When I was reading through some comments on a Facebook group, “how to blog with a full-time job” came up many times.
Give or take, the other biggest struggle from that same thread is lacking tech-knowledge. But we can only tackle on thing at a time. I mean I need to find time to blog about the other topic. I’ll walk you through how and where (oh yes) I do some of my “blogging.”
One of the biggest problems you probably face as a young adult is not having enough time. Especially when it comes to creative outlets, like blogging and building an online presence, it requires a heck of a lot of time, brainstorming, frustrations, and trial and error before we get something perfect. And for someone who has started other blog ventures before, it only gets a little easier the second or third time.
If you prefer to listen to the audio clip of this article, simply click below.
Note that when I use the term of “blogging”, I mean more than creating content or writing. It’s inclusive of meeting influencers, social media, what else?
Anyway, let’s find out…
#1 Bring a notebook with you everywhere you go.
Last year I read this book called “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon. It’s one of the easiest reads for young adults and will probably only take you an hour to finish. It talks how you can be more productive if you keep your “play desk” away from your digital desk. The digital desk is necessary for formatting and publishing your work so you can share it with the world. The idea of a play desk isn’t meant to be taken literally.
What he’s really trying to tell you is that the original inspiration for creativity and content derives from your “play.”
By “playing”, you can be experimenting the durability of a newly coveted product, testing new conversions (oh man, my fave!), experiencing a new sport, and finding the connections between that and instilling your voice in it.
Ever since being aware of the “play desk” idea, I’ve made it an effort to do brainstorming and mind mapping away from my computer station. Instead, I like to do lots of it on my whiteboard or notebook. Printables, worksheets, and notebooks are definitely not last century!
If you’re busy and always on-the-go this may even be a good thing for you. You’re not procrastinating on your laptop, but rather finding random inspiration out in daily life to bring back to your writing and blog.
Take a notebook with you everywhere you go and jot down your idea generation moments. Your mundane morning commutes can be time spent listening to an educational podcast, read that email course lesson you signed up for (don’t be lazy, it’s just in your inbox), or outline a new article for your blog. P.S., all these have made me look forward to my commute as silly as that sounds.
#2 Repurpose your content, you don’t always have to create new content.
Doesn’t it suck when everyone tells you “content is king”, but the very most time-consuming aspect of blogging is actually creating it? Now I’ve been there, a great piece of content or project will probably take you days or even 1-2 weeks from conception to execution. The bigger the project, the more time we want to refine it because it means so much to us.
For example, sometimes I look at my Google Analytics and see that a visitor spent 8 minutes reading an article. But in the back of my mind, I’m like, “but it took me almost 2 hours to write it and at least another hour to edit and create pins and tweets to promote it.” Thankfully, it’s not considered redundant or spammy (Phew!) to repurpose your content.
Great blog post ideas can be hard to come by and usually only a few, if any, of your posts ever go viral. So if you do happen to have that post that got tons of views or engagement, repurpose it to another form of content to reach more people. People have different learning styles. One person can learn better through writing, but another can learn better through watching.
#3 Find time to blog by make use of in-between hours.
When I’m engaged and fully invested in my work, I can’t help but work on the go. For some people, this probably sounds like a chore, but I find myself brainstorming, learning or writing down ideas whether I’m commuting or having lunch. It’s the only thing that’s on my mind.
Now there are certainly some things that are better to do while on the go than others. For example, I won’t do any actual content writing or blog maintenance work unless I’m sitting down and actually carving out the time to do it. However, I usually already have a whole list of potential ideas to explore from my brain dump earlier in my day. Also, I respond to social media messages while on the go. These are the best times to do mini tasks but are still important for engagement.
Whether you’re a blogger or biz owner, see which things can be carved out for the on-the-go. For example, do you have an hour before your flight at the airport? Waiting for a friend to meet you for dinner? You can take advantage of all these in-between hours to catch up on a few of these, short but relevant things to your blog and biz.
A few things you can do on-the-go:
- Reply to tweets and FB messages on your iPhone
- Coming up with article and topic ideas
- Outlining your article on your iPhone using the Notes app
- Listen to a podcast or watch an educational video to learn a new thing or two to implement later on your website
Things that you should really carve out time for:
- Write an article or any type of content for the matter
- Do any web hosting, blog maintenance, or web or graphic design work
#4 Break down your blogging goals into smaller steps.
Are you feeling overwhelmed because you feel like your first or second day should be someone else’s 500th? Often times, when you feel overwhelmed, you feel the need to have everything done and shipped out by the second day. It feels like a race, but really it’s a personal journey. Even though many bloggers talk about similar things, ultimately, we need to follow our own intuition to carve out a path that’s our own.
If you’re looking at writing a blog or creating content as a huge goal, start breaking those goals into smaller steps. I always say start with priorities, such as creating content or meeting people in FB communities if your goal is to get your first client.
Because I wrote an entire post on this, I’m not going to go too deep into detail here. If you’re still finding the time to blog, definitely focus on your core priorities and not the nice-to-haves that people tell you are important (e.g., brand design). Focus on one project at a time, be that a two or three-month strategy.
#6 Find time to blog by allowing software to do the routine work.
Between time and money, you have to sacrifice one for the other. Oh man, did I just say that? Most people will agree that time is more valuable because for every minute you lose, you’ll never gain it back. It’s also this same reason that there seems to be an app or tech startup for every aspect of business, claiming how their software can help you eliminate the routine so you can focus on the strategic. And they really do.
Now when you’re starting out, you might be more conservative with your financial expenses. For example, you might want to manually send your tweets instead of using Buffer just to save $10/month. But if you think about it, you can really schedule your tweets to re-promote themselves on autopilot so you can spend time doing only work you can do– like writing expert content on your topic. Because “content is king” and entirely from your perspective, you can’t automate you, ha!
#7 Find time to blog by determining if your problem is lack of time or passion.
For almost two months, I didn’t feel compelled to publish anything on Talence because there wasn’t a topic that I had deep enough experience to share. Therefore, I had lists among lists of content ideas on my Trello editorial calendar, but I wasn’t motivated to pick up my pen (figuratively, since I draft all my content on Evernote first) to write. I sat there thinking until I lost all that time.
Just like the saying goes, it’s just a bad day, not a bad life. This applies to writing too, especially for creatives. Sometimes, it can just be that you hate or uninspired with your topic or all the ideas in your arsenal. You have time, but because you weren’t passionate enough about your article topic, you end up procrastinating.
If this is you, start by doing an audit about why you don’t like your current ideas. For me, I feel like a lot of this has been written on before. If I were to add to the conversation, I must bring a new perspective to the table. So if you don’t want to write about your current idea, go back to step one and start brainstorming or go experiment and experience to fill up your knowledge tank first.
#8 Find time to blog by reassessing your current situation + schedule.
What’s your current situation and schedule really like? Take an hour and write down what you do every hour of the day? Are you spending most of your day commuting and getting from one place to another? In big cities like LA, I usually waste all my time getting from one end to the other end. Try to understand if those commutes are really necessary. Are there alternatives? Of course, there are some non-negotiables. For example, if you’re at work, you shouldn’t be working on your own projects unless it’s lunch break.
But there are definitely other instances where your creative self-expression and development is more important. Are you keeping in touch with some friends you’ve known for years out of habit? And habit only? Or is it out of genuineness? Sometimes you forget that you need to end some friendships to drop off some baggage at the curb. Slowly fading them out or scaling down the friendship (unless it comes genuine again) can factor in an entire weekend where you can work on your soul projects.
Now that you know how to blog with a full-time job, what tip works best for you?