JUST ASK JO: How Do I Balance Blogging and Family Life

QUESTION: 

First, Ive been following you for awhile—I absolutely love your mission and passion you have for what you do and how much love you have for your family. Truly inspiring!

Secondly, I am a new mama and have recently started blogging, but I am having such trouble keeping my motivation to work on it (mostly because of being so focused on my sweet baby). I was wondering if you had any advice on balancing your work and family life, and how to stay motivated? 

Much love and thanks, 
Kenzie 

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ANSWER:

The ever so elusive question of balancing work and family life. First off, congrats on your blog. I know the excitement it feels to start jotting down thoughts, writing, and creating content that comes from the heart. It’s overwhelming at times especially when it begins to feel like you’re just standing in a dust storm trying to make sense of it all. Balance can feel like the same thing which is why I believe in harmony and taking things one day at a time.

The focus and motivation to work on my blog, create content, and to write ebb and flow. It’s probably one of the largest struggles that bloggers rarely talk about. If you’re like me than writing is a form of therapy and can almost be cathartic. Sometimes in your own writing you get overwhelmed add that with family life it’s a perfect cocktail for chaos.

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So here are some tangible things you can do to help balance out work/family life:

Create a schedule that works for you

If you’re freelancing, work for yourself, or have the flexibility to work from home at your 9-5 make sure to create a schedule that works for you, your work, and your family. Since working for myself I’ve adopted a 10AM - 6PM work day on most days and I love it!


My ideal day typically looks like this:

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  • 6:00AM - wake up

  • 6:30AM - go to the gym

  • 8:00AM - get back home. Hubs takes kids to school (Jonathan took on the role of stay-at-home dad when he went full time with his photography business over 8 years ago. So a lot of the drop off/pick up routines are still managed by him)

  • 9:00AM - breakfast/catch up with the hubs on the day

  • 9:30/10:00AM - start my work day

  • 12:00PM - lunch AWAY FROM MY DESK!

  • 6:00PM - dinner time

  • 7:00PM - unplugged hang time with the fam. This is so important to us and something we do our best to uphold.

  • 10:00PMish - bedtime and rinse and repeat

Set boundaries!!!

I cannot stress how important creating boundaries are for work/life balance. Boundaries are not walls. Boundaries are doors and you have the option and choice to open those doors whenever you want/need to in order to adjust to life’s constant changes. For me, boundaries aren’t actually put into place for the family, they are actually in place because I tend to be a work-a-holic and this helps me to keep my harmony while juggling both work and family.

One boundary that is pretty strict for me is the amount of time I spend working. I try really hard not to put in more than 30-35 hours a week of active work time. As a blogger/social media influencer I often get invited to social gatherings and that’s all part of the role of marketing. I also roll that time up into my work week so I don’t feel like I’m a complete slave to my work.

The other boundary that’s relatively firm is the day(s) I take coaching sessions with clients. Typically those days are Tuesday and Thursday and it really works well for me to keep that consistent.

The not so tangible…

Creative Motivation

The motivation needed to focus on work can be really difficult when you have young kids and all you want to do is hang with the babes. Listen to your instincts! If right now your focus is on your sweet baby then let it be. They are only little for a small period of time. But if you’re really looking to find motivation to write and work on your blog then maybe blocking out time to focus on two days of blogging/writing is what might work best.

Motivation can both be found external and internal. External motivation is when someone behaves in a way that is outside of that person. It often comes from parents, boss, coworkers, family, and salary or promotion (advancement). Internal motivation engages in a behavior that is personally motivating. Identifying which motivation is fueling your desire to work on your blog could be the first step to breaking out of this work slump you’re experiencing.

Celebrate the small wins!

Once you’ve broken out that slump, make sure to celebrate you. This helps create positive reinforcement to the steps you’re making towards your blogging/work goals. Celebrate even if the step happens to be opening your laptop, writing a few words, and closing it 20 minutes later. Celebrate the small wins, this applies to every area of your life.

Give yourself grace

This by far is my most important tip on regaining motivation in any area of life. Discipline gets you started on the journey, grace and self love keeps you going. Life is going to get messy and motivation, creativity, and the desire to pour into your hustle will ebb and flow. Don’t beat yourself up too much. Each area in life has a season and just like seasons they come and go.

Hope this helps!



5 Tips for Turning a Stressful Morning into a #PowerHour

5 Tips for Turning a Stressful Morning into a #PowerHour

The kids are back in school and I’m so thrilled! Don’t get me wrong, I love that I get to spend more time with them when they are home for the summer, but sometimes that can get really chaotic and challenging for two parents who work for themselves. One of the things I hear from women all the time is how chaotic mornings can be when it comes to rushing everyone out of the house to start their day. Below I’m sharing 5 tips you can try to help change that.

