just ask jo

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!



JUST ASK JO: IS BREAD HEALTHY?

This week's JUST ASK JO we're focusing on nutrition and I'm diving into all the things you want learn about how to nourish your body. 


Question:

Hi Jo !

Just wanna ask, which is healthiest forms of bread? sourdough or rye? or are they even healthy?
Also, is buckwheat a great source of carbs if I wanna eat pasta but still want a healthy way? 

- Rika


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ANSWER: 

I believe in carbs! I think carbs are an essential source of macronutrient and we can't keep fearing it. Sadly diet culture has created such a fear around eating carbs and fats by creating low-carb foods, low-fat diets, etc. 

Foods are a combination of 3 macronutrient building blocks: carbs, fats, and proteins. Each are essential for a body to function. Foods are a combination of 3 macronutrient building blocks: carbs, fats, and proteins. Each are essential for a body to function.

Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products. Though often maligned in trendy diets, carbohydrates — one of the basic food groups — are important to a healthy life. (source) Carbs provide fuel for the central nervous system and energy for muscles to function.

Fill your daily diet with REAL food that came from the earth. 

GOOD CARB VS BAD CARB

There are so many resources out there that talk about ways and forms of measuring any macronutrient which is why it can get so confusing to know what is a good carb vs a bad carb. It's even starting to blur the lines of what is healthy vs what is not. 

So here's my rule about all food: Fill your daily diet with REAL food that came from the earth. Eat whole wheat vs enriched bleach flour, snack on an orange instead of orange juice. The less processed and refined the carb, the healthier. 

SOURDOUGH VS RYE

One of the things I love about a sourdough bread is that it's made by fermentation of the dough. There are over 50 million yeast germs and 5 billion lactobacilli bacteria in every teaspoon of starter sourdough. Making it packed probiotics that aid in a healthy digestive system. Some say that sourdough is also easier for them to digest. There's other research that also say that sourdough may have a better effect on blood sugar and insulin levels.

Rye bread tends to be more nutritious than wheat or barely because of the nature in comes in. It contains more fiber than wheat flour and fewer calories as well. Due to the high amount of fiber it's great for someone who needs a little help with constipation, excess gas, and can ease stomach pain and cramping. 

Between the two, I love the taste of sourdough more and I'm a huge believer of prebiotics and probiotics. If I can get it in my food, I'll go for it that way. 

IS BUCKWHEAT A GREAT SOURCE OF CARBS IF I WANT TO EAT PASTA IN A HEALTHY WAY?

Buckwheat is an awesome source of carbs and has an incredibly high level of protein and IT'S GLUTEN FREE! It's high on soluble fiber and has other micronutrients like zinc, copper, and potassium. As far as eating it for pasta, I say if you want to eat buckwheat pasta go for it. Like I mentioned I keep my rules for food very simple: Fill your daily diet with REAL food that came from the earth. Buckwheat has a slightly nutty flavor so keep that in mind when pairing it with your other foods. 

Just Ask Jo: How do I start a wellness and lifestyle blog?

In my first Just Ask Jo, advice for the modern-day soul seeker, long time reader Karee is curious about starting her first wellness and lifestyle blog. Find out what I think about this, based on my own personal experience, and what she can do to make her dreams a reality. 


Question: 

Hey JO!

I love love love following you and reading your blogs. You have inspired in in more ways than you may know. I am thinking of starting my first wellness and lifestyle blog and I was wondering if you could give me some advice about blogging? Such as, where to begin? is it better to start free then pay when the blog gets successful? What is the best domain? 

Thank you, 

Karee


Hey Karee

Blogging oh my gosh where to even begin with the advice. First off starting off your own blog is extremely exciting. It’s a chance for you to get your thoughts out there to the world and use endless creativity on how to go about expressing yourself. And while there’s a ton of resources on the internet on how to start, where to begin, and how to strategize it; my biggest advice on the first step is just start! Blogging is one of those things you do in this world that you pick up and learn as you go. The beauty about it is that it’s your own thing and you get to make it as grand as you want or as simple you want. 

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What is a blog? 

It’s simple a blog is a means of communicating, sharing your ideas, spreading your passion, and connecting with others. That’s it! It’s that simple.

Steps to start a blog

Step 1: Choose a topic. 

Decide on what to blog. If you’re starting a blog for your business or company then the blog should be related to the products or services you provide.

But if you’re starting a personal blog, then the possibilities are endless. Start with what you know and most importantly ENJOY! If you’re not excited about the things you write about, you’ll hit massive roadblocks right at the start of your blogging journey. No one wants that. 

Choose a niche or area that you can establish yourself as an “expert” or authority in. Don’t worry about not being the first one to start writing about that niche. Chances are someone else has already started writing about it already, but the thing is you are unique and have your own voice. Your readers or audience come to you because they enjoy what you have to say.

Step 2: Choose your blog platform

There’s a lot to choose from. Wordpress, Blogger, Wix, Squarespace, and Weebly are a few of the most popular.

I’ve used both Wordpress and Blogspot in the past. Click here to see my very first blog “A Step in the Shoes of Joanne”. It was a place for me to brain dump and I loved using it as a modern day digital journal. 

GOFITJO is hosted on Squarespace. The reason why I chose this is because of its easy to use backend, the beautiful templates that was available to choose from when you first set things up, and since it’s not an open source platform like Wordpress, there were less chances of it getting hacked or my blog having technical issues due to botched code. (sorry for the geek talk). Basically, I found Squarespace to be a safer option and we launched Encarnacion Photography on it so it was something I was familiar with. 

Step 3: Choose a domain name

A domain is simply your web address. This is often the place that people get stuck at because they’re so worried about making the domain simple or catchy. If that’s holding you back from starting a blog, then just use your name. You can always rebrand later!

Step 4: JUST WRITE! 

Starting writing and stop worrying! You can worry about content strategy, social sharing, using Pinterest to drive traffic, etc. etc. etc. later. For now, if you’re just getting started, just start to write. You can use a free blog host like Wordpress for now or you can pay $12 p/month for a personal Squarespace site, honestly, that’s up to you which choice you’re more comfortable with. 

When I started my blog I had no intention of monetizing it or foresaw the success that it is now, I just wanted to write.

I hope this advice was helpful to you.

Introducing Just Ask Jo, an advice column for the modern-day soul seeker!

Introducing Just Ask Jo, an advice column for the modern-day soul seeker!

This is an advice column dedicated to you: any questions, fears, uncertainty, relationship troubles, and even beauty or style advice that you need can be obtained here! Life can be difficult (often times confusing), but there is always an answer just waiting for you! This advice column is here to remind you of that.