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Believe me, this is what I’ve been asked in almost every interview I’ve given so far.
So, I guess these are the questions most bloggers have in mind.
“How do you manage your blog and life?” “How are you able to balance blogging and life?”
I faced these queries because I’m a stay-at-home mom, though I prefer to be referred as a work-from-home woman.
Either way, people realize that both do not have an easy life.
Taking out time to blog while managing your family and home is difficult, more so, if you want to deliver as per the demands of pro-blogging.
But then it’s the same case if you have a day job or work on a shift and spend time commuting as well.
Who has an easy life anyway? There are always challenges for each one of us, and bloggers are no different.
I really admire people who smartly balance their life and blogging despite facing several challenges.
That’s the spirit of blogging and living life, isn’t it?
So, how is it done?
Many wonder if there is a secret formula that helps balance blogging and life. I’m not aware if there is one, but I’m going to let you know my approach.
I want to help fellow bloggers with the experiences from my blogging journey.
It’s been about five years that I’ve been blogging and this is the 300th post on Aha!NOW. Yes, another milestone! 🙂
In this long journey, I’ve had my share of difficulties and problems, but I’ve also been somewhat successful in managing my life and blogging.
It’s not me alone, but there are plenty of bloggers who are able to achieve this feat. They use the same concepts as mine, but probably in their own different ways.
Let’s read and then discuss them at the end of this post. 🙂
“The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” ~ Mark Twain
The Way To Balance Blogging And Life
U.S. is the approach you need to take if you want to have the best of blogging and life.
Here, U.S. simply means understanding and scheduling. 🙂
Frankly, balancing blogging and your life is not easy.
Both are demanding, and there are often times that you think of quitting blogging altogether when it gets overwhelming.
Have you thought of calling it quits as well? Let me know in the comments.
Both blogging and life want your personal involvement and need a big chunk of your time.
Eventually, effective blogging is all about managing your time efficiently. Tweet
The right balance also requires planning. Above all, you should have the understanding of your blogging requirements and its results.
Let’s start by analyzing what blogging demands from you so that you can prepare yourself to manage it in a better way.
Blogging is a tedious job that requires you to be a taskmaster and needs your undivided attention too.
It challenges your multitasking abilities. Whether you hate it or love it, you’ve to multitask if you want to be a successful blogger.
I agree that too much of multitasking is not good and is often counterproductive. But it is okay as far as it does not adversely affect your life.
A blogger is a juggler as shown in the image below, juggling the balls of researching, writing, presenting, commenting, promoting, socializing, analyzing, blog maintaining, and lots more!
You can’t leave out any of these balls of blogging as that may make your blogging incomplete. More so, if you are a work-at-home mom like me, you can add a few more balls!
These are the tasks in blogging that you need to do almost on a daily basis:
- Commenting (on your own blog and other blogs)
- Posting on social media (including promotion of your posts and others’ posts)
- Maintaining your blog
- Replying to emails
You may need to perform these blogging tasks on a bi-weekly or weekly basis (depending on your blog posting schedule):
- Keyword, hashtag, and post matter research (not all take this step but it is good if you do)
- Post writing and formatting
- Finding and modifying images for posts
- Analyzing various blog related stats
These may appear to be simple tasks, but their execution takes a lot of time, which is the real bone of contention.
Nevertheless, how you go about it all, depends on your blogging perspective and strategy.
There are blogs and bloggers that get away without spending much time on commenting and socializing.
They are able to achieve this feat after proving their mettle over a period.
But initially you got to rough it out and understand blogging inside out.
Why And What Do You Blog About
This is one of the most important questions that will help you balance or manage your blog and life better – what is your purpose of blogging?
It is an important question because you need to plan your blogging routine as per your answer.
You may say that your blogging purpose is to earn money, to share your knowledge and experiences, to help others, or that it is just your hobby.
These are various ways of blogging and they require different levels of your engagement.
But you would have problems if you aren’t sure why you are blogging, which direction you need to go to, and what is going to be the result of your blogging?
You may spend your time inappropriately or inefficiently, which may disrupt your routine.
Let me share my personal experiences with you.
I started blogging as a hobby. That time I had a single purpose of creating a portfolio to showcase to my clients.
With time I got more involved into blogging and soon got hooked onto it. I got passionate about blogging and put in more time into it than I should have been doing.
Obviously, this practice disrupted my life routine. I had to sacrifice some of my personal and family time to pursue my passion.
I had no blogging plan or strategy in mind that time, being a newbie. I did not have the complete understanding about how to smartly manage my blogging time.
