How To Manage Your Blog And Work Full Time

manage blog and work full time

If you balance blogging with a full time job you’ll know how exhausting it can be.  You finish work, maybe work out, see your friends, and, just when you thought your day was over, find yourself hunched over your laptop eating dinner, desperate to finish the blog post you want to publish the next day.

I’ve been running this blog for almost 4 years now and for a lot of that time I’ve had a full time job and I swear, before I started doing some of the things in this list, my default mode was COFFEE I NEED ALL THE COFFEE YOU HAVE PLEASE THANK YOU.

I still drink a lot of coffee (because, duh, show me a twenty-something who balances work with blogging, freelancing, and travel who doesn’t) but I’ve now got a little more time in my life for exciting things like getting into bed at 10pm to read actual books.

I’m serious, I do actually find that exciting.

Anyway, if you’re struggling to manage your blog AND work full time, read on:

Spend 10-15* minutes a week scheduling Facebook posts

We all know how difficult it is to manage all of our social media channels to make sure we’re building relationships with our readers and sharing information that they want to read so, instead of using small pockets of time throughout the week to manage your Facebook page, spend 15 minutes once a week scheduling everything for the next week or two.  Make sure to leave gaps if you know you’ve got a blog post going live so you can promote it once it’s live.

In terms of what to share, it can be anything you think will resonate with your audience: photos, links to old blog posts, links to other people’s blog posts, or questions.  There’s a brilliant post on Forbes with ideas of what to share on social media.

Use Facebook insights to determine when the people who already like your page are online most and schedule your posts accordingly.

*Or however long it takes you! Just don’t spend too long because that kinda defeats the object of freeing up some of your time. Cool, glad we’re on the same page.

Use Gmail canned responses

As a blogger you probably find yourself writing the same emails over and over again.  It can get frustrating, especially if you’re receiving the same kinds of enquires all the time.  The best way to get around having to write multiple emails over and over is to used canned responses from Gmail.

Canned responses basically allow you to save an email as a ‘canned response’ and use it over and over again without having to copy and paste the message into a new window every time you want to use it.  It’s a huge time saver and one you’ll be thankful for once you’ve set it up.

Use buffer to share articles on Twitter

If you work full time it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to sit on Twitter all day chatting with fellow bloggers and sharing blog posts or articles you’ve read (unless you’ve got, like, the coolest boss ever in which case you can probably just skip this).  And, even though I would never recommend you set up automatic tweets or DMs (because how annoying are those? Seriously!) it is worth using Buffer to ‘queue up’ things you want to share on Twitter in the future.

Buffer allows you to tweak the time of day (or night) the things you want to share go out and it’s especially useful for bloggers who have international audiences and want to maintain a presence on Twitter even when they can’t be on Twitter.

Schedule your blog posts

Even if you want your blog posts to go live when you’re not at work, it’s still worth scheduling them.

Why?  Well I’m assuming you’re a busy blogger who has some kind of a life outside of work and doesn’t want to rush home from the pub to hit publish.  Schedule your blog posts ahead of time and you don’t even have to worry about it – have that second G&T, you deserve it!

Take photos on the weekend

Whether you’re a food, fashion, travel, or lifestyle blogger, if you’ve got a full time job the chances are you’re going to be stuck in the office during the day when the light’s best for taking photographs.  That’s why I like to venture out on the weekends to take photos.

If you’re a fashion blogger, take a friend with you to shoot some outfit photos.  If you’re a food blogger, take advantage of that lovely light streaming into your kitchen.  If you’re a travel or lifestyle blogger, get out of the house and take some photos near where you live which you can use on your blog or share on social media.

Use Evernote to draft blog posts and ideas

Before I started using Evernote, I had this awful habit of jotting down ideas for blog posts on scraps on paper or random notebooks only to lose the scraps of paper in the bottom of my bag and leave my notebook at work when I actually needed it at home.

You know how it is,  inspiration strikes and all you’ve got to hand is a crumpled receipt and an eyeliner pencil.

