How to Balance Blogging with a Full-time Job: Advice From the Pros

For the first two years of my blogging career, I churned out 2-3 posts a week rather easily. But once I moved to Denver and started a full-time job, I floundered. How on earth do people have the time or energy to do this after work? I wondered, with barely enough energy to watch Scandal.

While I’ve since figured out a blogging strategy (schedule posts on Sundays, draft posts during lunch at work) I still struggle to get posts out as consistently as I once did. Which is why I wanted to start this series on “Balancing Blogging”, and hear from bloggers who balance their blogs with full-time jobs, teaching abroad, au pairing or school.

Today we’re hearing from bloggers like me, who balance blogging while working full-time. I’m so excited to share with you all of their wise advice so take it away ladies!

How to balance blogging with a full-time job

Image Courtesy of Sateless Suitcase

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Welcome, Whitney! So have you always blogged and worked, or at one point did you have more time for your blog?

I’ve always blogged and worked. Or blogged and studied (back when I was a student).

What’s your advice on balancing blogging and a full-time job?

I wish I had some sage advice but if truth be told… it is a challenge. The difficulty lies in balancing work responsibilities, blogging, AND having a social life. Not to mention finding the time to create NEW content. I’m not going to have a lot to blog about if I’m always stuck behind a computer screen… that’s for sure!

I think the secret is utilizing the time that you already have. I don’t want to sacrifice all of my evenings or my sacred weekends but I do have time. My employer gives me an hour-long lunch break. During the winter when I tend to hide indoors a bit more, I can easily squeeze 30 minutes of writing on my break.

I also try my hand at multi-tasking. For example, in between loads of laundry I usually end up editing photos or adding the finishing touches to a post. It’s all about time management and finding the “lost time” that we can reclaim. Some of my best ideas come to me during my morning commute. Since I have the luxury of riding transit this means I’m free to jot notes on my smart phone that I can fine-tune later.

It’s not going to look the same for everyone but I guarantee that you have time hiding somewhere. You just have to look for it!

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Have you always blogged and worked, or at one point did you have more time for your blog?

I’ve always blogged and worked, but it was much easier to do when I lived in Paris and my job involved me being offline and outside, often running around the city. Back then, it was enjoyable to come home and spend six hours on the computer crafting blog posts, after being out all day for work.

These days, when I have a job that already requires working on a laptop 8+ hours during the day, it’s difficult to come home and spend even more time staring at my computer screen. I want to see friends, read a book, just turn my mind off — and that really makes blog productivity go down.

 

What’s your advice on balancing blogging and a full-time job?

Small steps. I used to get all my blog posts done in one fell swoop — choosing photos, editing them, writing and rewriting — and most posts took around 6-8 hours (because I take a lot photos and am a perfectionist, an exhausting combination).

Now I try to do a little bit each night after work — so I’ll take a few days to organize and cull photos, a couple more to edit them, and a day to write the post. My output may be smaller, but this way I make sure I don’t burn out while still making progress on the blog.

 

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Have you always blogged and worked, or at one point did you have more time for your blog?

When I first launched Let Us Wanderlust in September 2013, I’d left behind my career in Australia to pursue a life of travel on the road. I spent six months travelling full-time all across Canada and around the US and would blog about my adventures 3-4 times a week, using my 7 inch tablet to write posts, edit pictures and engage on social media.

With constant lack of wifi and no computer, it was a real challenge at times, but the memories I managed to capture over those six months were well worth the struggle!  Since returning home to Australia 9 months ago, I have settled back into the 9-5 work routine and I blog three times a week.

What’s your advice on balancing blogging and a full-time job?

Balance is something I am in constant pursuit of in all areas of my life, including the amount of time and energy I invest in my blog, so I don’t purport to have all the answers here! In fact, my word for 2015 is balance, as it’s something that seems so hard to strike but is so worthwhile striving for.

My best advice is to be as organised as you can when it comes to blogging. I carry a notebook/phone with my at all times (even when at work!) so I can jot down post ideas as they come to me, I write posts in advance (not every one, but I try my hardest to strive towards that!) one weekend a month or on a day off from work, and I use a planner to help me plan out my post schedule.

I have played around with various online editorial calendars but nothing works better for me than a planner and post-it notes – I can move posts around without my planner looking like a hot mess! Being organised and having a plan really helps me find balance between blogging, my full-time job and all the other things I’m doing in my life. It also allows me to take a step back from the online world as much as possible so I can just enjoy my life with the people I care about. Because at the end of the day, that’s what matters most to me.

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Have you always blogged and worked, or at one point did you have more time for your blog? 

