Sunday, 15 January 2017

5 ways to be more productive when you're juggling a blog with a full time job

I get asked this question a lot these days - how do you blog and still do your job? I'm not going to lie - the answer is: with difficulty.
It honestly is so tough, which is why I admire all the bloggers out there who have pushed through long days of work to then come home and work on their own sites and socials. The one's that have made it might be lucky enough now to make a good living from their blogs and channels - but you can be damn sure that most of them had to go through months or years of juggling it all with their day job.

I'm in that annoying phase with my blog (and you might be too), where I've had it for around a year and it's doing okay - but to step it up a gear, it's going to take more work - like a more pro looking Instagram feed, daily updates on Insta live, better quality blog photos and write-ups blahblahblah. You get the drift. You gotta feed your blog for it to grow and sadly, my friend, that involves it swallowing up more time from your day.

Time that I don't really have. I work an eight hour day, five days a week - like most people. I definitely can't afford to drop to part time thanks to the rent in London (don't even get me started). So, what's a girl to do? I've come up with a five-point solution. It's not quite as mathematical as it sounds - it's simply five little tricks that I use that have allowed me to, well, turn up for work and keep growing my blog.

Imma let you in on these secrets..

1. Make the most out of your weekend

This really is the simplest, but most effective way, to get the bulk of your blogging work done. Most of us don't work on weekends - and if you're in retail or something and you do, then use this trick but just on the days you do get off (maybe a Monday or a Tuesday). On the days when you're not working, save an afternoon and dedicate it to either taking some good photos in the daylight, or writing a couple of blog posts that you can schedule out over the week. The more work you can do on one of your days off work means that you'll feel less pressure to keep your blog up to date while juggling your full-time work. It seems simple, and it does mean putting a little extra effort on your day off (time I would rather be spending on a Sex and the City marathon), but if you really are serious about your blog, then giving up a few hours on a weekend is well worth the effort.

2. Build up a bank of good quality photos

This trick is something I learnt pretty early on. It's normal not to be on your blogging A game every single day (more on this in no.5), so on those days when you actually cannot post a good snap on Instagram, or take one to go along with a blog post that you're writing - a bank of good photos comes in handy.
For example, the lead picture for this post was one I took about a week ago, and it's lucky I did because this weekend has been soo busy that I haven't had the time to take any new ones. But because when I DO have time, I take as many good photos as I can, I will usually have something good to post when I'm having an off day (or weekend, in this case). Like I mentioned above, if you have a free Saturday afternoon, then this is when you can really work on building up a bank for the next few weeks.

3. Use your commute to your advantage

Editing photos (or videos, if you're a vlogger), takes up a load of time - more than I would have guessed. The aim is when you post a photo, your followers will be able to immediately know it's yours, without seeing your name. This means you have to keep to a style. Use the same filter (if you have one), edit them in the same way. My favourite time to do this is when I've got nothing else to do - ie, on the tube or bus. It's time that would otherwise have been wasted. Obviously if you drive into work then don't go editing your photos on the middle of the M25, but if you do have some time in the day - maybe if you're taking a bath or something - then use it to edit away, and you won't have to free up any valuable time you can't afford to give up.

4. Your camera choice can make your life easier

How can a camera free up more time in my day, you wonder? I used to have two choices for my photos - I'd either use my iPhone camera or my chunky DSLR camera. Now, the DSLR was fantastic for taking flatlays at home, but I couldn't carry it around all day. Also, every time I wanted to upload the photos I had to plug it into my laptop and do so. My iPhone camera, though handy, just doesn't have the picture quality I want. Sure, I can filter Instagram snaps a little, and if I take a picture with really great lighting, it might do. But I needed a middle ground, which is where my Olympus Pen E-PL7 comes in. 
It's changed my blogging life for these reasons. a) I can wifi the photos I take on it straight to my phone and post them right away - even if I'm on the tube. b) The photo quality is excellent, which means I never have to carry my DSLR around any more - and c) if you set it up with your preferred lighting settings, then it does it all for you. Time = saved.

5. Know when to step back

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that if you post regular, good content - people will more than likely come back for more. Here lies a problem that a lot of us bloggers face - I call it posting panic. We're so caught up with having to post that we forget about the standard. As a kid, did your mum ever tell you to say nothing if you had nothing nice to say? It's pretty much the same in the blogging world. If you are having a super hectic day at work and you physically or mentally can't manage to take a great snap for your Insta, or write a really engaging post worthy of someone's time - then say nothing. Post nothing.
It's fine to let yourself off sometimes - everyone does. In fact, over Christmas, I noticed one high-profile blogger taking a whole week break from all her social activity so she could step away from her phone and be with her family. It is better to stick with the quality of your work than to lose it by panic posting something a little bit crap. That's not to say that you should get lazy about posting - still keep it up when you can. But we all have busy days, so either use something from your rainy day bank (we talked about this above), or let yourself off. Blogging is meant to be fun, and as soon as you put too much pressure on yourself, it turns into just another chore. 


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