Talking Shop: Blogging and Time Management

blog tip-blogging and time management

Remember that scene from Saved by the Bell where Jessie is so overwhelmed with everything going on in her life and takes caffeine pills and then yell-sings to Zack Morris, “I’m so excited!…I’m so…scared.” Of course you do, because who doesn’t? She says something before that infamous breakdown that I always used to associate with blogging: “No time! There’s never any time!”

A few years ago, when I first started blogging more regularly (like, daily), I always felt that I was constantly looking for more time. Time to be on social media, time to create posts, time to network. I think this is the case for all bloggers — new and experienced — because it’s by far one of the questions I’m asked most often: “How do you manage to run your blog, your business, and have a life?” So today, for our first Talking Shop column, I thought I’d discuss my own experiences, insights, and make some recommendations, as well as hear from you guys about how you manage your time when it comes to blogging.

Here are some things you should know first and foremost: 

DAILY BLOGGING IS LIKE HAVING A SECOND JOB.

No two ways about it — if you’re publishing posts everyday, it’s going to feel like you work two jobs. Let’s be clear that blogging is a lot of work, especially if you’re creating original content and also trying to grow your presence on social media. So don’t worry if you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything you need to do in the few hours you have to do them outside of your “regular” day job. It’s common! With that in mind, it’s important that you…

DEVELOP SET DAYS AND TIMES THAT YOU’LL WORK ON YOUR BLOG.

If your blog is your second job, then you can approach it like that too. In other words, you know you’re going to be in the office during certain days and at certain times, so determining a similar schedule for your blog can leave you feeling less worried about when you’re going to work on it, and allow you to carve out time for all the other things in your life — you know, errands, social life, personal time.

In my case, once I had decided I wanted to post at least once a day everyday, there was a several month period where Joe wanted to strangle me, because at any given moment, I would run off and want to work on my blog. Things went much smoother when we decided on dedicated days for me to focus on the blog; it helped us both manage expectations of where my time would be spent. In case you’re wondering, for almost a year and a half, I would work on my blog all day on Sundays, Wednesday nights, and sometimes Thursday nights. And on that note…

blogging and time management

IF YOU WANT IT, THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS “TOO BUSY.”

Blogging can often feel like the last thing on your list of priorities. Which isn’t a bad thing – but you just have to realize that there’s no such thing as putting your blog last and seeing corresponding growth (that’s true of anything in life, right?). And not every blog has to be a business. If you want your blog to be a hobby, there’s no sense in getting really down on yourself if you can’t dedicate hours and hours per week to it. Do what you can, and build from there. If later in the future, you decide you want your blog to become a bigger part of your life or career strategy, you can devote your time to it then. And truthfully, if you’re devoting more time to your blog with a clear vision in mind, you’ll find your time is more productive and focused anyway. When you don’t have a clear vision, you’re more likely to end up spinning your wheels and feeling frustrated that you’re not getting what you want out of blogging (primarily because you don’t even know what you want out of blogging — make sense?).

USE SCHEDULING TOOLS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

One of the things I still struggle with the most is managing all the various aspects of running a blog — from developing and producing the content, the administrative side of things (ohmygodtheemails), networking, social media, etc. I used to drive myself crazy trying to do it all at once, until I realized it’s not possible, unless you’re willing to have NO life and not sleep at all (and I’m not). Social media can be especially hard for me. I sometimes feel like I have enough going on without having to remember to Instagram every second of my day. So I highly recommend scheduling what you can to take some of the pressure off of having to be “on” social media all day. I wrote a post about it here, and The B Bar also offers lots of resources for this.

LOOK FOR INSPIRATION EVERYWHERE, BUT DON’T FORGET TO BOOKMARK IT!

