How to be an awesome parent and rock your side hustle

Let’s face it, parents. Spending all day wiping noses, tying shoes, dropping the kiddo off at daycare, cleaning the house and doing everything else that comes with being a parent leaves you wiped out.  Add time on top of that to catch up on new Netflix shows, work out, go out with friends and anything else to let you feel like an actual person again.

Add in a side hustle?!?  Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Now I’d love to say I have a one size fits all solution for making time to rock your side hustle but the reality is everyone’s situation is different.  I’ll give you a few tips though on what has worked for me and hopefully, you can apply these ideas to your own side hustle.

Finding time to blog with a kid

A little backstory on my situation.  I’m a dad to an awesome little kiddo who, luckily, is not at the age yet where he is very mobile.  I also work an 8-5 job as does my significant other. On any given day my free time usually consists of any time I want to spend awake prior to 6:30am, maybe an hour during lunch and any time after ~8pm after the kiddo has gone down and we’ve finished up our nightly chores.

Breaking that down further if I wake up at 5:30 each and every day, work a full hour and lunch and squeeze in an hour in the evening I could potentially work on my side hustle for ~15 hours during the work week.  On the weekends I try to spend as much time as possible with the family so usually not much gets done.

15 hours per week max

How do I make the most of those hours?

Mornings

Focus on the task at hand during the time you have.  During my morning 30 – 60 minutes I typically try to focus on outreach, posting or social media planning.

Everyday

  • Read through new blog posts from my email list and leave comments
  • Setup my twitter posts for the day
  • Respond to any URGENT emails

Post Publishing days (Tues/Thurs)

  • Finalize, publish and publicize new blog posts

That’s it. I don’t surf the web or don’t mindlessly click through new blogs or browse my sports/news twitter feed.  I try to stay as focused as possible during this time or else I’m guaranteed to be behind for the day.

Mid Day

This is my writing time.  Throughout all hours of every day, my mind is running through new ideas and thoughts.  When something is worth pursuing I’ll make a note in Trello.  These notes then get formalized into post ideas.

Everyday

  • Write content

Working in the commodity markets means the mornings are BUSY.  Luckily everything closes by 11:30 on the west coast so by noon I’m ready to hit the reset button.  When I sit down for lunch this is my time to clear my mind by focusing on the blog.  I might do some research along the way but all of my writing is done in a basic word processor so this isn’t a time for formatting or editing.  It is purely a put thought to paper time.

(for context I wrote out this article in about 90 minutes)

Evening

Evenings are definitely my most loosely defined working time.  Some evenings I may work for a few hours while others it may only be 15 minutes.  I also don’t focus on any one task at hand.  This kind of serves as my catchall.  If the blog design needs work then that’s what I’ll do.  If I need to edit a post, done.  Creating images for Pinterest and blog headers. Researching or reading blogs for new ideas and strategies.  These all fall under this time frame.

I try not to limit my work too much to any one area as I never really know what the most pressing need of the day may be.

Planning for your blog and focusing your effort

As I said above making the most of the time you have when the time is limited is a huge factor if you want to see success. Focus and planning go hand in hand when running a successful blog.

Planning your blog calendar

I have something to admit.

Here it goes – I’m a bad planner.  I don’t create color coded publishing schedules broken down into weekly or monthly themes. I don’t use a special planning app or program.  This is one area I really really need to work on.

There are 101 different ways to plan your content publishing but here is one I like and PROMISE I will implement before the end of August.  It is a two parter:

  1. Create a content pyramid, i.e. Pat Flynn’s and categorize all my future blog post ideas under each section
  2. Start using a content scheduling calendar like this one from CoSchedule and develop publishing themes to ensure my posts stay on track

Once again there are endless ways to do this but hopefully, this one will work for me.  Check back in a month to see how it goes 🙂

Focusing your effort

It would be so incredibly easy for me to waste half of my working hours just thinking about what to do, reading other blogs mindlessly, scrolling through twitter, etc.  In fact, I have done that plenty of times and it sucks to realize you had an hour to work and got nothing done.

This is way, despite my lack of overall planning, I try to keep my working hours compartmentalized to different tasks.  The key is finding the balance that works for you.  When are you most productive?  When do you find yourself banging out awesome content at a fast pace?

