A Look At My Crazy Work Schedule

posted by Andrea | 04/23/2013

Over the last 5-6 years, my business and work schedule has changed considerably — and due to the nature of my work, it continues to change all the time.

Surprisingly… I kind of like that! 

Despite the fact that I don’t love big changes, I DO love variety. And I definitely have variety in my job —  in fact, there are never, ever two days alike.

I get lots of emails and questions asking “What exactly do you do?”, and although I have shared a little bit about what a day in my life looks like, I thought it would be fun to share more about what my work schedule looks like on a weekly and monthly basis.

So if you ever wonder what I do when I’m not clipping coupons, changing diapers, making dinner, scrubbing toilets, pulling weeds, and folding laundry… keep reading :)

My Own Blog:

Not surprisingly, a huge portion of the work I do each week is for my own blog… imagine that! Since I’m basically a one-woman operation, I do almost everything involved in running my blog — everything except the hard-coding HTML, CSS, and behind-the-scene tweaks.

There are so many things I could list below, but to keep things simple, I’ve only listed the 3 main areas where I spend my time.

1. Writing blog posts

I spend a significant amount of time drafting, writing, formatting, and editing my blog posts. But before I can write the blog posts, I have to test the recipes, make the DIY projects, do the organizing project, photograph everything, edit the photos, etc. So as almost any blogger I know can attest to, there’s A LOT more that goes into every blog post than simply writing words on a page!

I figure I spend an average of 3-5 hours on every blog post (which includes all the steps I mentioned above). Yes, there are a few posts I can whip out in 30 minutes, but most posts take significantly longer — and I KNOW there are lots of other bloggers who put much more time and effort into their posts (especially the hard-core food and DIY bloggers).

I recently cut back to writing 5-6 posts per week (down from 6-8 per week) so you can imagine how much time this has freed up for me! Oh, and I should also mention that for the past year, Dave has helped edit all my blog posts.

2. Email and Social Media. 

Email and social media COULD be a huge time-suck if I’m not careful. There are so many  more emails I could send, so much more I could do with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc… but I set pretty strict limits for myself.

I do my best to zero-out my inbox each day; I try to post quick updates on Facebook and Twitter a few times a day… but that’s about it. Email still consumes many hours each week, but that’s how I do almost 100% of my business communication so I really can’t complain. I’d rather send hundreds of emails than sit in a conference room all afternoon!

3. Managing other blog functions.

I don’t know exactly how to categorize everything I do for my blog on a weekly basis, so “managing other blog functions” is as creative as I’ll get!

This is all the little thing that still take up quite a bit of time — updating plugins, fixing broken links, managing and responding to comments, updating my Recipe Page every time I post a new recipe, updating the stats on my Advertising Page, managing current and future ads, updating content in the sidebar, etc. etc. (there are so many more things I could list.)

I have a pretty good routine down and plug away at these never-ending tasks each week.

 

Virtual Assistant {VA} Work:

I’ve worked for many different blogs, websites, and companies over the last few years, but currently, I work regular weekly hours for 3 different organizations.

1. Money Saving Mom

I know many of you follow MoneySavingMom.com for the expert money-saving advice, yummy recipes, simple-living tips — but you might not know that I work for that blog! For the past 18 months or so, I’ve been Crystal’s Virtual Assistant — organizing, editing, and scheduling all the guest posts. I also help her with social media, photo editing, and anything else she throws my way.

There are times when I work more hours to complete larger projects, but for the most part, I work about 7-10 hours per week for Crystal.

2. Deal Seeking Mom

DealSeekingMom.com ia another very well-know coupon and deal blog. However, I don’t do anything with this actual blog. For the past couple of years, I’ve helped Tara manage her popular Search N’ Save Coupon Database. I activate and install coupon databases for various clients, trouble-shoot problems, try to keep things running as smoothly as possible… and I answer lots and lots of questions :)

Again, there have been times where I put in many hours to complete large projects or huge database updates, but on average, I usually work about 10-15 hours per week for Tara.

3. A Local Non-Profit Company

I work as a contracted VA for a local non-profit company, helping with their website, social media, and other communication-type projects.

This commitment is very minimal and usually only 3-5 hours per week (sometimes less).

 

Contributor Posts:

Each month, I write a handful of paid posts/articles for different blogs, websites, magazines, and newspapers. Sometimes I can “re-write” content from my own blog, but most of the time, it’s brand new content.

Here are some of the more regular posts I write.

1. Turnstone blog. 

I currently write 2 posts per month for the Turnstone blog (I used to write 4 per month). If you’re wondering what this blog is all about, it’s actually a division of Steelcase — which is a popular office furniture supply company founded in West Michigan.

These posts are geared towards small-business owners, work-from-home professionals, office organization, etc.

