I’m going to use my new space here on the internet to answer some of the most common questions that come up, starting with a big one, and that is, “How do you balance your family life with your job on social media?” And if I had to dissect that question, I suppose it means, “Nicole, it looks like you are online or working on content 24/7. Are you? And if so, how the hell do you manage that, and still find the time to be present for your kids and family?”
I know that’s what people mean when they ask this question, because let’s face it, I am online and I am working a lot. People see that.
There is a common misconception that influencers or bloggers have the easiest job in the world, just quickly snapping pictures, posting them, and calling it a day. But for many of the most successful ones, myself included, that is simply not the case.
I absolutely love what I do. And because I love what I do, I spend hours in the kitchen creating recipes. I spend more hours photographing them. Then I spend more time creating inviting captions, posting, and engaging with my community. I handle all of my own contracts and partnerships. It is a lot.
And it is one of those jobs where the more time and effort you put in, the more benefit you reap, in terms of better engagement and growing a following. The algorithm of Instagram unfortunately doesn’t reward taking breaks or taking time off, which creates a subtle pressure to constantly be churning out content.
All of the above to say that in order to successfully balance a life outside of a career on social media, you need to create strict boundaries and be intentional about taking breaks, both for your own mental health / sanity and to be present for those in your immediate life, i.e., your family and close friends.
So how do I do it? The first thing I want to say, is to remember that what you see on my social media doesn’t always paint a full picture. Why? Because while it might seem like I am online 24/7, I do take lots of mini breaks and I have created strong boundaries around the amount of time I spend on social media.
BUT NICOLE, IT LOOKS LIKE YOU ARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA ALL THE TIME. Again, I am on a lot. But not as much as you think.
And please note, I am not a perfect human being. There are times where I don’t adhere to my own boundaries, and I find myself way too deep into my work and neglecting my kids and husband. That’s when my husband usually speaks up and gives me a little nudge to shift some things around. It takes a village to run your own business, where that’s on social media or really with anything, and sometimes we need our loved ones to step in and call things out when they see it!
I rarely take full days off social media. Why? I love having a posting routine, and when I don’t post, it throws me off and I just don’t like that feeling. Instead, throughout the day, I take regular breaks, when I am not on my phone at all. I will leave it in the other room, go for a walk, go exercise, sit outside, play with my kids, read a chapter in a book. My mind rests and I feel most rejuvenated when I schedule my breaks in this way instead of days off. But note, if I feel the need to take days off, I will do that, I honor the feeling. But this is what works for me, for now!
As I mentioned above, sometimes I am on social media way too much, and my husband will pipe up and give me a look (or an eye roll) when he sees my face in my phone too much. But I also like to check in with him daily or every other day, and ask for feedback, which is generally me asking him how he feels that I am doing with my presence and the amount of time I am on my phone. The point of this is to make sure he feels like he is getting enough quality attention from me and that the kids are too. A job is a job, but family is most important.
When I was practicing law, I was always a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal, working non-stop 24/7, until I wore myself into the ground. I very quickly learned that this kind of thing didn’t work for me if I wanted to be happy in a career that I loved. So I time block and I stick to it. I move from task to task, even if I haven’t finished something within a given time (where possible). That’s what makes the breaks that I mentioned above, possible. Because without time blocking, there is always an endless amount of work to be done. There still is, but time blocking helps me become more efficient in the time that I have allocated for a certain task. The most amazing planner that ever happened to me is called the Full Focus Planner and I swear by it!!! They also have so many tutorials on their website for how to use it!
This was, and still is, sometimes difficult for me. I always like to create fresh, new content for my Instagram and Tiktok community. However, I have learned that it’s not efficient or realistic to do that, and remember, when you post a photo or video, people look at it for a second and scroll right past. And because you are always gaining new followers, changes are, your repurposed content is falling on many new eyes. So don’t be afraid to post your favorite photos over and over again,just be sure to space them out. But this is a huge time saver, so that, again, I am able to take the breaks during the day, without the pressure to create something new every single day.
Since my kids are obviously a huge part of my life and I share them on social media, you will see them from time to time. I might share a quick video or story of us doing an activity, but then the phone goes away, so that I can focus on them. I also ask them if it is ok to take their photo or video, because I always want them to feel like they have a choice in the matter. As a general rule of thumb, in the mornings before school, I quickly post on Instagram (my high peak time), engage with my community for a few minutes, then I am off my phone until they get to school. At the end of the day, my phone might be on for a few minutes, but then it goes away so we can enjoy a peaceful evening where I am focused on them.
I hope this post sheds some insight on what it’s like to have a career in social media and how I balance that with my family. I like to think I do a damn good job, but things happen and sometimes I lose my footing. But the most important thing is self-awareness; learning where you can improve and then implementing those things.
It doesn’t happen overnight. Social media requires a lot of juggling and wearing many hats, but more important than your career will always be your loved ones–that’s what keeps me focused on the right things.