation happened, I had several takeaways.
- It’s time for a different job: I like my job. Like really, really like my job. However, there’s no promotion in my future for at least 3 years. And our budget is tight, so I really want to make more money. Also, I work 10 hour days, and I would like to shave that down to 8 or 9. Lastly, the benefits package at my current employer is horrible, and I want something with a 401K match, more than 1 week of vacation a year, and my own office. I’m not asking much, am I? So, I’m working with 2 recruiters, taking my time in deciding as they approach me with jobs, and when the job is right, I’ll make a move. Until then, I just have to suck it up and deal.
- Focusing on one social media per day, everything else should be automated. Let me tell you what I mean by that. I belong to several social media promotion groups on facebook. Not only do I get to network with a lot of awesome bloggers and read their awesome blogs, I get my work seen by a bunch of people that maybe wouldn’t otherwise see it, as we cross promote each other’s blog posts. It’s brilliant, really. But, it’s also time-consuming. I was spending 2 hours a day working on this and that just can’t happen anymore. So, each day, I’m going to pick one social media site to work on. I usually do Facebook on Monday’s, so let’s use that as an example. I belong to 3 different groups that promote facebook posts, and I can participate in each of them, but on Monday’s I can’t do Pinterest,
Stumbleupon, Twitter, or Google +. I automate posting a couple times a day to those other sites, but I’m not going to participate in the crazy cross-promoting on those sites on Monday. Make sense?
- Not doing blog work at nights: Since I’ve been able to set my social media promotion to 30-45 minutes per day, I can now focus solely on my family and myself when I get home at night. Also, I’m worthless after 7 pm, so no matter how much I need or want to get done after that time, it won’t happen. I may as well own up and deal with tit.
- Writing down every single thing I do all day. This includes going to the restroom, drinking a glass of water. Then, I’m going to look and see what my unproductive times are. Combine that with the power of eating the frog, I’m going to revamp my habits and schedule. Hopefully, as explained above, I will be less stressed, have more energy, and not feel guilty all the time.
- Create a Schedule: One that put my most important tasks right in the middle of my most productive times. One that is all-encompassing, so I know nothing is missed. Then, I’m going to do it over and over again, until that schedule become a habit and I no longer have to look at it to know what I’m supposed to be doing. Once the schedule has become habit, I should find that I have more energy!
All if this was just from a tiny little section of Ruth’s book, ya’ll. Isn’t that incredible?
I’d be lying if I said that the rest of the book wasn’t as good. And I didn’t take every section to heart like I did this one. But I enjoyed and am able to apply every single challenge in this book to my own life.
I didn’t expect Living Well Spending Less to impact me in such a profound way. I certainly didn’t expect it to basically set my 2015 goals for me. All I was looking for was a cool opportunity to work with a blogger I’ve grown to respect.
But, as you can see, Living Well Spending Less completely set the tone for my 2015, and I wanted to give you all a heads up, so that you know where my 2015 goals are going to come from, and so you could purchase the book for yourselves.
And no, before you click away from the page, I don’t make anything from the sale of of this book.
I simply wanted to preface next week’s 2015 Goals post with a little backstory, and let you know that if you’re interested in the book you can preorder it here. The book goes lives December 30th, but if you preorder before then and fill out this form, you’ll get a Free Digital Home Planning Workbook!
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A Living Well Spending Less Review