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First off, I owe a big fat THANK YOU to good ol’ Reading, PA for giving this girl her first taste of virality. BOY, it tastes good. I’m celebrating with a beer and a soft pretzel in the spirit of Pretzel City – Gotta get down on Friday, right? I’m celebrating Part 2 with my gal Taylor – who is also coming off of her own first viral post! – and we’re chatting about blog/life balance to close out April’s New Year, New Blog. (Missed the first? See it here!)
You know those bloggers who just seem to have their you-know-what totally together? They run their blog, sure, but they’re also business owners, full-time students, moms…the list goes on and on. Heck, even having a full-time job while also being a full-time blogger is exhausting. We asked these six ladies and gents to spill their secrets on working most efficiently, staying organized, and then – most importantly – how they make time for themselves to relax and unwind amidst the chaos of a very, very full life! And naturally, we chimed in with our two cents, too.
1.) What is your best blogging time-saving tip?
2.) How do you make time for yourself?
1.) When you find yourself with some spare time, make the drafts for your upcoming posts, complete with any labels you want to attach, and scheduling the date and time they’ll be published. It makes creating the content a lot simpler when you’re ready to. Also – keep a detailed calendar with all your ideas, and take pictures constantly – even photos of random objects come in handy for quick post publishing!
2.) I struggle with this a lot, but when I feel myself getting overwhelmed I get myself as comfortable as the situation allows, and I say YES to whatever speaks to my soul at that moment. It might be chocolate, it might be scrapbooking, or it could be watching an episode or two of Friends on Netflix. Making use of naptime and after the kids’ bedtime as time for myself is important!
Mary: Blogger at Eat Drink & Be Mary, Elated Bride-to-be, Rising teacher
1.) My strategy on saving time? Focusing on the things that are important and I am passionate about. Prioritize your to-dos and it’s easy to get to all you need to even during your busy life. Oh and of course a lot of to-do lists & coffee.
2.) As for avoiding getting too stressed out, I turn to God. He knows my every need and has a plan for my life, so turning to Him is the only logical option.
Neely: Blogger at A Complete Waste of Makeup, Newlywed (& new homeowner!), Founder of Waste of Makeup Media
1.) To work efficiently, I have an Emily Ley simplified planner that is my bible. I carry it everywhere and I use a colored pen for each: life, blog, events, and work. I prioritize my daily to-do list and weekly/monthly to-do lists, but if things really HAVE to be done that day they come first. Then, I tackle the things that I may have a few days or a few weeks on in the order of most importance. For sponsored blog content or client projects, I make sure that I put the date they are due in my calendar and try to have them done 2 days before. I also make sure that I answer all emails first thing in the morning from the previous day or overnight. I respond to blog comments as much as I can, and I never let 24 hours go by without responding to an email.
2.) My biggest tip is to not sweat the small stuff. It sounds easy but if I let EVERY SINGLE THING get to me I would be a ball of stress. I make sure that by the time my husband gets home from work I am done working. Sure there are exceptions to every rule. But I try to remember he is important and he comes first. So when he is home my computer is put away. As far as ME time goes, I take a half day once a week to do things I need to do: errands, shopping, pedicures what have you. I also make working out a daily priority. Even if that means going for a walk with girlfriends or taking a barre class. I also take one full day a month to do something fun for myself. This is almost always on a Friday and usually consists of grabbing a coffee and seeing a movie alone or wandering around an outlet mall. Sometimes I just curl up on the couch and read that day. It is BEYOND important to take care of yourself and make sure you are getting enough ME time.
Becky: Blogger at Beckyrosty.com, Mother of twin babies, College ministry director
1.) To save time and work efficiently, be concise. If you can’t be concise, split your post. In the flurry of creativity, I have been known to wax a bit wordy. Often, I split a long post into two. It makes me feel extra productive actually: two blog posts, one writing session. Write as much as you can, when you can. The month before my twins were born, I spent a good chunk of time expanding my running list of post ideas into actual blog posts. I scheduled them to be published during the first two months directly after the twin’s birth. I was free to enjoy my new babies, knowing my blog was still “out there” to keep readers engaged.