The key is finding the balance that works for you.  When are you most productive?  When do you find yourself banging out awesome content at a fast pace? What times are you most engaged on social media?  Go through these questions and try to break down your day to maximize your effort on each.

Balancing work and play

How many times a day do you check twitter?  Or your blog stats?  Or Pinterest?

Probably way too often if you’re anything like me.  Running a blog is super exciting and being able to turn your mind off of working mode it tough!  The key is to find a happy medium.

Typically during any given day, I’ll check twitter or my blog stats approximately 4,693 times.  This isn’t a great use of my time, at all.

But it is really the only way I have to stay on top of things and keep involved.  Balance isn’t only about the big ticket items like sitting down for an interview or to write a post but all the small tasks that go along with it.  I try my best to be present throughout the day and enjoy my time with family.

If we’re out at dinner or playing in the park its phone off. If we’re watching a show maybe I’ll check it once or twice.  When I have a few minutes to kill throughout the day I’ll check in and respond to comments or chat on twitter.  If I find myself with an hour of downtime maybe I’ll start researching a bigger ticket item.

Its all about being mindful of the time you have and spending it wisely.  Other than checking my page stats.  That is never a mindful way to spend my day.

This is going to look different for everyone but really try to find the balance that works for you.

Conclusion

Balancing a life at home with a family and kid(s) and a blog or other side hustle is TOUGH.  Think through your day and how you use your time. Try to find efficiencies to maximize the time you do have.  Be honest and open with your family to set reasonable expectations and make the promise that work time is work and play is play.

How do you balance your work and play time?  Do you work a full-time job and blog when you have the time or have you been able to make your side hustle a full-time gig?

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7 thoughts on “How to be an awesome parent and rock your side hustle

  1. Angela says:

    I agree that mid-day writing is the best for me as well. It’s a great break from work and I can focus because I don’t have a toddler running around. Afternoons and evenings I try and spend with him, so my time to write is pretty limited.

    • Derek says:

      It’s amazing how much can get written when you have time to focus! Definitely doesn’t happen when little one is around. Lucky to get 5 minutes at a time when he’s awake!

  2. Sonia Jones says:

    You really do have to make the most of every second! I also work (part-time), have a blog and look after 2 children (sometimes 3 on school days). It’s crazy but I love it. I stopped watching TV (except on Friday when it’s curry and movie night), I don’t check my personal social media as I find I lose hours. And I recently cut back my time in the shower where I tend to lose all concept of time. Last thing before I go to bed I plan my day ahead using time blocking which I find useful to stay on top of what I need to achieve in a day. Some great tips here and good to hear I am not alone!

  3. OurFIJourney says:

    Totally resonate with this. Working full time and trying to find time to work on this little blogging adventure is tough. I enjoy the writing part but I find it hard to get started sometimes. Once I’ve started and get into the flow I’m good but it’s that starting part that’s the hardest. I have to focus more on a daily writing routine so I’m not just randomly piecing a post together.

  4. Kris says:

    I just finished my first month blogging and its tough to find that balance. The first week of July was crazy for me when I first launched. I constantly checked Twitter and Instagram to read other bloggers posts, comment and interact with them. I did more of that than making content and I realized that a couple weeks ago. Just have prioritize my time better, have to think about producing more content first then go on social media to promote it. And I’m on the same boat as you Derek, getting family time in especially the weekends is important to me since I work full time during the week. Hopefully this second month will be where I find that balance,

    • Derek says:

      Totally agree. I was so addicted to all the peripheral stuff for the first few weeks as well. A lot of people will tell you though that blogging is 30% content creation and 70% marketing…or some variation of those numbers. While constantly checking social media probably isn’t a great use of that 70% in the long run it can be a great traffic source in the beginning.

  5. Mike - Wealthy Turtle says:

    Finding time to blog when you have a full-time job and kids at home is tough. I have 3 kiddos myself and it doesn’t get easier once they’re mobile. In fact it’s a lot tougher as they stay up a bit later and have activities and things that take up more of your time (I coach their rec softball and I’m very active in other ways too). It burned me out for awhile and I took a break from blogging but I’m getting back and trying to stay more organized and set boundaries so I can get work done without neglecting the family. Hope you are able to do the same!

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