Back in the day I had a blog before BITD. Martinis & Makeup and it’s actually still up on Blogspot. If you want some laughs (literally, I was re-reading some of my posts and my writing was in fact hilarious back then! I think it was my 26 year-old IDGAF attitude, lol), see it here. This was my first attempt at blogging in my mid 20s. I actually really enjoyed it and loved thinking up new ideas on what to write about. I even had a dedicated readership! But, back then I was working in a job I had to travel up to 50-70% of the time. I was always on the go and at the time blogging on-the-go wasn’t as easy as it is now, so I shut it down due to time. I was sad, but I just couldn’t give it the time it deserved.
Fast forward now 9 years to the digital age of blogging on-the-go, Instagram, and a much more dedicated and successful blog. Many people ask now, how do you have the time to run BITD? You seem to do SO much. It’s true, I DO do a lot. After a recent conversation between Roxanne and I about how much we value our full time jobs on top of blogging, we decided that TIME would be our topic for today's Blogging 101 entry. Today for the March That’s Money, Honey series Roxanne and I are sharing how we “do it all” and find the time to juggle full time jobs plus full time blogs- and still make time for ourselves.
Before I get into this, I want to preface with the reoccurring trend you’ll see in our That’s Money, Honey series- that this is hard work (Lady Gaga said it best in her Oscar’s acceptance speech). If you want to be successful, you have to make time to be committed to blogging and be consistent. Like with any other profession, you’ll have to make sacrifices and unfortunately I give up a majority of my free time to blogging, but I’m on a mission and the time I’m spending on building my career now will be worth it in the long run.
Below are my top tips for juggling a full time job and a full time blog.
Obviously my full time work comes first as it is my primary source of income with a steady paycheck every two weeks. I’m fortunate to work for a company that allows me to run my blog (not all companies are cool with their employees having blogs on the side, FYI), and I’m also fortunate that I am in a position that does not normally require overtime hours or evening and weekend work. Given my full time schedule during the week, I know my time from 8-8:30am-5-5:30pm weekdays is off limits- this is where my FT job takes priority. However, if something blog related comes up during the weekday that I feel I must attend, then I do request PTO and use my own earned vacation time for the hours. I use early morning hours and evening hours to prioritize my blog work. My early morning hours are usually spent either taking photos on my way into work, reviewing/responding to emails, or drafting blog posts on my phone on my commute into work. I prefer to keep my week night evenings free if I can, but I reserve my evening hours for emails, finishing blog posts or attending events when needed.
When it comes to weekends, this is where things can get tricky for me. I like to use my weekends to focus on home- and me-time, but often times I end up doing blog-related things. I try to only do blog photos or events on weekends since its easier and I can be done in little time, and do not typically write posts on the weekends, since that requires more dedicated time. When it does come to events, I try to free myself of any blog related events, although things come up and if its something I really want to do or it’s a good opportunity, then I’ll take it on if I can. Which leads me to the next tip….
Learn to Say No.
I can fully attest to this, as I have been known to spread myself too thin from time to time. It took me awhile, but I finally learned that attending every event is NOT a good use of your time. When I first started blogging, I remember being excited any time I received an invite to something, so I would say yes. I was a yes girl and said yes to everything and anything to get my name out there. While it did help get my name out there, I also wasted a lot of my time and my own money attending events that were not up to par, and frankly, not a good use of my time. Just like I have learned how to prioritize my time, I now prioritize my events too, because that cuts into my blog time, and not to mention- my personal time.
When deciding what events to attend or not attend, consider asking yourself the below questions. These are the same q’s I always ask myself and use my answers to guide my acceptance or declines for events.
- Do you *actually* have the time?
- What will you get out of it?
- Will you get to network with cool people?
- Will you learn about something new that interests you?
- Will you receive some sort of compensation for your time and attendance?
- Will it lead you to future work?
- Will you be introduced to a new experience?
There are ways to do it all, if you are willing to be creative with the time you have. For instance, I had taken PTO from work one morning for a TV segment, and I was also on deadline to provide draft content for an upcoming campaign that I had little time to shoot and Arielle Lewis, my photographer partner, and I’s schedules were all over the place. Arielle was available the same morning that I had taken PTO, so I got creative and she met me after the TV segment to commute into work with me, and we utilized the commute time by taking photos ON the metro, on my way into work. I made it to work, AND I was able to shoot the campaign looks so it was a win-win all around. I also often shoot looks on my way into work, although that makes for really early mornings, but it’s worth it. Plus, early mornings make for the best captures as the streets are empty and the light is good.
Here are the metro commute photos on the way to work, referenced above!
And this set of photos is from a 7:30am weekday shoot at The Wharf, before work one day.
Get a Calendar and USE it.
I know- sounds so cliche, but it helps. I’m a visual person so I need to see things laid out- especially my schedule. While I do take advantage of my Gmail calendar, I like to have things in writing. I personally love the Erin Condren calendars for keeping myself and my schedule sane. I like that I can personalize the calendar pages, so I have everything in one place- both personal and blog content- and I use it to visualize my weeks.
If you are a blogger and you don’t have a content calendar- start now. At the start of each month I look at what campaigns I have upcoming and plug in their deadlines/post times to help guide me in my weekly schedule so I know what I need to do and how I need to plan my early mornings and evenings to make sure I have enough time to execute everything and generate new content.
See how Roxanne manages it all by reading her That's Money, Honey entry over on Glass of Glam!
Blonde in the District