There’s nothing worse than thinking of a great post idea…then forgetting about it when you actually need it. Develop systems that will help you keep track of your ideas for posts, features, content, everything. I like to create secret Pinterest boards that help me quickly save ideas. You can also create Evernote notebooks, save things in your email, put sticky notes all over your desk — whatever will help you catalog inspiration and jump start your creativity. I always try to jot down ideas on a piece of paper, in my planner, or in a text or email to myself. There have been times when I’m out and about and see a store that I think looks interesting, so I’ll snap a photo of it to remind myself to research it later. Sometimes even the smallest idea can turn into a great post, so don’t let go of those little nuggets of inspiration! It can save you hours (seriously!) of trying to brainstorm a great post if you have some quick ideas written down somewhere. I know this feels like an obvious tip, but in practice, it can be hard to remember.

Tips for blogging and managing your time

BE ON REPEAT (BUT JUST A LITTLE BIT)

Here’s a big one: Develop columns or series that will allow you to quickly generate a post that fits within a given theme. We talk a lot more about this and editorial calendars in Blogging 101, but I can’t stress this one enough: creating columns that you run weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc can really help you develop editorial ideas, because you’ll give yourself clear parameters to work within. Kinda like an essay prompt, but way more fun. As a very simple (and common!) example, if you have a column that’s based around exploring a particular color, it’ll be easy for you to pick a color you’re loving, then create a round up with items you find in that color. Give it a fun name, and boom, you have a column. This is also a great time saver if it’s midnight and you don’t have anything to post for the next day. You can go straight to a ‘column’ and build a post around that theme — no late night strokes of genius needed.

CALM DOWN AND TAKE A DEEP BREATH

At the end of the day, if you don’t post one day, or don’t tweet on another, the world will keep on turning. I know, it’s hard to believe — and trust me, I’m the worst at this too — but sometimes, you really don’t have enough time. If you have a day where you’re not able to post, it’s okay — just get back on your schedule and back to business. Chances are, a lot of your readers won’t even notice!

What are your best time management tips when it comes to blogging? What do you find has worked well for you?

PS – If you have a question for me about blogging, you can  leave a comment below, tweet me, or leave a post on my Facebook page!

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{Image Credits: Design*Sponge; Trent Bailey Photography for Glitter Guide; Alexandra Frumberg for Glitter Guide}

48 comments

  1. Nicole said: replied:

    THANK YOU for this post! Very much needed this today.

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  2. Jen said: replied:

    Fantastic. As a long time blogger I should know these things but it’s great to have a reminder. Love the blog, btw.

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  3. Laura said: replied:

    Thank you!! I’m new to blogging and finding it very overwhelming. You touched on all my concerns and made me feel a lot better! You do a wonderful job with your blog and I look forward to it every morning.

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  4. Juliette said: replied:

    I think managing your expectations is key. The thing is, you may not realize you had an expectation until it wasn’t met, so it’s good to take some time and think through the whole process -part of which is reading great articles/posts like this!

    My turning point was realizing I actually wanted to keep my blog a hobby. Talk about releasing pressure! I’m a freelancer and have to do a lot of small biz stuff already and just didn’t need another ‘project'; I needed a release.

    Knowing that my blog is strictly MY hobby also frees me from feeling bad about not growing it (though redesigning it is another thing, ha!) at a certain rate, etc.

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
    1. Juliette,

      What a brilliant reminder! I love this idea of managing our own expectations. And I realized I was nodding along and being all “that’s me!” when I got to the part about, “The thing is you may not realize you had an expectation until it wasn’t met.” Excellent points. I’m definitely going to put thought into this tonight. Thank you!

      11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  5. Catherine said: replied:

    I just come across your blog and I love this post. I’ve only been blogging for about 4 months, but I find it definitely a challenge to keep up with while working full time. I’m going to try to incorporate some of your tips (esp. calm down and take a breath ha)! Thanks!

