Anne and I enjoyed a holiday break from Blogging Basics, but we’re back today to discuss an issue a few of you have asked about: how to manage a full-time job and a blog.
I want to offer you the best advice on this topic you’ve ever heard. But the truth is, this remains a struggle for me. I work more than full-time as a writer in an office and it’s difficult to come home and immediately write for my blog. Some days I’d rather drink wine or watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and pretend I’m a member of the cast.
It’s difficult to balance work, exercise, relationships, house upkeep, life, and a blog. It’s a time-consuming hobby (for those of us who still use it that way). But. I love it. The connections, the community, the information, and the creativity keep me coming back for more. I don’t always do what the good bloggers tell you to do. For one, I do NOT have an editorial calendar. I don’t plan out posts months ahead of time unless it’s a collaboration or holiday-themed. I have ideas. But writing posts months in advance takes the creativity out of it for me. I want to write what I want to write when I want to write it. I like discussing current events. I like discussing my life. I like discussing a product I impulse-bought at Rite Aid while picking up my wine. Instead of giving you all the tools that help me manage blogging and work, here are a few things that I’m trying out:
- Set a timer. There are nights it takes me hours to complete a blog post. I’ll work from 7:00-11:00 between dinner and time with J. Why does it take so long? Because I’m constantly checking Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, the neighbors, etc. I’ve finally started giving myself a timeline and sticking to it. I perform well under pressure at work, and it keeps me focused in my own writing as well.
- Prioritize and structure your time. I balance multiple projects each week at my job. At first I couldn’t keep up, but then I developed a system to stay on track. There are days where I write certain documents, and it begins the minute I walk through the doors. My Outlook calendar is structured by day: Monday is for manuals. Tuesday is for defect documentation. Wednesday is for release notes. And so on… I have a lot of impromptu meetings and can’t always stick to that schedule, but knowing I can’t do everything at once has helped me get more done. As I tell my co-workers: I can only do so much in one day. And so can you. Try sticking to a blog schedule. It’s not logical for me to post five+ days a week, so I don’t.
- Use the mornings. I get up at 5:00 every morning which probably makes some of you want to cry. Believe me, there are days I do. 😉 But I NEED that time before the craziness of the day begins. I crave that alone time. I work out. I watch Friends. I sip coffee. I play with makeup. I eat breakfast. And I schedule social media. I try to at least schedule my social media for the day in the morning, and, if my sponsors have already posted, I do their scheduling, too. It’s nice to cross it off my list. I still love HootSuite and Board Booster. You can read more here.
- Use your lunch break. Some days you need that lunch break to decompress. But some days I have a blog post idea and run home at lunch to type it out. Not everyone is lucky to live close to work, but shoot yourself an email with an overview. I feel so much lighter if I can bang out a post during my lunch hour.
- Utilize (a little) of your weekend. To me, weekends are sacred. I don’t want to be chained to the computer… those hours are too precious. But Emily shared the greatest resolution this week: she’s going to get up every day at 5:30- even on Saturday and Sunday. I am sleep-obsessed. I can get up at 5:00 during the week, but you might not see me until 9:00 on Saturday. I love my bed. But I’m thinking of giving her idea a whirl this weekend. Getting up at 5:30 will give me a few hours of quiet time to complete some posts and the rest of the day can be spent living. I’ll report back on this one…
- Stop pressuring yourself. While timing myself works sometimes, there are other times it just doesn’t. There are times when work is overwhelming and I’d rather watch Making a Murderer with J or I’d rather be in bed my 8:00 pm. That’s okay. As long as it’s a hobby, keep it that way. I have written posts when I was short on time and I look back and cringe. I’d personally rather read great material twice a week than skip over garbage every day, and I certainly don’t want to put that out into the world.
Here’s the deal: some days you’ll rock at the balance, and some days you won’t. Sometimes your blog will suffer. Other times it will be your family and friends. My best advice is to not take it so seriously. Don’t write when you don’t want to write. Put your real job and your people first. Be yourself.