One of the questions that I get asked the most is how I manage blogging and freelance content creation, all while working a full-time 9 to 5 job. Although I dream of the day that I would be able to blog full-time, Mama's gotta work - those shoes won't buy themselves! Managing the demands of blogging while working 9-5 isn't easy, and certainly isn't glamorous, but it can be extremely rewarding. Here are some of my best tips and tricks on how I stay focused, inspired and organized while trying to juggle blogging with my full-time job.
1. Mornings Are For EmailsI'm a morning person on my worst day, but since blogging mornings have become my lifeline to being productive and getting things accomplished. My typical weekday morning consists of getting up at least 2 hours before I need to leave for work, making myself a cup of coffee and answering emails. Staying on top of your emails is essential for avoiding blogger burn-out while working, since nothing triggers anxiety like an inbox full of unanswered messaged. I like to respond to every email I receive, even it's its just a quick 'no thank you' to opportunities that don't interest or apply to me. Mornings are also a great time to review and respond to comments on your blog and social media - similarly I think that every message deserves a response, even if it's just a quick 'thank you.' Even carving out an hour each and every morning to devote to blog-related emails and comments will ensure that you keep on top of your correspondence, and help to establish a reputation for yourself as reliable.
Daylight hours are so valuable for blogging, especially as we move into the winter, and if you work a day-job then chances are you'll be stuck at the office during prime photo-taking hours. I like to bite the bullet and take all of my blog photos during the weekend, or whatever day that I have off from work. Always take more photos than you think you need since you won't have an opportunity to re-take them during the week, and may need a few extras for social media. Speaking of social media, I also tend to take a few Instagram photos on the weekends that I will edit and post throughout the week. To avoid burn-out, and to have a chance to relax, I don't actually edit my photos on the weekends - I save that for weeknights.
2. Weekends are for Photos
3. Night Time Is For Editing and PostsSince I've taken all of my photos on the weekends, I like to devote a few nights a week to editing photos and drafting blog posts to be published the next day. Editing definitely doesn't seem as daunting if you do it a few days after the photos have been taken, and viewing your photos with a fresh pair of eyes gives you a new perspective while you edit. Breaking up the components of a blog post over a few days is great for avoiding burnout and keeps your mind creative.
4. Use Two Different PlannersI'm a pen-to-paper kind of girl, and nothing keeps me organized while trying to balance full-time work and blogging than planning out my posts for the month, and writing all of my commitments down. I actually have two separate planning systems, one for work and one for blogging - I find that this helps to keep me focused and prevents me from becoming overwhelmed. I recommend using a planner that not only allows you to plan by the day, but also has a month at a glance so that I can jot in any deadlines and events and can make sure that I'm not overcommitting.
5. It's Okay To Say NoBlogger burnout is real, and I suspect that it has a lot to do with accepting each and every offer and event invitation that comes your way. When I first started blogging,I would happily accept all requests for collaborations that come into my inbox and while it's a great way to learn how to work with companies and brands, it's simply not sustainable over the long run - especially when you have a full-time commitment during the day! It's totally okay to be selective about which blogging projects you take on, and events you attend. Being selective actually helps keep your creative side vibrant; you still want to feel in control, and this may be compromised if you accept too many projects and commitments while still having to work full-time.
6. Apply Your Skills From Work and Blogging to One AnotherAdmittedly, sometimes it's hard to see the bigger picture as to why you continue to push yourself and blog while working full-time: wouldn't it just be easier to just commit to one? Financial issues aside, I actually think that working full-time gives you a new skill set unique to you and actually helps with blogging. For example, I write a lot of business correspondence at my day-job which actually helps me to ensure each and every email related to my blog is articulate and professional. Do you work with people at your day job? You will have a leg-up when attending events and meeting new bloggers since chances are you'll be relaxed and experienced in talking to everyone. Blogging itself is a great way to stay creative, and creativity is a wonderful skill that lends itself useful to all jobs.
Blogging while working full time is definitely a challenge, and will really test your time management skills - but is completely worth it! Do you work full-time while blogging? What are some of your biggest tips for managing both commitments? I think that this is an issue that most of us face, so I would love to hear your thoughts - join the discussion!
