Blogging and working full time is the ultimate juggling act.
And while I don’t claim to have got the balance quite right (remember that 1 year hiatus I took?!) I’ve picked up a lot of tips that have helped me along the way. And I think a number of you who read are either about to join the work place or you’ve just started blogging during lockdown or whatever the case may be, and I’ve had a few people ask me how I do it.
My dad’s a horticulturist (there’s a point to this story, promise), which means he spends all day growing, cutting and bunching fresh flowers and potted plants. And throughout my entire childhood I couldn’t work out why our garden was just grass, bushes and trees. I went to friend’s houses, who’s parents were (I don’t know) lawyers or shop keepers or any job not even remotely related to growing things and their gardens were full of luscious plants and flower beds and they were beautiful.
And the simple matter of it is, if you spend all day growing flowers to pay the bills, probably aren’t going to want to come home and grow flowers in your spare time.
And honestly? I get an element of that. My day job is marketing, which means I spend all day looking at social media analytics and website flows and proofing a million documents as well as you name it. Sometimes I come home look at my blog and think eurgh… but I’ve also found ways to keep it enjoyable and make it work. So, here are my top tips…
It’s OK To Take A Break
Feels like an odd thing to start with considering this is a post sorta about how to not do this while working, but it felt like it flowed from the comments I was making in the intro. I post everyday. And it’s intense. And don’t get me wrong, I love it! But. I’ve learnt the hard way, that when you don’t love something (even if it’s that one moment, day or week) it comes across in your writing, and that’s when you start to burn out.
And while I’d love to proritise my blog over my work. You gotta pay your bills.
So, it’s ok to miss a post. Or take a week off. Or in my case a whole year (give or take). It’s no different than taking your 21 days holiday at work, or a sick day when you’re under the weather. And it may feel like you’re letting yourself down, but I promise you, this community is more understanding than you know.
Scheduling is Your Best Friend
I schedule blooming everything. From blog posts, to social media posts to…. actually I’m not sure what else there is to schedule. And while I don’t suggest you schedule every single one of your tweets for example, sometimes it’s handy to have a gentle stream of content going out even if you’re busy.
I work in the arts and our work life balance can sometimes be a little off. And it’s also a little unpredictable. So I like to work about (or at least) 2 days out. So, if this goes out on a Wednesday, I’m writing it either Sunday or Monday evening. I schedule Facebook and Instagram posts just direct on Facebook Creator Studio and Twitter posts just direct on Twitter. I know there’s a million and one different scheduling tools, and I’ve used a lot of ’em. But it’s just another thing to log into, remember to check in with, and keep on top of.
Plan Plan Plan
This may seem daunting. And I really don’t mean it to. But I’m a real fan of a spreadsheet. And I have a master spreadsheet where I track what blog posts I want to write, whether I’ve taken the pictures for them or written the content. I also schedule in there what Instagram post I want to do, although I don’t tend to stick to them.
It makes it sound like work, but it helps me focus on what it is I need to get done and when, and helps with the next thing…
Do Blog Photo Shoots
I will take around 2 weeks of blog photos in one day. Yes, that may be potentially nuts. But, it’s how I roll. And it’s what I need to do to get shit done. The only days of the week I’m free when it’s light out is the weekend, and so I spend 2-3 hours on a Saturday morning every fortnight shooting a million pictures.
I also have to put together my blogging background (which is basically a fold out table with sticky back marble paper, a pink scarf and some nick knacks) and if I’m going to spend the time putting this together, it’s not going to be for one blooming post!
Apps Apps Apps
While we’re apparently in the habit of saying things three times like a hell Mary prayer, let’s do it with apps. If you’re anything like me, your phone is glued to your hand. And when you’re on the loo (maybe tmi) or waiting for a train or waiting for a meeting to start, if you’ve got the WordPress App you can be replying to comments, or comments on your latest Insta post or potentially even just scrolling aimlessly through Twitter (though maybe the latter isn’t particularly constructive, but you catch my drift). And then, when you’re sat in front of your computer later in the day, it means you’ve got some of the little things out of the way.
Tell Your Significant Other
Be it your flatmate, parents, partner, dog or guy who sleeps outside your house after a night out. Blogging will get so much easier when you’re not trying to fit it round your life as well as hide it. Now I know this is daunting, and I’ve had some people in my life be supportive and some people in my life tell me it’s a waste of time and I should be focusing on my degree (let me know if you want a story time). But either way, boy does it make it easier.
The times I get in ruts with my blog is when I’m in a new relationship, haven’t got the guts to tell them, and because we’re together most weekends (my free time), I can’t get anything done. But actually, the boyfriends I’ve told have all thought it’s pretty cool!
