Have you ever wondered how people balance running a business with a family and a full-time job?
If so, you’re not alone.
This is a common question among new bloggers and small business owners.
In this post, I’m going to share 19 time-saving hacks.
These hacks are time-saving tips and productivity tricks to help you manage your blog or business, your family, and your 9-to-5 job
Please note this post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click them and make a purchase. This is, of course, at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use and love myself. Please read my disclaimer for more information.
Before I dive into the 19 time-saving hacks, I want to clear up a common misconception about entrepreneurship.
Building a business does NOT have to mean sleepless nights, missing out on your kids’ soccer games, or quitting your job and going all-in before you’re ready.
In fact, there are plenty of people managing to balance their business, their family, and a full-time job. I know. I’m one of them.
I’ve been doing it for over a year.
Many would say I’m “hustling.”
I think “hustle” likely began as a term for people like you and me.
People who don’t fit the traditional 9-to-5 model and choose to build something different.
Unfortunately, the internet and social media have glorified “the hustle” to the point that the meaning has shifted and it’s a badge of honor to lose sleep to build a business.
Somehow, the word “hustle” has become synonymous with “entrepreneur” and “success.”
Well, I’m calling bullshit!
Being a successful entrepreneur doesn’t have to mean that you hustle your ass off and fight for every dollar you make.
It also doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your health, your family, or your job to build a business and life you love.
Which is exactly why I’m sharing these 19 hacks to help you balance your business, your family, and your full-time job. You can call them time-hacks or productivity tips.
Either way, I think you’ll find these 19 tips helpful in managing all the balls you have in the air.
A quick warning before we get started. This post is very long and jam-packed with helpful tips. Be sure to Pin it or bookmark it so you can refer back to it later.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IDLE TIME
We all have pockets of idle time throughout the day.
Whether you’re standing in line, waiting at the doctor’s office, or commuting to work, you likely have at least 30 minutes (if not more) of idle time every day.
Instead of using that time to jack around on social media or play video games, transform it into productive time.
Here are some tips to help you turn your idle time into productive time.
1. Learn During Your Morning Routine
If your morning routine requires more than brushing your teeth and throwing on some clothes, you have an opportunity to transform that time into valuable learning time.
Each morning, I either watch a training video on my tablet or listen to a podcast or audiobook on my phone while I do my hair and makeup.
I’ve completed entire certifications this way and the lessons tend to get my brain going in the morning and fill me with inspiration throughout the day.
2. Write During Your Morning Commute
Download a recording app (I use Voice Recorder) to your phone and dictate blog posts and emails during your commute.
You can then convert the recordings into text using extremely affordable services such as VoiceBase.
The transcripts require a fair amount of cleaning up and editing, but you’ll be amazed at how easily the words flow when you talk freely versus sitting at your computer in front of a blank screen.
Plus, your writing comes across more conversational and your personality shines through much better.
3. Clean Out Your Inbox While Waiting
Anytime you find yourself waiting, jump into your email inbox and start cleaning up.
Suddenly, an inconvenience becomes an opportunity to play catch up.
Is your friend late for lunch? Sweet!
Your cable provider placed you on hold for the foreseeable future? Sweet!
Your kids’ Christmas program is delayed because they can’t find the 8th reindeer? Sweet!
You can use that “lost time” to take care of a few emails and get them out of your inbox.
4. Catch up on Social Media While Sitting on the Toilet
Yes, I really did just go there. The jig is up.
We all know everyone trolls social media or plays Candy Crush while sitting on the toilet.
Instead of scrolling through Instagram and feeling like crap (pun intended) at all the cool things your friends are doing, be more strategic about your toilet time pursuits.
Use the time to interact with your audience or follow key influencers in your niche and comment on their posts.
AUTOMATE, ORGANIZE, INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY
There are so many amazing tools available now that help entrepreneurs automate repetitive tasks, organize their lives and increase productivity.
There is no reason you have to suffer in silence when the internet is chock-full of amazing resources.
The following are a few of my favorite resources.
5. Streamline Social Media with a Content Calendar
Figuring out what to post on social media can be a daunting and time-consuming task.
