If you want to maintain a healthy work-life balance, it’s essential to start your calendar planning with self-care, downtime and family time. While it might seem counterintuitive to prioritize non-work related activities, if you plan on constantly working, especially at unrealistic times and without quality breaks, you’ll risk low levels of motivation, productivity and potentially burnout.

Listen on the player in this post or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.

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Action Plan:

  • Block out self-care and downtime for the following week before adding other items.
  • Consider when and for how long you want to spend quality time with loved ones – plan dates or meetings with friends/family.
  • Schedule regular time for life and work admin tasks on a weekly basis to avoid backlogs.
  • Schedule calls and appointments on your calendar to avoid last-minute chaos and ensure preparedness.
  • Once you’ve scheduled your self-care and admin tasks, block out time to work around other priorities.

Resources Mentioned

Food Photography and Blog Writing by Nadia Tariq

Explore Megan’s recommended books and resources at eatblogtalk.com/books.

Promote your food blogging services: www.eatblogtalk.com/audioclip


Click for script.

EBT535 – 5 Things to Put in Your Calendar for a Balanced Week

Intro  00:01

Hey food bloggers. Thank you so much for joining me in this mindset and self-care focused episode here on Eat Blog Talk. One of the reasons I started a blog talk was to hold a space to talk about the importance of mindset and self-care. Being an entrepreneur can be a lot. If we are not taking care of ourselves, then getting actionable information about SEO Pinterest or whatever else is all moot. I will meet you back here every Wednesday to discuss various mindset and self-care topics. So you have the energy and space to tackle the rest.

Sponsor (Nadia Tariq)  00:34

Are you tired of spending countless hours behind the camera? Don’t let food photography and blog post writing hold you back. Hi, I’m Nadia food blogger and photographer behind BakeFresh.net. With over 13 years of experience, I specialize in baking desserts and snack recipes and love to create stunning visuals of food. Because let’s face it, they are a key factor in the success of your blog, and as to say you eat with your eyes first. I work with bloggers on a personal level to select the theme, props and backdrops to suit your blog style. Because uniqueness stands out. I help you make your culinary vision come to life. I’m a trained pastry chef and a professional food photographer. So you know your recipe is in good hands. Let us handle photography as well as SEO content writing and watch your content reach new heights so you can focus on what you do best creating and developing more mouthwatering recipes. Visit bakefresh.net and witness a visual and written proof that we bring to the table or get in touch with [email protected].

Megan Porta  01:38

Hello food bloggers, thank you for joining me for this self care and mindset focused episode of Eat Blog Talk. In this episode, we’re going to talk about five things to put into your calendar for a balanced week. I don’t know about you, but my calendar has become my boss. Without my calendar telling me what to do. Literally every minute of every day, I would probably be just hanging out in my hot tub or napping all hours of the day, I am not kidding you. My calendar keeps me on track ensures that that I show up for my calls on time. It helps me keep a close eye on how well I’m taking care of myself. It keeps me in tune with my husband and my boys. It tells me when to sit down and batch like a mother. And when to chill out and take a day off. A previous version of Megan had serious calendar issues. I remember years ago looking at my calendar and just being like, what is this who put this thing together. For a stretch of time, I was trying to squeeze just a crapload of work into a super small window of time. And I always prioritized work over everything else. So I’d put something like write new blog post in to my 6am slot on Wednesday or something like that. When in reality, I didn’t even wake up till seven. So it was just super weird. It was not effective. It did not get the job done. 

