As the sun is streaming in through the window on this lovely spring Sunday afternoon I'm steadfastly at work in my home office, catching up on emails, plotting the following week's posts, and writing, writing, writing, until my fingers can't take any more (or I run out of the steady stream of coffee to drink).
As someone who works full time as well as blogs and freelances, this has been my life for, well, as long as I can remember! I do all of these things because I love them all and they keep me afloat creatively, and financially, however these components wouldn't be able to come together and work like a well-oiled machine without a decent amount of sacrifice, and planning.
Many of you are probably in the same boat of trying to balance full time work with blogging, and truth be told, it can be quite a juggling act when factoring the spare time one has to allot to something such as a blog when they aren't commuting, taking care of pets, kids, being with significant others, friends, or simply exhausted. I've put together a list of some of the items that I've incorporated to try to stay as productive and anxiety-free as possible when it comes to balancing the day job and blogging:
Prioritize and Plan
Honestly, it is the simplest thing ever, but sometimes being super busy with a day job doesn't allow for much else, so figuring out a head of time what content and blog-related tasks you are going to do for the week, and when, when help you actually get to what you need to do rapidly and efficiently. I like to keep a running tally of blog-related items I need to do via “Google Tasks,” rank them in order of importance, and then transfer the most important ones to write or do for the week to a “Stickies” note on my desktop. I then make more of an outline for each post, and try to get 3-4 done in one sitting. If I am super tired or can't dedicate the energy to write at the moment, I will at least edit and format the pics for several of these posts at once, then come back and write when I feel more refreshed and motivated.
Time is of the Essence
Some might be able to actually do the planning, and even writing from the day job, while others have to offset blog time to the evenings, weekends, or early mornings before work. Find a time that may consistently work for you, and try to make that time always ‘blog time,' so that you ensure it happens, and others understand to try to avoid interrupting you while you are working. I also like to build in “buffer time” and allow a little more time than what I think I need to get these tasks done, in case I decide to spend more time researching a post, or just generally when “life” happens, i.e. the dog needs to be walked, my neighbors are being loud and I need to relocated to a quieter spot, or hunger strikes and I need to go make a meal.
Although I'd love to have multiple posts go live every day, and can make it a soft goal, in reality I would have to quite my full time job to be able to fulfill that goal. I know that, given my schedule, I'm lucky if I get one done a day. If you are realistic with how much you can accomplish, it will help to diminish the guilt that can arise when trying to balance your job with blogging. It's easy to feel like you are neglecting your site, but in reality, you are doing the most that is humanly possible with the time given.
So with the aspect of being realistic with your goals, be accepting of the fact that the time you may need to use for blogging will cut into your spare time that can be spent with friends, family, or doing other things for yourself like hobbies, reading a book, watching TV, etc. I'm not saying to cut out this time completely, but you may want to manage it a bit; go to your cousin's birthday party, but know (and stick to) that you will need to leave by 11pm so that you can get up early the next day to blog, or skip those mimosas at brunch with the girls so that you can return home and have a product writing session. If you love your blog, and do want it to be an integral part of your life, this won't be so difficult as it may sound, to put into place.
Don't Be So Harsh on Yourself
Honestly, blogging and working full time is really A LOT, and can sometimes border on “too much.” Most likely though, you are your toughest critic when it comes to keeping up with blogging and working full time, so if you come down with a cold, or go on vacation, or are just insanely busy at work and miss posting, it really is not the end of the world. I think it is important to keep a good work/life balance, but also do things for yourself that keep everything in check, so if you need to take some time away because you are feeling burnt out or exhausted, IT IS OKAY. You know why? A little r&r can give you the jump start that you need to fuel that next amazing post, proving that you are passionate about your blog, love doing it and it shows, regardless of working full time on it, or somewhere else.
How do you find a happy medium between working full-time and your blog?