Remember It’s A Hobby
I’m sure there’s other things I do without even thinking… like I speak a blog post as I write it, hoping that this helps with the flow of sentences and making proofing easier. But as much as people say it’s important to post at the same time everyday, or your insta posts should be this, or on Twitter you should do that. If you’re doing this alongside a full time job, then it’s a hobby. And hobbies should be enjoyed. And I honestly think that’s the best piece of advice I could possibly give.
It’s a hobby, it’s for fun, enjoy it.
And there are my words of wisdom…. I feel like I should be an owl with circular glasses sat in a tree hooting or something. Yes, my brain is weird.
In all honesty, I’ve never quite got the balance right, and even now I have days when I struggle, or I realise on the day I’ve actually forgotten to write this day’s blog post and I’m there at seven in the morning banging it out. But these have seriously helped.
What are your top tips?
24 thoughts on “Blogging | How I Manage It With A Full Time Job”
Blogging can be one expensive hobby, you really have to be passionate about it. Some are lucky enough to earn a living from. Which definitely isn’t me. Scheduling is your best friend. I use Planoly to schedule my social media posts and schedule posts in bulk.
Oh so expensive, but some people like classic cars or some other expensive hobby, and this is mine! haha x
Scheduling is definitely a life-saver for me too! Pre-lockdown, due to my personal life and work, I tended to keep at least 2 weeks ahead because I’d be away seeing friends and family a lot. Definitely agree with bulk photography days too 🙂
Jasmine Talks Beauty
2 weeks ahead?! That’s pretty impressive x
I sometimes feel guilty for spending money at all on blogging but like you mentioned, it’s a hobby like any other and I can’t undermine my hobby because it’s not a typical one. Some people play video games and they don’t make a living from it. Why is my hobby any different? I definitely need to remind myself this a lot. Great post. 🙂
Aww thanks! And yeah, when you consider some people spend fortunes on their game consoles it’s not soo bad, but yeah! x
Great advice! Thanks for sharing 🙂 just started out my blog so hoping to find that work/blog balance too. Have a great week!
Good luck with it all! Remember to be kind, you’re allowed to miss days! x
Hey Katie, I loved this blog post! It’s amazing to read about other bloggers who manage a full-time job or university while maintaining a blog. I can’t believe that you take your blog images, that’s something that I hope to do more of one day. All the best!
Awww thanks! x
Scheduling is a life saver for sure and then as you said taking millions of pictures on the same day. I can be daunting at that moment, but you’re thankful after! I think that enjoying it as a hobby or job that it is, is what makes you happy and work for it. Thanks for sharing xx
No problem, thanks for reading! x
I’ve recently started out blogging (alongside a full time job) and although it is a hobby right now, boy does it require a ton of time and effort! I can see how this could be a full time job itself! I love your tip on blog photo shoots. Right now I’m all stock photos, but taking picture in bulk to utilize over the upcoming week is something I am going to try!
It’s so hard to get used to, but once you get into a rhythm it does get a lot easier! Batch photography is my biggest tip tbf! Oh, and don’t beat yourself up if you need to miss a day!
Great post Katie! Blogging can definitely take up a ton of time! I agree with your points about scheduling and planning. I am a big fan of time blocking. I am still working to build processes and all my spreadsheets so that I can work more efficiently in less time. Thanks for sharing!
Awww thanks! I love a good spreadsheet! xx
I don’t have a full-time job but I’m a college student and still aim to post 4-5 blog posts a week!! I agree with what you said about scheduling is your best friend — it definitely is! And for the blogging is a hobby, I don’t think of it that way. I actually want to earn money from it as I’ve also invested in it. Great tips!
Ah fair, good luck with making it an earning platform for you! I just love doing it, and my theory is you have to invest in hobbies whatever they are! x
So I’ve been blogging about a year now, and I do it alongside a full time job. Since Covid hit, it’s been easier to blog because I’m not at work, and right now actually I am not working at all. So I’ve been trying to learn more about all things blog–SEO, tools to use, resources etc and it’s been helping my page views. But I have so far to go, and sometimes I do get frustrated that I am not getting more page views or doing such and such but I do take time off when I need it and hope that over time I become better organized at using scheduling apps and what not. I do want to make it a side income, but I’m not rushing that really as I want it to be a real platform and not something I’ve copied and pasted from others or am not proud of just to earn some cash.
Awww this is so nice to hear! And yeah, I’m working from home right now, but just having that commuting time back to myself has really allowed me to devote time to my blog! x
My blog is new this year and it was a bit daunting at the thought of working full time too, but I agree with planning content. I like your idea of a spreadsheet, I have a mind map on my laptop and pages in notebooks everywhere, I might transfer it to a spreadsheet. Great tips, thanks for sharing!
Omg my spreadsheet SAVES me life! Love it! xx