Megan Porta  03:13

Fast forward to now. I’m pretty dang efficient with my calendar. My calendar and I we have a good relationship. The first thing I had to do to get to the place I’m at now was to just be realistic, that 6am work time, that would never happen was not realistic. The second thing I had to do was to make my calendar the boss, then I just had to know what to put on my calendar and what to say no to in order to find balance. And that is what we are going to talk about in this episode. Everything else falls into place after you do these things. I promise everything feels more balanced. Everything feels more efficient, your life will just feel smoother and so much better. Here’s a question for you. Do you have an established calendar? Maybe you like paper and handwritten calendars, or maybe you’re a Google Calendar type of gal or guy like myself, find something that you will go back to easily and consistently and run with it. That is the most important thing. Also, I highly recommend that you get into the habit of looking at your calendar multiple times a day. That might seem like overkill, but I promise it’s not overkill. And once you get into it, it will feel really natural. I look at my calendar at the end of every single week before the next week begins. And I also look at my calendar at the end of every day before the next day begins. This happens without fail every week every day. It is an established habit for me. Each day I basically memorize everything I see for the following day on my calendar so it’s imprinted in my mind. So when I wake up each morning I know exactly what is going on that day. It is the first thing that I think about when I wake up. I’ll think something like this. It’s Tuesday, I’m going to feed my boys breakfast, I’m going to get them off to school, I will go work out meditate and look through my goals. I have two podcast interviews today with awesome guest one and awesome guest. I’m gonna take my lunch break outside, I think we have leftover salmon, so I’m going to eat that. Then I have two more interviews with awesome guests three and four. After that, I will certainly be exhausted. So I’m going to spend just a half an hour of time in my inbox that I have to pick you up from school, I’ll walk the dog, date night with hubby at Do Littles, and quiet time with boys in the evening. And I want to read some of that book before I go to bed. I do that every single morning. 

Megan Porta  05:51

I look at my calendar, first thing when I sit down to start work, just to solidify things in my head. And to make sure nothing popped up on my calendar overnight because sometimes that does happen. I also peek at it throughout the day just to make sure I’m on track with everything. So again, if you want more balance in your life, it matters. What is in your calendar, let your calendar be your boss and put the right things in it. 

Megan Porta  06:18

So let’s talk about that. Let’s talk through the five things to put into your calendar for a balanced week. Number one, self care and downtime. This is typically the last thing to go into any calendar when it should be the first and most important thing to go into every calendar. I used to never put self care or downtime into my calendar which led to the result of not doing self care or having any downtime. And guess what that led to constant burnout. Remember how I said that my calendar is my boss. If it tells me I need to put my work down and do something to fill myself up. I listen, I go do it. Build a calendar that reminds you to create the best version of you that you can be and you will become the best version of you that you can be. The first thing I do before any week begins is this. I consider the week, every week is different. I might be in the middle of a super busy season and need a lighter load. Or maybe I’m ready to hustle and dig in to work like a beast every week is different. But with that said, every week needs self care and downtime, just some more than others. After I do that I start filling my calendar with self care and downtime. Depending on how the week feels. I block out times for it so that nothing can infiltrate that important block of time. Some typical things I include in this block of time our morning workout, morning routine. Some mornings my self care only takes an hour other mornings it takes two. I decide this before each week begins and I customize it for each day that week. I also put on my calendar when I will start my no-work evening time. This also varies depending on the day and how much work I have going on how many projects I’m trying to keep afloat that day. Lunches and breaks, I need these reminders to pause throughout the day, or I will not pause throughout the day. Lately, I’ve also been pausing occasionally throughout the day just to meditate and to calm myself to stop thinking a little bit. These are things I put into my calendar as well. So evaluate your week ahead and establish the downtime. Do this now open your calendar right now if you have your computer in front of you do it for next week before anything else goes on your calendar. 

Megan Porta  08:48

Number two, quality time with quality humans. Taking care of you is of utmost important I truly believe that and second to this is taking care of your people. If you’re a parent or maybe you have a partner or other family members or loved ones, you know that working through an evening or a time when you should be spending quality time with them your people does not always go over well. Busy entrepreneurs like us can just get in that zone. And sometimes honestly speaking for myself here, we need to be pulled out from our work zones and almost like their trances at times. What better way to do this than to have your calendar boss reminding you about this. I block out times on my calendar after blocking out self care of course, when I do not allow work to creep into my life. For me this means anything before my morning routine starts and I set a hard stop time to be done with work and no work is allowed after that point in the late afternoon or evening. Also along these lines is you set your calendar for the week. Consider this: Do you maybe want to plan a date with a partner or a spouse, maybe you want to meet a friend or family member for coffee or lunch or even dinner, think through what your relationship needs might be that week and put those things on your calendar as well.

Megan Porta  10:16

Here’s a tip, I like to color code in Google Calendar. So at quick glance, I know how much time I’m spending on me. Yellow is my self care time. I know how much time I’m spending with loved ones. That’s blue for me and how much time I’m spending with other things. I actually color code different projects for work. So I know exactly what I’m doing each day just when I look at my calendar, so get your quality human time into your calendar. After you get your self care time in. 

