As you guys know, I have a crazy schedule each week. In addition to blogging, I work a full-time consulting job (aka long hours). It's not like the good old days working 9 to 5 anymore.
I wake up wee early to fit in my workout. Unexpected issues and meetings always happen in my profession making it not possible to rely on getting my fitness in at night. The morning is the only guaranteed time of day. Work has forced me to workout in the morning, but I actually like that it has done that for many reasons, but that's a topic for another day.
Then I have a looonnnggg commute to work every day, which depending on traffic can take 40-70 minutes one way. So I receive a lot of questions from people about how I fit it all in. To be honest, I'm not sure how I juggle it all sometimes. It requires planning, discipline, focus and even a few sacrifices.
Although I don't have much free time, I love blogging, writing and creating recipes. It's a huge part of who I am as is my fitness. When I think back to before my weight loss, I wonder what I spent my time on? Probably a lot of shopping! Today I have more hobbies, goals and aspirations than I can count on my two hands. So I make time to fit blogging into my life.
For me, blogging happens mostly on the weekends. That's the only uninterrupted time I have when I'm not dog dead tired from my crazy schedule and juggling things like a circus clown. It's really true what they say. When you find something you're passionate about, you find ways to do it and make it work.
Managing a blog is much like managing a business. You work on technical issues with having a website (thank goodness I'm in IT), respond to readers, network with the blog community, market on social media networks, manage income & financials, work with sponsors & affiliates, participate in giveaways and the list could go on and on...
Working 9 to 5 makes all this a challenge, but luckily I've learned a few tricks that may help others.
Write posts ahead of time and schedule them to auto post. I write, edit and draft posts on the weekend then schedule them for the week. That way I don't need to worry about missing a post during the week or having a conflict with a working priority. During the week, my focus is work and responding to readers.
Nothing's worse than scrambling to publish a post the day of. Consider most your readers work during the day. The prime time to show off your content is early morning or late at night. By posting later in the day, you miss early morning readers. Remember you don't need to post every day. It's more important to have good content than an ok post.
Set a Routine
Set a writing routine - draft, edit, schedule. I usually have two weeks of posts to work with. Week one posts are drafted. Either late at night or on the weekend, I edit and schedule them. I've found this works really well for me. Drafting something then reviewing it a week later improves my content and it's a time saver. After week one posts are set, I draft week 2 posts.
Try to also post similar topics on the same day of the week. For example, I post recipes Monday and Fridays. This way you know what topics you need and when.
Mark a Calendar
Set a regular post schedule and stick to it. It's not only important for readers to know when to expect something from you, but for you to manage your time. Use a calendar to pencil in posts and organize topics. This helps align topics each week too.
When you're a writer, it's inevitable you'll be struck with creativity when you least expect it. I take notes and make bullets on my iPhone regularly using the notes app or send myself an email. Jotting thoughts down helps me remember when I come back to it later. I always have my phone with me at the gym, work, running errands, etc. so it's convenient for me to do it there instead of carrying a notebook around. Voice memos are another option too. Any of these methods work.
If you have a long commute, you can draft content using the WordPress or Blogger app. For people using public transportation, this is a great option.
Create Back Pocket Posts
Life throws you curve balls no matter how well you plan, prioritize and schedule something will happen. I always have a few (~5) how-to or recipe posts drafted so that in a bind I can edit them quick and use as content.
Automate Social Media
Link your social media i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin and Google+ to your blog so that when a post publishes so that it automatically publishes the post to social media. I also link some of my social media sites together like Facebook and Twitter so if I tweet something, it automatically updates Facebook and visa versa. I also have my Instagram linked to my Twitter.
If you have more time, you can schedule auto posts on SM platforms like Facebook. Hootsuite is another great tool for automating your posts to SM and customizing. I have not used either of these methods yet, but they are on my never ending list of to do's.
Be Time Wise
It's easy to get sucked into the blogsphere, but there is life outside the worldwide web. Allot yourself time to complete certain tasks. For example, I respond to emails and comments during the week either on my lunch break, on the elliptical, on my commute or late at night. Everything else I sprinkle throughout the weekend. It's important to remember when you have a blog, your work will never be done. As is with your day job, it's important to have personal boundaries and make time for you.