Q&A: Blogging and Balancing Time

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Just recently I began blogging myself. It is something I am enjoying very much, but have found that it is becoming very easy for me to allow it to steal my time, energy and affection more than it should. I definitely think that this is something I can do right now, but realize that it’s something that needs to be *very* carefully managed. The time
I spend online, writing, commenting, etc.

…You have a husband, you have a desire to put your family first. You’re spending time teaching and training your children and making a home for your family. Just like me. And you’ve been blogging consistently for what, a year and a half now? Putting out quality content on a regular basis…

Would you mind sharing how you do this? Do you have a set amount of time for writing, commenting, etc?


Thanks for the excellent question, Brianna! It’s so encouraging to hear from another mom in the same boat, who is seeking to keep the same kind of balance and priorities!

That said, this has been an area that I have become very aware of over the past almost two years. I am certainly not perfect (!!!) and have had many struggles with this area myself, but I would love to share what I’ve been learning during that time.

1) This blog is not my priority

These are the things that take precedence over this and any other computer time:

  • My relationship with God
  • My husband
  • My children
  • My homemaking responsibilities (if I have written three fantastic posts, but dinner is sorely lacking, there is a problem)

Honestly, maintaining these priorities has been a struggle at times. There are days when, unfortunately, I treat blogging like a higher priority than it is. There have been seasons where I have let it become more consuming than it ought to have been. There have also been times when, by God’s grace, I have recognized that my priorities were out of whack, that something had to give, and that my blog would be the thing to suffer. Overall, these priorities are what I strive for and reminding myself of my true priorities helps me to keep my blog time in check.

2) Computer time happens when my kids aren’t awake
This is one of the most important things for me. I have two main times that I do blog work: 1) In the morning, before my kids are out of bed, if I’m able to and 2) During their naptime/quiet time, which is my specific blogging time each day.

I also occasionally work on it in the evenings, if my husband is out for the evening, or he is is occupied doing something else. I avoid the computer on the weekends, as those are family times. By sticking with this basic rule, I am able to keep my focus on my children, my husband and my other tasks, and not become distracted by the computer.

Another important thing in relation to this is staying off the computer unless I have set aside time to do something
specific. This includes even looking up something legitimate on craigslist or checking our family email. It is simply too easy for me to sit down for “only 2 minutes” and suddenly find myself checking out Bloglines or reading new comments on my latest post, and suddenly 15 or 20 minutes have flown by.

This is a self-discipline thing for me, and I simply need to be strict about the fact that when I am not supposed to
be on the compute. I try to just choose to not sit down to use it, for ANY reason! One thing that has really helped me in this regard is that we recently switched my desk from the family room/school room into my husband’s office, which we now share. This really helps to lessen the temptation to just jump on the computer!

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3) My personal tips for blogging as a busy mom

  • I use a blog reader to manage my reading time- however, I only open Bloglines if I actually have the time to read blogs. This might mean I go for days without checking my favorite blogs, because I keep this as a fairly low priority for the precious computer time I do have. I also keep my list of blogs that I subscribe to fairly small, and try to go through every
    once in a while and weed out the ones I no longer read regularly. I have a folder called “A bit of time to read” which contains my very favorite 10-15, and they are the only ones I scan on a very regular basis.
  • I don’t comment on other blogs much. I do still try to comment whenever I can, but the busier I have become, the more that this has decreased.
  • I don’t respond to every comment on my blog. If there is a specific question or issue that needs to be addressed, I’m more than happy to respond to that. Otherwise, I don’t get into a lot of dialogue through my comments. I really wish I could, but it’s just not practical for me. 🙁
  • My goal is to always be ahead in my post writing. Sometimes I get behind, but generally I like to have at least 2-5 posts that I am already working on or have completed, so that I am not pressured to start and complete something new each day.
  • I switched from moderating my comments individually, to allowing comments to post automatically. This prevents me from feeling the need to regularly check my blog for new comments. I still check it a couple of times a day, and so the rare inappropriate comments are never up for very long.
  • I use auto-posting. This feature lets me set a post to go up on a particular day at a set time, without having to go and manually publish it when I want it to go up. This allows me to prepare something on Fridays, for example, set to publish early Saturday morning as well as Monday morning if I’m on the ball, and most weekends I don’t even touch my computer.
  • Whenever I get post ideas, I either write them down immediately in my daily planner, or if I’m able to, I quickly compose a post draft with a title and a few notes on what I want the post to be about. This means that I always have post ideas on the go, and rarely have to spend time thinking about what to write.
  • I don’t do any social networking… no Twitter, no Facebook, etc. I find them to be another distraction, and although they may be good for my traffic, I don’t believe that they would be good for my mothering or other priorities (this is just my personal decision- not a mandate for the rest of you!)
  • Responding to emails is something that I do as I have the time. I don’t stress out about it if I am not able to get to them all quickly (unless they are emails of a business nature, that require a timely response). When I do email back, which I really enjoy doing (and this is why I must be cautious of how much I write), I try to use the 5 sentence rule. I often break it (oops!), but it helps me to be okay with sending emails that are on the shorter side, and to try to condense what I have to say into only what is truly necessary. I also file or delete all emails as soon as they have been dealt with, to keep the inbox clutter
    to a minimum.

