When I started my blog I naively didn’t think it would take up a great deal of my time. I mean I wasn’t trying to solve the problems in the Middle East or anything, I was writing about interiors. Hardly rocket science right? But, as I’ve touched upon before, writing a blog involves so much more than writing a few fluffy words and putting up some cool photos. In fact, I think if I was to blog in the way that I want to, and in the way that I think would really take it to the next level, it would be a full time occupation.
Alas, my blog is not an income generator and as lovely as the folk at my mortgage company are (well, probably, can’t say I know them personally), bills need paying. That means I have to fit the blog writing, the photo taking, the social media commenting, and the researching around my 9-5 commitment. In writing this I’m not trying to elicit sympathy – far from it. There are loads of bloggers doing exactly this. And actually many of them juggle blogging with working as well caring for children or elderly relatives. Now THAT is impressive.
Anyhoo, I am getting off point. I wanted to offer up today my top 5 tips for keeping sane and getting the blogging done when there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. I hope you’ll find them useful.
1 Plan your time
For me this is fundamental. To stop you running around fire-fighting and lurching from one urgent thing that needs doing to the next, take a bit of time once a week (I usually do this on a Sunday night #partyanimal) to look at what you have coming up in the days or week ahead so you can try to plan your writing around other commitments. I now write on every Monday and Friday night unless there is a jolly good reason to prevent me doing so. Knowing that this is the time I have for writing helps me to focus on getting my post ideas in check and slotting in bits of advance research or picture editing so that I can make the most of the time I’ve allocated. Is this foolproof? Hell no. But its a bloody good start.
2 Make use of down time
I am a born time-waster. I watch too much TV, I lose hours (literally – it’s a real problem) on instagram and pinterest, and I faff around and procrastinate and then berate myself for leaving things until the last minute. If that sounds like you, then pay attention to this next bit. I recently decided to become a bit more disciplined. For example, rather than read the Metro or the Evening Standard on my way to work, I now use my commute to sketch out upcoming post ideas, upload instagram photos, read and comment on other blogs/social media or reply to emails. This works pretty well except for the big chunk of my journey when I lose signal. But hey, that’s just extra thinking time, right?
You may not have a commute to take advantage of but I bet if you sat down and thought about it, there’ll be time in your day that you’re not using as effectively as you could be or where you’re doing something that isn’t contributing to what YOU want to achieve. Be brutal. Say no to things you don’t want to do (where you can – I know it’s not always that simple) and use that time to achieve your goals. Your blog, and general satisfaction levels, will thank you for it.
3 Think strategically
I know, I know, this sounds jargon-tastic and cringe-worthy to the extreme. But it works ok!? Every now and then I take a bit of time to look ahead weeks or even months to see what’s coming down the track. I do it with my personal budgeting (yes, I have a budget, feel free to judge me, I can take it!), I have to do it for my day job as a policy advisor in the Civil Service, and I’ve now started doing it for the blog. And you know what? It has made a real difference to my life.
As you’ll probably know, I’ve recently started a house tour and interview series. That means I need to engage with my potential
victims participants early on, as they’ll need to answer questions and send me photos before I can write up the post. That takes planning and looking ahead or I’ll end up with gaps of no content. I am also much better these days at not forgetting birthdays and renewing our home insurance…..added bonus!
4 Make lists
I genuinely think I only have a short term memory these days. I can be so sure that I’ll remember to do something, that when it leaves my head ten seconds later it’s often a genuine surprise when I eventually realise I’ve actually forgotten to do it! And that is where my trusty to-do list comes in. Different methods work for different people – some swear by apps like Evernote, but for me old-school pen and paper work just fine. In fact, I rather like treating myself to a shiny new notebook every now and again just to help with the motivation to stay organised.
I’m in the process of collating my little black book of amazing interiors stores from around the world at the moment – it’s a long term project but will be UH-MAZING once its done – and there is no way I would remember all of the wonderful places I need to look up without assistance. All my ideas get noted down, as well as the things I need to do that day, that week or that month so everything is always to hand.
5 Look after yourself
My final point is actually the most important – you really need to cut yourself some slack. For most of us, blogging is a fun hobby that allows us to express ourselves creatively. The moment it becomes overwhelming to the point it’s getting you down, making you ill or ruining your relationship, its time to take a break. Put. The. Laptop. Down. If you schedule a slot for you to write and its just not happening, or you’re struggling to prop up those eyelids, don’t sweat it. Go for a run, watch Britain’s Next Top model (No? Just me then?), or eat a really big bag of crisps. Whatever makes you happy.
I find the thing that always gets dropped off the list when life gets busy is exercise, and that is the one thing you should be prioritising if you want to stay healthy. That’s something I need to work on – I have one class a week that I attend religiously but my good intentions often fall by the wayside the rest of the time. I need to address that – my strategic planning suggests that my weight-loss goals will not be met by the time I need to fit into swimwear. Yikes *puts down the maltesers*.
What techniques do you use to manage blogging and the day job? Let me know if there’s anything else I should be doing to allow me to watch more Britain’s Next Top Model guilt free in the comments below!
Happy travels, and shopping (and resting – you’ve earned it, cowboy)
P.S Know anyone that’s struggling with managing blogging as well as their day job that my post may help? Then do share it via the buttons below – I’d be so thrilled if you did!