I had more time to write when I was still a grad student, but I ever since launching my blog back in 2012, I’ve put quality over quantity.

I know some of the long-established bloggers advise newbie bloggers to write at least four articles per week, but even as a student I didn’t have that much time to spare. Still, in my first year of blogging, I tried to stick to a writing schedule that had a photo essay planned for Mondays, and a longer piece of travel advice, stories, or other musings due on Thursdays.

When I started working as a medievalist in the fall of 2013, I had to cut back the number of weekly posts. However this also resulted in me feeling less pressured into my strict schedule corset. Today, I rarely ever post twice a week, but I only share meaningful pieces created out of real inspiration unsuppressed by the need to “just get something out there.”

What’s your advice on balancing blogging and a full-time job?

Honestly, I still haven’t figured this out entirely, but since my hours at work are quite flexible, I’ve often found myself writing for my blog in the mornings while having breakfast — morning coffee and creativity just go so well together!

This is probably the best balancing advice I can give: Find a day, or a time of the day, that fits into your work schedule, but that also leaves you with enough time to think and be creative. Also: Try to get away from the computer screen every once in a while, especially if both of your obligations involve working on a PC. Sometimes I feel like all the technology is sucking the life out of me, and I can’t think of anything to write while staring at a blinking cursor on an empty page any longer — but I don’t stress myself out, or force myself to write.

Instead I just read random fiction, go for a walk, or just people-watch in a café. Clearing your head and giving your eyes a computer screen break really does wonders for creativity sometimes and it will absolutely pay off for your day job and your blog!

 

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Have you always blogged and worked, or at one point did you have more time for your blog?

I’ve always blogged and worked. I had a different blog before Pies + Travel that I basically never updated. Once I started traveling more consistently with my partner, I knew I had to get serious about blogging so I created Pies + Travel for my ongoing travels, but also to highlight a few pie recipes I had from my 50-pie challenge and bits that I love about Atlanta. It’s been fun so far and I really love connecting with people all over the internet and the world.
I like the posting frequency I have right now since it’s perfect for my work schedule. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to blogs, just be yourself and do what you love.

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Have you always blogged and worked, or at one point did you have more time for your blog?

In some capacity I’ve always blogged and worked, it was just much less than I blog currently. I guess the crazy profession of a marketing copywriter demands an alternative creative outlet more often now, which is something my blog provides. Or, it could be I have less free time and therefore the pressure to get it done wins. Nothing like good ol’ time constraints to light a fire under my bum.

What’s your advice on balancing blogging and a full-time job?

Weekends are obviously key for getting an arsenal of posts on deck for the upcoming weeks that you can schedule. During the regular work week, I maintain social media accounts for my site and often find myself typing away on new posts during The Real Housewives at night (this is a judgment-free zone). The hubster and I have a minor obsession with traveling, so I’ve tried to utilize the down time at airports or on planes to whip through some words. Sometimes the people watching and Bloody Mary’s distract me. I can’t help it!

Blogging and working full-time isn’t a perfect science. I try not to be too hard on myself when work gets busy and I can’t muster up creating what I think is a worthwhile post. I just do what I can, when I can.

Helpful tip: I’m running my 2nd half-marathon this month insert < AHHHHH!!! here> and find that during training runs, I often think of great topics to write about. So I have an ongoing “Post Ideas” document on my Google Drive where all of my crazy ideas are housed. It’s been great in a pinch when I know I need to write something and I’m not feeling inspired.

 

Thank you to all the ladies who contributed to this post! There were so many contributors that a part two is coming soon. Also needed- bloggers who balance blogging with au pairing, school OR teaching English abroad!

. . . . . . . . . . .

What about you? Do you have any sage advice on how to balance blogging with full-time job?

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About Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is a travel and lifestyle blogger who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since college she has au paired in Paris, backpacked the world solo, and lived in Uganda. Her work has been featured by Buzzfeed, Forbes, TripAdvisor, and Glamour Magazine.

62 thoughts on “How to Balance Blogging with a Full-time Job: Advice From the Pros”

  1. I love this series, Ashley! I’m in law school in Germany which requires a lot, a lot of time studying and I often have to consciously take a little bit of time off for blogging because I would never get anything done otherwise! :) I love the suggestions of all these bloggers and I’m definitely going to try to incorporate some of them into my own writing routine, because it’s always a struggle! And if you’re still looking for people who balance blogging with school then I would love to help out in a future installment of this series! :)

    • Hi Melanie, so glad you found the post useful! I totally know what you mean- sometimes you just have to put work/life before blogging. And did you get my email? I’m excited to have you on board!