Social media post ideas are one of those things that seem easy, but when you sit down to post it suddenly becomes very difficult and can feel overwhelming.
If you’ve ever struggled with what to post on social media or you’ve felt uninspired and desperate for a fresh idea of what to post on social media you need to use a social media content calendar.
A content calendar will allow you to consistently post engaging content every day which will help you grow your following and increase engagement with your posts.
Plus, a calendar will provide a streamlined process that will save you hours of time and stress.
You can learn how to create your own content calendar in this post: How to Create and Use a Social Media Content Calendar.
Or, you can speed up the process and save even more time by grabbing a copy of my done-for-you 2019 Social Media Content Calendar.
6. Automate Pinterest with Tailwind
Pinterest is a powerhouse for bloggers and an absolute necessity to drive traffic to your blog.
Unfortunately, a proper Pinterest strategy requires pinning thirty to fifty times a day.
Let’s be real, ain’t nobody got time for that!
Instead of spending all day on Pinterest, I use Tailwind.
I can automate my Pinning and schedule Pins to be shared at optimal times throughout the day.
Tailwind is by far the best money I spend each month.
Not only does it save me tons of time each month, but it’s a major contributing factor in my skyrocketing blog traffic.
7. Increase Productivity with Brain.fm
Brain.fm is “music for the brain” and my new secret weapon.
The music acts like a freaky hypnotic mind focuser. (Yes, that’s a thing.)
It’s my easy button when I need to get shit done and I have limited time to do it.
Trevor and I both swear by Brain.fm.
The second we put on our headphones with Brain.fm we get laser focused and start churning out quality work like a machine.
I’ll have times when I just can’t seem to get anything done.
You know those moments…
…When you have so much to do that you can’t seem to focus on anything.
You keep toggling back and forth between browser tabs hoping one of those clicks will magically inspire you to do something.
I’m not sure how it works or why it works, but Brain.fm somehow allows you to get hyper-focused and instantly transforms you into “get shit done” mode.
In fact, I’m writing this article with Brain.fm pumping in my ears.
8. Get Organized with Asana
Asana is an online tool that helps you create and manage your to-do list.
I use the free version of Asana to organize my to-do list, but it’s capable of so much more.
You can also manage large projects and collaborate with multiple team members.
Asana is essential for me as I always have a running to-do list for my 9-to-5, my personal life, and my business.
When I have a 30-minute window to work on my business it’s hard to figure out what to do with all those to-do’s swimming in my head.
With Asana, I can quickly see what I have scheduled to be completed today and start working on the next most important item on my list. (Refer to tip #15 for how to prioritize your to-do list).
And since Asana is an online tool, you can access it from any device.
This comes in handy when an idea randomly pops into your head.
No matter where you’re at or what you’re doing, you can open your Asana app on your phone and schedule a task.
9. Save Time and Money with Online Shopping
I got turned on to online shopping out of necessity after my son was born and I went back to work.
I wanted every second I could possibly get with him which meant I became extremely efficient with my time.
I worked through lunch so I could leave early each day and I found ways to complete work faster.
This also meant that stopping at the store on my way home from work to get groceries or buy diapers was out of the question.
I’ve saved countless hours over the years with online shopping.
Plus, with online shopping, you tend to buy only what you need.
Ever notice how you can’t get out of Target for under $100 or Costco for less than $250?
There are so many great options to buy groceries and household essentials online.
Amazon Prime and Thrive Market are among my favorites.
I can get free delivery and cheaper prices than the store.
Walmart recently starting delivering in larger communities and many local grocery stores and organic grocery services now deliver as well.
When you’re a working parent you can typically get the items you need to be delivered quicker than you can carve out time to get your butt to the store.
ALLOW SPACE FOR CREATIVITY TO FLOW
Blogging requires a great deal of creative energy.
Contrary to popular memes and Instagram photos, creativity does not come from five hours of sleep and ten cups of coffee.
Creativity flows best when you’ve had ample time to rest, relax, and recharge.
