“Oh, so you’ve got the day off today?”
Ah, the phrase that I hear so often and the phrase that endlessly grinds my gears. This is what I hear every time I declare that no, I won’t be going into the office for my part-time job today because I’m busy with my other part-time career, blogging. If you’re self-employed and you work from home, I’m sure you’ll be familiar with the misguided assumption that since you’re at home, you must be doing fuck all. Or that since your office is in your living room, your work is somehow easier…? Work grumbles aside, it takes a lot of late nights and lunch-time emailing to even get to the point of setting up shop in your bedroom, let alone putting your roots down full-time.
As I’m sure you all know, I still work part-time in marketing alongside kicking this blogging malarkey up a gear. I often find people are surprised that I don’t blog full time, most often questioning where I find the time. Truth is, when time is a commodity, you make it. If I’m in the office I’ll coerce one of my colleagues into nipping outside and taking a few Insta snaps with me, and lunch times are made for middle of the day email catch ups and any no-it-can’t-wait phonecalls. Your mind is constantly jumping between different things, and you have to go from ending emails with ‘xxxx’ to ‘Sincerest regards’ in a heartbeat (although let’s be honest, all of us has accidentally called a client ‘lovely’ without realising it). Managing a full-time job and blogging is certainly a juggling act, so here are a few top tips which I’ve learned along the way. FYI – this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, and if you have any other questions you’d like to ask, then drop me a comment below or find me over on social.
1. Create a monthly visual calendar
It’s all well and good popping any upcoming posts into your iPhone calendar, but when you’re having to concentrate on work dates and blogging dates, it’s very easy to end up double booking or forgetting something important until the very last minute. Grab a piece of paper, your finest pens (Stabilo are my personal favourites, just sayin’) and go to town a piece of A4, drawing up a makeshift calendar of the month ahead and colour coding your days, projects and meetings. Sounds pretty over-the-top, I know, but I’ve found that having a visual aid and actually being able to see what I’m doing laid out in front of me makes managing my time so much easier.
2. It’s boring, but BUFFER
…or Hootsuite or SproutSocial – you get what I mean. Every blogger and their bunch of Instagram flowers will tell you to schedule posts in a top tips post, and as much as it pains me to say, it can actually be really useful. It’s a bit tedious, you very quickly get sick of trying to think of different lines to introduce the same blog post and eventually you’ll feel like you’re going mad, but when you’re spending full days in the office and you have content that needs promoting, this saves you a hell of a lot of bother. Now, I’m not great at making time for scheduling. Most of the time I head out of the office for lunch, realise I haven’t posted, panic, shove something up and hope for the best. I’ve found that this isn’t great for stress levels (read: it is disastrous), so using a programme that will not only push posts live for you automatically, but that will find the prime times to post for the best engagement, is a must.
3. Accept the limitations of your time
This one is more of a learning curve than a top tip, but you have to be honest with yourself about your limitations and just how much you’re actually able to do. I’ve turned down opportunities in the past because I knew I wouldn’t have the time necessary to dedicate to them, and I’ve also taken a step back from projects I nursed from the ground up in the office because I knew being there only two days a week wasn’t enough to make them fly. Accepting the limitations of your time doesn’t mean slowing your progress down (as much as I know it can often feel this way) – instead, it’s more about allowing yourself to manage your projects more efficiently, being more careful with what you say ‘yes’ to and also drawing the line to give yourself some time off. Remember, when it comes to balancing out work time and blog time, there should always be YOU time, where you have sign-off from yourself to do absolutely fuck all.
4. Carpe Diem that shit and grab time wherever you can
My colleagues – and even my boss – have all been coerced into taking Instagram snaps for me. If somebody heads down for a cigarette break I will most likely be found, tagging along behind, iPhone camera at the ready and sunglasses in hand to make sure I look super nonchalant. There are always pockets of opportunities to capture content even when you’re in the office all day or jumping between meetings. Remember when lunch was for taking a break and enjoying the fresh air of the outside world? Well, not so much anymore – lunchtime is for catching up on emails, uploading to social and best of all, capturing a coffee shot whenever possible. Of course I’m not saying you should run yourself ragged, but when you’re trying to juggle a job and blogging, time is a commodity that just can’t be wasted. Just make sure
5. Designate a shooting day and bulk shoot
When I was working full-time, Sunday was my shooting day. Whether I was capturing outfits, snapping flat lays or just indulging in some mirror pictures for throughout-the-week Instagram uploads, I’d make sure that I always kept Sunday free so that I had a bank of content to work with throughout the week. If I was shooting outfits I would try and get at least two or three done during one session, packing outfits into the car and awkwardly changing in the pushed-back front seat whilst whoever was with me kept an eye out for passers by. As much as designating a set shooting days means you know that you’re always going to have fresh content coming in each week, it also means that you’re free to enjoy your evenings throughout the week without panicking about where your next OOTD is going to come from.