  2. Whatever you do, don’t write from the couch! I always have it in my mind to do some writing when I get home from work but as soon as my tush hits the couch I get wayyyy too comfortable and not a lot of writing (or anything really) gets done. Use a table/desk/whatever.

    Also, since I don’t always have time to write in the formal sense, I take A LOT of random notes on post-its, my phone, my hand, etc. Don’t believe what you’re brain tells you all the time – you will NOT remember this later.

    Good luck to everyone!

  3. Love this post! While I just manage my blogging business now, I used to work full-time and blog at the same time. It was definitely tiring, but well worth it

  4. fun read! Caroline- I am not judging on your housewife watching. As soon as I finish this comment I’m watching the finale of the RHOBH I downloaded, then starting NYC.. then you mention bloody marys (umm love them) and I keep a post idea document as well…. but then the running half marathons was when I thought nope we aren’t the same person! haha

  5. Everyone has made such good points! I work part-time, so it’s definitely easier for me to do some blogging on a regular basis, but sometimes I’m just so emotionally exhausted from my work that I don’t feel I have anything to say! I’m grateful to know that a lot of folks are learning as they go… and hopefully we all figure out a routine that works for us, personally.

    • Part-time would be ideal- steady income but plenty of free time :). And yes, I feel like I’ve learned so much about time management this year and become worlds more efficient- I actually want to write a post about blogging tips to be faster!

  6. It’s nice to read an article about this, it’s exactly the thing we’re facing now. We like to work on this full time, but that’s not possible. I think the right balance will change constantly. But soon we’re going to Myanmar and during the bus rides enough time to write!

  7. Really great ideas everyone! As a student/blogger, these tips are so valuable. A lot of you seem to write posts bit by bit throughout the day as you think of things, and that is such a great idea. I find myself thinking of things to write while walking my dog or in the shower, and I should really start keeping a digital notebook on my phone. Might not help in the shower so much though… Am I the only one who wants a waterproof iPad in the shower?

    Ahh back to data analysis :)

    • I totally know what you mean. I especially think as a travel blogger it’s important to write down notes as you travel- you forget sooo much and trying to remember tiny details after the fact is basically impossible.

  8. Glad to hear from bloggers with full tie jobs outside of blogging. Sometimes I feel so so guilty if I only manage to post once a week, but I don’t want to sacrifice going out with friends or experiencing new things to write blog posts. As an Au Pair, I use babysitting nights like tonight to get a few drafts done and maybe even schedule one or two posts :)

    ExploresMore.com

  9. Really appreciate these great words of advice as I am planning on looking for a Grown-Up Job when I move back to Texas after teaching English abroad and would still like to continue writing and blogging despite settling down more or less long-term. Let me know if you need more contributors for your part two/from an angle of teaching abroad!

  10. You received lots of suggestions and it sounds as if it is not easy to have
    A full time Job and find time to blog, yet you all are doing it! I enjoyed
    reading all the contributions. I say, keep on blogging for there is an interested
    Audience!

    Love,

    Gamma

    • Thanks for the words of encouragement, Gamma! I keep blogging because I love the random opportunities that pop up: new friends, travel experiences, press opportunities, extra cash. And also just because I love writing and photography! Love, Ashley

  11. I don’t have any words of wisdom as I constantly struggle with this myself so I’m so glad you posted this today. One thing that makes me feel a little better is that all these great blogs don’t post as often per week as I seem to think I need to do (and then rarely succeed at). I think it’s time to remove some of the pressure!

    • Great rule! I should probably implement that myself. Maybe just knowing I only have the one day would be enough to keep me falling down the rabbit hole on the internet and coming up hours later with nothing productive to show for my time. :-)

  12. This is great! I love seeing how other bloggers find time to keep up with daily responsibilities + blogging. Weekends are definitely a great time to catch up but can sometimes be busy. A lot of times I write at night while watching TV!

    • I would struggle with that as I can’t multitask and have a one-track mind. The benefit of that is that when I focus, I hyper-focus :). But yes, I agree that Sunday afternoon is basically the perfect time to catch up on blogging.

    • Totally agree! I always feel guilty that I’m not solidly getting 2-3 posts out a week anymore but then I remind myself that I have a full-time job now and 2-3 posts would mean I have no life.

  13. Thanks so much Ashley for having me on Ashley Abroad! I’m loving all the advice from the other bloggers here and all the advice in the comments! So great to know how many of us are balancing blogging and working! X

  14. I find the biggest problem is balancing working, blogging, and staying healthy. It’s easy to squeeze social life in whenever you want to if you work on computers all day, go out with friends, and spend the evenings working on your blog it really cuts into the time you can be outside or doing something healthy!

