In the five years I’ve been running Pack Your Passport, I’ve worked a mix of full time, part time, and freelance jobs so I know how overwhelming it can be when you’re sitting in an office for most of the week knowing you’ve got a ton of blogging to do when you get home.
Running a blog when you have a full time job is HARD. Like, really hard. Most people get home from work, put their jammies on, have their tea and spend a couple of hours chilling out before going to bed. And bloggers do those things too, except they somehow have to fit their ‘second work shift’ in there somewhere too.
Until I moved into my own place in June I was really sporadic with how much time I actually spent on my blog. It was a few hours here or there, a few hours in a cafe during the weekend. I found living with other people really distracting and struggled to achieve as much as I wanted.
Now I have a flat and a dedicated space for working, and it’s made such a difference. I know it shouldn’t, but for me sitting on the sofa with my laptop is for browsing ASOS and researching trips. Sitting at my desk means BUSINESS.
I cannot hustle from the sofa with a blanket over my legs. But at my desk? I can basically take over the world.
Anyway, to make all this boss lady stuff easier (and so I can actually have some kind of life outside of staring at my laptop) I dedicate some of my weekend to blogging. Not *all* weekend, just some.
So if you’re looking to take your blog to next level while working a full time job, here are 5 things I do every weekend to grow my blog and stay productive.
5 Things I Do Every Weekend To Grow My Blog
Scheduling Twitter and Facebook posts
If I had to push out blog posts and updates across social in real-time every day I would literally get nothing else done. I need to drive traffic to my site, maintain a presence on Twitter and Facebook but not be sat on social media all day, so I spend an hour on a Sunday using Buffer to schedule posts to go out during the week.
I tend to mix it up a bit, scheduling posts for new blog posts and ones from the archive. And if I’ve taken a bunch of photos on a trip recently I might schedule for those to go out too. I also fill my Buffer with other people’s posts that I’ve read during the last week or over the weekend that I think my followers will like.
Some might frown upon scheduling social media posts, and to those people we say ‘jog on’.
Replying to emails
It can seem a little redundant replying to emails on a weekend when nine times out of ten the person you’re emailing won’t be in the office to pick up your reply for at least another 24 hours and THAT IS THE ENTIRE POINT.
There’s nothing worse than replying to a bunch of emails and feeling super accomplished, only to have ten more replies waiting for you an hour later.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t also check and reply to emails during the week, but by dedicating an hour to working through my backlog of emails on the weekend I find that I start the week feeling much less overwhelmed and guilty that I’m not getting back to people in time.
Planning Instagram posts
Gone are the days when I would snap a quick photo on my phone, edit it, stick it up on Instagram and go back to whatever I was doing before. Now, to grow your Instagram, you really have to think about the quality of the images you put up, your captions, and when you’re going to be posting.
To make this easier, I spend a bit of time each Sunday transferring images from my DSLR onto my iPhone and editing them on VSCOcam. I then write my photo captions in my notes folder so I can copy and paste hashtags I’ve used in the past (which I’ve already saved in my notes), open the images in Instagram, copy over the captions, then save them as draft so that they’re ready to go out during the week.
It sounds like a complicated process but I would much rather spend a bit of time planning than be scrambling around for something to Instagram every day during the week. I also use Mosaico to see what a batch of images would look like when added to my current Instagram profile and make sure it looks cohesive.
I’ve really been trying to up my Instagram game lately so, for me this is totally worth it.
Writing a blog post
There’s nothing I love more than getting up on a Sunday, making coffee, and sitting down at my desk to write. It sounds like such a blogger cliche but it honestly makes me feel super productive. And, if I get loads done, frees up the rest of the day.
I don’t stress too much about getting a post written, edited, and scheduled. It is the weekend after all. Mostly I just make sure I’ve at least got the bare bones of a blog post together, with notes on where the photos will go and any links I want to include.
Taking photos for my blog and Instagram on a weekend is especially important at this time of year when the sun seems to only be out for approximately 30 minutes before disappearing behind a cloud and making its descent.
If the light’s good, I like to go for a walk with my DSLR to take some photos outside or I take photos with props and products inside the flat. As a travel blogger a lot of my images are those I’ve taken on trips when there’s no issue in getting outside during the day, but when I’m not travelling I use photos from previous trips and my life here in Leeds. Sometimes I’ll forgo doing anything else for the blog on a weekend and go on a trip somewhere instead, which gives me a range of blog and social media content to use for weeks to come.
It’s all about balance, I think. It’s about finding out what’s right for you. Sometimes, if I’m away for the weekend, I barely even open my laptop. Other times I spend all weekend working on my blog. I love doing both, and I love that I get to choose.