2 weeks ago we introduced the Blog Buddy to the world, and it has been a wonderful and awesome feeling to have accomplished this goal of creating and producing this phenomenal tool. But in being at the stage we are at now, (mid-way through our Kickstarter) we are at a turning point.
This whole process of development and creation has been a huge undertaking and it has taxed our family and me with the time and energy it has required just as every new startup or big project can do. It has pulled me away from my first love in this little space of mine of writing and sharing with you.
And it has had me thinking about the experience and how we will carry on from this point.
Kevin and I sat down last night and really talked about where we are going with this business and how it is affecting our lives. And I thought I would share some of the thoughts that I have had from our conversation.
(Please keep in mind these are in progress thoughts…I am in no way claiming to have perfected any of these, honestly they stem from the opposite in most cases.)
1) Remember That Everything Carries A Cost
It is important in this reflection to realize that being focused, even intensely focused, on a goal is not a bad thing. Often it is vital in launching something into existence that may not have ever been able to come into being.
This quote has often come to mind in this process:
“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
My admonition to myself and to you today is this: do not underestimate the costs to your life that running a large project like a Kickstarter entails. You can’t get time back so make sure you spend it on the things that ultimately make you the most fulfilled and have the biggest impact.
Please don’t take this as me saying that you shouldn’t run one, just that you should be sure that it is worth the investment it will be.
2) Decide Together What Your Daily/Weekly/Monthly Priorities Will Be
It is up to you and your family to map out a course for achieving your goals…together.
And in the middle of a big project certain things will have to be sacrificed. There is only so much time in each day.
For us in this last six months our home has suffered from my attentions being on building the planner, and Kevin and I’s quality time together has been limited at best. Will the world end because of these things? No….not all at once.
But day after day, month after month of pursuing a big goal these things begin to wear on your family.
Setting expectations and agreeing on what will be sacrificed and for how long goes a long way to keeping resentment and burn out at bay.
3) Take Care Of Yourself
Left to my own devices when I am excited about a project I will work for days on end barely showering, sleeping or eating. I innately have no “Off” button to speak of.
I find working on projects to be incredibly inspiring, but I know that time doing other things is not only good for me but gives me even more energy when I come back to said project.
Taking care of yourself is vital to your happiness and your productivity. And you don’t have to be dressed to the hilt, exercise for 3 hours a day or get a massage every week to do it!
Start with the basics: water, personal quiet time, bathing, and movement.
Drink Your Water:
“Water” is on the daily sheets of the Blog Buddy for good reason.
Dehydration causes moodiness, fatigue and the inability to focus (source). Not exactly great things if you are trying to be effective in your life and trying to create quality content for your blog. Drink your water!
There’s debate over how much water you really need to drink but it comes down to this….drink when you are even the slightest bit thirsty. I find when I pay attention to this I end up drinking much more water and feel 100% better than days where I ignore my thirst until I am totally parched.
Use a 32oz Mason Jar instead of a regular sized glass. You only have to drink 2 “glasses” of water a day to have hit your 8 glasses a day this way!
Drink water with your meals, its far easier to get water down while you are eating then to be forcing yourself to drink because it’s “good for you”.
Personal Quiet Time:
Even if it’s just 15 minutes of you time in the morning or while the kids are asleep makes a huge difference. I like to take a few minutes to read a devotional, think about what I am grateful for that day and drink my coffee.
Bathing & Dressing:
If you are not a parent you might laugh at the idea that bathing could get pushed down your priority list. If you are a parent, well then you understand. But seriously…take a shower or bath every day!
It takes like 5 minutes if you are rushed and makes a huge difference in how your day goes. When you work from home living in your sweats can easily become the norm. I get 10x as much done when I take the time to get ready for the day.
Movement (a.k.a. a better word for exercise):
I do not like to exercise alone. Let’s be honest…I don’t even enjoy the idea exercising a lot of the time. I really want to get back into running again but if you are trying to run a Kickstarter, raise a family and are not already on a great exercise program please don’t try to start one in the middle of this.