You might be wondering why I’m recommending Evernote instead of the ‘notes’ app on your phone. Well, firstly, the notes app is all well and good but you can’t organise them into folders.  Secondly, with Evernote, you can jot down an idea using the app on your phone, which will then sync to your desktop version so you can access everything once you’re back at your laptop.

You can also use it to ‘clip’ parts of websites to come back to later.  I use it for blogging but also for storing cuttings from websites I’ve found useful and curating recipes.

Think of your blog as a business…

If your boss asked you to have something done by EOD Tuesday you’d do it wouldn’t you? So why is it, when it comes to our blogs, we let deadlines slip?  Having a proper blogging schedule sounds like a lot of work (and it is, at first) but once you’ve done it and you know what you’ve got to have written by what date it gives you a whole heap of headspace to use for other things.

A wall-mounted planner like this one works really well.  Or you can just use a normal diary, or the diary on your phone.

…but also be realistic

You’re probably putting way too much pressure on yourself if you’re aiming to publish a new blog post every day while you’re working full time. It can totally be done, of course, but sticking to a less-hectic posting schedule of between 1 and 3 new posts a week is much more manageable and won’t have your burning out and having to take a break from blogging. That said, there’s nothing wrong with having a bit of a blogging break if you fancy it.  You can still remain active on social media and you might feel a renewed sense of passion for your blog once you return.

Use Trello to organise your to-do list

Isn’t it funny how some people think that all it takes to be a blogger is the ability to rattle off a quick blog post in WordPress, press the ‘publish’ button, and wait for the readers to flock to your site?

Newsflash: there is SO much more to being a blogger than this!

We write blog posts, we take photos, we edit photos, we design graphics to use in our posts and on social media, we manage multiple social media accounts, we pitch ideas to brands, we freelance for brands, we upload our blog posts into WordPress, we promote our blog posts across our social channels, we reply to blog comments, we reply to social media comments, we answer reader questions over email, amongst other things.

To organise the things I need to do before, during, and after publishing a blog post (as well as keeping a writing schedule) I use Trello.  I first started using Trello at work.  I’d make a column for every week, then add cards to each column to show what I need to get done within that week.  Once I’d done it, I’d drag the card to my ‘shipped’ column (you can name yours ‘done’ or whatever you fancy).

You can do the same with the work you do on your blog or dedicate a full column to every blog post with cards to show what you’ve still got to do for each one.  Whatever works for you!  Totally beats writing a to-do list!

Utilise the times when you feel most productive

If you’re anything like me, I’m my least productive at between about 7 – 9pm.  I’ve just got in from the gym or from seeing friends and I need some time to unwind, some time when I can zone out for a bit before doing anything else.  After almost 4 years of blogging I’ve realised that I write best late at night, from around 11pm onwards, so the bulk of my writing work (either for my blog or for the brands I freelance for) gets done then.

Sometimes I also feel super productive on weekend mornings so, if the last glass of wine the night before hasn’t rendered me completely useless, I love making myself some coffee, sticking some music on, and either brainstorming blog post ideas, editing photos, reading other blogs, or replying to a backlog of emails.

Figuring out when you’re going to be most productive is key to managing a blog when you work full time because you’ve then got a clear idea of the time you’ve got free to, you know, live your actual life. See your friends, explore the city you live in, call your mum! You might find that you feel most productive in the mornings and can therefore spend a little time before work getting some blog work done.  Or, reclaim your lunch break a couple of times a week and spend an hour writing.

Do you run a blog and work full time? What are your tips for managing your blog?

Life Lately: The April Edition
A Very British Brunch At Holborn Dining Room

Comments

  1. says

    I love this post! I work full time and also go to school full time so I often have a hard time keeping up with my blog. When I feel “creative” is usually when I have a huge project due, ha. I will definitely use some of these tips for the future.

  2. says

    Lots of really useful tips here Beverley! I write mine as a hobby on the side of work but perpetually feel like I’m so blimming slow at everything with the blog but reading this makes me wonder whether I actually am that slow or whether I just haven’t been using the right apps! I am so guilty of being someone who jots down blog posts on bits of paper so ever note sounds really helpful!
    Shikha (whywasteannualleave) recently posted..The Arches of MarrakechMy Profile

    • says

      It is SO helpful, Shikha! And, getting everything out into Evernote frees up more headspace for other stuff which I find particularly useful.

