Maybe you’re a nurse who works the night shift. Maybe you’re a manager with a private practice and a list of employees. Maybe you simply work full-time and just want to have a life outside of work.
When the heck do you find time for blogging?
A lot of time management strategies will tell you to sneak in some work during your lunch break. But, what if you actually want to eat lunch during your lunch break? Crazy thought, I know.
Aside from being silly, suggestions like this don’t actually move the needle very much. I don’t know about you, but I don’t do very good work with a sandwich in one hand and my coworkers jabbering away at a table next to me.
If we’re going to be serious about blogging, which we should, we need to get some serious systems in place. If you don’t think we need to be serious about blogging, stop right now and read my post about why everyone should have a blog, especially healthcare professionals. Having a blog can be one of the best things you do for your career. Seriously.
So, with all of your work responsibilities on your plate, how do you actually make time to blog? Let’s dive into a few strategies.
Have a REALLY solid content plan
When you only have so much time to devote to your blog, it’s important that you’re using this time extremely wisely. While we all go down the wrong roads with our blogs from time to time, we want to prevent this as much as possible.
As you’re starting out, use your time to plan. Aggressively. You may feel annoyed that you aren’t creating actual content but, believe me, planning out your blog strategy from the beginning will save you a ton of time down the road.
I worked on a blog for over two years that I eventually gave up on because it was scattered and had no real focus. If I could go back in time, I would have preferred to take a few weeks to plan out the content of that blog well, as opposed to wasting two years.
Understand who you’re writing for, what you want them to know, and why they should care. Think about what you want your blog to be five years from now and think about the activities you need to do to get it there.
That means that if your audience is parents of preschoolers, you aren’t writing articles about elder care. Now, you may think this is ridiculous. How would you ever get so off track? Well, blogging is one of the best ways to fall prey to shiny object syndrome. There is always something new to look at and explore that seems more exciting than what we’re working on now. Having a really solid plan for your blog will help you stay focused and avoid the time sucking pitfalls of shiny object syndrome.
If you haven’t pulled the trigger on your blog yet, Bluehost is where I started and where I recommend other beginning bloggers to start as well. While you’ll want to switch elsewhere down the line, Bluehost’s services and customer support are fantastic for someone gaining their blogging feet.
Look for free time wherever it’s hiding
No, I’m not going to backtrack and now tell you that giving up your lunch break is the only way to find time to work on your blog. The work day is busy enough without giving up your one break. I built The Sensory Toolbox without ever needing to shove salad in my face while typing.
The first step is deciding when you actually want to work on your blog. What time do you feel the most productive and the most in the mood for writing? If this is indeed your lunch break, totally cool. For me, this time was early in the mornings and weekends. For right now, don’t plan this around your other commitments. We simply want to know the time of day that you would ideally want to work on your blog, even if it isn’t realistic given your current schedule.
Now that we know your ideal time to work on your blog, it’s time to start bullying your calendar and saying harsh words to it. No longer does it get to control you. Our goal here is to find some blogging time as close to your ideal time as possible.
Now, you may have chosen the middle of your work day as your ideal blogging time, which means we’ll have to be pretty flexible. We may not get spot on, but we’ll try to get close. Here are some ideas based on the ideal time you chose.
If this time management talk is floating your boat, you can dive in even more with my book “Your Focus Formula.” In this book, we extensively cover the best ways to hack your time and achieve your goals. It’s a bit nerdy, but that’s why it’s great.
Your ideal blogging time is the morning
If this is you, then we have a lot in common. When I was building The Sensory Toolbox, I liked getting up early, busting out a blog post, and heading off to work with a sense of accomplishment that I already clocked in my blogging hours for the day.
Here’s the catch. Many of us who feel productive in the mornings also like to workout in the mornings. This means that you’ll either need to wake up at 2am to fit everything in or, you move your workout. I decided to move my workout. It was hard at first, but I realized that I was better off using my productive morning time for writing than for a workout I could just as easily do in the afternoon.
Your ideal blogging time is the afternoon
This one can be the hardest. It is so incredibly easy to get swept up in the busyness of the day and keep pushing your blog writing aside until it’s too late. Maybe you get off work late, need to pick up the kids from practice, and forget to go grocery shopping.
If you chose the afternoon as your ideal blogging time, I would actually suggest that you reconsider the morning, evening, or even the weekend. Even if you are the most productive in the afternoons, it won’t even matter if you end up getting too busy to find time to sit down at your computer to work on your blog.
On the other hand, if you want to stick with this afternoon choice, be sure to actually block off time in your calendar for blogging. Maybe you have time between patients or you can make the most out of any no show appointments. Maybe you don’t mind writing on your cell phone and can write a blog post in the car while waiting for your kids to get out of soccer practice. Get serious about your free time in the afternoons and block it off for blogging.
Your ideal blogging time is the evening
Now, I am not an evening blogger myself, so the fact that people can sit down and write coherent sentences after a long day of work boggles my mind. But, a lot of people do!
If this is you, one of the most important things to do is to evaluate the work you’re doing in the evenings. Is it actually good? Or, does the stress of the day show through? Many of us tell ourselves that the evenings are the best for working because they tend to be our biggest source of free time. But, this assessment is fully based on scheduling and not mental capacity. Be honest with yourself if the evenings are actually the best time for you to produce quality work or not.
Take a look at your weekends
I LOVE working on my blog during the weekends. My mind is fresh, I’m more relaxed, and I can easily bust out content that would have taken my overworked brain double the time during the work week.
Now, I know what the argument is here. When we all work so hard during the week, none of us want to give up our weekends just to do more work. But, there’s no need to give up your entire weekend. I generally look ahead at my plans for the weekend and pick a couple of hours to blog. Simple as that. I don’t need to sacrifice my whole weekend, or even a whole day of it. Just a few hours.
Granted, the amount of time you dedicate to your blog depends on how quickly you want it to grow. That said, a few hours on a Saturday morning is more than enough time to write a blog post and keep your blog growing at a steady rate.
Find reasons to enjoy your blog
We all make time for things we enjoy. This is why we could have the busiest schedules in the world, but still find time to get sucked into a Harry Potter marathon.
There are times when I don’t enjoy working on my blog at all. It’s hard work and, sometimes, it feels like it. Most of the time though, I really enjoy working on my blog. This is a game changer.
At the end of the day, one of the best ways to use time efficiently is to avoid procrastination. It’s rare we procrastinate on things we enjoy.
Because I enjoy working on my blog, I don’t mind waking up early to write a post or using part of my Saturday to sit at my computer. I also use my free time much more wisely. I’ve found myself rushing through other tasks just so I can have an extra few minutes to log in to my blog. I’ve been known to write blog posts on road trips, airplanes, and grocery store lines.
When you enjoy working on your blog, you’ll naturally find time for it. While blogging will always be hard work, try to optimize your enjoyment of your blog. You’ll find that you’re wasting less time and actually feeling motivated to drive your blog forward.