These are all such great tips for blogging while working full time. I never thought of keeping two separate planners to prevent myself from feeling overwhelmed. Thanks so much for sharing these tips!ReplyDelete
Sweet Helen Grace
I'm so glad that you found these tips helpful, Helen! Yes, keeping two separate planners definitely helps to keep me focused - and sane! LOLDelete
I'm starting a new full time job next week and this post was very much needed since I haven't been feeling as creative and motivated as usual! Thanks for the tips, I love your work!ReplyDelete
Thanks Gia, I'm so glad that this post came at a great time for you! Good luck starting your new job!Delete
Some really great tips lovely, saying no is the hardest but sometimes it really has to be done and emails are a must, instead of just reading them I need to make sure I reply!!! xxReplyDelete
It's so true Jessica, saying no can be so hard - especially when everything sounds like so much fun!Delete
I loved your tips! I think they're really good for people who have a 9-5 schedule. I work full-time, too, but I start at 7 in the morning and had to create quite a different schedule for myself. I'm lucky to leave work in the middle of the afternoon so I'm able to take photos on weekdays, but I never have time to do any blogging work in the morning!ReplyDelete
Oh wow, yes waking up 2 hours earlier than 7am would definitely not be do-able for me LOL! You're definitely lucky that you're able to use the daylight hours during the week for photos, I would love that!Delete
Great post Joelle! Ok some thoughts...I cannot even fathom waking up 2 hours before work, however I can truly see the benefit of that, and am glad you can do it. I am so not a morning person, I start work at 7:30 and cannot possibly wake up any earlier than 6 am at which point I hustle for work. That being said I am a night owl most days and end up staying up to all sorts of odd hours of the night to get my photo edits/posts done. Last night was a perfect example of staying up until 3 am and then waking up at 6 like a zombie! I also use 2 planners and find it helps me keep my personal and work life separate. I guess when I read your routine I see that you definitely are more organized with doing certain blog activities on certain days, where I am a little bit all over the place at times and this is maybe I tend to burn out so much. I definitely could learn a thing or two from you on planning these blogging activities better! It's not easy working FT and keeping up with the blogger thing, but I agree with you that it is worth the effort. Happy Friday!ReplyDelete
So true Agnes, you could totally switch morning emails to after work if you're a night owl! My blogging planner is definitely my lifeline, it helps me stay focused and aware of any deadlines coming up (those always seem to sneak up on you LOL!) Happy Friday! xxDelete
I definitely need to come back to some of these tips! I'm going through some major burnout at work right now, and blogging is my little bit of fun, but I can't seem to find the time for it lately. Must. Plan. Better!!ReplyDelete
Kris | Love. Loft. Life.
Hey Kris, totally understandable with the amount of traveling that you've been doing lately! I always find going to the cottage on the weekends throws off my photo times, so I manage that by shooting blog photos right after work on a weekday - sometimes even changing at the office to go straight to photos! Hopefully that helps!Delete
This was a really great post- definitely full of some tricks I already use myself. Although I don't work full time, I am a full time student with a part time job, so I'm short on time, well, most of the time! :P I think it's so important to plan everything out, and write it all down or else it can be so anxiety inducing to try to just remember it all. I would love to be able to go full time with blogging someday, but I obviously need to finish school first. For now it's sort of a fun challenge to balance everything that I'm doing in my life. But it can be frustrating because I think I could make my blog so much better if I just had more time to spend on it, you know? Anyway, great post Joelle! Always love to see tips like this from you :)ReplyDelete
Katie | www.thoughtcouture.com
I'm so glad that you enjoy these types of posts Katie - I love writting them! I'm totally in the same boat as you, I often wonder what devoting my energy to the blog full-time could bring. I think that you're doing fabulous job!Delete
Hi love ur blog! Came from the wonder forest, saw ur guest post on floral crown!!! Just a suggestion why don't u use disqus for ur comments...after reading this post I was wondering how I wud comment lol clicked on read more then I saw the comments section had to scroll down before posting this! LolReplyDelete
Welcome! I'm so glad that you found my blog! Great point about disqus - it's funny, I always thought that having the blogger comments was easiest for my readers but I so appreciate the feedback! Thank you :)Delete
Hi Joelle! I really enjoyed this post, and love hearing about a blogger's behind the scenes planning. It's so wonderful to read a blog I can relate to, and I always appreciate the work more when I know the blogger works a full time job (in addition to blogging)! I'm learning that a lot of bloggers take many photos on the weekend, which I never thought of. Thanks for a great post, really timely and well thought out!ReplyDelete
I'm so glad that you enjoyed this post Lisa! Yes, taking all of your photos in bulk on the weekends is a life saver!Delete