  3. says

    Great tips here! I think scheduling and planning is key. To add to your list of useful tools I now live by the app Todoist, it’s a great way to keep on top of everything you have going on. :)

  4. says

    Such a great post Beverley! Some great tips – I’m going to check out Trello now too. I sometime feel very overwhelmed by work and blogging and this helps to make me stop and think and take a breath. Now I’m going to plan!x
    Vicky recently posted..Street Feast: Dalston YardMy Profile

  5. says

    I admire anyone who can juggle both! Just some rambling thoughts from my experience – I actually just had to just chuck it all in and say goodbye to my blog for the better part of a year and a half while I traveled and worked this corporate job. My blog posts take a solid 6-8 hours (at least) to write, so even taking 15-30 minutes a day to edit photos meant it still took weeks to put a post together (I got about 1-2 out a month). Not to mention my 9-6 working in comms was too similar to what I did as a blogger, so I found it nearly impossible to go home and continue to blog after 8 hours of already being online and writing! I can relate to what you said in a previous post, about prioritizing the jobs that pay you – I was making good money at my corporate job (4x what I made as a journalist!) while my blog was a non-paying hobby, so I had to put my time (and overtime) into the one that would pay the bills. To juggle a full-time job, blogging, a social life and constant traveling is something I’ve yet to figure out — I can always get 3 out of 4 but never that fourth…
    Edna recently posted..When a city changes your life — and you never want to go backMy Profile

    • says

      Honestly, Edna, I think it’s all about doing what’s right for you at the time. I totally understand prioritising paid work; I was doing that at the beginning of the year when I had a lot of freelance work and had no time for my blog at all. Even now I generally average out at about 1-2 posts I month so I don’t think you were doing too badly :) I hope you find a balance in the future but, for now, good luck with your job and with travelling :)

    • says

      It is, Dannielle! I’m totally not perfect all the time and definitely have times when I let blogging slip but I’m trying to get better :)

  6. says

    This post is totally what I needed to read! I’ve been blogging for 3 months now and there is so much you need to learn at the beginning. I work a lot during the week as an English Teacher so am pretty much writing blog posts when I get home at night. I got a bit obsessed at one point, burnt out and had to take a break! Thanks for the tips and the forbes ideas too :)
    Alice Teacake recently posted..The craziest White Temple in Thailand: Chiang RaiMy Profile

  7. says

    Some really useful tips here! I’ll definitely try some of them out, especially because some of my best ideas seem to get written on old receipts and then never see the light of day again!

    • says

      Evernote is your saviour here, Emily-Ann! I literally just whip out my phone when inspiration strikes, write up some quick notes or reminders in a new ‘note’ and then, when I open my laptop later on, there is it on my desktop! SO handy! :)

  8. says

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I’m just starting out with blogging AND just started a full-time job. I’ve been worried about how to manage everything. I’m sure a lot of it is trial and error, but your tips have given me a great place to start! :-)

  9. says

    What a great post! I also work full time and usually come home exhausted so I try to work on my blog over the weekend but the problem I face is I am most motivated in the mornings during the work week, when I am at work 😒 I make it work though taking photos when I can and writing late night. We do what we love right? Thanks for the tips, I can’t wait to try some of them!
    -Amanda Antenucci
    http://Www.closetedfashion.blogspot.com

  10. says

    This post is just what I needed to read right now. I am more than struggling to work full time and blog, I kind of find my self half-heartedly doing something each evening but not really getting that much done…I’m also that elusive 20-something that balances work, blogging and travel without coffee. Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong! I need to get myself a schedule sorted out pronto so blogging doesn’t start to feel like a chore!
    Emma Hart recently posted..The Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk Photo DiaryMy Profile

    • says

      Definitely get on the coffee, Emma! Although maybe not in the evening; you’ll be up all night and that’s NEVER good when you’ve got work in the morning! :)
      I know exactly how you feel though – it can all feel a bit overwhelming but, you know, those little things you get done every night means you’re chipping away at something and that’s better than nothing. You’re probably doing better than you think you are :) xx

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