BALANCING A BLOG AND A FULL TIME JOB
Is it even possible? Now that right there is a bloody good question isn’t it.
I’ve only been blogging for about 5ish months now so I’m in no way an expert, but within that time, I feel as though I’ve learnt a fair amount that I think will hopefully be useful to you all.
For the majority of us bloggers, working full-time in an unrelated field is the norm. In fact, it’s pretty much impossible to turn your blog into a success overnight, so most of us work during the day and spend our nights and weekends blogging. Whether that be networking, scheduling posts, writing, taking photos... there's a lot more that goes on behind the scenes that a lot of people aren't aware of.
As you can imagine, that can get pretty intense and somewhat overwhelming unless managed efficiently. I won’t lie, the first 3 months of blogging was insanely stressful, partly because I pushed myself too much and committed to blogging every day for a while, and in turn that ended in me having quite a serious breakdown. I’m fine now but it was quite a scary experience and hit me quite hard so I spent some time figuring out the best way to manage every aspect of my life and how to juggle it all.
It’s definitely not easy and requires for me to be seriously on the ball, a lot of the time, but luckily I’m pretty passionate about blogging and everyone in my life is so supportive so I’m keen to carry on full steam ahead.
Enough of my ramblings, here are some ‘tips n tricks’ on how to handle blogging and a full time job (as well as y’know, friends, partners, hobbies, family, other commitments… )
WORK AROUND YOUR SCHEDULE
Clearly, days are taken up by work but if you can find ways to easily incorporate blogging (and the extras) into your daily life, then it’ll only be beneficial. I make sure to use every minute consciously, so, my typical day consists of the following. I work in central London so have about a 45 minute commute with a lot of it over ground so rather than ‘wasting’ that, I spend my mornings either posting or networking on Instagram with fellow bloggers. As you’ll notice from my Instagram, I post daily outfit shots which one of my colleagues kindly takes for me. It means that I do not have to wait until the weekend to spend a whole day taking copious shots which can just be a pain, and well, in England you can’t always count on good weather etc. If you have any time during your lunch breaks to draft ideas, finish blog posts etc. then use that hour wisely too.
By doing the above, it’s meant that I don’t have to dedicate every evening and the majority of my weekend to blogging. Of course, there are evenings and weekends where I have to bash out a blog post or take a few flat lays but because I only post on my blog two times a week, I’ve got into a good routine of scheduling ahead.
I’d also suggest being quite smart and subtly planning your weekends so that if necessary, you can use your plans as material. Living in London has proved so beneficial for me because it means that I’m constantly doing new and fun things – whether it is trying out a new bar or restaurant or visiting a new exhibition – plus, most of London is so photogenic that I’m constantly snapping away at pretty houses haha. All of it is fantastic material – yet are all things I still happily love to spend my weekends doing. Never feels like a chore. That’s a massive thing to be aware of, if at any time blogging feels like a chore, you need to switch something up or do something differently.
PLAN PLAN PLAN
I make sure to get ahead in the blogging game and try to plan at least a week or two in advance so I’m not panicking last minute and writing something half-heartedly. In terms of scheduling, I try and write out a monthly calendar to keep track of what’s coming up – and also so that I’m not writing the same content repetitively.
There are some great apps that you can download that schedule your social media content such that you don’t have to lift a finger – one of these is Hootsuite. As well as that, I use a tool called Mosaico to plan out my Instagram feed so that when I’m posting, I know it’ll fit in with the rest of the images in my feed. These apps give me confidence in knowing that things are going to go ahead smoothly and efficiently and without me posting things that I’m not 100% proud of.
Any free time you’ve got to plan ahead – utilise it in the most efficient way possible to make your life as easy as you can.
LOOK AT BLOGGING AS “ME TIME”
Following on from the above, if at any time, you start thinking of your blog as a job, when you already have one, it can quickly become quite overwhelming. Remember why you started blogging and make sure you’re getting what you want out of it. Shift your perspective and look at blogging as “me time”. It’s your time to be creative, play with photography, improve your writing skills, socialise with similar people, and more.
For me, my day job can sometimes get pretty damn stressful so I definitely use my blog as a way to relax and get my creative juices flowin’!
SET REALISTIC GOALS
This is something I seriously struggled with at the beginning and that's being realistic. I went in full steam ahead, posted on my blog every single day and as well as that, I posted on Instagram about 3 times a day. It was MENTAL and like I said, quickly sent me spiralling into a mental breakdown. Of course posting every single day would be fabulous but it just isn't feasible, especially when you're balancing that with a full time job. I've now found a happy medium, I post daily on Instagram and post on my blog twice a week. It works really well for me!
The same goes for growing your blog. It’s easy to look at others’ Instagram accounts and feel envious of their large following and alllllll their likes and comments. But driving yourself crazy by trying to reach 100k followers when you currently have 2k is just not worth it - and its just not fun. Choose realistic goals for yourself that you can work towards weekly, monthly, and yearly and be proud of yourself when you reach them! Remember that everyone's journey is different.
LIFE IS STILL THE MOST IMPORTANT
I’ve learnt that it’s super important for me to take a step back every once in a while and be aware of how I'm handling a situation. Am I happy? Am I taking on too much? Am I enjoying spending my precious time on these things? Are they benefiting me? Do I feel like I’m missing out on other aspects of life because of it? As much as I love blogging, I make sure that firstly, I’m not letting my day job slip but also that I’m prioritising what’s important to me – and essentially those are the things that make me happy. In turn, a happy Jasmine means much better content.
If that means taking a day off every once in a while, or enjoying a meal without spending time snapping away at it to get the perfect Instagram shot, that’s fine. Sometimes a girl wants a hot meal haha.
Blogging isn’t easy, especially when you’re trying to balance it with a full time job, hence, you really need to enjoy what you’re doing. If you enjoy blogging, everything is that little bit easier, things don’t seem like a chore – you’re doing it because you love it and you want to be successful in it. If that is your mind set, one way or another, you will find a way to blog regardless of what else is taking up your time. Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing and what your aims are.
I hope that helps some of you that feel a bit swamped sometimes. Trust me, I think a lot of us are in the same boat, and what's refreshing is that along this journey, I've met such genuinely, lovely people that just seriously get it.