When you've lost your blogging mojo, it's very hard to find it again. Especially when you have a deadline looming or a week of late shifts at the office. One of the things I have found whilst running and writing my blog, is how the flippin'eck to fit everything in to my time! Being a blogger means a lot of your spare time is spent taking photographs, planning and writing posts and tweaking every last inch of your little corner of the interwebs until your hears content. I love blogging - I wouldn't change my little hobby for the world and I'd quite happily spend all my time tapping away on my little laptop - for me, it's something I jolly well enjoy and I see it as a big part of my life - but sometimes, other things can get in the way of my precious blogging time.
When I started my blog I had a full-time job. A few months down the line and I decided to go to university - which meant balancing writing my blog with deadlines, essays, coursework and all that jazz.. also having a part time job on top of all of that became a massive juggling act. Sound familiar? You aren't alone! I'm certainly no expert with this, but managing my time around my blog, uni work, jobs and actually managing to have a life has been something I've had to discover along the way - and I thought I'd share some hints and tips with those of you who might be going through a 'tough spot' - we've all been there, I'm sure. Think of this post as a way of having a natter about our time management woes.. after all, juggling the blog/life/work balance is pretty impressive. We must be super humans, us bloggers...
1. Photograph your stuff 'in bulk'
Whenever the 'I really fancy making a mess and photographing some products' feeling arrives, I jolly well make the most of it! I take my photographs in bulk - if there's a few things I've been wanting to review for a while - I simply take the photographs all in one go. I'm very fussy with my photos and I take hundreds in one sitting, so doing it 'here and there' doesn't work well for me. If you load them all onto your computer and place them in some sort of organised folder, then it's a weight off your mind knowing that should the urge to write a post crops up, you already have a library full of products rearing to go.
2. Schedule/plan your posts
If you have a particular tough time at work coming up (in my case it was the summer holidays - manic isn't even the word!) or an exam or important deadline looming, schedule your posts! It makes life so much easier and means that your readers will still be able to keep up with your blog and what you've been loving (or loathing) just recently. Sometimes, it's hard to sit and write posts in one sitting but if the moment strikes you, or if you feel particularly 'chatty' one day - make the most of it and schedule a few for the next week or so. This way, your blog won't be neglected, and you have time to concentrate on other things for a week or so. Of course, your loyal readers will forgive you should you not schedule posts anyway - but if you're like me and are a massive routine freak - the option is there to get some posts in the bank!
3. Have a routine
Notice when you have free time, and set aside that day to concentrate on your blog. I take all of my photographs on Sunday morning so I have a stash of content ready for the week ahead.
4. Don't get stressed over it!
Blogging is a hobby, not a chore. It isn't work. It isn't the be all and end all and at the end of the day, if you prioritise realistically there are a few things that should come before it. Your readers will forgive you if you go a few days without posting or if there's a dip in your normal routine. Just think - when your next post pops up on their reading list they will be as happy as larry!
5. Keep a notebook or blogging journal
The best blogging ideas strike us at the most inconvenient of times. That amazing idea you get will most certainly pop into your head when you're half way around Tesco doing your weekly shop. Fear not - I always have a trusty little notebook handy. Or if you can't find a suitable place to scribble any notes (leaning on a shelf on the 'frozen meats' section isn't exactly the best of ideas, is it?)- simply jot it down in your phone's notes or text it to yourself.. I'm the most forgetful person ever - so trust me on this one. It works. I also place post-it notes on my bathroom mirror if there's something I need to do so I will see it in the morning when I go to do my makeup.
6. Make the most of your lunch hour
I used to sit and do uni work on my lunch hour - or make notes for posts. If you're feeling creative, don't waste it staring at the walls of your tea room - as much as that poster on company fire-safety policies is fascinating - use your noggin and use your spare time effectively! I've been known to jot an idea down on a paper towel before! (JK Rowling dreamt up Harry Potter on a napkin, don't you know?!)
7. Get your work done first
In other words, prioritise. I will hold my hands up and openly admit I don't always do this - but I do try to. If there's something that needs doing - if you're behind on your work or need to phone some chap about your car insurance - just get it done. Then you have all the time in the world to sit down and enjoy your blog related things rather than having that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that you aren't doing what you should be doing! I sometimes say to myself 'i'll do some work up to this time, then have an hour doing this' - stick to those promises to yourself. If you don't you're on a slippery slope to getting in a right kerfuffle!
8. When you don't 'feel like it' - accept it
Sometimes a lack of 'inspo' ruins all of this. If you're not feeling particularly chipper, or if you've had a bad week or if you aren't too happy with your layout - sometimes you just don't feel like blogging. Accept it. I've made the mistake of trying to post when I'm not feeling like it before and I ended up never clicking publish. If you just haven't got the 'blogging feeling' - don't blog. Simple as that. Your readers will pick it up in an instant and it won't solve the problem. Just sit back, twiddle your thumbs and wait for your 'oomph' to come back - i find reading blogs and switching up my cosmetic routine works wonders! If you're lacking inspiration - bloody well find some! :)
9. Sit somewhere else to the norm
I usually just sit on my sofa when I blog - slippers on, cuppa tea, feet up - the lot. But if you find you're getting distracted then sit somewhere else. I find if I sit at the kitchen table or at some form of desk - it's easier to concentrate on what I'm doing and what I'm writing.
10. Realise that hobbies are important
I hate calling blogging a hobby. A hobby is something prospective employers ask you to determine what kind of person you really are or something you have to explain in 'show and tell' at primary school - but blogging is a hobby nonetheless and one that shouldn't be ignored. If you love doing it, then don't give up! Work shouldn't take over your life so much that there is no time for the things you enjoy doing - and if blogging fulfils your life like it does mine (ahh cue the tears and inspirational blogger 'quotes') then it should stay as part of your life. If you feel overworked, give yourself a break - you should never feel the need to have to 'give up' what you love for a your job.
Truth is, there isn't a 'how to'. There's no rulebook to how your manage your time as a blogger or as to how often you write. Just do what works for you and allow yourself time to step away if you ever need it. When your hobby becomes a chore, you need to re-asses. I'm sure these are tips most bloggers will tell you - but hopefully something in there has helped you in some way if you're going through a bit of a cruddy time with the whole 'life balance' thing. Blogging around the 9-5 isn't easy, and blogging when you have a tonne of uni or college work on your shoulders isn't fabulous either - but set yourself aside some 'me' time and you'll find you can slot it in somewhere or somehow! Just remember most bloggers have been there, and will forgive you if your normal bloggery-habits slide a little. Give yourself a pat on the back and realise that being a blogger shouldn't mean 'stress'. Stress shouldn't be part of your blogging vocabulary...
How do you maintain your blog/life/work balance?