Stay organized with packing cubes

Keeping organized while on the road can be tricky and can cause a lot of stress regardless of whether or not you're constantly jet-setting or taking a trip once a year. Last year, I jumped on a plane 17 times for both work and pleasure. One of the greatest travel hacks I picked up during my travel were packing cubes!

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Packing cubes are pretty standard in the world of travel, but not many travelers have managed to pick up this little life hack. I get it! It's not the prettiest when you try to recreate the many blogger photos of open pieces of luggage filled to the brim with the most Instagram worthy travel accessories. But packing cubes have been a stress saver for me and personally, I'd rather be mindful of my mental health by staying organized. 

The benefits of packing cubes

Organize

I like to separate my workout clothing, my regular outfits, bathing suits, and underwear/PJs. This keeps my luggage neater and more organized especially if I need to zip it open during a layover. This also helps me from not overpacking when I can keep track of where things go in my luggage. 

Compression 

You can use packing cubes to compress your clothing for any trip. This is especially helpful if you're using a carry-on size. 

Versatility

Although I only use mine for clothing, you can also use them to separate camera gear, electronics, shoes, or anything else you want to store.

Environmentally Friendly

I know some people separate their clothing items with plastic bags or Ziploc bags. Nothing wrong with that, but we've slowly become a greener family and haven't bought plastic Ziploc bags for over a year and a half.

Efficiency

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A majority of my travel these days has been for work and are typically short trips. What I love about my packing cubes is the ability to literally throw my packing cubes into the drawers of my hotel or AirBnb and I'm off to whatever adventure is on my itinerary. If there are no dressers available, all my clothes are neatly organized in my packing cubes and I can pull out what I need based on which cube is holding which clothing category.

 

 

How I pack with packing cubes

So now that I've shared why I love them and why I think it's a must need for everyone let's get into getting all packed up!

One other organization hack I recently learned was to store all my travel essentials in clear containers in my closet. This just helps with time management and efficiency because let's be real, NO ONE HAS TIME to dig out toiletries and beauty products from all their cabinets. I also store my packing cubes in another clear container. We have several packing cubes as everyone in the family uses them in their luggages as well.

 LIFE HACK: Store all travel essentials in a labeled clear container so its easy to find and access.

LIFE HACK: Store all travel essentials in a labeled clear container so its easy to find and access.

Step 1: Lay out my clothes

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I lay out all my clothes so that I know what I'm packing and can do a quick overview what I need to pack and what I don't need to pack. I tend to overpack on the bikinis/bathing suits anytime I'm heading to a beach destination, hope I'm not the only one. 

Step 2: Get packing

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As I mentioned above I like to separate my clothing. Activewear goes in one cube, regular clothes go into another. Skivvies, PJs, and socks will go into a smaller cube, and then my bathing suits will have a cube of their own.

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3. Compress down

The beauty of packing cubes is the ability to literally press everything into a sweet little container. So fold your clothing neatly and pack it down.

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4. Zip it up

Zip it up and call it a day, the toss it into your luggage! 

5. Play a quick game of Tetris

The best thing about packing cubes is how neatly they fit into any luggage. You might find yourself playing a little game of Tetris if you prefer to have all of your clothes on on side of your luggage like I do. 

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Packing cubes are a life saver. The other thing that I love about them is that when its ready to pack up and go home, I separate the dirty items into one or more packing cubes and leave the clean items in another. This just helps when it comes to unpacking and doing laundry when I get back home. Last year I had some trips I had to take back to back so I left a packing cube filled with clean items in my luggage, washed the dirty clothes in one, and repacked it with a whole new set of clothes for my next trip! During trips when I have 2 or 3 days at home in between, this was such a game changer. 

A few other travel must-haves

Travel sized cosmetics/toiletries

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Stash all your travel cosmetics/toiletries for travel in other zippered bags. I like to compartmentalize everything when it comes to travel. My hair products will go in one little cosmetic bag and skincare will go into another. This is extremely helpful when it comes to unpacking at your destination or finding things in your luggage.

GUA SHA/JADE ROLLER

These are a must bring on every trip regardless of the duration. You can read all about the benefits of Gua Sha and Jade Rolling in a previous blog post. 

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Lo & Sons Fanny Pack

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Fanny packs are back! I love them and this one, in particular, is great for traveling! You can use it as a clutch and remove all the straps. What I love is that I stash my lipgloss, ID, phone, and credit cards in it and it's easy to access at the airport. 

Hope you enjoyed this travel hack. Share me your favorites in the comments below. 

 

 

 

The Yoga App Everyone Needs to Download: YogaGlo

The Yoga App Everyone Needs to Download: YogaGlo

Not too long ago I was introduced to YogaGlo and I’ve become obsessed! YogaGlo is an online subscription platform that brings yoga straight into your living room. I’m not the “at home workout” type, but what I’ve come to appreciate about YogaGlo is that I don’t have to drive to my closest studio to get a really incredible class in.

