How To Balance Blogging With A Full Time Job
One of the questions I get asked the most is how I balance blogging with a full time job. For those of you who don't already know, I have a classic 9 to 5, Monday to Friday kind of office job, which means that a solid chunk of my week is spent at work. Once you add in other essential commitments, like life admin and grocery shopping and chores, I don't have a huge amount of free time to dedicate to blogging. But I am a firm believer that if you're really passionate about something, you'll find a way to make it work. And boy am I passionate about this blog. So today, I thought I'd share with you my tips for how to balance blogging with a full time job...
By far the best tip I can give you for balancing a blog with a full time job is to utilise any "dead time". We all have a certain amount of dead time in our day, whether it's those long commutes or waiting around for appointments, and rather than just reading my book or pointlessly scrolling through social media, I try to make this time as productive as possible. Whether it's tapping out blog ideas on my iPhone notes app or editing photos ready for Instagram, it's amazing how much you can get done during time that would otherwise just go to waste. This is a great way to stay on top of things when you're travelling too - while we were in New York I wrote whole posts while we were travelling on the subway and I'm always super productive on flights!
Some people think that running a blog is as easy as quickly typing something out, adding a photo and then pressing publish, but that couldn't be further from the truth! In reality, there's SO much to do - things like shooting photos, scheduling social media, networking with other bloggers and liasing with brands behind the scenes. You could easily fill your entire working week with blogging alone (and so many people do!), but when you already have a full time job you have to prioritise. For me, content is always my number 1 priority - sure I could do a better job of social media and my photos aren't always the best, but I know that you guys keep coming back here for the blog posts and the writing, so getting that done is always top of the list. Work out what is most important to you and your readers and make that your focus.
This is something I'm really bad at as I'm a ~bit~ of a workaholic and genuinely love the time I spend working on my blog, but I always find that whenever I do take a few days away to just totally switch off, I come back buzzing with ideas and plans and motivation. Try and schedule at least one day a week into your diary where you don't do anything related to work or your blog and always make the most of switching off on holiday. It really works - case in point: I came back from New York with a list of over 50 post ideas!
4) Keep an ideas bank
Which leads me nicely onto my next point - keep a bank of blog post ideas that you can add to whenever inspiration strikes. I use a Google doc that I can easily access via the app on my phone or you could just use Notes or send emails to yourself. I find that keeping it digital is really important - otherwise if I have an idea and I don't have the right notebook with me I end up forgetting all about it. Having an ideas bank means that I never run out of things to write about it - I don't write a post about every single idea I jot down, but sometimes re-reading the list will spark something totally different. I find that this really helps when you don't have masses of time to brainstorm post ideas or write content plans.
As much as we'd all like to be super productive every single day, it just isn't that realistic, is it? For that exact reason, I always try and get ahead wherever I can - that way if I have an off day or something unexpected pops up, it doesn't completely scupper my plans for the blog. I usually try and spend a couple of hours at the weekend writing some content that I can schedule for the week ahead, and taking photos in batches is a great idea too. That way, you're not always waiting for the sun to come out (which can be a nightmare during those short winter days!) or trying to coerce people into shooting outfit photos for you at the last minute.
6) Work when you're most productive
My last tip is the one that has made the biggest difference for me over the past few months - I'd go as far as to say it's an absolute game changer! I kept finding that I'd get home from work in the evenings and just feel way too tired to do anything. I'd half-heartedly edit some photos or schedule some social media but actually sitting down to create some content just seemed too much like hard work. I realised that I'm always more productive at work in the mornings and so I've now started setting my alarm an hour earlier and dedicating that hour to nothing but blog work. I'm such an earlybird anyway so it works better for me, plus it always feels amazing to go to work knowing I've already ticked some things off my to do list!
All images by Matt McCormick