How To Balance Blogging With A Full Time Job
There are only 24 hours in a day and we're recommended to sleep for 8 of them. For those who work full time jobs, that's another 8 hours on average during weekdays and it's not including travel time. That leaves you with 8 hours for travel, meals, the gym, a social life and anything else. Yes, we all have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce but we also don't have assistants planning them for us and keeping us in check. So how do you manage your time successfully?
There are a lot of questions about blogging and the commitment it involves for those who are new to the game or just at the interested stage. Blogging seriously means you want to make a career out of it or at least a side business rather than just hobby blogging in your free time. Both are commendable but they require a different level of commitment. Blogging seriously is almost a full-time job in itself and it doesn't pay out immediately which means unless you have a trust fund or great savings, you'll have to keep your day job. The trouble then is finding the time and energy to dedicate to your blog. So how is this done?
1. Schedule time to blog like you'd schedule work meetings or doctors appointments. Schedule a set amount of time each day, whether it's 30 minutes or 3 hours, and commit to it. This runs along the same lines of scheduling in a workout. That time you set on your calendar for this task should be treated like a meeting with your boss or a dentist appointment. Don't miss it.
2. Don't overwhelm yourself. Create a posting schedule that is reasonable for the time you are able to commit. If you work 8 hour days and have a 1 hour commute each way, maybe posting 5 times per week isn't the best fit for you right now. Stick to a consistent schedule such as Tuesday and Thursday but don't feel the need to post daily right away. Increase your posting schedule as you generate content and get ahead. Which brings us to #3...
3. Schedule in advance. What feels better, packing a night or two in advance or the morning of a trip? The same idea applies to blogging. Schedule all of your blog posts in advance of them going live rather than the day of or even the night of. All blogging platforms carry a scheduling option for posts and it's the best feature to take advantage of. I am currently working on getting to scheduling posts 10 days in advance but in an idea world, I'd be at 2-3 weeks in advance. This also prevents stressing out about missing a posting day. You can also do this with your social media posting. Facebook allows you to schedule posts on pages and there are several platforms like Buffer, Hootsuite and CoSchedule that allow you to plan social media promotions in advance as well. Nothing needs to be done in the moment so take advantage of all the scheduling opportunities available to you.
4. Set weekend office hours. Remember earlier in this post when I mentioned blogging seriously takes dedication? That means being open to giving up a good portion of your weekend. Weekends are my most productive time to blog. I don't have to worry about clients, I don't need to worry about getting dinner on the table and I can just crank out my to-do list. I highly recommend using the weekend to your advantage. Take a couple of hours in the morning, work all day long. Whatever you are willing to dedicate, do it. It will give you a little relief during the regular work week.
5. Plan well. If there is one piece of advice I can offer, it's to be incredibly organized. There is nothing worse than wasting time trying to figure out what you need to do first. Create an editorial calendar. Whether it's in a program like Asana (which I personally swear by) or in an excel spreadsheet on Google Drive, get a content calendar built out. This will eliminate the guessing game of "what will we post this week." Organize all tasks that need to be completed for blog posts, marketing, social media management, etc. in a deadline capacity. Stick to those deadlines as if they were for your boss. Find a system that works for you and stick with it. The more you're organized and the more you plan behind the scenes, the easier it will be to stay on top of content and growing your blog so that one day, you can leave that 9-5 and blog for a living.
Obviously not everyone has a stereotypical 9-5 job Mondays through Fridays. However, apply these tips to your personal work schedule and you will make things work. It's not easy and it takes a lot of commitment and dedication. It's a passion project but if you love it that much, all of the extra work, late nights and sacrificed weekends will be worth it. I promise.