10. Get 7 – 8 Hours of Sleep a Night
I’m not gonna lie. I get really annoyed when I see “get plenty of sleep” on lists like this.
It seems lame and feels like filler to make the list longer.
But here’s the thing…
…sleep is ESSENTIAL to successfully managing all the balls you have in the air.
I’m not going to get into the mountains of research and data proving that you need sleep for optimal performance.
If you don’t believe me, a simple Google search will do the trick.
I will, however, share a personal story about my own experience with sleep.
When my daughter was a baby, she went through a phase where she nursed multiple times throughout the night – leaving me with a total of 5 hours of sleep each night, if I was lucky.
I was working full-time and after about three weeks of this charade, it was clear to Trevor that I was officially a crazy person.
I could still function.
I was doing my job. I was taking care of my family.
But, I was an angry, stressed-out, anxious disaster.
Luckily, Trevor could see what was happening to me and demanded that I sleep through the entire night and he would feed the baby some of my stockpile of pumped milk.
After lots of persuasions, I gave in and accepted his offer.
Those 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep were LIFE CHANGING!
I woke up transformed.
I had a new lease on life, loads of energy, and a clear head.
Ever since that night, I have made it a priority to get 7 – 8 hours of sleep a night.
I attribute this amount of sleep to my ability to get (what appears to others) a freakish amount of stuff accomplished in a day.
Not only do I have the energy to tackle a lot, but I have the mental and emotional strength to handle a lot.
Sure, you may be able to function just fine off of 5 hours of sleep a night.
But in order to be the BEST version of yourself, and balance all your responsibilities, you need to get adequate sleep each night.
11. Small Breaks to Meditate or Move
In addition to sleep, I also strongly believe in the power of meditation and movement.
However, extremely busy people like you and me can’t afford the luxury of hour-long yoga classes, 20-minute meditations, or day-long hikes.
But, that doesn’t mean we can’t still benefit from those activities.
Oftentimes a five-minute break is all you need to recharge your batteries.
Set a timer on your phone for 5 – 10 minutes and either sit in silence, move through a few yoga poses, or take a quick walk around the block to soak up the sun and fresh air.
You’ll be amazed at the creative thoughts and solutions that flood your mind when you take some time to sit in silence or get outside in nature.
12. Silence Negativity and Fear with Affirmations
Your negative thoughts and fears are the biggest obstacle standing in your way.
Your natural instincts protect you from failure and pain.
This means fear can consume your mind and dominate your thoughts.
My first year as a blogger was the most emotionally tumultuous year of my life.
I had no idea the mental tenacity blogging requires.
I had to learn to stop the negative self-talk and quit comparing myself to others.
The only thing self-doubt accomplishes is to halt your progress. Instead of confidently moving forward, you end up questioning every decision and overthinking every move you make.
You’re way too busy to allow your thoughts to sabotage you so tell your negative thoughts and fears to suck it!
Replace those negative thoughts with positive affirmations and repeat them to yourself often throughout the day.
I have a series of statements and affirmations on my OneNote app on my phone that I read every morning before work and each night before bed.
These statements fill me with confidence and make a huge difference in how I tackle obstacles throughout my day.
Do not allow your mind to waste another second of your time doubting yourself.
Be the badass that you are and charge forward in the direction of your goals.
BE STRATEGIC AND GET FOCUSED
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t believe that building a business means you have to work your butt off and rarely see your kids or your bed.
I do, however, think it means you need to get smart about how you spend your time.
You need to be strategic and efficient.
You need to get focused and stop chasing squirrels and shiny objects.
13. Focus Your Time on What Matters
Each day you are faced with thousands of decisions on how to spend your time.
By the end of the day, you’re utterly exhausted by the volume of decisions you had to make.
Oftentimes, when you look back at your week you wonder how an entire week flew by and you have nothing to show for it.
That feeling is the result of not focusing on what matters.
You need to figure out what truly matters most to you.
Once you know that, you can easily cut things out of your day and say “no” to all the little time-sucks that pop up along the way.
My family and my overall health and wellbeing matter most to me.