But do get off the computer and go chase your kids in the yard, take a hike with your family on the weekend, stroll around the park with your spouse/friend. Do something that gets you moving during the day, preferably outside and away from the pesky screens we are tied to almost 24/7.
Then once your Kickstarter is finished, seriously consider adding vigorous exercise to your routine. After reading this awesome article from Buffer I’m going to try adding a 20 min walk to the beginning of my mornings as often as possible as a start.
4) Take Care of Your Family
After taking care of yourself, carve out the important time for your family. You are going to be super busy when the Kickstarter is running so don’t aspire to being a super hero at home, but make sure the basics get covered.
If your spouse is willing this is a great place for them to jump in to help free up some time for you. Explain to them that this is a tangible way they can help support your efforts to make your project successful.
There is a reason that Dinner is a built in part of the Blog Buddy. Nothing says “I love you” better than a hot dinner that is on time. If you don’t have a family this still applies to you!
Waiting to eat or eating fast food all the time is a surefire way to burn out.
Batch cooking, using your crockpot and eating simple meals like soups/salads/sandwichesare all great options. And of course the occasional eating out or fast food run all have their place on cram days.
Keep The House Running:
Keeping your house basics cared for each day is super important! If you are behind already, take 1 day and get the house back in order. Then maintain it as best you can each day.
Letting the dishes and laundry pile up just makes you feel terrible and makes it harder to get back on track.
It doesn’t take that long to start a load of laundry, start the dishwasher, throw something in the crockpot and run around for 15 minutes putting things back in their place before you sit down to knock out some work.
If you are mentally fighting cleaning the house in favor of working on your project set the timer for 5 minutes and clean for 5 minutes.
If you repeat this every 25 minutes (8 am-clean 5 min, 8:30-clean 5 min) by the end of an 10 hour day you will have cleaned for a full hour total.
If you are married or in a relationship, do your best to not be connected to your screens all the time. I speak from experience in telling you that it does not foster relationships to be half listening to someone or to be on the receiving end of said treatment.
Take time during the day to connect with your kids and play with them even if it’s just for a few minutes at a time. If your kids are little make sure you are working on your household chores with them vs waiting til they are sleeping.
Your Kickstarter will only be running for 30 days on average so you will want to take advantage of every sleeping moment you get to knock stuff out.
Make sure at least one weekend out of the 4-5 you will have that you leave your phone at home and go out for some quality time together.
4) Start With An End In Mind
Do you have a business plan for your blog/job/company?
If not make one!
Ask the hard questions now so you don’t spend your time, energy and resources on things that are ultimately pulling you off track.
You can get a great template for one here.
Using flow charts or mind maps can help for certain aspects. Paper is great or Bubbl.us is a great free software for making them online.
Setup a plan BEFORE you launch your Kickstarter on exactly how you are going to market your project if at all possible. If you are on a seasonal deadline like we have been and have to launch, get your rear end in gear and get a plan made stat.
Use a Calendar and task lists to stay on track and keep moving forward each day!
5) Seek Out Accountability
Actively seek out accountability to help you stay on track.
Then pursue them when they (as they inevitably will) forget to call/text/email you to check in.
Remember the accountability is for you, not for them so help them help you.
I asked my parents to call and chat with me each day during the project to help me stay focused on exactly what I was going to accomplish that day. It helped immensely!
6) Keep It In Perspective
Remember that the world will not end if your Kickstarter is not as great as it could have been or (heaven forbid) it fails. If you keep your priorities where they belong your family will still be supportive of you in your next endeavors and you will have learned a ton along the way.
If you are a blogger and need some help staying organized be sure to check out the Blog Buddy. We created it to help you find balance, to stay organized and to have no excuses for not achieving your goals other than your own lack of self-discipline.