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!