    I find having wordpress apps on my gadgets helps me with drafting posts, especially if you have a public transport commute or fly a lot!

    • Totally! I have NO IDEA how to balance working out, social life, work, blogging and cooking/cleaning. To be honest I just ski and hike on weekends and then consider that my workout, haha.

  15. I struggle with this so much. It’s not just the balancing blogging with working that’s difficult, but adding a social life and a hobby – mine’s language learning, which is also the focus of my blog… Oftentimes it feels like I have to choose between writing about learning a language or spending time actually studying.

    Time for a plan. Thanks for all the tips, ladies!

    • It’s funny you mention that, I’m signing up for French classes at the Alliance Francaise this month and now I’m wondering how I will balance language learning in addition to everything else. Gotta do what you love though!

    • I’ve balanced work, language classes and social life before, but not blogging at the same time. For me blogging easily slips to the back burner because I prefer the other 3.

      It’s easier to add in language study when you have timetabled classes because you have to show up. And if you’re interested enough, you can easily squeeze in some extra study at home. Maybe not as much as you’d like, but some. Good luck!

  16. I’m so glad you’ve started these series – I can so relate to this! I’ve always blogged and worked full time… Not only that, but my work is overly time-consuming and demanding (think: regular 90-100 work weeks and countless sleep deprivation).

    I haven’t really found a nice balance between the two (or three, if I add anything else to the mix, like, social life, holidays, etc.). What I’ve learned from my +4 years of doing both is that it’s better to write when you actually have something to say than to try to write anything uninspiring just to fill up the blogging schedule. So, if you’re blocked… the solution is really actually to go out and live – even if that means blogging a bit less :)

  17. Thank you for posting this Ashley! I sometimes feel really guilty when I go through a phrase where all I can do after work is lie down and watch Scandal! :) Sometimes I’m just so exhausted though. I feel much better after reading this!

    I try to get some work done during my lunch break, and I try to do social media and watermarking photos on my phone whenever I can, either on the commute or waiting in line. It makes me feel like I’m reclaiming precious time.
    Looking forward to the next post on this :)

  18. This is such a great idea – I often wonder how others manage full time work with full time (more or less) blogging. Today is my last day of full-time employment – I am going part time for many reasons but mainly to increase my freelance work and have time to blog! I am so excited that I might actually have the time and energy to write regular posts – over the last year really it has been sporadic to say the least! I feel like I could manage a full time job with blogging if my job stayed firmly within the hours of 9-5, but mine was a full time job that invaded my life late into the evenings and for the last few months, both days every weekend, and, blogging aside, it became totally unsustainable for health reasons. I may go back to full time, but not in that job!

    • Thanks Ashley – I am excited too! I finally allowed myself to acknowledge last year that life as a lawyer is really not for me, so I am gradually making small changes which hopefully will end up in a complete career change sometime in the future! Life suddenly seems full of possibility again! :-)

  19. This was such an interesting (and informative) read. I have only had my travel blog for around 2 months but it’s such a time sink already, hehe.

    I’m self employed for ‘real’ work and things are fairly quiet right now so I do have spare time to commit to growing my baby blog, but there is a little voice in the back of my mind constantly reminding me that the amount of time I’m spending on it now isn’t sustainable!

    All these tips will help me so much, thank you :)

    • It’s definitely a time suck but can be super worthwhile! I’m really grateful that I had tons of free time for my first year of blogging- I don’t know how I would’ve grown it with a 9-5- that’s impressive!

  20. Such a great column Ashley. It’s so nice to see other bloggers that are similar to ourselves and have a “real” life as opposed to blogging every day. I know that’s the done thing but to be honest, I can’t stand bloggers who post every day as firstly, I can’t read them all, and secondly, if I’m not reading them, I’m going to unsubscribe LOL!

    I’m also looking forward to having some new blogs to read too. Great stuff, and well done ladies. :) :)

  21. Ashley- this was such an amazing post to read because it makes you realize that everyone out there trying to blog and write has a MILLION other things to do. Whether it be a full time job, full time travel, full time social life, whatever it is… all of us deal with the same exact time constraint of 24 precious little hours. I loved the different view points, and it is so interesting to see how/when/where other bloggers find time to blog!

  22. Great advice and post! We’ve only been doing it for about 8 months now and yup, it’s like having 2 full time jobs! :) I’d say whats working for us is using our lunch breaks wisely!

  23. This is me now! Great post. I share the same sentiment as Edna — computer work all day makes blogging afterward a tough act to follow. I use to crank out two a week. Now, I’m lucky if I can do 1. :T

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