How to juggle blogging and holidays
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Whether you are worried about how you will manage to blog over the school holidays or you are wondering how to take a break without neglecting your blog, here are 14 tips for how to juggle blogging and holidays.
Eeek – the school holidays are nearly upon us!!!
Like many other bloggers, my main time for blogging is when the kids are at school, so I’m always a bit conflicted about the holidays. On the one hand it’s lovely to have all that extra time with the kiddos, some time off and a slower pace of life. On the other hand, blogging is my full time job, I can’t just take 6 weeks off!
Over the years, I have worked out a system that helps me to keep up my blogging during the holidays and take some time off and spend quality time with the kids.
Even if you don’t have young kids to worry about, we all need some time off – but it can feel impossible as a blogger to keep things going on the blog AND take a break.
But it is totally possible to take time off, spend quality time with the kids in the holidays AND keep things ticking over on the blog. Here are my top tips for how to juggle blogging and holidays…
1. Plan to do less over the holidays
While it’s good to keep your blog ticking over during the holidays, you don’t have to keep up the same schedule as you do in term time. If you normally post 2 or 3 times a week, why not drop down to once a week over the holidays? If once a week is your ‘normal’, maybe drop down to once a fortnight.
In the same vein, you can also cut down on social media and Pinterest over the holidays. Whilst it’s probably not a good idea to do nothing, posting on social media etc. a bit less often over the holidays is unlikely to have a major impact.
2. Write your posts in advance
This will take a massive load off your plate! Spend the weeks before you go on holiday/before term ends just solidly writing posts and scheduling them for the weeks when you will be away and/or taking care of the kids.
Before every school holiday, and especially before the summer holidays, I write all my posts to cover the entire period. That way I know that all have to do during the holidays is keep things ticking over and keep on top of social media/emails etc.
3. Schedule social media in advance
Just as it will take a big load off your plate to get all your posts scheduled ahead of time, so it will also make a big difference to schedule your social media in advance too. You might not be able to schedule everything in advance, but even if you just schedule 1 post a day on each of your social media accounts, that’s enough to keep it all ticking over and for you not to have to worry about neglecting your social media followers if you don’t actually post ‘in person’ for a few days (or even a few weeks!). That way you can just share on social media as and when you fancy it rather than feeling obliged to.
There are many apps that will allow you to schedule your social media in advance. My favourite is CoSchedule*, which will allow you to simultaneously write a post for all your social media accounts at the same time. Genius when time is short, and you are trying to schedule in as many posts as possible in advance of the holidays.
Tailwind* is also a great tool to use to schedule your Pinterest posts over the period when you will be away.
READ MORE >>> How to schedule your social media with CoSchedule
4. Automate social media
Or go one step better and actually automate your social media. CoSchedule* has a ‘ReQueue’ feature which allows me to tag social media posts I want to be reshared. So, for example, for every evergreen blog post I publish, I create a set of social media posts, which go out on the same day/week as my new post and then get put into my ReQueue. I have it set up so CoSchedule reshares these evergreen posts on a schedule of my choosing, using my stats to share them at the best time possible.
On Easy Peasy Foodie I have built up such a bank of these that my social media is effectively automated. So instead of having to spend hours before the holidays scheduling social posts, its already done!
READ MORE >>> How to automate your social media with CoSchedule
5. Let everyone know you are on holiday
This is a good one if you the kind of person (like me!) who feels they have to dot every i and cross every t. If you actually tell people you are on holiday, then they will understand why you have not replied to their text/tweet/email/FB message. It’s easy to leave a pinned message on your social media profiles saying you are having some time off and set an automatic reply to your emails and voicemail. Tell people when you’ll be back and then no one will expect a response before then. Then you can enjoy your holiday without fretting about all the things you haven’t replied to.
6. Allow yourself to actually have a holiday
When you are on holiday, allow yourself to actually be on holiday and don’t feel you need to check your emails / social media / blog stats three times a day, or share your entire holiday on Instagram (unless you want to!) Relax and enjoy yourself, turn off the phone and just check in a couple of times, if you must! I promise you the whole world won’t implode if you don’t check Facebook for 3 days…
7. Set specific work times and play times
If you are juggling blogging and looking after kids, one helpful tip is to set specific work times and tell your kids what time they will be (assuming they are old enough to understand). I find if I spend some time playing with my kids straight after breakfast and then work from mid-morning until lunchtime, that works well. Then we’ll maybe go out in the afternoon for a couple of hours and then I can work for another bit after that, when we come home. That means every day they get some quality Mummy time and I get some quality work time.
Some kids will take to this better than others, of course, but I find my two are happiest if they know when it’s work time and when I can play with them. I also find it easier to ‘front load’ i.e. play with them first then work. That way they’ve had a good fill of Mummy time first to keep them going and are more happy to play on their own for a bit (and less likely to keep interrupting me) than if I try to do it the other way round.
8. Respect the play times!!
The important thing is that you then respect play time and give your kids 100% focus (within reason) when it’s ‘their’ time (and not continually check your phone etc.) That way your kids get quality time even if you have to work at other times. This also means you don’t feel like you are working all day, but rather just working a couple of slots in the day – which means you get a proper break too!