I‘m building my business so I can quit my corporate job and spend more time with my family, work less, and play more.
For me, this meant television and movies had to go.
Trevor and I no longer watch T.V. except for Friday nights after the kids go to bed.
We snuggle up on the couch with a glass of wine or hot tea and indulge in Scandal.
I also had to rearrange my workouts.
Instead of going to the gym over lunch, I use that time to work on my blog and I integrate my workouts into family time.
We either go for walks, do family yoga, or play Dance Central in the evenings.
Figure out what matters most to you and then start cutting out everything that doesn’t fit within your priorities.
14. Focus Your Thoughts and Use the “Bitch Be Crazy” Method
In addition to focusing your time on what matters, you also need to focus your thoughts on what matters and stop focusing on stuff you can’t control.
For example, other people’s drama is something you can’t control.
Think about how often you find yourself talking about other people and getting worked up about something they did or did not do.
These thoughts consume a lot of energy and take up space in your brain where creativity should live.
A few years ago, Trevor and I came up with a solution to this problem that has revolutionized our lives. We call it, “bitch be crazy.”
We created the solution after realizing a certain person in our lives was causing us to get fired up and frustrated.
Talking about this person would suck our energy and leave us angry about something we had no control or influence over.
We decided to implement a new rule.
Anytime we caught ourselves talking about this person one of us would say “bitch be crazy” and we had to immediately stop the conversation and move on to something else.
The “bitch be crazy” rule works so well that we have since extended it to all types of topics that get us worked up.
Here are some examples to help you see how you can apply this life-changing rule in your own life:
The President’s latest antics got you worked up? Bitch be crazy!
The room Mom at your kids’ school thinks she runs the place? Bitch be crazy!
Your boss just rolled out a stupid idea that you don’t agree with? Bitch be crazy!
I challenge you to try this method out today.
I guarantee you’ll love how empowered you feel saying “bitch be crazy” and then changing the conversation to a more productive and positive topic.
15. Prioritize Tasks with the $100 Bills Method
I learned the “$100 bills” method from Amber McCue of NiceOps.com.
Amber teaches small business owners how to prioritize their never-ending to-do list by assigning a dollar value to each task.
Tasks that have the greatest potential to generate revenue for your business are labeled $100 bills.
Tasks with the least revenue potential are labeled $1 bills.
When you open up Asana (tip from #8) and look at the mountain of things you need to do that day, figure out which tasks are $100 bills and start there.
Then, work your way down the list to your $50 bills, then your $20 bills, and so on.
- Creating a product, emailing your list an offer, or optimizing a sales page might be a $100 bill.
- Writing a blog post or emailing your audience an update might be a $50 bill.
- Pitching to speak on a podcast might be a $20 bill.
- Making an Instagram post or attending a webinar on how to write better copy might be a $5 bill.
- Organizing your files or cleaning out your inbox might be a $1 bill.
This method helps you focus your time and energy working on tasks that will have the greatest impact on your business.
Pro tip: Oftentimes you can complete $5 and $1 tasks during idle time. Refer back to tips 1 – 4 on how to maximize your idle time.
16. Evaluate New Ideas Using Qualifying Questions
As an entrepreneur, it’s your natural tendency to have shiny object syndrome.
You’re a visionary. You’ve got big ideas!
Unfortunately, you’re just one person and you can’t possibly execute every new idea that pops into your head.
Because let’s be honest. You get a great new idea at least once a day!
To help you quickly analyze each new idea, and determine if it’s worthy to pursue or not, walk through some qualifying questions.
You’ll need to develop these questions based on your goals and your values.
Here are a few examples of qualifying questions you could ask:
- Does this idea better serve my best readers and customers?
- Will this idea help me drive more traffic to my blog with minimal effort?
- Can this idea be implemented with the time I have available this month?
- Can this idea be implemented within the budget I have available this month?
- Does this idea help me achieve my blogging goals?
- Does this idea fit within my core values?
- Does this idea strengthen my brand identity?
Create three qualifying questions you can run each new idea through and only implement ideas that receive a “yes” to all three questions.
