Thirteen months. That’s how long it’s been since I decided to resign from my former career to take on KelleyNan.com full time. So, how do I spend my time? What do my days look like? Maybe you think I do it all or maybe you think I sit around and do nothing. Hopefully, today’s post will prove that neither is true. In addition to my full-day-run-down, Amy and Christy of 11 Magnolia Lane have brought eight of us bloggers together, to share what our daily lives look like. I already know they’re going to be totally different, so I can’t wait to visit them all and glean some ideas of my own. They’re each linked at the bottom of this post so make sure to head over once you finish up here 😉
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In my previous job, I actually developed a productivity tracking system for our clients to log their work-week activities. It made it easy to identify areas where too much time was being focused, and some, not enough. Could they delegate part of their day to others to spend more time on the important tasks? Or maybe, this was the case they needed for an assistant. Or maybe, they just needed to manage their time better. But to get the most accurate results, I always asked that they log their day in real time, as it happened. It’s easy to recount the day and assume you did XYZ for a certain amount of time, but you forget about all those little things that go into making the big things happen. You also forget about some of those unimportant tasks can turn into huge wastes of time. If you asked me what I did yesterday, from memory, I would probably say “I finished a blog post and had tacos for dinner”. But, my days are full and I want to know and understand where I am focusing my time. So, I challenged myself to track my time, just as my former clients did, and guys- it was eye opening. You can read more on my decision to leave my former job HERE.
Being a one-man team (more on that in a bit), I have to serve all roles. Yes, there’s the obvious- shopper, stylist, writer, photographer, editor… but there are also the roles you don’t see- researcher, IT monitor, accountant, admin, campaign manager, intellectual property flagger. As you can imagine, my days are constantly changing. I have to adapt to a new set of priorities each morning – sometimes, I am shopping and photographing, sometimes, I don’t do a single thing that moves me closer to finishing a blog post/creating new content.
To be honest, of course there are important things I don’t want to neglect in my life, but I’m also okay with not having that sought-after work-life “balance” that so many people talk about. I love what I do. I am building a business and building my brand; I’m in a season of hustle right now. I’m not going to walk away from responsibilities that will help me reach my goals, for the sake of “balance”. On the flipside, I want to protect myself from burnout.
I heard something from my favorite new podcast (Goal Digger) the other day that jumped out of my phone and slapped me in the face- “busy is not a badge of honor”. Yes, my days are full but we all have the same number of limited hours. I want to make sure I’m being most efficient with the time I’m given, and making it count. After logging my entire day, I definitely have some things to work on. But, we’ll talk about that later. For now, let’s go ahead and jump into what one day looks like for me. Caveat- this is a super detailed account but just as it helped me look at how I was really spending my time once I finished, I hope it will give you a more clear picture of how my brain works and the different tasks I work to juggle.
A Day in the Life of a Home & Lifestyle Blogger
5:00 a.m. // Wake up in a total fog
I’m totally not a “morning person” but can be my most productive and get my best work done in the morning. So, I make myself a “morning person”.
5:07 a.m. // Turn off snooze and run through emails
One snooze is super impressive for me (and not common); I don’t always set my alarm since typically, my internal clock knows when to wake me up. And, full disclosure, my bed did NOT get made on this particular day haha.
5:30 a.m. // Get up, head downstairs, let the dogs out, make coffee, water plants, feed dogs
5:45 a.m. // Sit down with coffee and a breakfast bar and make list of priorities for the day.
I was on an oatmeal kick for months before I got a little burned out and lazy; I need to get started back because it keeps me way more filled until lunch.
5:55 a.m. // Check order statuses, income from the previous day (commissions, ads, etc.) and website traffic; answer questions regarding personal Facebook sale listings
I have several kitchen and living room orders pending; daily tracking and anticipation has almost become a hobby haha. I also have listed a few items to a local Facebook yard sale group. As a total newbie, I’m thinking it may be more trouble than it’s worth :/
6:05 a.m. // Finish writing blog post
I wish I planned ahead for blog posts, but… I don’t. One day 😉 That being said, I try not to make a habit of finishing a post the morning it’s due but because I already had a bulk of this post finished, I knew I would be able to knock the remainder out in just a couple of hours. I also don’t do many “group”/blog hops with others but that’s what this one was (which is why it had a launch time and deadline)
*6:05 a.m. // Make mental note that I really need to update my About Me page
7:10 a.m. // Pause to set out Dave’s morning beverages
Dave isn’t a coffee person but I try to get his morning Diet Dr. Pepper poured and ready, along with his work waters and occasionally, snacks and lunch. Sustenance. I gather and set out his sustenance 😉
7:46 a.m. // Sit down at the bar and finish writing and schedule post for 9:00 a.m. launch
One of my goals was to get back in my office for the bulk of my work day. But, being in the middle of kitchen/living room projects, it’s been helpful to sit in the middle of the two when I’m coming up with ideas, ordering, etc. I’ll get back up there, soon. When I’m not working from my kitchen, here’s the space I love.