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  6. Kimberly said: replied:

    LOVE this post! My full-time day job is being a mom (which never really ends at 5pm), so I’ve had a difficult time managing doing both that & the blog. Obviously my kids come first! Great ideas for managing your time – thanks for sharing :)

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  7. allison said: replied:

    this is such a helpful post! as a newer blogger i’ve definitely had the jessie spano moment once or twice =)

    http://www.dariesdiary.com

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  8. Tiffany said: replied:

    I am loving all these tips! I really need to carve out a specific time for blogging, but being in school and having a part time job it can be difficult because my schedule is always changing!
    And by the way, your reference to Saved by the Bell…UNREAL.

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  9. Rachel said: replied:

    I schedule my posts based on an editorial calendar (via a plug-in on WordPress) and it helps a ton. I write posts ahead of time as much as I can, too!

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  10. taylor said: replied:

    great post :) and I hadn’t thought of that Saved By The Bell scene is so long – my friends and I always would say those lines haha!

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  11. Meg said: replied:

    Thanks for the tips!

    I like the idea of coming up with scheduled “themes”. Def taking that tip to work on. :)

    http://happinessiscreating.com/

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  12. Kelly - Fabulous K said: replied:

    Such great advice, and some that I needed. Thanks, girl!

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  13. Great post! I love the idea of having set times to do things. I have set times not for commenting and reading blogs (every morning), and it helps me feel better. If posts aren’t up by the time I read, then I don’t stress about checking anymore. I will read them the next day.

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  14. Kara said: replied:

    Thanks for this! I used to stress when I didn’t have a post scheduled every day of the week and now I’ve learned to just let it be. I don’t stress over the little things anymore.

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  15. Megan @ Lush to Blush said: replied:

    Great tips! I really need to start setting specific days dedicated to my blog. Thanks for the advice!!

    xo Megan, LushtoBlush.com

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  16. Anne [A Squared] said: replied:

    Great post– made even better by the Jessie Spano reference!

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  17. These are great tips! I blog three days a week, and even that seems tough to squeeze into a schedule where i have a contract social media job, a freelance writing career and a new puppy to take care of/train/love/exercise.

    I also set aside Sundays for blogging, and have created a weekly series so I have built-in content. And never forget to carry around your camera! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve generated posts out of a simple outing. It’s saved me from writer’s block plenty of times!

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  18. Nora / LM Blog said: replied:

    Great post. Just what I needed today. I’ve been sick all weekend and still feel terrible. I haven’t had the energy to post so far this week. But you made me feel less guilty. Thank you!

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  19. Kasia said: replied:

    Great post! Love hearing it from people who have gone through it and are successful in their endeavors. Gives me hope :) Thanks so much for this!!

    xoxo, Kasia

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  20. Tiffany @ Savor Home said: replied:

    I am so thankful for you because your blogging advice is always spot on!

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  21. alyson said: replied:

    such great tips, v! I theoretically know all of this but it’s so easy to forget when you’re moving so fast it feels like a hamster wheel. that’s when I find I lose my inspiration, despite keeping a running list in my phone “notes” section of ideas.

    My biggest challenge is time, despite that I consider my blog a business. Sadly it still falls down on the priority list because when I get home from job #1 I want to spend time with my daughter, and wait until she’s sleeping. not the best for mental clarity at 9:30 or later! haha, and I hate spending a weekend for the same reason since I don’t see her during the week.

    Anyway, love the idea of a private pinterest board. funny that I use them for personal things but never thought to create one for tagg! thanks again for all of this!

    alyson
    http://www.theaveragegirlsguide.com

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  22. Jillian said: replied:

    Great post V! Some days I just can’t tweet and so I don’t. You’re right, nobody even notices.

    I use Workflowy to manage my to do list. I love that you can keep notes & thoughts and then hide them.

    xx.
    Jillian

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  23. haha. hahahaha. are you using our talks as inspiration? hope this means i’m not the only one you have to listen to about this… :)

    super guilty of the “too busy.” and maybe a little guilty of the “but what if i disappoint myself?”

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  24. Ashley said: replied:

    This was so helpful. I’m working on getting my blog started and I really need to set office hours for myself. So I can focus and so my husband also knows when it’s blog time.