2. Life… Your Way

I know many of you follow Mandi and all the other fabulous contributors over at Life.YourWay.net — and if you do, I hope you pop over to the “home channel” and read my monthly posts about cleaning, organizing, and home management :)

3. A Variety of Magazine and Newspaper articles. 

Each quarter, I write a handful of articles for local and national publications. They are usually small columns, tips, or short articles — and usually just a “regurgitation” of articles and tips I’ve already shared on my blog. These articles are not a huge time commitment on my part.

 

Speaking:

I absolutely love speaking for various groups on simple-living, organization, time management, etc. However, since there is often a large time commitment to prepare for these events (and then potential travel requirements), I don’t do as much as I would like to. I’ve had to turn down many fun opportunities because Dave works every day and Nora is unable to function without me by her side 24/7 (I say this in jest, but it’s unfortunately quite true!)

I currently accept a few local speaking opportunities in September/October and then again in January/February but that’s about it. I’m hoping that someday, I’ll be able to do a bit more traveling, but I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.

 

Coaching / Organizing:

At this point in my career, these services only make up a tiny portion of my income — so I’m lumping them together in one category. I almost do no in-home organizing, and I usually only accept 1 or 2 coaching appointments a week.

.

OK, so I think that about covers everything.

I do work a lot of hours each week, but they are flexible hours so I can work when it works best for me (pun intended).

At this point in my life, I do the majority of my focused work after 4:00pm, during the day on Saturdays, and later in the evening on Sundays (when Dave is home). I know that might not seems super glamorous, but I honestly LOVE what I do so it’s really not that bad! I promise.

Plus, I rarely have to leave my house. :)

As you may have read in this post, I try to do most of the cooking, cleaning, other housework, and errands during the day (Dave pulls his fair share around the house as well.) Plus, we often get babysitting help from family or a local home-schooled girl for about 2 hours during the day — I couldn’t do all of this without their help, and Nora loves the extra playmates!

I suppose it IS kind of a crazy work schedule (or rather, a lack of schedule) but it works for me and I definitely can’t complain about lack of variety in my line of work!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Filed under: BloggingBusiness 101VA WorkWork

 
 

Leave a comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

37 comments

  1. Karen Davis

    04/23/2013

    Andrea, I love your blog, I hope you get a soft leather, comfortable office chair soon! You would enjoy it alot! Sincerely, Karen

    [Reply]

    Deb Reply:

    That was my exact thought, if I spent that many hours in a chair, it would have to be more comfortable! I know that the farmhouse style and white goes with the house, but still…………..

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I laughed when I read your comment because I actually had a nice soft chair for a while (2 different styles) and I hated them both. So, I went back to my old stand-by… my favorite white wooden chair. It has always been comfortable for me :)

    [Reply]

    Leah Reply:

    I do graphic design from home and I can’t do without a chair with arms for support. My wrist starts to really give me trouble!

    [Reply]

  2. Melissa

    04/23/2013

    Wow! You’re one busy lady, but busy is good. :) I like the sound of the virtual assistant work you do. How can someone get involved in that type of work if they don’t currently have a blog. Are you aware of virtual assistant positions?

    [Reply]

  3. Organize 365

    04/23/2013

    Oh I LOVE it when you share your schedules!

    :)
    Lisa

    [Reply]

  4. Laurel

    04/23/2013

    Wow, that’s a lot. I don’t know how you can keep all of that going. Good job :). I would love to hear how you got started in this cyberworld work. Was in by accident or did you seek all of this out. It’s something that I wouldn’t have thought of. Did you have a regular job in the past and then switched over? It would make a good post, in my opinion.

    [Reply]

    Marg Reply:

    I agree that would be a great post, but maybe not relevant to Simple Living. Having said that, many women are looking for ways to stay home, stay organized, and make an income. I work a part time job as an office manager/paralegal. I have a great computer skill set, but struggle with translating that to a virtual assistant job. Tips on exactly what computer skills would be necessary and how one goes about securing the job would be super-helpful. Although there are a lot of sites dedicated to that, Andrea, I would consider your advice – since I read your blog every day – more valuable and trust-worthy. Just saying!

    Love your blog!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Marg!
    Here’s a post I wrote for anyone interested in becoming a VA — it includes a link to a fabulous ebook/resource you might consider investing in if you are serious about becoming a VA. Hope this helps!

    [Reply]

  5. Rebecca

    04/23/2013

    How interesting! Thanks for sharing with us! It sounds like you have a good balance of work and home and that you really enjoy it.

    [Reply]

  6. Lori MC

    04/23/2013

    I love your new streamlined blog! You’re life seems pretty packed but sounds like you have it all under control! I like that.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Lori! I have life MOSTLY under control MOST days :)

    [Reply]

  7. Georgia Gal

    04/23/2013

    I can relate! I can easily spend 2-5 hours on one of my articles. I do not have a twitter, facebook, or pinterest account. It’s nice that I am not spending a lot of time on them, but also hard when you are trying to get your work out there, and hopefully make an income from it.

    We could each look at the things other women spend their time on and think it is “too much”, or that we could never do that. It comes down to priorities and choices. For myself, I would rather make a little extra money writing articles and selling on Ebay, than surfing the net, going after every deal, window shopping, watching tv, etc. By prioritizing our choices, it gives us more time for the things we want, and need to do.