2.) For me, writing is “me-time.” Recently, I have learned this lesson: Write because you love what you write about, not because you love the approval and appraisal of others. In a day of managing active twins, a thriving marriage, and my own very social soul, I realized writing is a form of creativity and expression that make me feel more like “Becky.” However, I lose all of that when I worry about how many hits a blog post receives, whether my blog compares to another, or what I can write about to get more attention. For me, finding approval and confidence through my relationship with Jesus helped free me from the chains that often come with public writing. As far as daily life goes, I find time for myself during the babies’ nap times. I also value guilt-free time out of the house, so I have prioritized good relationships with people (husband, family, friends) who give me “time off” once a week. When engaging in time for myself, I have a strict “life-giving activities” policy: I only do things that encourage and awaken my sense of being. That means no Facebook, no trashy tv, nothing to dull creativity or smother imagination. Some unique life-givers I gravitate to are naps in my hammock, journaling, jogging-with-a-sermon-on-podcast (I recommend Timothy Keller), local pastry tasting, and hiking. To all my dear blogging friends, thank you for being brave. Keep loving what you write about, and writing about what you love.
Josh: Blogger at The Kentucky Gent, Event planner, Social media consultant and manager, Style consultant
1.) To save time, plan ahead. Use scheduling software like TweetDeck or IFTTT to make getting your posts spread to all your channels a breeze. Write down things as they come to you, otherwise you’ll forget about them once you make the time to sit down and write. Last but not least, do batch work. For instance, I edit all my photos before moving into working on the text for the post.
2.) On setting time aside for myself? Now that I work from home, this is harder than before, but mostly I make myself stop at certain times throughout the day to either just get up from my desk and walk around the apartment, or to make lunch/dinner. Scheduling “free time” for me has never worked, but building in breaks in the day whether that be running, or going to a meeting help me make time for myself versus plugging away at my desk all day.
Alicia: Blogger at Alicia Tenise, Marketing Coordinator for a media company
1.) Save time by creating an editorial calendar. I draft one at the beginning of each month so I spend less time brainstorming ideas for blog posts. Every Sunday evening, I finalize all posts and start drafting posts so that I can edit and schedule them faster during the week.
2.) For about an hour a day, I unplug from social media and any emails/texting. I try to do this right before bed. I try to read a book, watch TV or I might just relax — I have no communication with anyone and it feels so good!
Taylor: Blogger at A Cup of Tay, Marketing and Social Impact student at the Wharton School, Elated Bride-to-be, Nonprofit consultant, Future non-profit leader and innovator.
1.) My biggest time-saver is sitting down at the beginning of a new month and laying out my editorial calendar. I put down posts I know I’ll be writing and designate days where I can be flexible in topic. That way, when I sit down to write on Sundays, I know what my week looks like!
2.) To make time for myself, I usually designate time on the weekend for unscheduled spontaneity. Whether it’s going shopping with my roommates or reading blogs and drinking tea, I try to make time for unstructured happiness, since as a type-A lady, my life is usually so scheduled.
AND ME (Erica…obvi): Blogger and YouTuber at Coming Up Roses, Marketing and Management student at the Wharton school, Elated Bride-to-be, Strategic small business consultant, Budding brand strategist and owner of a full-service branding agency.
1.) I work most efficiently by planning, planning, planning and being strict with myself on my schedule. I’m constantly editing and updating my editorial calendar, but for the most part, I have a loose outline for post topics at least a month in advance. This means I’ll never sit down with nothing to write, because I’ve laid out ideas and frameworks ahead of time and just need to flesh out content.
2.) Honestly, I’m still pretty bad at making time for myself. For awhile, I considered blogging “me time,” but I realized it’s still work and I should still be making time to read a book or sit, pray and reflect on life in between chugging coffee and working.
For those who made it this far, you deserve a pat on the back and a break. Since I can’t hop through the screen and give you said break, how about the chance to win $130 to Anthropologie instead? (Yaaaaaas, please).
Need some cash to spruce up your spring wardrobe? How about $130 to Anthropologie!? I’ve partnered with some fantastic ladies to bring you this giveaway. Enter in the rafflecopter below!