Here’s the fun post I finished up that morning. Prior to writing, I had to shop, prep, shoot, edit photos, tag/name/size them, etc. A lot goes into most of the blog images and posts and the time from start to finish totally varies depending on the type of post. For a full party post (table, recipe, and setup), it isn’t uncommon to put 40+ hours into it. This post required far less time but still probably took about 12 hours from start to finish. You can see the finished post on a fondue dessert board HERE.
7:50 a.m. // Make and pour second cup of coffee; unload dishwasher from the night before, and turn on podcast
I am newly (and totally) addicted to Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger podcast and listen as much as I can – whether I’m driving, doing chores, or editing photos. If you’re an entrepreneur, I highly recommend diving into some of her shows.
8:15 a.m. // Get sidetracked by an email and load grocery store coupons to my card; pick up a little downstairs; make note to call the plumber to tighten a faucet; make note to fix piece on dishwasher that I spy sitting on the counter.
8:30 a.m. //
Start to head upstairs for a shower when I catch a glimpse out of the corner of my eye that one of the pups got sick on the sitting room rug. Quickly clean, load and start the washing machine; notice some of my plants could use water and quickly take care of those. Hop in the shower.
9:00 a.m. // Head back downstairs and confirm scheduled post launched; update and check links within the post and brew my third cup of coffee
9:15 a.m. // Prepare and add a story on Instagram
9:30 a.m. // Head back upstairs to dry my hair and add a touch of makeup
9:45 a.m. // Ansley arrives and helps brainstorm and craft holiday checklist for upcoming newsletter subscriber opt-in. She types while I finish getting ready.
Ansley has just joined my team as an assistant, for a few hours a week, to act as an extension of me. We are approaching our busiest season so I’m thankful to have her on board!
10:30 a.m. // Back downstairs for some paperwork with Ansley.
11:00 a.m. // Respond to emails/check partner inventory for upcoming post/check weather for hurricane
It’s easy to get buried in emails from readers, brands, partners, networks, etc. I try to address those I have “flagged” earlier. Instagram messages, blog comments, etc. are an entirely different beast.
11:40 a.m. // Call with Kris (of Driven by Decor) and make lunch
Truth- I have a daily (long) “conference call” with Kris. Dave even said in THIS POST (what it’s like being married to me), that he considers her my business partner, and well… #truth. We talk about everything from strategies and algorithm changes, to our dogs ailments and dinner. Basically- everything. She’s also sharing her “day in the life” today, so make sure you pay her a visit 😉
I don’t feel guilty for our phone marathons because they are usually the break I need after already putting in several hours. I will typically try to fold laundry, eat, etc. while we’re chatting though 😉
My lunch consists of fridge leftovers or salad. Every. Day. I keep a salad spinner filled with chopped lettuce in the fridge; keeping it in the sealed bowl with the water draining through the strainer can keep it fresh for up to two weeks. You can find the one I have and love HERE.
1:00 p.m. // More emails, invoicing, prepare hi-resolution images for partner, send statistics, other administrative
1:30 p.m. // Post to Facebook
1:36 p.m. // Look for powder room mirrors
Several times throughout the day, I will see a message or email pop up that will take me off task. In this case, I started down a non-priority hole of searching for powder room mirrors. If you remember from THIS POST, I was getting ready to start working on our powder room makeover until we had to “pivot” and focus on the kitchen and living room updates. (PS: I have a goal of next Tuesday for the kitchen reveal!) While we had to put the powder room on hold, I did have my trim carpenter go ahead and add some molding while he was here for the kitchen… And now, it will have to sit here, un-painted without a mirror, until I’m ready to resume focus on this little room.
And here’s the latest mirror I found in my search- the dimensions look perfect 😉 You can check it out HERE.
1:40 p.m. // Remember that quarterly tax payments are due. Hustle upstairs to grab payment slips and checks.
There are also several times throughout the day when I have “oh, crap!” moments. This is just one example from today 😉
1:45 p.m. // While I’m upstairs grabbing checks, I remember laundry and toss it into the dryer.
1:50 p.m. // Run to mailbox to drop payments and realize we never got the mail from the day before.
I quickly sort through, realize Maggie is still getting invitations for scholarship programs and beauty pageants, and toss the junk. (For those who don’t know, Maggie is our youngest, most spry
pup child. Somehow, she landed on a collection of database lists and “the people” think she’s a high-achieving, young lady.