    Hope everyone has a teriffic Tuesday~

    [Reply]

  8. Angie

    04/23/2013

    Loved reading your work schedule. You are busy! I am constantly working towards creating a schedule that works for me, my house and my family – it’s those unexpected things that pop up that get me. Thanks for sharing.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Angie — I think those “unexpected things” get to ALL of us! Keep in mind that this is my GENERAL schedule, but of course, not every single day runs like clockwork. I think finding that “perfect” schedule is probably impossible because life is always changing… so our schedules must be somewhat flexible too (yes, this is difficult for me!) Don’t beat yourself up, I’m sure you’re doing great!

    [Reply]

  9. Amanda

    04/23/2013

    I work from home part time for a small company that a friend of ours runs. It was the perfect opportunity at the perfect time. My hours are super flexible, so I work when my son is napping or after he’s asleep at night. It still leaves me time to take care of my household responsibilities, get together for play dates, or just enjoy time w/ my 16mo old. I find that this way of working is MUCH less stressful than the corporate job that I had prior to having a baby.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow, that does sound like the prefect opportunity for you! I tend to agree with you that working from home is less stressful, but I know scads of others who would completely disagree. I have friends who tried working from home, but were so much MORE stressed! They found that they were just much more productive if they can go to a separate work location… to each their own :)

    [Reply]

  10. Sarah @ ToBeMrsCollier

    04/23/2013

    Hi there! Have you considered pre-planning your social media presence? I linked up my blog Facebook page with my Twitter account. Facebook statuses can be scheduled so you can have the social media presence with out being present (all the time).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Sarah, I already do this with my Facebook and Twitter accounts. However, I still like to be ‘in the moment’ and “real” so while I schedule somethings, I do post other items in real time :)

    [Reply]

  11. Charissa

    04/23/2013

    moneysavingmom.com & andreadekker.com = my 2 favorite blogs!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Aww, thanks Charissa!

    [Reply]

    Tanya Reply:

    I am with you Charissa! They are the only two that I check daily.

    [Reply]

  12. Debbie

    04/23/2013

    Thanks for keeping it “real” That’s the encouragement that keeps me reading and faithful to
    your blog. Question and I hope this does not sound dumb…. when I leave a comment or enter your give aways. My Name, email and Site what Site are you asking for? ( can you tell I am not a computer person? lol) I just come streight to this page. I found your blog from pinterest. I have never even read blogs until I stumbled opon this one! :)

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Debbie, you don’t have to worry about the “site” — that’s only if you have a website of your own (and I’m guessing you don’t!)

    [Reply]

  13. Erica

    04/23/2013

    You are one busy lady! What is that to the right of your computer screen? An Ipad?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes Erica – that’s an iPad ;)

    [Reply]

  14. Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    04/23/2013

    Thanks for sharing. I have wondered what all you do – I knew it was a lot.

    [Reply]

  15. Tanya

    04/23/2013

    You are one busy, busy lady! You seem to handle it all very well. I enjoy reading your posts and especially hearing about Nora. You are doing a great job, don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.
    Keep up the great work!
    God Bless!

    [Reply]

  16. Olga

    04/24/2013

    I love when you share these types of posts with us.
    I admire how focused, productive and organized you are. At the same time, you come across very real and down to earth.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Olga :)

    [Reply]

  17. Jill

    04/25/2013

    I have always wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your site! I also think your hair is adorable! Keep up the good work.

    [Reply]

  18. Liz

    07/22/2013

    Hi! Could you email me? I have some questions about some VA work i would like to start doing. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hey Liz, I’d love to talk with you more about my VA work! If you’d like, we can schedule a 30 minute “pick-my-brain” session and you can ask any questions you have :)

    [Reply]

  19. Ines

    10/16/2013

    My family members always say that I am wasting my time here at net, however I know I am getting knowledge daily by reading such fastidious articles.

    My blog post: Ines

    [Reply]

  20. shopping

    06/23/2014

    It is really a nice and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that you simply
    shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this.
    Thanks for sharing.

    my weblog: shopping

    [Reply]

  21. Shari Lynne @ Faith Filled Food for Moms

    10/02/2014

    Hi Andrea! A friend suggested that I hop over and read your blog about becoming a VA and I am soooo glad I did!

    I’ve been blogging for 3 years and have had some great success..I have 7 kids and 6 grandkids..only 2 teens at home now and I babysit 2 of my grandkids…but guess what?! My daughter decided she wanted to be a SAHM! Imagine that! LOL

    That means for me a huge loss of income and finding a new job! I LOVE the blogging world..I love to write and God keeps opening more and more doors…

    So I’m hoping maybe, just maybe..becoming a VA will be part of that world too! Thank you for sharing your world with us!

    Blessings!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Shari Lynne! Glad you found my blog and that you’ve already been poking around for the VA information! It’s a great work-from-home job, that’s for sure!

    [Reply]