Honestly speaking, as a new blogger, you need to devote time to blogging as per your blogging needs.
If you know how you are going to use blogging, it will be easy for you to know when and how much you should be blogging.
How Much Do You Blog
How many hours do you put in to blogging every day? You need to know and define this.
For proper management of your blog and life, you should know the time you need to spend on blogging.
You can spend and define your blogging time on a daily, bi-weekly, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis.
Things become overwhelming when you blog daily, and it’s difficult when you are engaged in other things along with blogging, like your day job or life activities.[Note: Blogging daily means engaging in any blogging related activity like commenting and promoting, not just publishing blog posts.]
By the way, I’d like to know how many hours do you work per day or per week.
Vinay had written a post on this topic and here is a reminder of that post in the form of an infographic.
Do you follow the 8+8+8 routine as shown in the infographic?
I don’t know about other bloggers, but I do not get my 8 hours of sleep, which I admit is not good. Everything you need to know about sleep is in this post.
Neither do I put in so many hours for recreation. So obviously, my work hours are more than 8 hours a day, and sometimes extend to 12 hours a day!
Now, I understand you cannot afford to put in so many blogging hours if you are working elsewhere too.
Depending on your day job and job hours, you may be able to devote 1 to 4 hours per day for blogging.
So in that case, you need to be selective about what you do. This is really important.
You should only take up the tasks that are feasible in your time frame.
I read so many of Neil Patel’s posts and like them because they are so informative. In fact, he surprised me by mentioning me in this post.
Actually, his posts are “guides” to be bookmarked rather than simple blog posts with plenty of food for thought and action.
However, it’s tough to implement all the suggestions mentioned. If you are a newbie blogger, you may experience information overload and probably feel disheartened.
But don’t panic.
You just do what you can in your allotted time by pushing yourself to excel in whatever you do, and strive to do more.
Make a list of the tasks that you need to do and take them up one by one. It is important to prioritize your blogging tasks.
To manage blogging and life, you need to:
- Know what do you want to achieve by blogging
- Define your blogging tasks
- Calculate how much time you can take out for blogging
- Decide which are your preferred blogging tasks
When you have the answers to these questions, the next thing you need to do is schedule your tasks.
“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.” ~ Dale Carnegie
Following a set timetable and routine is an effective strategy to increase your blogging efficiency. Tweet
A schedule always helps to avoid wasting time, which in other terms is saving your precious time.
You may use any available apps to create to-do lists or schedules. You will find some of them in this post.[Note: I created my daily schedule in MS Word.]
However, I prefer a simple paper and pen method to chalk out my blogging schedule. Interested to know?
Okay, here is what I do.
- Create a timetable with tasks and time.
- Fill in the mandatory life tasks.
- Block time slots for important family related tasks.
- Use the remaining time slots for blogging activities.
This sounds very logical and simple, isn’t it? Yes, it is! Here is a sample of how it may look like:
The above is a schedule that I mostly follow. You can create your own time slots and assign tasks that are specific to your daily activities.
You must be wondering why did I add meditation, walking, and stretching to this schedule.
Well, these are essential life tasks and I’d go to the extent to say they are mandatory for bloggers because they tend to lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Yes, you got to give preference to your life activities that include blocking the time for your family and yourself.
That is the first step in achieving a balance between blogging and life.
As it appears from the timetable, I get about 6 hours of blogging time that I can allot to my preferred blogging tasks.
Here is a sample of how you can distribute the blogging tasks spread over a week:
(Click/tap to enlarge)
You can see I’ve distributed the blogging tasks as per my blogging time slots from Monday to Saturday.
You do not see Sunday because that should be strictly a day for the family.[Note: You can also make Saturday as a no-blogging day, but that would depend on your blogging needs and perspective.]
Though you may not be able to follow the timetable exactly, having one acts as a guideline and helps to manage your tasks.
The various life activities and blogging tasks may not be set in water-tight time compartments. It’s okay if they overlap provided you end up completing all your tasks.
So, I work 6 days a week for a minimum of 6 hours a day, which makes it at least 36 hours a week. However, in practice, my work hours mostly exceed this limit.
Moreover, I try to multitask and perform my social media tasks when I’m watching TV. So, I mostly listen to the TV and rarely see it. Also, I listen to podcasts while working in the kitchen!
Sometimes, I’m even able to do a few blogging tasks on Sundays. These extra hours and multitasking give me bonus blogging time.
Not good I know, but it’s the way I presently manage my blogging and my life!
As I mentioned before, this is just a sample timetable. You can schedule your blogging tasks as per your specific blogging needs and available blogging time.