*Make mental note to self that it seems our mailbox has seen better days haha*
2:00 p.m. // Start planning out an upcoming post for late September- source and order needed items for the post
3:05 p.m. // Get back in that email
3:20 p.m. // Prepare and write newsletter- schedule for 7:30 p.m. launch
I try to get a newsletter out for each post, which will typically include the latest post(s), sale highlights, a reader spotlight, seasonal favorites, past posts, etc. If you don’t already, you can subscribe HERE to make sure you catch all my upcoming projects, room reveals, and seasonal goodies 😉 I will also be offering some exclusive content, soon (as I try to from time to time).
3:55 p.m. // Updated My Loves
This page is where I share some of my most asked about pieces, things I’m considering, sales, etc. I try to get in there to update at least once a week, but especially on newsletter days.
4:30 p.m. // Answer Instagram questions
I try to get through them all, but this can literally be a full time job. I usually stay behind but end up getting around to most all of them 😉
4:45 p.m. // Post Instagram stories of common questions
If you aren’t already, you can follow me HERE – this is how I stay in touch the most, daily. And, if you’re wondering the same question below, you can find the lipstick HERE and the lip liner HERE 😉
5:05 p.m. // Realize I forgot to call the plumber – call and leave message for him to return my call the following day; take out chicken to (quick) thaw; turn on The Vampire Diaries (yes, I’m watching it through the second time 😉 )
5:10 p.m. // Start preparing dinner
Tonight is easy- grilled chicken, yellow rice, and roasted broccoli & cauliflower
5:30 p.m. // Schedule a few Facebook posts
If you aren’t already, you can follow along on Facebook HERE.
5:37 p.m. // Schedule a few posts on Pinterest
If you aren’t already, you can follow me HERE. Fun fact- while the majority of my site traffic comes through Google, Pinterest is consistently in my top three traffic sources.
5:45 p.m. // Dave gets home from work
At least 50% of the time, I drop the ball on dinner and Dave steps in to be the hero of the night after changing out of his work clothes. If you’re new here, I brag on that supportive man of mine when I can, because I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without him.
6:05 p.m. // Wrap up Pinterest scheduling before resuming dinner prep
6:05 p.m. // Prep social landing page with new content for Instagram (the page you land on with links if you’re linking through my Instagram bio)
6:45 p.m. // Feed the pups dinner
7:00 p.m. // Dinner with Dave
7:25 p.m. // Finish dinner and head to the sofa while Dave mans the dishes – my partners in crime hold down the fort ’til Dave can join us 😉
7:30 p.m. // Settle in for some tv time to catch the season premier of American Horror Story that we missed the night before; check analytics as scheduled newsletter goes out; work on prepping an Instagram post
8:40 p.m. // Head upstairs to fold laundry and continue on with The Vampire Diaries
9:45 p.m. // Finish laundry; post to Instagram; browse Instagram and interact with followers and accounts I’m following
And then, I make a mental note of everything on my list for the day that I never got to – #TomorrowIsANewDay. FYI- on this specific day, I had a full batch of photos that went unedited, a post that was never written, and posts I still haven’t scheduled to Pinterest that have been “on my list” for over a week. And don’t get me wrong- while I had some “wins” today, there are plenty of days I stare at dishes piled high in the sink without touching them, forget to switch over laundry until it gets that smell, never change out of my pjs, and wonder how it seems so many others are doing a better job of “getting it all done” while I’m struggling to stay afloat.
After taking a full look at my day, I easily identified a few areas I want to improve, most involving “batch work”.
- Instead of running all over the place, commit to finishing what I’m working on before jumping ship and moving on to something else.
- Try to have allocated email hours twice a day.
- Prepare social posts during the same timeframe.
- Get to where I have content scheduled in advance.
- Batch similar activities for the blog-process to try to finish multiple posts at one time (take photos for multiple posts at the same time, edit photos for multiple posts at the same time, etc.)
- Focus on priorities over individual tasks.
- Accept that sometimes, finishing is better than perfecting.
I love my job and the responsibilities that come along with it. I love creating, inspiring, connecting, and learning from you all. And while it’s clear that I definitely have
some a lot of things to work on, I love that no two days are the same and that my role constantly calls for me to adapt and pivot.
To see how some of my friends spend their days, be sure to visit each of these ladies below. Some are moms and some are wives. Some left a career to build their business, and some evolved their blogs from passion projects. They’re all different and you won’t want to miss a single one.
Amy: 11 Magnolia Lane
Rebekah: A Blissful Nest
Kris: Driven by Decor
Haneen: Haneen’s Haven
Julie: Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss
Sarah: Life on Virginia Street
Chisty: 11 Magnolia Lane