For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links to products used in this craft from Amazon.com. Purchasing products from these links does not cost you any extra money, but it does direct a small portion of the profits to me. For more information about my affiliate status, see the right sidebar.
At the start of 2020, I decided that my goal would be to post two blog posts a week. Compared to other bloggers, I know that this isn’t much, but I’m balancing a blog, an Etsy shop, a part time job, family obligations, and just life in general. Last week (the second week of January) I already failed on making my goal. Before I started typing this post up, I even thought to myself, “Is it really that important for me to post twice a week? I mean, it is, but can’t it start NEXT week instead?”
I quickly realized committing to my goals is worth the extra effort, so that led me to question why I wanted to push off my goal. What was it that was keeping me from posting my second post of the week? The answer: what I perceived to be a lack of time. You see, I have my weekly goals of revamping my SEO strategy on Etsy and improving my graphic designs. If I split my attention to too many different areas, then I would be doing everything halfway, right?
That is a legitimate fear, but not the real problem for me this week. I have the time to do everything right. I just had to make it a priority.
This may seem like a rabbit trail at first, but bear with me. I love watching TED talks. There are a lot that I go back to over and over again, but one in particular is called “How To Gain Control Of Your Free Time” by Laura Vanderkam. In this talk, she discusses how there are many methods to save time in minuscule ways and contradicts that practice. Early in the talk, she states very succinctly that “we build the lives we want, and then time saves itself.”
She completed a case study of very busy people who willingly kept a log of how they spent their time. One woman in the study had her water heater suddenly break during the week, and so she had to pour seven hours of her time into getting that fixed and fixing the water damage it did to her home. Surely at the start of the week, this woman hadn’t thought that she had 7 hours of free time during a week. But letting that water heater situation go ignored wasn’t an option, and so she somehow “found” seven whole hours to deal with it.
“The key to time management is treating our priorities as the equivalent of that broken water heater,” Laura explains. In other words, we have to treat what we want to do with the urgency of dealing with something that cannot be ignored.
Laura met with another very busy woman who explained her perspective on time management. “Rather than say, ‘I don’t have time to do x, y, or z,‘ she’d say ‘I don’t do x, y, or z because it’s not a priority.’ Often ‘I don’t have time’ often means ‘it’s not a priority.'”
Oof, that one hits hard. Because the truth is, I do have time time to type up two blog posts. I had to admit to myself that coming up with another topic for this week’s Thursday’s Thoughts wasn’t a priority and that my priorities were different. What were they? Catch up on This Is Us. Spend hours on Pinterest looking for inspiration. Daydream about the future without actually pursuing my goals.
In the latter half of her TED talk, Laura gives some ideas for defining your goals and how to find the time to accomplish them. She recommends that we put our goals into schedules first.
For me, this means that if I have it in my schedule to type up a rough draft on a Tuesday, then that means that I’m typing it up on Tuesday. Not Wednesday, not Thursday, not next week or next month. And if I work on it on Monday instead, great! But only if Monday’s goals are already done.
When it comes to me, another one of my struggles is that I will do something on my goal list, but I’ll tackle the items that have no “due date” as opposed to the ones that have deadlines. An example from just a few days ago is this: I bought an antique desk that I’m determined to fix up and use in my work space. That’s a good project to work on! It’s teaching me new skills, it’s something I can blog about, and it’ll be very useful when it’s all done.
The problem with working on that desk on Sunday was that I was supposed to be finishing up my Monday DIY post during the afternoon. I ignored blog post (which has a due date) verses my fun hobby project that’ll get done when it gets done. So time management isn’t just about making a project a priority; it’s about prioritizing one project over the other. I should have been working on what was due Monday instead of my open-ended project, even if it is a good thing to work on.
So how do you make time for blogging? You make it a priority. You put it in your schedule. You enforce your schedule and don’t ignore it. There are 168 hours in a week. If you set aside five hours for writing up and editing blog posts, then you have 163 hours left in the week to accomplish everything else that needs to be done.
If you’re a newer blogger, you’ll quickly find that five hours may not be enough to conceive of your post, type up a rough draft, edit, add pictures, make final revisions, do SEO research, etc. That’s okay. Write it into your schedule as necessary. Some weeks it’ll take longer than expected and some weeks it’ll take less time than you expected. But no matter the case, once you make your blog a priority, time will adjust itself to fit that priority just like the hot water heater.
Here are 5 practical tips I have for finding time to blog
1. Invest in a planner
I’m more of a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of person. I don’t like to be held down by plans. But you know what? I also don’t like scrambling for a blog topic a day before I’m supposed to post it. So, I invested in a planner. There are plenty of good ones on Amazon of course. A lot of places have planners on sale for the month of January because they know people want to start off the year organized!
Let me tell you, I’m shocked at how much I like having a planner. I don’t write down a million and one details, and that’s okay–I don’t need all the details down. But it certainly helps to have a structure that guides you towards being productive and knowing what you’re doing.
2. Don’t ignore your schedule
Having a schedule and a planner doesn’t do you any good if you ignore it (like I did with my Sunday afternoon). There are consequences to not following the plan. Sometimes you’ll still be able to knock it out of the park and write an awesome blog post, but other times you’ll feel so rushed to get it posted that deep down inside, you know that the quality’s not what you want it to be.
3. Allot yourself more time than you expect
When you consider all the factors that go into making a solid blog post, it’s no wonder things end up taking longer than expected. Like I said up above, there’s a lot that goes into each post! Break it down step by step and then calculate how long you think it’ll all take you. Then multiply the time by 25%. So, if you think it’ll take 4 hours to complete your blog post, multiply that time (4 hours x .25, which equals 1 hour) and add that to your total time. Now you have a more reasonable time set, and if you get it done early, you feel good about yourself!
4. Find an accountability partner
Find someone who won’t let you take the easy/lazy way out. BUT don’t pick someone who will bully you into writing; being coerced into writing is a surefire way to make you feel like writing a blog is a chore, not a fun way to express yourself or share what you know with others. Your accountability partner should be firm but gracious and encourage you when you successfully reach your goals. Plus, it’ll give you someone to share your good news with. There’s a Swedish proverb that says “shared joy is a double joy.” Sharing joy only causes it to increase in you and in others, so share your victories. The proverb goes on to say that “shared sorrow is half sorrow.” If you fall short because of a bad week at work, sickness, etc, share with someone you care about so that you can be comforted. The blogging path is about connecting with others, so connect with people in your life.
5. Find joy in what you’re doing
Not every part of creating an epic blog post is fun. As much as I love typing up blog posts and making my Pinterest graphics, I have a hard time finding joy in the SEO research portion of it. When it comes to these moments, I remind myself that even the unpleasant parts of blogging are worth the joy of being able to share my thoughts, my knowledge, and myself with other people. Don’t forget why you started your blog in the first place. Keeping that spark alive certainly helps with motivating you to pursue it wholeheartedly and THAT gives you the motivation to find time to blog.
Those are my five tips on finding time to blog. Hopefully you found them useful! If you did, please consider sharing this post on Pinterest, Facebook, or Instagram to pass it on to other people. Also be sure to subscribe to my email list for weekly DIY tutorials and posts about life/blogging lessons.