Learning how to balance blogging with a full-time job is something that most bloggers have to learn to do at some point. While many of us have the aspiration of one day being a full-time blogger, most of us don’t start out that way. Instead, we blog as a side-hustle, sometimes for years, before we can make the leap. I started this blog over a year ago. Sometimes it feels like that was an eternity ago! But compared to other larger blogs, mine is still a baby. So, at least for now, it has to be a side-hustle along with my full-time job.
My job is unique in that we have months at a time of absolute chaos, followed by months of little to no work at all. So during certain parts of the year, finding time to work on this blog is not a big deal at all. But during others, it takes my last shred of time and sanity to get my posts written. That’s where I’m at right now! Luckily, the last year has given me ample time to nail down some tried and true strategies for balancing blogging with my full-time job.
My editorial calendar is literally a life saver. I would not be able to function as a blogger without it! Here’s how I use mine. Each month, I sit down and do a major brainstorming session. Then I pull out my calendar and schedule the entire month at one time. This way, I can look at my calendar at any time and know exactly what I have coming up. This is super helpful when I’m short on time and wouldn’t have the time or energy to think of a post idea. It’s even more helpful when I have a totally free day and want to sit down and write a week or two worth of blog posts at once. I just have to check my calendar to see what to write! Whether you’re a professional blogger or just a side-hustler like me, I think every blogger needs to have an editorial calendar!
Use Batching to Increase Productivity
This doesn’t work for everyone, and it doesn’t always work for me. But it can be helpful if you have several blog posts to write at once. The premise of batching is that you do like tasks at the same time. If you’re sitting down on Sunday to write four blog posts, here’s what your routine might look like:
1. Write an outline for each blog post and do any necessary research.
2. Write the actual blog posts.
3. Create images for each post in Canva, PicMonkey, Photoshop, etc.
4. Schedule each post on social media
By doing similar tasks together, you’re cutting down on transition time and can stay focused on one thing for an extended amount of time.
It can be easy to sit in front of the computer and lose yourself in an hour Facebook stalking and pinning content that, while enjoyable, is useless to your blog. Social media is such a dangerous trap! When you start a project, especially one using social media, be intentional. Immediately start tackling what you came to accomplish, and close the browser when you’re finished. Whatever is trending on Twitter now will still be there when you have actual free time.
Use Scheduling Tools
I would waste hours of my life if I had to open my social media accounts every time I wanted a new post to go live. Instead, I use Buffer to schedule my social media posts a week at a time! It takes up an hour of my Sunday to schedule Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +, and I don’t have to do it again for the entire week!
This one is multi-faceted. First of all, set boundaries for yourself when you’re at your job. Your company is paying you to accomplish a certain job, and I doubt they included blogging in your job description. Be sure not to let your blog interfere with your full-time job when you’re at work.
Second, learn to leave work at work and don’t let it spill over into your blogging time. I have all of my email inboxes on my phone (personal, blog, and work). When I get home, I only check my personal and blog inboxes. It would be easy to get sucked into work again when I see those emails, so it’s better to avoid checking them during blogging time.
Learn to put blog and work aside. I know first-hand that when you’re blogging while working a full-time job, somethings gotta give. And usually, it’s your personal life. I definitely have less free time on my evenings and weekends. Still, I try to set times that are completely off limits of blog and work related tasks. For me, this is almost always Saturdays.
Set a Realistic Posting Schedule
When I first started blogging, I decided I was going to post daily Monday-Friday. I wanted to make sure I was giving my readers as many reasons as possible to return to my blog. And I actually kept up with is for about a year! A few months ago, I decided it was no longer realistic for me to post 5 days per week.
When I first started blogging, there was very little substance to my posts. Lots of image collages, very few words. It literally took me ten minutes to create a blog post. Therefore, posting five per week was not a huge time commitment. As my blog grew, however, my posts changed. I started writing more helpful, evergreen content. I started doing research before writing many of my posts and writing 700+ word posts instead of the 150-word posts I had been writing.
While you might think (like I did) that posting every day will be best for your blog traffic, it will not be best for other parts of your life and your general well-being. Plus, if you push yourself too hard, your blog posts will start to suffer anyways.
I carry around a notebook in my purse and have multiple to-do list apps on my phone. I don’t spend the majority of my day with my blog dashboard open, so it’s important that I write notes for myself of what I need to accomplish when I do have time to work on the blog. There is literally nothing worse than knowing you had something super important you had to accomplish this evening, but not being able to remember what it was!
Accept That You Can’t Do Everything
Sometimes I look at bloggers I admire who post killer content each day, are posting pictures of their fabulous life on Instagram several times per day, creating new products to sell on their blog or shop, and maintaining a respectable social life. Why can’t I do that?? Then I remind myself that those gals are full-time bloggers and have tons more time to devote! This is the time I remind myself that I can’t accomplish everything, and that’s okay. If you feel jealous of other bloggers because it seems like they can do everything, I guarantee another blogger or friend is thinking the same of you!
I won’t tell you that blogging with a full-time job is ever easy. I won’t tell you that you’ll have way more free time than you think. Those things just aren’t true. It’s challenging, it’s stressful, and it is often a drain on a would-be social life. But it is manageable! And I guarantee if you follow these tips, you’ll become more efficient and less overwhelmed!
Do you balance blogging with a full-time job? How do you do it?
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