I love being able to work from home and do something that I love around my family and everything that needs doing in life, but working from home – especially as a parent – can be quite hard to manage around everything else and finding that elusive work-life balance can also be really hard. You have limited time in which you can get everything done, and often you will have to work at night once the kids are in bed to get it all done.
Over the years I’ve found the ways that work best for me as someone who works from home and picked up tips and tricks for staying as organised as possible as a blogger, so I thought I would share them in this post.
My Top Tips for Staying Organised as a Food & Lifestyle Blogger
Get organised from the beginning
When you are managing your own workload as well as all of the admin then it is so important that you are organised and have proper lists and spreadsheets with all of the work you need to do, who it’s for, when it’s due and the rest, as there is no-one there to take the fall for you if you miss something.
I have a Google Sheets spreadsheet that I add every single piece of work that is agreed each month as soon as it is agreed, along with what type of post it is (sponsored/review/guest post), how much I’m being paid, any deadlines, and then I add the title of my post and the link into it once it’s live too. I have checkboxes for each row with whether I have completed it or not as well as whether I have been paid.
It’s so important to keep track of everything when you’re self-employed otherwise you’ll let people down which won’t help you to get further work, you’ll lose out on money and you’ll just stress yourself out!
So you need to plan out exactly what you need to get done in the time that you do have. Create a to-do list and a schedule and stick to it as much as possible.
It’s also good to have a year planner or some kind of planner or calendar on your phone to put everything into – for example, when you need to have completed your tax return so that you can plan ahead and not end up rushing at the last minute or forgetting something important.
None of it is a particularly fun part of being a food blogger, and it does all take up a lot of time, but it has to be done and you need to be organised about it.
Ignore the housework
This is one that I find really hard, but try your best to leave the housework alone whilst you are supposed to be working. If you just quickly wash up, then quickly run the Hoover over, then oh look the washer’s finished and you better put the washing out, then you’ve probably lost a couple of hours work time. Sort the mess out later or it’ll affect your productivity and therefore income.
Have your own workspace
Ideally, you need to sit and work in a place that is away from all of the mess and daily chores so that you’re not so distracted by them. Having your own work area also means that you can leave all of your work stuff together, somewhere organised and out of the way, so that you don’t have to waste time getting all your things; laptop, charger, paperwork, together every time you start work.
It doesn’t have to be a huge space but a little desk of your own can really help, and if you have a room that can be your office it makes a massive difference to how organised you can be. Having your own space with a desk and a chair that is comfortable for long periods will allow you to be much more productive – don’t just grab any old chair and table to use just because you are working from home.
Despite the fact that a lot of what I do as a blogger is online, the paperwork can still mount up: to-do lists, recipe ideas and plans, notes and ideas I scribble down and any briefs or contracts I’ve got from brands, and if I don’t have a way to organise it then it just ends up in a big pile on my dining room table and I can’t find what I need! So having some proper office paper storage for all of my paperwork in my office is a must and I can find what I’m looking for straight away.
If you don’t have loads of space then perhaps install some shelves for your work files or keep them organised under your desk so you always have them right there.
Spend 30 minutes every working day on emails
I have to send and reply to A LOT of emails and it can get quite overwhelming sometimes. I could easily spend more than a full day each week just replying back and forth to emails and looking for more work.
But I have learned over the years that if I spend 20 or 30 minutes each weekday on emails, I can manage them so much more easily and keep on top of them without feeling stressed knowing I have a huge amount to respond to.
Put down the phone
I have got much better at this over the last few years and it honestly has made a massive difference to how much I get done.
Before I would spend too much time checking social media, WhatsApp and my emails regularly and I would lose so much productivity time. A few minutes here and there quickly adds up and I could easily lose an hour of work time (or more!) each workday just checking my phone. If you can leave your phone somewhere away from you then you’ll probably pick it up less and waste less time when you should be working.
Plan out times to work but be flexible
Being a blogger who works from home and being a parent means that sometimes you may have to change the times you planned on doing something; you may have a child that won’t go to sleep or is poorly, and whilst you need to be organised with the time you have available to work and what you plan on getting done in that time, you have to be prepared that things could quickly change. Make sure you will have enough time to get something done if you are delayed and be prepared to be flexible.
Also, at times you’ll need to be posting on social media at specific hours, be available to a PR, or making a recipe at the weekend so it’s so important to plan out your week and work out when you need to be working and when can close your laptop and nip to the pub with a friend instead!
Do you work from home or would you ever consider it full-time? I’d love to know what you think in the comments. Have you got any more tips for food and lifestyle bloggers who work from home?