If you are a parent you understand the trials and tribulations of running a blog and meeting the demands of your children.
Throw in a spouse or significant other, sick or elderly parents, young fur-kids (aka pets), noisy neighbours and housemates, work, exercise, household chores….you get the point. It can be hard work.
Here are some tips and tactics to try out. You may or may not like some of my suggestions.
1. Set up house rules for the kids
For example, when you are blogging…
Kids answer the phone
- When someone calls, get your kids to tell them that you are unavailable (either in the shower or ‘out’) and get them to take a message.
- There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of fibbing when you are on a roll.
- Use an answering machine if the kids aren’t home and only answer it if it is the kids (maybe).
Kids cook dinner
- If the teenager wants permission to go out or money, they have to earn it. Make helping feed the family part of their contribution.
- Get them to bring you your dinner to your computer with cutlery and a cool drink.
- Dishes are also their job if you ‘have to get this post out!’ Give them another hour past their curfew.
- Prepare extra meals and freeze leftovers that can be heated up quickly and easily.
2. Wear headphones and play music
- Subtle background noise helps tune out arguments, television, etc.
- My favourites are the soundtracks for Earth Final Conflict and any of the Battlestar Galactica seasons by Bear McCreary.
3. Have self control
- Don’t check your emails, web stats, affiliate earnings and tweets more than once an hour.
- Try and control yourself and do it only once a day.
4. Announce when you are in the blogging zone
- Being at your computer is one thing, actively blogging is another. When you are blogging, let others know and make sure they understand they have to leave you alone.
- Tell your kids. Put a sign on your desk or door.
Watch for the Bear Sign…
Here is my sign I use to help my kids decide whether to approach me or not…
5. Let the housework slide
- …Or get help from the kids or a paid service if you can afford it.
- For example, you don’t have to change your bed sheets every week. The hour it takes to wash and fold and re-make the bed is an hour you can use to backup your site, publish that post or even relax.
- Live like a new parent or student and lower your expectations of what defines a clean house. Bloggers have rights too.
6. Carry a notepad and pen/pencil
- If you have an idea, capture it immediately. Use any bit of paper you can and take it home.
- Do not think you will remember all of your great ideas. Don’t waste time later, trying to remember or trying to work something out that you figured out already.
- If you are on public transport or having a lunch break, think and write down your ideas.
7. Reflect on your ideas before acting
- Write down your ideas and then leave them alone.
- Come back to them later and reconsider your idea, your options and the pros and cons.
- Detach yourself from the idea before committing time to it. It’s okay if it’s a great idea for 12 months time… or never.
8. Plan what you are going to do
- … instead of mindlessly logging in and seeing what happens.
- Get at least one essential thing done each time you log on.
- If you need to surf mindlessly, schedule it.
- You might have an hour a session or a day a week that you can do whatever you like.
- Make sure you bookmark or capture the links to great sites that are useful to your blogging endeavours.
- Claim a room to use for blogging – even if it is the bathroom or your bed with a laptop.
- You might also consider going to a nice coffee shop, a library or even a restaurant that doesn’t mind you loitering after lunch. Use McDonalds’ free wireless.
10. Burn the midnight oil or work at dawn
- Sometimes you just have to work when it is quiet and everyone is asleep.
- Get up early and blog with breakfast, even if it is just to check your emails and respond to comments.
- Working at night is my preference with just the light from a small lamp and my computer monitor. Add incense and candles and I really get into the groove.
What are your favourite tips and tricks for dealing with distractions?
Do you use a sign or just rip people’s heads off?