How They Blog: Hayley Morgan

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Hayley Morgan

Blog:
The Tiny Twig
Social media:
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facebookFacebook
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I’ll probably say this all week, but I just love what Hayley is doing online. She is inspiring, encouraging and just flat out getting things done. In just a few short years of blogging she has written several ebooks, co-founded a conference and helped start an entire network of bloggers.

Oh, and she has 4 kids. How does she get it all done? Her secret is something we can all do. Read on, my friends:

Meet Hayley

Intro: Give us a quick intro to you, your family and your blog.

My husband and I met when I was 16 and he was 18 on a youth group ski trip. I won the limbo contest and he was holding the bar. The rest is history. We share a home with our four tiny boys, which means I don’t own anything I can’t afford to replace.

I blog at the lifestyle blog Tiny Twig to inspire women to create lives of more passion and less fuss. I blog to help women realize they are enough, their lives don’t have to be overly stressful, and the life they are creating is precious and completely beautiful.

I also co-founded The Influence Network and the annual Influence Conference.

The Morgan Family

5/6th of the Morgan Family

2. Tell us your blogging story.

My first taste of blogging was back in 2004 with a Xanga site that I used to document my summer spent abroad studying art history in Florence, Italy. I blogged to keep my family and friends updated on my adventures (and misadventures), because phone time was so expensive and intermittent.

In 2006, after getting married and moving 600 miles away from family, I started the de rigueur baby blog to keep the grandparents in the loop on our new little boy.

In 2010, I started my current blog Tiny Twig. It was the first blog I wrote for a broader audience with a real intention to grow it and make it “something”. I was tired of sitting on the sidelines and watching blogs grow up around me while I just keeping fiddling away half-heartedly.

In October of 2011, I moved from Typepad to WordPress and relaunched The Tiny Twig with a big girl design that I had professionally done. To capitalize on the new eyeballs from the relaunch, I blogged about The No Brainer Wardrobe for Nester’s 31 Days series. I also attended my first blog conference Allume.

Those 3 things really catalyzed to cement Tiny Twig as a “real deal” blog. Since then, I’ve written 2 eBooks, had 3 pop-up shops of handmade necklaces, hosted a conference, and launched a network of Christian women looking to make their online life mean something.

Whooooosh, it’s been a big several years!

3. Tell us about a blogging “success” or “failure” that taught you a powerful lesson.

I have realized that just starting/doing things is the best way to making things happen. It is better to have something done and imperfect rather than leave something undone in the quest for perfection. I wouldn’t have done any of the most pivotal “big things” had I waited for everything to be perfect before getting started. I would have kept sitting on the sidelines and would still be watching everyone else grow.

Done is better than perfect. You need a starting place and then you can polish.

4. What are the intangibles that have helped you succeed?
I am a starter. That means that I have a tendency to get a lot of big things started–but, I wouldn’t ever move past the start phase if I didn’t have a very steady husband. He challenges me to stick to the current project I’m on before starting something new, and that has made all the difference. When I proposed getting serious about Tiny Twig (first had this inkling in summer of 2011), he challenged me commit to taking it seriously and putting in the work for a full year. He knows me well and knew that I’d get bored with it and want to bail. I’m thankful for his “never quitting never giving up” kind of personality. My new motto is, “The fruit is in the follow through.”

The Boys

The Boys

5. How do you keep your blog and home life in balance? What does a “typical” blogging day look like for you?
Let’s look at a typical Tuesday.

7am–My oldest two boys (6 and 4) amble into my room and wake my husband and I up. We encourage them to grab some breakfast downstairs and then read, play quietly, or watch a show on the iPad. Normally, I’ll read that day’s She Reads Truth devotional on my phone while I’m waking up.

Around 7:30–I encourage Noah (my oldest) to get some clothes on and otherwise ready himself for school. The bus picks him up at 8. Cooper normally orbits excitedly around Noah and I hush them often for fear that they’ll wake up the younger boys.

8:00am–Noah is on the bus and I take a brief deep breath. I feel like I’ve cleared the first hurdle in my day. Then, I hear Asher stirring in his room. I go grab him before he terrorizes his room. If Cooper hasn’t managed to get himself dressed by this point, I encourage him to do so.

8:30am–Drive Cooper to preschool.

9am-11:30am–I work on Tiny Twig administrational stuff. Emails, planning, writing, collaborations. I’m also probably rolling a ball back and forth with Asher, or possibly he’s sitting at the table snacking while I’m working. At some point, I get Asher down for a quick morning nap.

11:30am–Leave to pick Cooper up from preschool. I wait in a line of 10 minivans or SUVs. I feel very much like an adult. I’ll catch up on blogs through Feedly on my phone while I wait for school to get out. Sometimes I’ll tweet or comment on Instagram photos, too. Cooper hops in an immediately starts chatting my ear off about his day. He has wild stories about all the things they’ve done. I try to be super present with him and let him take his time telling his stories. I’ve found that he feels unimportant if I don’t take the time to let him fully detail his day.

Noon–Time for lunch. I find if I sit down with the boys during their lunch time and really talk with them and enjoy a meal, then they are much happier to spend time playing independently later in the afternoon. Next up is play time around the house for the boys, and I do wifely work–laundry, dishes, paying bills, making appointments, etc.

12:30-1:30pm–We spend time running errands, playing around the house, and getting other bits of things done. I may do emails here and there, or maybe I’ll do some social media catch up on my phone. But, most of this time is spent just “as a mom”.

1:30-3:30pm–Time to work on The Influence Network. Lots of little to-dos and some time for learning, strategizing, and planning.