    I do have one questions, I’m working on my blog with a lauchpad, so while I do all the “designing” and get the about page ready and so forth. When I launch, should I just start with one post or have a few, so it’s not just one post for a few days before I post again. (I don’t even know if that makes any sense.) Do you know what I mean?

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  25. snappystreet said: replied:

    Thank you!

    Only in the last month have I really started to take my blogging a bit more seriously.

    Previously I would “sometimes” post once a week, but currently I’m on a bit of a roll with posting 3 times a week. I have started to schedule my posts, both to my blog, and on social media – so this is certainly helping my sanity! (and my husbands!)

    Although I do often find myself spending more time on social media, rather than creating new content for my blog – so I need to find the perfect way to balance this a bit better.

    I know it is all a learning curve, and that over time it will get easier – but for now, I just have to be strong, dedicate time to it where I can, and be proud in the fact that my hobby puts a little smile on my face whenever someone leaves a nice sweet comment! x

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  26. Brenna said: replied:

    Thank you for posting this. As a newbie blogger, it’s so easy to get down in the dumps or feel super overwhelmed. I think my biggest takeaway is to set “blogging hours,” so I don’t get sucked into all night blogging sessions or don’t blog for 2 weeks because “I’m too busy.”

    xx, Bubbly in Brooklyn

    11 Jun 2013 | Reply
  27. daisy said: replied:

    loved this post. all so true, and a good reminder to myself! thanks for sharing!

    12 Jun 2013 | Reply
  28. Samantha Penner said: replied:

    This is such an incredibly helpful post Victoria! I think my fiance wants to strangle me most of the time because I am always working on my blog! I need to set up a schedule like you did. Great idea!

    12 Jun 2013 | Reply
  29. Anna said: replied:

    What a great post! I’ve been blogging for about 3 months now (I’m a baby blogger), but have already felt the necessity of doing things in advance. I decided 1 post a day is the best thing for me and my jewelry business, and it’s also best to get them lined up over the weekend or at the latest, a couple of days prior to publishing. Your tips are awesome! I’m looking forward to your “Talking Shop” posts!!!
    Oh, and LOL to your Saved By the Bell reference. I absolutely remember it! :)

    12 Jun 2013 | Reply
  30. […] Blogging & Time Management Tips Written by a blogger for bloggers, but this post features tips everyone can use. Part of Victoria McGinley’s Talking Shop column on Vmac&Cheese, it’s about managing multiple projects and responsibilities. Our favorite tip? “If your blog is your second job, then you can approach it like that too. In other words, you know you’re going to be in the office during certain days and at certain times, so determining a similar schedule for your blog.” Substitute in ‘side project’, ‘freelance’ or even ‘prepping meals’ and the advice still rings true. […]

    14 Jun 2013 |
  31. Gillian said: replied:

    Thank you for this!! I am new to blogging and sometimes it can all seem very overwhelming. This is exactly what I needed to hear and from one of my favorite bloggers to boot! :)

    15 Jun 2013 | Reply
  32. […] Blogging & Time Management – Victoria of Vmac & Cheese […]

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  33. Carla said: replied:

    I loved this post and I can see myself benefiting from every tip, especially treating it like a second job, scheduling, and be on repeat.

    6 Jul 2013 | Reply
  34. Maryn said: replied:

    This is so fabulous. When’s your book coming out? I’ll be the first in line ;)

    8 Jul 2013 | Reply
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  37. Ashley Danyew said: replied:

    Thanks for sharing all of these suggestions – great post!

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  39. Michelle Lynch said: replied:

    Great blog! Random question: Do you know where that white desk in the above blog post is from? TIA.

    13 Dec 2013 | Reply
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  42. Chiara said: replied:

    Thank you for this post. I am in the middle of creating and developing a blog and I am really ready to rock it out.

    9 Apr 2014 | Reply
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  45. Adrian Buckaroogirl said: replied:

    LOVED this….thanks for all the great ideas!

    5 Aug 2014 | Reply

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