I can't tell you how many times I've tried to write this post. That's why there is a delay in getting this out. I hope you can take some things away from this list whether it be for your blog or any other side hobby you may have.
1. Plan ahead
You know your work schedule, so plan ahead. Monday-Friday I know I wont be home between 9a-7p. That gives me five hours every day (going to bed around 12am) to focus on my blog. If I have an event after work or dinner with a friend -- anything that will cut into my five-hour time to blog -- I'm aware and plan ahead. Maybe the day before I'll spend some extra time and edit my photos for the next day. Maybe I'll answer emails during my lunch at work. Little things like this help! Most of the time you know your schedule, so just be aware and make changes where you need.
2. Use your time wisely
I think we all have a problem with this. I know I get distracted easily and what really should take me 30 minutes can take me over an hour. When I'm writing a blog post, it's really the last thing I want to be doing. I'd rather shop online, watch YouTube videos, watch my TV shows, etc. So when I'm writing a post, I really have to knuckle down and write it. For me, I need it to be silent in the apartment -- no TV no music, just writing. That's when I can really focus and write a cohesive post. Sure, it's easier to write nothing and just have photos, but I like to talk with my readers about everything.
3. Set a schedule
Doing this can really help No.'s 1 and 2 above. When you get on a schedule, you know what you need to do, how much time you have to do it and it feels so good to cross things off. I'm more of a note taker than a scheduler. I jot down thoughts during the day at work or wherever I am for things I have coming in, things I need to shoot, a to-do list, a "wanted" list, blog ideas and so on. Just a ton of little scribbles on an old-school steno notebook. It's nothing fancy but it gets the job done.
4. Enjoy your weekends but know it's a time to work
This might be one of the more difficult things about working and blogging. 70% of my weekend is dedicated to the blog. The weekend is when I have time to film and edit videos, take outfit pictures, make collages, go to different events, meet with brands, etc. I spend my weekends very carefully. Of course I always find time to see my friends, sleep, and veg out. Prioritizing is key, but we'll get to that below.
5. Be a pro at emails
I like to think that I'm an A+ emailer! I'm excellent at responding to emails from fans as well as brands and that's something I take pride in. When I get an email, I read it over quickly and if it's important I'll either reply right away or mark it as unread. I mark it as unread because I hate the little red notifications and I'll do anything for it to go away on my phone or computer. So this way I know I'll get back to it soon! Things less important, I'll flag and respond to within 24 hours. Once I reply, I'll also file it in one of my folders on Gmail. That way I know I've gotten to it and I don't need to worry until I hear back. I also can have a clean (and empty) main folder at the end of the day. People respond well when you email back in a timely fashion. It looks better for YOU.
6. Use social media to your benefit
Social media is the easiest tool for your blog. It's simple to tweet out your blog link, a link to a product you love, pin images off your site, etc. Easy peasy AND most of the time you can schedule them out. If you're at work all day, you probably don't have time to tweet or post on Facebook. If I know it's going to be a busy day, I'll schedule a few posts so I'm not radio silent all day long. I'll Instagram during lunch and pin things when I have a random five minutes on my phone.
7. Prioritize and learn to say no
Living in New York, I get invited to so many events. Not that it's a bad thing, but I really don't have time to go to all of them! Most of the time brands plan things during work hours (why is beside me) so those are automatically out. If they're after work, I have to figure out: 1. If it's in my benefit to go, and 2. If I have time. Remember I do most of my blog duties after work, so if I'm invited to a random press preview for a random brand, I'll probably say no. Prioritizing is like creating a pros and cons list. Same with brands who want to work together. I'm grateful for all the amazing opportunities this blog has given me, but sometimes I don't have time to work with all the brands that reach out. Times like these are when it's important to learn how to say no. I don't want to spread myself too thin or be untrue to myself for a quick buck, so I say no. Life will go on. I will be okay.
Side note: sometimes saying no is a really hard thing to do. A few weeks ago I was offered to go on an all-expense paid trip to the Caribbean for myself and my guest. All-expense meaning free travel, stay, food, drink, activities … everything. On top of that, they wanted to pay me to go. Say whaaa?! I was reading the email and I was like f-yea see you guys later, until I saw the date. The week they wanted me to go overlapped with the World Series games. #ugh I sat on it for a day and knew that this was the most important week of the year at work and it would look bad if I was gone. So I said no. Opportunities like this are hard to say no to, but sometimes you just gotta do it. That's what happens when you work and blog.
8. Stay dedicated
Running a blog is hard work. Running a blog and working full time is that much harder. You really have to stay dedicated and keep on keeping on. Just like any other hobby, you have to push yourself to stay dedicated. I mean I would rather go out to happy hour after work and fall asleep at 9p every night, but I know that to get what I want out of blogging, I have to give up some things and really focus on a goal. (My goal is keeping you and I happy!) I also do better with more things on my plate. I was one of those kids in school. I loved being involved in everything! There have been hundreds of times where I thought about giving up the blog (some days it just gets old) but I also thought about what I would do without it. I would be so bored! I'd have way too much time and would probably drive myself (and those around me) crazy.
9. Be motivating AND motivated by others
Kind of going along with the above, you have to stay motivated! I find motivation first and foremost from my readers. It really brightens my day to hear from you guys. I love reading your comments (shout out to my regulars -- MK, Dana, Linda), getting emails and following along with YOU! I also find motivation from my blog friends. It's a great thing having people you're friends with that also have a blog. You can talk to them about the struggles of life while also complaining about the blog and they get it! Can't tell you how huge that is. On the other side of things, I love to motivate others as well. Helping people makes me feel good and helping them achieve their goals, give advice or simply being there to talk to feels even better.
10. Love what you do
This is probably the most important tip I can give. Love what you do. Because when you love what you do, it's not work. You can apply this to everything you do. If you're not passionate about what you do, then why are you doing it? My mom always told me to find a job that I would do for free. If you take money out of the equation, would you still be doing what you're doing? For me, yes. Yes for work and yes to the blog. Doing both of these things I love helps me lead a happy life, as hectic as it may be!
So what did you think? Good tips? Have any others you'd add?