Anyone who blogs will know it takes up a LOT of time. Back when I was a fresh-faced blogger, eager to share my view on the world, I never realised just how much work it would be. If I knew then what I know now, who knows? Maybe I would have let blogging pass me by. In all honesty, this probably isn’t the case, but my point is that this ain’t no picnic. It’s hard work.
Whether it’s planning a schedule, responding to emails, researching and writing posts, taking photos, reading other blogs or generally engaging with the online blogger community, blogging can sometimes feel like a full time job of its own accord. I’m sure many of you will be furiously nodding at this point. And the truth is, the blog posts I’m most disappointed in are the ones I’ve not taken my time over.
I get a few freebies from time to time, which is nice. Colleagues and friends often comment on how ‘lucky’ I am to get a new pair of shoes, or a nice dress, as if I’m getting a free ride. Perhaps what they don’t realise is that getting to that point takes a huge amount of effort.
The whole blog-brand freebie debate is a topic for another post. What I wanted to say here is that many people talk about establishing a good work/life balance, but what about a blog/life balance? If you’re not careful, blogging can suck up a disproportionate amount of your spare time. But how can you blog about your life when you’re not actually living it? I don’t want to spend night after night hunched over my computer, and if that’s the price of a successful blog, I don’t want it.
So today I thought I’d share some tips for running a blog without having it impact (too much) on your life. These are all things that I do, and while I do spend a lot of time blogging, they’ve definitely helped me maintain a fair amount of balance.
- Use your commute – If you’re ‘lucky’ enough to travel by public transport to work, carry a notebook everywhere. I’m constantly scribbling ideas and writing posts in mine. I try and dedicate part of my commute to reading, and part of it to blogging or emails.
- Take your camera everywhere – you never know when a good opportunity for a blog post might crop up, so always bring your camera for impromptu photo shoots.
- Stay on top of your emails – it’s hard enough managing my work emails, let alone my personal ones as well. But I try and do a little bit each day, and always have access to my emails on my phone.
- Carve out an hour – 60 minutes isn’t enough to plan, write, photograph and schedule a blog post, but it’s a good start. Why not set your alarm clock for an hour earlier? Or if you can’t bear the thought of an early start, try a lunchtime or an hour in the evening instead.
- Know what you’re going to write – When you do sit down to write a blog post, don’t waste an hour wondering what to blog about. Use time earlier in the day, perhaps when washing up or walking up the stairs to work, to carve out some thoughts in your mind so you can hit the ground running when you begin to write.
- Get mobile – if you have a smartphone, laptop or better yet, an iPad, use it to document ideas and manage your emails while on the move. My iPhone notepad is a go-to tool for my blogging ideas.