9. Snatch opportunities to work when you can
Having said that, sometimes I find my kids are playing beautifully on their own and don’t need to my intervention at all (usually because they are outside in the garden or inside playing ‘dens’). I snatch these golden nuggets of time to work and then play with them when the (inevitable) arguments start. Sometimes it means I have to switch round my schedule, but it means they get my attention when they need it and I get to work without being interrupted!
10. Involve your kids
This one definitely depends on the age and personality of your kids, but if you possibly can, involve your kids in your work. For example, my kids love to help me schedule pins on Pinterest, using Tailwind*. I do the actual pinning, but they shout out which boards they think each pin should go on! They think it’s great fun and I get my pins scheduled – result!!
They also like to ‘help’ me with my photography. Basically, I set up the shot and then they go and get their cameras and take photos of my setup too. They love it and we all enjoy looking at the photos together afterwards. I also use it as an opportunity to teach them a bit about photography. (I am hoping one day they will be able to take over from me and do all the photography for me!!)
Another idea, if your kids are older, is to pay them to act as your VA over the summer. Again this will only work with some kids, but if your kids are keen and social media savvy (which pretty much 100% of teenagers are), why not? They are gaining vital skills, work experience and probably a greater understanding of what you do all day (plus an extra bit of pocket money!), and you are gaining extra work time, help from someone who is probably better than you at some of the tasks AND an opportunity to spend quality time with your teenager. WIN-WIN.
Even if involving your kids takes slightly longer than doing it yourself, you are getting more done than if you had to squeeze the work in some other time AND it’s an activity where you are spending time with each other.
11. Let TV be your friend
Sometimes you just need to get your head down and get on with something. At moments like these, TV can be great. I give my kids a short TV session in the morning and another one in the afternoon. This is when I know I can get the ‘thinky’ jobs done that need lots of concentration, as I know there’s no chance of being interrupted. And it’s good for my kids to just ‘chill’ and relax in the holidays too. School is exhausting enough, without making the holidays total activity fests too!
12. Arrange reciprocal playdates / clubs / daddy days
A great way to get a longer time to work is to do a playdate swap with a friend, so you each get some quality time to work. Another possibility is to ask your other half to take the kids for the day so you can get some solid work done – maybe at the weekend or if you OH has some extra holiday days they can take off. Over the holidays my hubby will often take the kids on a ‘daddy day’ on a couple of Saturdays so I can catch up. And of course if you need an extended time to work, you can always sign your kids up to a holiday club or camp.
13. Enjoy the quieter time to get some blog admin done
You might find by following all these tips you actually end up with some extra time on your hands (posts and social all done, kids at a club or off out with OH for the day…) This would be a great time to catch up on some blog admin: updating old posts, getting up to date with your accounts, tidying up your files/photos, doing an inbox detox, working on SEO, updating your pins, taking that course you bought months ago but never started…
Alternatively, this a great time to think about your blogging goals and planning what you will do in the quarter. Maybe creating or updating your content calendar or planning how you will monetise your blog.
14. Take a break even if you are not going away on holiday
Even if you are not going away on holiday, try and schedule some proper time OFF blogging completely (or as completely as you can manage). While blogging is a great job, because it can be so easily fitted in around other things, that also can mean it can be hard to switch off. But by having a complete break, you will bounce back refreshed and probably bubbling with new ideas. Having proper time off is important for productivity too.
15. Put things off until after the break
Before you go on a break, be it the school holidays, time away or just some time off blogging, work out what really NEEDS to be done before your time off and what can be put off until afterwards. You may find, when you really think about it, quite a lot can be put off until you get back. Make a list of those somewhere and then forget about them until you are back to normal!
How about you?
I’d love to know your strategies for coping with a blog break: whether it’s the school holidays, time away or just a break from blogging? How do you juggle blogging and holidays?
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My kids love getting their cameras out to take pictures of the photoshoots too. My daughter also likes to help arrange things too although her styling often leaves a little to be desired! I’m trying to get as much as I can done now so i can have a good break during the holidays.
It’s so cute isn’t it! My daughter has also tried her hand at a bit of styling… a bit ‘unusual’ at the moment, but she’s naturally very artistic so I am hoping she can take over from me one day! Like you I am working a lot at the moment so I can get a good break in the summer holidays. Fingers crossed it works!! I particularly want to have a proper break when we go on holiday in August. Eb x
Some great tips Eb! I’m actually really looking forward to school holidays especially that this is the last Summer with my youngest before he starts school in September! I have been writing few posts in advance already although I won’t have entire 6 weeks worth as I like to keep room open for some Summer spontaneity and recipes I make during the holidays. At the moment I’m pretty used to snatching little moments to work on the blog so that will most likely be the case during the holidays as well with the exception of 2 weeks when we are away, that will definitely be sacred family time. x
Thanks Jo 🙂 Sounds like a you have great plan! Especially the sacred family time when you are away. I never feel like I can 100% ignore things when I am away, but I try to keep it to a minimum and do it when the kids have gone to bed! Eb x