Here is a schedule that bloggers with a day job can try to follow by changing it to their blogging and life needs and availability of time.
If you have a hectic daily routine, you may not be able to get more than an hour for blogging on a daily basis and probably use the weekends for major blogging tasks such as writing posts.
Anyhow, you need to at least make time for these essential blogging tasks – writing posts, commenting, and post promotion on social media or blogging communities.
But mind you, not everything goes as per the plan. So, you need to be flexible to change your schedule as per the circumstances.
My sample weekly schedule is created as per my need of publishing posts twice weekly, which is on Monday and Thursday evening respectively.
Such a posting schedule makes it difficult to find time for any other blogging tasks or to take out more time for the family.
Therefore, I’ve now taken a different approach to blogging.[Note: Many bloggers post often to increase their blog’s Alexa ranking. This post on Alexa rank would help you understand the rank concept and clear your misconceptions, if any.]
My New Blogging Schedule
I’d say a newbie blogger needs to do all it takes initially to make a mark as a blogger, and niche out a place for their blog in the blogosphere.
With time, you can slow down and look for different ways to enhance your blogging and take it to the next level.
However, relationship building and promotional activities remain an integral part of blogging. You may change your ways but may not be able to completely part with them.
This again would depend on your blogging demands and strategy.
If you find blogging is adversely affecting your life and things are becoming overwhelming – then change things for the better!
For example, you can cut down to once a week posts, just as I’ve done, till I accomplish my pending tasks and projects in hand.[Note: If you have two blogs, you may blog once a week on both and end up with a twice weekly blogging schedule. Many bloggers maintain niche blogs where they post on a monthly basis or hardly post at all.]
However, my blogging strategy is going a different way.
“Efficiency, which is doing things right, is irrelevant until you work on the right things.” ~ Peter Drucker
Since we resumed blogging on Aha!NOW after a blogging break, we’ve had posts by wonderful guest bloggers and Vinay.
Now we are going to take another break from blogging on Aha!NOW till the end of this year.
We are taking this step because we want to put in more time to our pending projects, which is not possible if one is consistently blogging.
Our rigorous blogging style leaves us with little time to spare.
Taking this decision may seem a little unprofessional, but we’ve got to do what suits us as per our conditions and priorities.
So, when you are blogging and feel like it is disrupting your life balance, then take remedial measures and unburden yourself.
Try to work out a new way, schedule, or a strategy. If nothing works, take a break! Recoup by re-strategizing and resume blogging with a renewed force.
Now, you’d see me in the blogosphere and social media networks, though not as often, as I intend to get serious with new blogging projects.
One of the projects is a new blog for the ABC, the popular community for bloggers.[Note: Register yourself to be one of the first to know when it is launched and avail the early bird offers!]
We are separating the ABC from Aha!NOW, which will remain a multi-niche life blog.
We are making Aha!NOW a multi-author blog now. It will resume from the New Year and include more substance, reaching out to a greater audience.
So, if you are interested in getting your post published on Aha!NOW, you can find all the information here.
As for my blog posts, they will be mostly on my personal blog, HarleenaSingh.com from January onwards. Those will be exclusively dedicated to blogging and more! So, I am preparing for that as well. 🙂
I’d hop in off and on to write on this blog, depending on the time in hand.
Meanwhile, Vinay is working endlessly on his special blog services website for all WordPress bloggers. It should launch anytime next month.
We are determined to launch these projects as soon as possible and make them a success.
With so many things on the platter, we need a little time for working on them, besides your support and understanding!
We understand that you’ve expectations and we do not want to disappoint you. So, are you with us on our journey? 🙂
Blogging is challenging, but there is a way to go about it to make it comfortable.
One of the major issues of blogging is balancing your blog and life equally well without any conflicts.
You need to take up the approach of understanding blogging and creating a schedule that allots time to all important blogging and life activities.
Time management is essential for professional bloggers, besides discipline and passion. This includes scheduling your tasks as per your productive and unproductive hours.
You do not have to think of quitting blogging because of the time-consuming blogging demands.
Instead, you can carry out all blogging tasks if you manage them properly.
Doesn’t matter if you work from home or have a day job – balancing blogging and life activities is possible.
Do not be disheartened if things are not working as planned. Instead, discard the option of giving up by making renewed preparation and strategy to start afresh.
I hope this post helps make blogging easy for you. Cheers, and keep blogging! 🙂
Over to you –
How do you manage your blog and life? What is your schedule to strike a balance between blogging and life tasks? Share your experiences and tips with everybody in the comments.
Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Infographic Credit: RedShed.co.uk