3:45pm–Noah gets off the bus and we hit the flurry of snack-time and full on brother-time. It’s loud, it’s crazy, it’s chaos. It’s a lot. I try to escape their presence for a bit during this time and just let them enjoy each other’s company (and save myself some sanity!). I’ll pick up around the house for the day, start thinking about dinner, etc.

5:30pm–My husband Mike gets home and my work time mostly ends. We’re pretty adamant about our time together, unless their is a pressing deadline looming that cannot be met otherwise. We talk while he gets changed from work, he wrestles around with the boys while I finish up dinner, and then we eat.

6pm–Dinner. We always ask each other what the best part of our day was and what is one thing we did to serve someone else. We ask about serving, not to encourage them to boast about it, but to encourage them to be mindful of others throughout the day. The boys hate if we forget to ask these questions, and there is normally some sort of negotiation about who should ask the questions that night.

7pm–Kids in bed. Bliss. Quiet. Ahhhhhh.

For the rest of the evening, Mike and I generally chat about our days. We talk about business (his and mine), goals, big family dreams. We may do what we call “parallel solitude time”–where we either do work side-by-side or study the Bible on our own but sitting together. It’s one of the ways we stay sane. By about 9:30pm, we’re snuggled in a “nest” on the couch and catch up on some Netflix or Hulu before I fade away to sleep. We cherish our time together in the evenings–and if we’re doing business it’s planning and dreaming, the fun stuff for us. We’re working on our business rather than in our business. No tasky things for the evening time.

Come back Wednesday to read all of Hayley’s Blogging Gadget and App recommendations and on Friday she’ll share her thoughts on social media and writing. Stay tuned!

Q & A with Hayley Morgan

Did you figure out what her secret to getting things done is? Tell us in the comments. What questions do you have about blogging for Hayley? Click here to share your thoughts or ask your question!

Read All The Interviews with Hayley

1. How They Blog: Hayley Morgan
2. Hayley Morgan’s Gadget and App Recommendations (Coming Wednesday)
3. Hayley Morgan: On Social Media and Writing (Coming Friday)

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Comments

  1. Hayle’s rhythm to blogging seems very balanced with the priority remaining on quality time with her family. It’s nice how her work time is divided into two larger chunks each day. I really love the phrase “parallel solitude time.”

  2. Your schedule is refreshingingly simple, and yet, you must be super productive! Just curious… what’s your personality type?
    Thank you for showing us in the blogger world that balance is attainable, but must be intentional and protected.

  3. “Done is better than perfect.” Love it. And love your husband’s support! Mine is very similar; I probably wouldn’t be blogging without his encouragement :).

  4. I just love this blog, Kat! Thank you for it.

    And Hayley – I have loved hearing your take on things on Tsh’s podcast, so I am delighted to get more business talk from you. I have a similar work-life balance (I am a web designer) and some days, I LOVE weaving my work throughout my day. Other days, I feel like I’m not doing either job (mom or business owner) well. It’s hard to keep my business at a scale that I WANT and not feel like I NEED to grow it as big as possible. But that’s why I work for myself, you know? For the flexibility!

  5. I love how you break your day up into scheduled chunks – I’ve found that I am more productive when I do that as well, rather than just sitting down to try to “get it all done.” When I have a specific task or project scheduled – time to blog, time to work on (in)couragers, time to do VA work, I’m less scattered and more likely to actually finish something!

  6. Sarah Mueller says:

    What is her secret? I am guessing its consistency. It sounds like she is focused, doesn’t let herself get burned out, and has a vision for her blog. Very inspiring!

  7. First of all, Hayley, your boys are adorable and your “meet-cute” with your husband cannot be beat! I admire that you’ve got your blogging down to a science. My question for you is why did you switch from Typepad to WordPress? I’m on Typepad and I personally love it (although I’ve only been at it since last July). When I was looking at blogging platforms, the creative design aspect and the personal tech support was superior to WordPress–just in terms of what I personally need and want for my own blog. What are the prime advantages of switching?

    Kat: Will you only be featuring Christian bloggers here? I know it’s early in this new blog, but I am just curious.

    • Joy,
      I haven’t actually thought about it. This initial group of bloggers are simply people I already know or admire and want to share. I do have a few people that I’d love to interview who have a lot of blogging wisdom to share, that I don’t know their background. I’m guessing it will be something of a trend, but not a rule. How’s that for vague? 🙂 Do you have thoughts on it?

      • Thanks for the quick response, Kat. My personal thoughts on it are that I would prefer it to be inclusive of all faiths and backgrounds, or else non-denominational (sort of “separation of church and state” but instead it’s “separation of church and blog.” 😉 However, it’s not a deal-breaker for me (especially since the bloggers who have shared so far are talking broadly about the blogging experience and not focusing on religion). So far, I am thoroughly enjoying the wisdom imparted!

  8. Just get started…..leave perfectionism behind.

  9. I am totally inspired by the way Hayley fits so much into her day, without it stressing her out, with her still spending wonderful, quality time with her children and husband. It makes me feel like, “Yes! It’s possible!” Just need to get organized… Another take away is definitely starting and persevering! God bless you for sharing your life with us, Hayley, and thank you so much Kat for this outstanding series! I’m loving every single second of it! 🙂

  10. Love, Love , Love this series and this blog. Thank you so much for doing this. It is so helpful to keep reading about how other women are blogging and making money and influencing.

  11. I’m not too familiar with Haley’s blog…but, I have to ask. When does the real, deep blogging work get done? I see that you do emails and admin stuff in the morning. Is Haley’s more in depth blogging what happens sometimes in the evening? What I struggle with is finding time to think straight and be able to fully write out my thoughts into a blog post worthy of being read by others. I’m looking for ways to do that amidst a busy life with 3 boys. 🙂

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