How about you, fellow bloggers? How do you keep your blogging time in check with your other priorities and responsibilities? For non-bloggers, how do you manage your computer time in general?

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  1. Thank you for posting this! I have been realizing how much internet time has become an unhealthy priority in my life–and I am glad to see that such a wonderful blogger doesn’t have to spend so much time online.

  2. I like reading your strategies for minimizing time on the computer. I too find it difficult to keep the priorities straight, but I really appreciate this encouragement to do just that!

  3. Kudos to you for keeping your priorities in check! I find that I spend way too much time on the computer, and I really hate that. I totally know what you mean about how a “I’m going to take two minutes to check this” can turn into 20 minutes in a snap.

    Thanks for the great things to think about!

  4. Thanks for sharing these, Stephanie.

    One thing that I can relate to in this is having to stop commenting on other blogs. It literally pains me as I so strongly believe in the community aspect of blogging . . . but there is just only so much I can do. Creating new content for TWO blogs is extraordinarily difficult as it is – there is just no way I can comment like I want to. I do read most of my favorites in a reader, but I do struggle with the guilt of not clicking through. I know where that guilt is coming from, and it’s not holy conviction of the Spirit! 😉

    Thanks for sharing these practical tips!

  5. I don’t blog but I try to keep a timer so that it tells me when the time is up. Also, I mostly do computer time (which for me really consists of checking this blog, rarely any others, and email) I do all that during nap time/quiet time too. I sometimes also take a small break time another time of the day when my husband is with the kids say after supper for a few minutes or something, as a nice time to myself, but its mostly during nap times- usually just part of that time.

  6. I know what you mean by getting traped by the bloggin, computer time. It’s sooo easy to just sit down for a cuple of minutes and then spend there an entire hour!!! I like your own fences for not being traped by the computer. I have some like you and ’cause my kids are small too i’m trying to be on my desk when they’re sleeping so I can concentrate on what I’m doing. I just don’t feel comfortable being on the compu and having a 3y girl constantly asking form mommy or asking me question, or having a husband who is rarely at home and me being at the desk. I’ll try to do the no compu on the weekends. Though it’s a time when i have the time to be there, it’s when i’m missing my family the most because i’m not there. Thnks for the encouragement 🙂

  7. It is a post that suggest some my meditations.
    Sometimes I ask me the same question of Brianna and you gave a smart answer.
    Thank you a lot

    PS: excuse me for my bad english!

  8. OH. MY. GOODNESS. You are my savior today. Or shoudl I say, My Savior used you to speak to me today? I need to implement every single one of these things into my life. It’s out of control. Truly.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    And my kids thank you.


  9. I really like your 5 sentence rule. I also am so happy that you said you don’t feel guilty if it takes you some time to respond to an email. Yes, my family is a priority, but sometimes I feel so guilty by being slow to reply to someone.

    Thanks for this post.

  10. I just stumbled on this excellent post. Although I am reading this 2 1/2 years later, some things never change. Us moms continue to struggle with the balancing act of caring for our family, while trying to squeeze in a little me time. Your practice of trying to have 2-5 posts ready is a great idea; I will try this. Thank you!

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