This post originally appeared on The Blissful Balance in October 2015 and has been updated/revised.
With blogging comes many a misconception. Most of the time, upon discovering an awesomely sleek, professional, killer blog that you love, you immediately assume that this person blogs for a living. They’ve achieved the dream. The do-what-you-love-and-not-work-a-day-in-your-life dream. Well, again, more often than not, this isn’t the case (yet). What you don’t see is that blogger working 40+ hours a week for some company, getting themselves out of bed at 8:00 AM on a Saturday and writing, cooking, recipe developing, photoshoot-ing, and creating until the wee hours. My friends, welcome to the blog life.
Why do we blog? Because we’ve fallen in love with this platform that allows us to be ourselves and open the floodgates for the creativity that overwhelms our brains on a daily basis. We, of course, hope to one day be able to let that river flow everyday for as long as we can, but in the interim, we’ve got obligations to juggle. This is no effortless task.
Just like a work-life balance is an equilibrium valued by many, a work-blog-life balance is equally as attractive, and doubly as challenging to attain. It is something that can only be learned after doing; after finding what works for you. And let’s be real, there’s definitely some trial and plenty of error along the way. We’re hoping to give you some insight into how we’ve handled that balance during our journeys, in anticipation that it will inspire you to implement these tactics to, for lack of a better word, stay sane.
How to Balance Blogging When You Work 40+ Hours
Planning is crucial.
Planning is one of the most important tactics to organization and time management. It allows you to get an understanding of your priorities, and ensures that you stay on top of your obligations. Set intentions for yourself each week. Take time to write it down, on a Sunday evening. In addition to weekly planning, map out a bigger picture at the end of each month for what you want to accomplish the succeeding month. This will help you stay focused and avoid that out-of-control feeling that we all know can happen.
Give yourself a deadline every week and month. You know that saying “I work better under pressure” – that’s proven to be pretty true, especially when it comes to a creative business. Stay on top of yourself with specific dates and deadlines.
Use your time wisely.
Have time to take a lunch break today? Use it to get some blog work done. Got off work early? Cook that recipe you’ve been meaning to get onto your blog. Have an open weekend? Crack open that laptop.
We blog because we love it – if your blog feels like work, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate. With that said, using our weekends to be productive with our sites doesn’t feel like work. Spare time is blog time – when you’re done with your ‘day job’ work, think about what you can get done for your blog. Something that works for me is using my morning and my evening strategically – I know that I am most creative in the morning when I first wake up, so I use that time to design and write. In the evenings, after work (the toughest time to get myself to keep working), I use my time to either cook, photograph, read other blogs, or plan for social pushing. Additionally, I plan my weekends ahead of time so that I can plan my blog time efficiently. Things often go more smoothly with a solid plan.
Quality over quantity.
An [irrational] fear that many bloggers have is that if they aren’t posting at least five times a week, then they will completely lose their audience and the world will end.
The worst thing you could do, in our opinions, is begin to push out content just for the sake of getting a certain number of posts out in a week. It won’t necessarily be your best, but at least it’s there – right? No.
Think about your readers. Will they stick around if your content is subpar? It’s much better to take time to push out old posts, share other bloggers’ content, and get some planning done, than to rush through and put out anything less than your best. A good rule of thumb to follow is to aim for at least two posts a week. If life gets in the way, don’t sweat it. Take the time you do have to plan ahead and get some work done for the following weeks. Getting ahead can give you the freedom to explore and push your comfort level in a good way. Just don’t let yourself become trapped in the false reality of quantity over quality. Your readers will notice.
Go somewhere else.
Sometimes it’s hard to work at home and be productive; there are so many distractions and it’s like a never ending portal of unproductivity versus productivity. There are no barriers between you and your work.
What I mean is, if you can go somewhere else to get your work done, you’re sort of giving yourself an ultimatum. You have the ability to set your intentions for your time at this place, and can tell yourself that you can’t leave until you’ve done xyz. Use your local coffee shop as your designated office space. This also helps with the whole work-blog-life balance. Blogging at home is great and all, but getting your work done elsewhere can help you to relax when you get home. You feel more like you’ve ‘earned’ it. Often when you feel like you’re not quite as comfy as you would be at home, you can focus more on actually working.
Coming from someone who works full-time at home, I have experience with finding other places to blog – otherwise, all I do at home is work. Not good!
The tribe has spoken.
We reached out to our fellow BGBers to see how they handle their work-blog-life balance. Here’s what these lovely ladies had to say.
“I’m learning when to back off, in order to stay motivated to blog and be “on” for my full-time job. For example, the past 4-5 months I’ve stopped trying to blog five days per week. Realizing that I don’t NEED to post that many times to “stay connected” was key, and I can put more quality into my posts if I stick to 2-3. Being less stressed about blogging left me less tired, which meant I could continue to perform well for my day job.”
-Jessica of Hello to Fit
“I have learned that it’s better to provide my highest quality content – even if it’s just 2 days a week – than to try to blog everyday. I work 8-5 *and* have a one year old son, so I’ve learned to write and brainstorm in any free time I have and to do most of my editing, photos, etc. on the weekend. Having my posts scheduled ahead of time takes some of the personal aspect away, but I can always make small changes as needed. Having an editorial calendar has helped, too!”
-Catherine of Foodiecology
“Working full time, I try to keep up with with blogging about the topics that I find most interesting – it makes it easy to write a post without the pressure of having to blog everyday, but still writing about what interests me most. Instagram makes it easy to post about the day to day, while I usually write on the blog over weekends/evenings.”
-Inbar of Well and the City
“I’m a full-time management consultant and I travel every week for work, so I try to have 75% of my posts ready to go by Monday morning, and then one post that is on-the-fly during the week. I also use my lunch breaks/snack breaks/bathroom breaks during work to check in with social media.”
-Dani of Dani California Cooks
“Since my job is a set 8+ hours every day, blogging is very sporadic. I use the weekends to prep and get organized I try to have a set plan for what I need to accomplish if I have any extra time throughout the work day. I wake up early to blog before work, utilize my lunches to take pictures of recipes I made the night before, and write in little 15-minute intervals on my breaks throughout the day. I’m always working hard, but it’s all about working smarter.”
-Margaret of Young and Rungry
“Just like I find it important to food prep for the week ahead, same goes for my blog posts! My content calendar is usually filled out a couple weeks ahead, so on Sunday’s I try to get ahead on writing, photography and social media scheduling. It’s by no means the entire week’s worth but it gives me a leg up and makes the week easier!”
-Katie of Talk Less, Say More
“I prep most of my blog content on the weekends to help mebalance work and blogging during the week. Saturday & Sunday are spent writing, prepping recipes, etc. and Monday-Friday are spent engaging with other blogs and bloggers on social media (which I typically enjoy when I get home anyways). Some days I just don’t want to blog so I take a mental break, which helps me remember why I love it so much.”
-Kellen of A Cup of Kellen
What Do You Think?
- Do you have a favorite tool that’s on this list?
- Do you have any other tools you’d add to this list?