This post is part of our new MomOf6 series that asks bloggers: “How Do You DO It?”
One of the things that always interests me when I meet women who have both built a successful blog business while also running a household is understanding how in the world they “manage it all”! I know from my own life that there is no such thing as a “perfect balance” and that we are constantly juggling dozens of tasks on any given day. But I think that we can all learn from one another by sharing our strategies and what is currently working (and not working!) for us. So today, I am interviewing Kelly Whalen from The Centsible Life to learn all about her approach to juggling life and blogging!
I've had the pleasure of meeting Kelly several times at blogging and social media events- and she is truly someone I admire for being smart and savvy about running an online business. Kelly is a Mom to four kids, and she believes you really can “do it all” while sticking to your budget (Yes!), which is the reason she started her website, “The Centsible Life“. When talking with Kelly about how she juggles life and blogging, I love how's she honest that sometimes you just can't keep regular work hours- that your time needs to flex as your family's needs change. And that she has hired a virtual assistant to help her get more done. That's an investment in her business, and in her life!
When and why did you begin blogging? What are you most proud of accomplishing in this role?
I started blogging in January 2009 because my husband encouraged me to start a blog. I'm most proud of being able to use my platform to raise funds and awareness about various causes. I even got to play in a flag football game and donate $1,000 to a local shelter that helps women in need thanks to NRG. I would never be able to do that without a blog!
Tell me about your family and what you love to do in your personal life.
I have 4 kids, 2 boys and 2 girls. They range in age from 17-9. We also have a fluffy flat coat retriever named Tundra. I like to play board games and watch movies with my husband. In my personal time I love to read!
What does your family think about your work as a blogger?
They are all so encouraging! It helps that my husband has been my biggest supporter since the beginning. The kids really love all the perks of my job including products we receive and trips we get to take on behalf of the blog.
*check out one of my favorite posts of Kelly's on 15 Simple Ways to Live on Less
How do you manage your time?
It's always a challenge to manage my time wisely! I try to maintain working hours when the kids are in school, but often find I have to trade off work for things the kids need/sick days/volunteer work or take some downtime for myself as well. When those days happen I tend to work after dinnertime until I'm too tired to see straight! I also try to take weekends off completely.
How much time per week do you dedicate to your site and related work (social media, appearances, etc)?
I like to say it's mostly part-time. Many weeks I work between 20-30 hours per week while others I put in 40-60. It really depends on what time of year it is and how busy my travel schedule is.
Do you keep “set” work hours?
I try to maintain 9am-3pm as work hours, though it doesn't always work out that way!
What do you outsource and what do you prefer to do yourself?
I started outsourcing some of my social media management last fall. This helps make sure there's always promotion of older content or my Facebook page is populated with updates without me having to come up with fresh content multiple times a day each day. I also have help with my editorial calendar and minor tasks that have to get done via a VA. It's been a great time saver and allows me to focus more on creating content, writing, and securing sponsorships.
Personally I outsource the lawn mowing! It takes up hours each weekend versus 30 minutes for the lawn guys. Everything else we do ourselves or have the kids help with.
*Kelly wrote a great post on how to be organized when you work from home. There are lots of great tips in here!
How's the household workload tackled in your family?
This is always in flux in our house, too. I tend to do some household work during the day, but it's a pretty even 40/40 split between my husband and I overall and the kids do about 20% of the chores including cleaning their rooms, vacuuming, their laundry, and other chores on the weekend.
What tricks/tips/apps do you use to help you better manage your time?
Handle is my new BFF. It's an app and Chrome extension that allows you to create to dos, reminders, and see your calendar items all in one place. I also set up our family and my work gmail calendars to email me a list every morning so I don't forget anything!
How do you create a boundary between work time and family time?
It's hard when you work at home! I try to maintain work hours when the kids are at school or after dinnertime (when everyone is usually doing their own thing or wrapping up schoolwork). Sometimes work time bleeds into family time especially if I've spent a good portion of my typical work hours doing errands or caring for someone who was sick.
What is your office set up like?
I don't have an office space that's 100% mine. I do have a desk in my bedroom that's simple so I can get away from the family areas if I need to work when everyone is home. I keep my work on my laptop so I can work anywhere in the house or on the go. Generally, I work from the couch though these days! I have been laid up with an awful cold and a broken toe for the last few weeks, so the couch is the only comfortable place to be. Other times I will work at our office table (in our living room/office or the dining room table.
What do you wish you were doing more of?
I wish I spent more time exploring my own interests! I'm working on creating a dedicated ‘day off' to accomplish that each week, but it's a challenge!
What do you spend too much time doing that wish you were doing less of?
What's the one golden nugget of advice that you have for Moms trying to build a blog and run a household?
Set aside some dedicated work time and learn to put blinders on to the mess around you!
I hope you are all enjoying this series where I ask Mom bloggers: “How do you DO it?” What other questions do you have when it comes to juggling life and blogging?