While the New Year brings a time of reflection and resolutions for many, Trae and I tend to follow the school calendar. We both work at a community college, so for us, the “New Year” starts at the beginning of each fall semester. Yet, at the start of this new semester, I find myself really wanting to focus on balancing my job and my blog. I consider my blog a job as well because while I enjoy it tremendously, the blog requires work in writing posts, taking pictures, doing social media, and the likes.
I really let my blog slide during the fall, and it was because I had gotten out of my blogging routine. Routines are extremely important because it allows blogging to become second nature. Some tips that I have learned from over a year of blogging are:
1. Make your lunch break a working break. Lunch breaks are a great time to tweet and update Facebook. Instagram does take a little more work, but you can get most of your social media done during lunch. I know a lot of programs exist that will allow you to schedule social media posts, but for beginning bloggers, the cost of those programs is not feasible.
2. Do not take your school job home. Hard, I know, but utilize the hours between class and before class. If your first class isn’t until 10 am, then go in at 8 or 9. Students doing work in class? Grade papers. Yes, sometimes you will have to take papers home to grade, but do your best to work around your class schedule and utilize every minute to the best of your ability. I still say that you need to use your lunch break for social media because it gives your mind a break from classes and papers. Yes, it will be a working lunch, but it is a different type of work and still gives you the mental break.
3. Set aside an hour to two hours at home every day for the blog. As your blog grows, you might have to increase that time. If you don’t have classes on Friday or any other day of the week, then make that blog day. I tend to set a timer, and unless I am really in the groove of writing, I will stop working when the timer goes off.
4.Work while your spouse is gone. My husband has to work on Friday, but I don’t. So I wake up and work on the blog while he is gone. When he gets home, I stop working and spend time with him. I try to write multiple rough draft blog posts during the week and then finalize them so I can schedule posting times for them. Doing this allows me more time with my husband. When he plays hockey one night a week, I turn on trash television (why yes America’s Next Top Model and Tyra Banks, I do want to watch this train wreck) and prep social media posts or edit photos. I tend not to blog on those nights because I like to have “me” time.
5. Preplan. Buy a planner or use the calendar on your phone. I think by having a loose theme each month you can generate blog posts efficiently. For example, in July 2015, I did a lot of 5 themed blogs since I was celebrating my 5th wedding anniversary. Also by setting goals and preplanning in a calendar, you can visually see what you have to do, which, to me, makes the goals more obtainable. Putting things in a planner also lets me schedule posting days, writing days, and goals for those days. This year I bought the most expensive planner I have ever own, the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley, and I am in love. So whatever planner you get, make sure it fits your needs; a good planner is a great investment for your blog.
6. Set a work together time. Trae is a teacher and he also freelances on the side, so many times we both have work we need to do. It is nice when we can schedule those times to work together. Granted we might not be talking a lot, but sharing the same space with my spouse is great. We can bounce ideas off each other, get input, and take kiss breaks. Also, the cats love that Mommy and Daddy are in the same room because it means twice the pets.
7. Plan date nights. If you get burnt out, you won’t be an effective employee or blogger. If everything gets overwhelming, take that as a clue to get out of the house and go on a date. But really you shouldn’t wait for feelings of stress to go on a date. You and your spouse should plan dates in advance. For example, Trae and I go to our favorite Indian buffet once or twice a month. They even know us by name and always let us sit in our favorite booth. You can also plan dates around milestones. Midterm grading done? Time for sushi. 100 Twitter followers? Italian for two! (I am at 509 followers now, and Trae promised me a date night at my favorite Italian restaurant when I hit 500! So the real question: do I get the baked ziti or chicken piccata?)
8. Most importantly, know your limits! Do not try to do too much. Take breaks. Enjoy life. If you get burnt out then you won’t be up for making quality posts or being a good employee. Take care of yourself!