If you answer maybe, a not yet, or a no to any question then scrap that idea and move on.
17. Schedule Time for Your Business
Before you facepalm in exasperation and yell “no shit” at your computer, just hear me out.
I’m not talking about putting a meeting notice on your calendar or blocking off your lunch-hour each day to work on your business.
I want you to be much more strategic than that.
When scheduling time for your blog….
- First, think about what time of day you’re are the most creative and the ideas flow like water.
- Then, rearrange your schedule to allow 60 minutes or more to work on your blog during that peak creativity time.
- You also need to identify a 3-hour window once or twice a week. This larger block of time will allow you to get into the flow and really crank out some work.
- Finally, identify two 15-minute time blocks each day for the little stuff – cleaning out your inbox, replying to emails, connecting on social media, etc.
ASK FOR HELP!
I have saved this section for last because it’s by far the most important and the most difficult for many entrepreneurs to do.
Asking for help seems so simple, but it’s in our nature to want to do it all and control it all.
Unfortunately, when you’re managing multiple responsibilities, you have to let go and ask for help.
18. Hire Help – Throw Money at the Problem
If you’re still working a full-time job, more than likely you can afford to hire some help.
Reinvest a portion of the money you’re making on your blog into tools, resources, services, and people.
Hiring help doesn’t necessarily mean hiring a virtual assistant or paying for fancy automation tools. Those things are helpful, but I want you to think beyond your business and consider everything else that demands your time.
Here are a few examples of services you can hire to free up more time for your business:
- Neighborhood teenager to mow your lawn, do your laundry, or entertain your kids.
- Cleaning service to clean your house once a month or once a week.
- A personal chef or meal prep service to make your meals each week.
- Errand service to run miscellaneous errands.
- Online clothing stylist or personal shopper to shop for clothes.
For the right amount of money, you can hire great people to handle all the things you don’t have time to handle.
19. Enlist Loved Ones to Help
This final tip is everything.
I could not possibly manage this blog, my full-time job, and time with my kids without help from my friends and family.
I’ve mentioned Trevor, my husband, multiple times throughout this post.
He is critical to my success.
Trevor stays at home with our kids and manages the day-to-day workings of our household.
On top of that, during naptime, he works on my blog and serves as my business coach.
If you don’t have a spouse (or yours isn’t very helpful) don’t despair.
You still have options.
There are plenty of people who love you very much and want to see you succeed.
Brainstorm the people in your life, such as family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors who may be able to help you out. For example:
- Can your Dad take your car in for oil changes and routine maintenance?
- Can you team up with a neighbor to split carpool duties for kids activities?
- Do you have a good friend who can serve as your accountability partner or business coach?
- Do you have a co-worker with complementary interests and talents who can partner with you on your blog?
You don’t have to do this alone.
The people who love you most would be honored to help you and be part of your journey to success.
If you do have a spouse, but they aren’t very helpful, I have a tool that could change that.
After my first child was born and I went back to work, the division of labor in my household was very lopsided.
I worked full-time, did all the cooking, cleaning and errands.
Trevor got to cuddle our sweet baby all day and play video games.
Can you relate?
Trevor was living the life while I was living a new Mom nightmare.
I created a spreadsheet that mapped out our days and color-coded our tasks so Trevor could visually see the unfair division of labor.
He had a TON of blue free time on his calendar where I had ZERO blue on mine.
I had a TON of orange household chores time on mine where he had maybe 30 minutes.
It was the wake-up call he needed.
I’m proud to say that six years later we have an equal partnership.
We’re a team and we both feel the division of labor is fair.
And when it’s not, we’re able to ask for help and make changes as needed.
I encourage you to go through this same exercise with your spouse. It made all the difference!
I know this was a beast of a post and your time is extremely limited.
If you made it this far, thank you so much for sticking through to the end.
My sincere hope is that you received a ton of value from this post.
With the time you free up by implementing some of these tips, you can attend my free Pinterest Traffic Webinar.
Sign up here to learn how to increase your traffic in 30 days or less with minimal time and effort using Pinterest.
If you found this post helpful, I’d love to know!