I was a student for a year before I started blogging. I used to complain quite a lot about not having much time to blog and write due to studying. In actual fact, I was a procrastinator and bad one. I would open a book in the morning and then stared aimlessly at Twitter or read blogs on Bloglovin until lunch time. Looking back, I could have used this time more wisely and maybe even daily blogged if I put my mind to it.
However, now working full time, I realise I had it easy. Juggling full-time work, a social life, time seeing the boyfriend, a new puppy and blogging can be really tough. Over the last few years, I think I've gotten a little bit better at managing my time wisely and making the most of the time I have. Here are a few things I've learnt along the way...
This is probably my number one tip on how to stay organised around a full-time job. I can't stress the importance of planning ahead. It's very rare that I will plan a post, take the photographs, edit them, write the post and market it all in the same day. It's a drawn out process which normally starts off with thinking of the content a week ahead. Once I've got some blog post titles and ideas written down, the next step is to take the photos for the week. I normally do this at the weekend, when there is a good amount of natural lighting to create bright imagery. As I know what posts I have planned for the week, I try and take photographs in bulk and some general flat-lays for any other posts that are coming up in the next few weeks.
The writing and the editing depends on when I have the time and I'm feeling inspired. The last thing I want to do is force myself to blog if I don't feel like it. Planning ahead means that the days where I am feeling lazy and unmotivated to blog, I can wait until I'm feeling motivated.
Create a Calendar
This is something I've only started doing recently. I like to write everything down - even the smallest of ideas I think I might be able to use in the future. I have general notes and blog ideas on my phone, I have an excel spreadsheet where I write how far along I am with a post and when it is scheduled to go out and I also have a notebook, which I use on a daily basis to write out the tasks that need to be completed on that specific day. It might be sensible to have everything in one place, however, this works really well for me.
If you want to stay organised when working full time, then I think a calendar is the way to go. You can easily see you blog posts and set out tasks that need to be completed.
Don't Feel Guilty If You Miss A Post
Blogging can be tough at the best of times, especially on those days where you don't necessarily feel like it. However, it's important not to feel guilty if you don't feel like writing or miss a scheduled post day. If you're working full time, then I'd assume your blog is a hobby, therefore it's okay to not feel up to it one day. As good as it is scheduling and planning for your blog, if you don't feel like blogging that day, then that's perfectly fine. Sometimes after a long day at work, I'd rather curl up on the sofa and watch reruns of Catfish with a stupid amount of tea and that is perfectly fine!
Make The Most of Your Time
This is the biggest change I've made when it comes to blogging. It's how I managed to blog daily for a while
and how I've become more organised with my posts. I realised there was a lot of time in the day that I spent doing nothing. My commutes to and from work and my lunch break were spent aimlessly scrolling through Twitter or Pinterest and one day, I realised I could really be writing a post in the two hours that I'm wasting doing nothing. It's valuable time that I could be using to get my posts out.
I also set myself a target to stop working each evening. Normally this is around half 8 and knowing I need to stop at this time, helps me realistically set targets of what can be done in that time frame. It's a way that my whole evening isn't going into blogging and I have time to spend with my boyfriend too!
I've already spoke briefly about scheduling posts for the week. It ensures you are consistent when posting, giving you time to edit and change the posts around to make the post the best it can be without time pressures. I don't only think scheduling posts is essential for bloggers that work full time, but also scheduling tweets throughout the day is really helpful too! The majority of my traffic comes from twitter, therefore (although I don't do it everyday) scheduling tweets throughout the day is a must.
I mostly schedule from about 11am to 7pm, one tweet every hour. I mix it between my latest post and older ones, as well as promoting other social media accounts such as Instagram or Pinterest. I try and schedule for the most popular times to reach a higher potential audience who will click to read the post.
I use Buffer to schedule posts as I find it so quick and easy compared to Hootsuite. Scheduling tweets isn't the funnest of jobs, however I have the app on my phone therefore, just before going to bed or on the bus to work I'll quickly schedule some tweets for the upcoming day. It does amazing things for your traffic. I would also recommend using retweet accounts which will get your blog noticed even more, one of my favourites is #blogginggals, however there are a few out there!
Blogging, working full time and trying to have a social life is difficult, so be realistic about what you can and cannot do is your given time frame. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to get things completed, relax and have fun with it! Blogging is meant to be fun, therefore when you start seeing it as a chore, it's time to take a step back.
What are your best tips for staying organised when working full-time?