Megan Porta  10:48

Number three, time for work and life admin. This one took a long time for me to learn and once I learned it, it felt like I changed everything. You know how easy it is to push those admin tasks to the backburner. And that goes for both work admin and life admin. I used to constantly push admin to next week, I’ll do it later was my motto for anything admin that I never felt like doing. Except then I would find myself in huge chaotic tingly messes. Once I realized that I had managed to push all of my admin tasks aside for I don’t know, three to six months. And suddenly, I had to do them all at once, which was so overwhelming, emotionally draining, exhausting and not at all efficient. Admin should be addressed on a weekly basis in order to avoid those backups. Backups, equal trouble and disruption and we don’t want that. What I do now is I include two admin categories into each week, work admin, every day, and life admin every week. Work admin includes email and miscellaneous tasks such as scheduling zoom calls, communicating in Slack channels tending to email etc. Life admin includes scheduling appointments for me and my family, making dinner reservations communicating with teachers or schools, planning meals, etc. Figure out how much daily or weekly time you need for both work and life admin and put it into your calendar. Your future self will thank you for setting aside time for and consistently putting in effort to get admin work off your plate. 

Megan Porta  12:37

Number four calls and appointments. Depending on your business, your health situation and your family situation. This piece will definitely vary. In my business calls are essential and I host a lot of them. In your business, you might have very few calls to host or even attend. We have a son with significant medical needs so we have appointments for him pretty frequently. If you and your loved ones don’t see the doctor often or need to, you might not have a lot of appointments to attend. Wherever you are on the spectrums if you have calls or appointments to host or attend, these should be put onto and protected on your calendar. I know from experience that there is nothing worse than hitting start meeting as I’m literally flying into my chair while still eating lunch and needing to pee or pulling into a doctor’s appointment and running into the office 20 minutes late with crazy wild hair and apologizing profusely to the receptionist. I have done that so many times. Having calls and appointments on your calendar will prompt you to plan for travel if needed. it’ll prompt you to think through how much wiggle room you need between calls, allowing for eating and taking restroom breaks and diving into other work before and after and all of that. Here’s a tip when you have a call or appointment blocked out on your calendar, store as much information inside the event as possible. So if you’re going somewhere physically put the address of the location you need to go the travel time if it’s a virtual meeting, have the zoom link, the attendees and any other information you will need to know this will help you to show up as prepared as possible. Assuming that you peek through all of this information prior to diving into your day. 

Megan Porta  14:30

Number five seat time this is get to work time. Last but not least fill in your work time. Refer to your goals assuming that you have a list of one year goals and any action steps that you have assigned to those goals. And write down all of the work that you’ll need to accomplish each week in order to move toward those awesome goals of yours. Now add that work to your calendar in the time that remains. Consider batching work in order to tap into those awesome flow states. So writing or cooking and photographing, or taking video, or doing keyword research, whatever those singular projects are that you can do all at once makes things more efficient. And you’ll get so much done. Now, when you see work blocks on your calendar, you’ll be more motivated than ever to focus and get those done because those blocks will be surrounded by all of those important things that you’re eager to protect like taking care of yourself, quality time with loved ones, date night, downtime, all of the things that truly motivate you, everything is on your calendar, adjust your work blocks, as well as really all blocks from week to week as needed, based on how your week goes. So if something doesn’t go well, one week, you can adjust the following week. Do not expect to get everything right the first week or even the first year honestly, when you do this. It is a work in progress. always just be invested in refining every single week. That’s all I’ve got for you today. 

Megan Porta  16:03

Let’s talk through the five points as a quick recap, five things to put into your calendar for a balanced week. Number one, self care and downtime to quality time with your humans. Three, time for work and life admin for calls and appointments and five work time. I would encourage you to sit down with your calendar right now and start putting some of these things in. You will feel so much more balanced, you will be more efficient. After doing this for a while. You’re going to be a happier human. You’ve got this thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate you tuning into this episode. I will see you next week. 

Outro  16:47

Thank you so much for listening to this mindset and self-care episode here on Eat Blog Talk. If you are a food blogger providing a service for other food bloggers, and you want to spread the word about the value that you offer. I would love to offer you a free way to do just this. Send me a 60 second audio clip to be featured in a mindset and self-care episode here on Eat Blog Talk in 2024. Go to eatblogtalk.com/audioclip to learn more.

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