5 things Every Young Girl (or woman) needs to know to Stay in the Game with their health

This post was sponsored by Athleta and I was compensated to write this post, but all the opinions are 100% my own

In the past 5 years, fitness and health have been cornerstones to my life. I’ve been using them as tools to help discover sides of me I had no idea were there. It’s helped me gain confidence, a much more positive self-image of myself, and a stronger sense of belief that I can be better, do better and create the wholesome life I want to live.

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As a mom, these are things I want to teach my daughters too, but my kids don’t see fitness or health the same way I do. Part of me wonders if it's due to this digital era we live in and the pressures we, as a society, place on looking good and performance in physical activity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a bit of a data junkie myself and I love being able to measure and track my progress especially as it relates to self-improvement and personal development, but I’m a firm believer in having fun in order to stay in the game of health.

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Integrating joy in fitness is one thing you’ll need to have sustainable lifestyle change no matter what the challenge is you’re facing in life.
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I’ve had so many ups and downs in this journey of health and self-love. With all of the most recent road bumps in life, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that you need to find something that brings you joy when it comes to exercise. Integrating joy in fitness is one thing you’ll need to have sustainable lifestyle change no matter what the challenge is you’re facing in life.

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This is where biking comes in for us as a family. We love our bike rides. It’s the only physical activity my girls like to do outside of school sports and P.E. As a parent who believes that exercise is an important piece to a person’s mental and physical health I also believe that finding an activity that doesn’t feel like regimented exercise is just as important.

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Our neighborhood is filled with hill rides which turns what’s supposed to be a leisurely bike ride into what feels like the hills you climb during a 45-minute SoulCycle class.

Our bike rides can get pretty brutal real fast, especially on a hot day which is why I love Athleta Girl. It’s athleisure for the girls who don’t give up, like mine. I love that its made with high-quality performance fabric that withstands multiple wash and drys and to top it off their styles are super cute.

ABOUT THEIR ATHLETA GIRL SELECTS

Olivia is wearing the Athleta Girl Spliced up Chit Chat Tight, one of those wardrobe pieces that’s lightweight enough for summer and perfect for school. She loves the pink detail on the knees which gives this particular tight the right amount of edginess she loves. Both my girls are wearing the Power of Chi Tank, super awesome for the summer since its made of super light material and mesh, but since we’re in SF Bay Area it’s perfect to layer underneath sweaters or jackets.

One of the things I love about Athleta Girl is that they have tights that fit my 14-year-old daughter that doesn’t feel like she’s wearing “kids” clothes, but is completely age appropriate for a teenager. She’s in this age where her she’s defining her personal style and fashion. The Stash Your Treasures tight is extremely soft, but with a slight compression making it great for days she SoulCycle’s with me or for days she’s running around with her friends.  

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As the school year approaches for them again we’ve been talking a lot about fear, especially for my eldest who starts high school in just a few days. I remember high school and not quite understanding the value of sports or physical activity mainly because that wasn’t a high value in my household growing up. The fear of looking silly or stupid trying a new sport or exercise and I guess even now as adults we still hold some of that same fear within us. But if you can face the fear with fun, holding little to no expectations to the outcome then you can push past the limiting beliefs you place on what is or isn’t possible with your health goals and beyond.

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Along with joy, there are 4 other main things you need in order to stay in the game with your health goals when life gets a little bumpy.

Gratitude

Gratitude improves our health, relationships, emotions, personality, and career. It strengthens our emotions and reduces the feeling of fear and envy. Gratitude also helps us bounce back from stress and keeps us in the present moment. Before any workout, I warm up with a 5-minute gratitude walk. If I’m weight training in the gym I typically do an incline walk on the treadmill. Before even thinking about my training, I thank my body for all that it does for me and it’s ability to move despite not always wanting to.

Focus on the why

Why are you on this health journey? What do you want to achieve at the end of it? When I started my fitness journey 5 years ago I told myself that I’m doing this because I wanted to be the healthiest version of myself in my 30s. This allowed me to define what healthy meant to me which gave me the power and freedom to create my own values around what it meant to be healthy.

 

Keep it simple

Making changes to your lifestyle can be really hard, but sustaining it doesn’t have to be. When I work with my clients we focus on choosing just one habit to change. Once this habit has become a routine in their life, we move on to another habit to change.

 

Believe in yourself

While I’m not 100% free of self-doubt I can say that I believe in myself more strongly than I did before. I see my own potential with a lot more clarity than I have in the past. While there’s no true manual on how to improve believing in yourself, I do know that it takes practice. It also takes seeing failures as opportunities of growth.

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The power to stay in the game is not some mystical magic that only certain people have. You have it too. You just have to unlock a few doors and see what’s possible inside. When you do that you model the best behavior for those young girls who look up to and for those young girls who will be looking up to you.