It never seems like there are enough hours in the day. Throw an incredibly time-consuming hobby into the mix and, well … you get the idea.
As Leslie Knope says, “There’s nothing we can’t do if we work hard, never sleep, and shirk all other responsibilities in our lives.”
Just kidding! No responsibilities need be shirked.
Okay, I haven’t entirely mastered the double life required for blogging. There are always so many things I need to do. However, I think I’ve gotten into a pretty good groove and have a few tips to maximize your time, even when there’s not a lot of it.
This is number one for sure. Not taking care of yourself always backfires.
I know I can’t stay up late working on my blog every night. It takes a toll on me very quickly and can impact my mood. I’ve noticed that if I get a solid sleep, I wake up more refreshed and ready to be productive.
I also need to stop eating fried foods or takeout for dinner, neglecting my skincare routine, skipping a workout, and leaving myself no down time. These are all seemingly easy shortcuts to get more hours back in the day, but they’re surefire ways for me to lose motivation and energy. What good is an extra hour if it’s unproductive and, frankly, depressing?
Sometimes I do slack off on my diet, so I like to make sure I get proper nutrients with vitamins. I’ve been using HUM Nutrition for years. Their Daily Cleanse* detoxes my system, while Red Carpet* keeps my hair and nails healthy. Uber Energy* works in mysterious ways for me – I swear it helps me sleep better at night so that I’m more rested the following day. OMG! Omega the Great* is one of my favorites though. My doctor recommended I take an omega-3 supplement, and I love that this one doesn’t have the fishy taste.
This one probably seems very obvious, but it makes life so much easier to take the time to put things in proper places and create a schedule.
I’ve always been that person who loves the *idea* of a planner, but I never stick to it. Until recently, I think I just never found one that fits every need. Though I like my current planner, I do think about switching to a bullet journal to get an even more personalized life scheduler. If anyone has any tips, please let me know!
Blogging is a very individual thing, so it seems like it’s all cool once you’ve made your own schedule. Working with brands changes that in an instant. There are deadlines, launch dates – so many things to keep track of. If you want a good working relationship with a brand, you have to be conscious of this to add another element to creating a blog schedule.
Keeping track of PR is a great thing to do as well, even if there are no defined deadlines. I hate to admit this, but on more than one occasion, I’ve found boxes from PR that I hadn’t even opened. Now, I have a spreadsheet to check in when a package arrives. It creates a queue of products to test, and I can keep track of any deadlines/post requirements in one spot.
Automate social media
Social media is a huge part of blogging, so I have a lot to say about this. It’s like you have to be in 50 places at once: Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc – all while posting regularly to your blog and kicking life’s butt. I recently talked about some tools that have helped my blog, many of which help automate the blogging process, and I’ve found another since that I’m now obsessed with.
Normally, I would be the kind of person to pin 20 things on Monday, then forget for two days before pinning again. With Pinterest, you need to be actively pinning throughout each day, every day to make an impact. Tailwind puts my Pinterest on autopilot. I sit down to schedule my pins for about a week at a time – they will be pinned by Tailwind on a smart schedule.
At the moment, Tailwind doesn’t work on my Android phone, so it’s not super easy to add pins directly to my queue randomly. So, I made a secret board that I call “Pin later;” I save pins to this board so that I can schedule them on my laptop later.
I highly recommend using Tailwind if you want to grow your Pinterest. They do offer a free trial (I believe it’s 100 pins).
Revive Old Post
This is a new one to me. I immediately added the WordPress plugin after reading Paula’s post with her top blogging tips.
The plugin sends out a tweet with a link to an old blog post. Very simple: it keeps a basal activity on Twitter and promotes old content. I’ve also set this up for Facebook, where I’m generally not too active. I’m using the free version, but there’s a pro version with upgraded features.
With Revive Old Post, I don’t use Buffer quite as much as before (I was predominantly using it to tweet old blog posts). Still, I really like this to schedule Twitter and Facebook posts. I just need to start having an interesting, tweetable life.
Focus on small tasks
As a PhD student, I don’t have a ton of free time – maybe a couple minutes here and there. Those few minutes need to be super productive, so I focus on one small task at a time to avoid being overwhelmed.
There are a million little things to constantly be doing for blogging. Figure out those tasks that require a small time commitment when done individually, like scheduling social media and checking emails. This goes the same with many household chores, such as unloading the dishwasher or wiping down counter-tops. Knocking one or two items off the to-do list can make larger tasks go more smoothly.
Set yourself up
For success! Ha, see what I did there?
Does anyone else lay there clothes out the night before? You can do that with blogging tasks too. Get everything laid out and ready to make things easier.
This can come back to getting organized – you need a game plan to set yourself up. Sometimes I do research on a blog topic, looking up articles or products I want to feature. I used to have to re-find those products and posts when I would actually go to write. Instead, I bookmark everything in a folder so that I don’t have to go digging again.
Another example: while I’m getting ready for the day in the morning, I often set up a flat-lay by the window. Light doesn’t hit that spot until the afternoon, so I run home from work to eat a late lunch and snap the photo. Of course, this works well for me because I’m a 7 minute walk from campus (5 minutes if I awkwardly speed-walk). For a 30 minute lunch break, I have 15 minutes to eat and take a couple of pics. I can only do this once or twice a week, but it’s enough to make sure I have a few Instagram photos on hand.
Use stock photos
I am a newbie to the stock photo train. I resisted for so long – I guess I had a sense of pride in trying to always take all of my own images. A few weekends ago, I broke down when it was raining on the only day I had available for taking pics. The lighting was awful and I just couldn’t get anything to look right. I needed a back-up plan.
For beauty bloggers, stock photos can’t work for every post. If’ I’m searching for a review of a new eyeshadow palette, I personally won’t stick around a post where they have no original photos of the palette. However, for posts that don’t need a specific image, stock photos are great.
I recently updated my post about tips for bloggers on a no-buy with stock photos to break up text space and create a clean, pinnable image.
Ask for help
In reference to my blogging, Luke says, “You work long hours, then come home and work your second job.” It’s important to me. Luckily, he is understanding since he has his own hobbies he loves to spend time on.
Somehow we get all of the housework done together, but admittedly Luke picks up more of the slack. Trying to do everything is just a ton of work. However, I have some back-up if I can’t get to the laundry because the lighting is too perfect not to be taking pics RN.
In terms of blog help, sometimes it’s worth it to pay a little bit because it may take too much time to figure it out alone. For instance, I wanted to move my blog from Blogger to WordPress and knew it would take a ton of my time to do it. I paid for a service, which in turn gave me peace of mind and the blog I always wanted.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to other bloggers if you’re struggling. Someone has been there and done that. And if I’ve learned anything, bloggers love to help. It’s why many blog in the first place.
Most important is to have desire for blogging. Blogging can totally feel like a chore, but I really enjoy it. I’ve learned so many new things and I love the daily challenges.
What are your tips for maximizing your blogging efforts on a tight schedule? ↓