How to Blog Productively: 16 Experts Reveal Their Secrets
What is your goal for your blog?
Is it to get page views? Traffic seems to be most bloggers’ dream.
Do you have a number in mind? 100 page views a day? 1,000 page views a day?
A blogger, who has been blogging for six years, who I consider successful, told me if she has 100 page views, she is having a bad day, and if she gets 1,000 page views, she is having a good day.
1,000 page views?
On a day I consider “good,” I try to follow the advice I share with my readers. Treat others like you would want to be treated. If you want page views, you should visit others’ blogs and also give them traffic.
However, many of my readers and I work outside the home. How are we supposed to find time to visit all those people each day and still find time for a job and a personal life?
Many of my readers write me to explain they are looking for this answer. Someone wrote and told me everyone wants to know how to find time for everything in the course of a day.
“Everyone” is in luck. I asked 16 blogging experts how they have time to balance blogging and life, and they have graciously agreed to tell us.
According to the blog BatteredHope,
In the last decade or more, people seem to be getting busier and having less time to do the things that are important to them.
Note these comments I received from readers:
Yep, it’s a distant met, sleep I mean, but yep I get it! What I would really like is more hours in a day – that’s not going to happen, anytime soon!
No matter what you do, no matter how organized you are… it’s never going to MAKE you time. It will never add minutes to your day…
…my husband might die laughing if he were to ever find out that I’m attempting to write anything of this nature, but I suppose because I struggle so much balancing life and work, I’m the perfect person to write about it. Who better, after all, to write about the struggles of balance than someone who experiences them constantly? (And I suppose that’s all of us)*
…it seems to never be enough time in a day….sigh…so much to do, so little time…
I look forward to your coming post about how to save time blogging. If you can show me how to make things easier, I am all ears. Since my following has gotten so huge, trying to keep up has been a monumental task. As it is I’ve cut way back on leaving comments on other blogs compared to what I used to do. I’ve been closing comments on my blog on certain posts. To… carry on a busy life and blog …. some days I don’t know how to continue. It would be so nice to have a manager to promote my work. Seeing I don’t, I’ve been doing the best I know how to. I really appreciate any help you can give me.
There are issues of balance – I see the greater issue to be more one of priorities.
Let’s see what the experts said:
In an attempt to answer the question, I interviewed blogging experts to find out how they balance these tasks.
1. It can be difficult to fit blogging into a busy work life, social life and find time to relax. It is more than doable. You just need to be organized. I have a very detailed Gmail calendar which I stick to and segment off time to be creative and to write.
I also use Evernote to jot down proposed blog post titles when they come to me. I like to plan out the subject and structure when I am on the bus or the tube. I find this can be a great use of time and a wonderful way to take advantage of ‘dead time’.
It is also important to work fast, do not give in to distractions. Write, proof and publish. Adam Vowles, www.adamvowles.co.uk
2. Blogging is my life. It is my full-time job. Stuart Walker, nichehacks.com
3. Challenging! One lesson is to know why you are doing it. I wanted to stay home with my kids- I make sure to make time for them. Andrea Vahl, Co-author of Facebook Marketing All-in-One for Dummies, AndreaVahl.com
4. Well, actually to me there is no separation between the two. As an individual and a professional, I want to be updated with all latest trends and news that concerns my field of expense. However, I always try to prioritize my daily tasks and save a couple of hours for some “me” time! Kostas Valsamidis, beakon.co.uk
5. I run both my website Beyond Your Blog and a personal blog, Pecked To Death By Chickens, and it can be overwhelming at times. In order to juggle, I only work on blog-related things when my two small kids are napping or after they go to sleep at night. On occasion my husband or a family member is watching them and I sneak some work in as well. My husband is great about spending the day with them one or two weekend days a month while I devote a full day to working. I find that when I do get some time to work on my blog and website, I work more efficiently when I know my time is limited, vs. picking it up on and off throughout the day. I tend to do less social media and more with content, which I think is more beneficial in the long run. Ultimately family comes first and blogs second, which keeps me sane and much happier than letting the blogs run me ragged. I can forgive a blog slip up, but it can be harder to fix a family slip up. Susan Maccarelli, Beyond Your Blog
6. Setting a goal for creative practice seemed a good way of being intentional about something I value. My target was an average of 20 hours a week.
This target reinforced the idea that I was taking this work seriously, even if it did not have the obvious extrinsic benefits my day job did: being useful in the marketplace, contributing to the social good, paying my bills. The writing would involve journal work, blogging, memoir and poetry. (I list these in increasing order of difficulty – at least for me – where craft is concerned.) Developing my skills as a performance storyteller was somehow supposed to fit into those 20 hours as well.
I have other core values in my life besides work and creativity.
Homemaking, relationships, self-care. I’ve long used a time and task manager in an effort to give all of these areas their due. It’s an approach I learned from Stephen Covey. Paula Reed Nancarrow, PaulaReedNancarrow.com
7. For me, blogging and life go along, and they are one of the same thing. I don’t bound myself to work in exact timing. I do start my day with a long run and writing after that. Usually my goal is to work eight hours a day, and every day is like weekend. Harsh Agrawal, ShoutMeLoud
10. The first rule I follow is to block out certain hours in my work schedule for personal life, the various work and other affairs. For this, you need to have a proper routine and follow certain time management techniques. It helps to create a time table in print or in your mind. (Writing down might open your mind to more ideas to make it better.)
However, if you are working from home, it is not easy to separate blogging and life into different compartments, but if you create a schedule and develop a habit to follow it, it certainly helps. You can of course be flexible, but never compromise on ‘your time’ with your work, family, and your health.
After years of blogging, I have now changed my schedule by allotting more time to my daily walks, exercises, cooking, and spending time with my children. Believe me, this really helps you recharge and be happy.
Blogging is very demanding and sometimes there is no end of doing things, but you need to learn to curb your perfectionist desires and put a limit to what all you can do. This also includes limiting your social media time.
While blogging is important, there is much more to life. Living a balanced life will bring you more happiness. All you need to do is plan, be in control of yourself, be ready to make some compromises, and be determined. Harleena Singh, aha-now.com
11. I balance blogging and my personal life by having distinct office hours. I work from home and “go to work” down the hall. When I am done with work, I turn off the lights and close the door just like I was leaving an off-site office. The best part of working from home is that I can make time during the day to enjoy coffee with friends or a business lunch away from the office. Anne McAuley, mcauleyfreelancewriting.com
12. I only blog for about four hours a week to be honest. I have a lot of (guest) authors now and less time to write on my own. Jacob Cass, Just Creative
13. I frequently get asked how I balance my life and my online life which consists of YouTube videos, new song every week, and of course blogging. At first I set myself a schedule that I had to follow every week to get into the habit of posting consistently. At first I had to learn through trial and error by living my schedule I created. I realized some things didn’t correlate with my daily activities, so I had to adjust my weekly posting schedule to what would work for me. If you create a schedule and follow it, you will be very successful in posting, and it will start to become a habit. Another key to balance day to day life and blogging is to not over stress. If you stress out on a blog post or have writer’s block don’t worry, take a breather and come back to your project. When there are a million things happening in life and it feels so hectic just stay on schedule and keep calm. I’ve seen too many times the negative affects of stress on individuals and their work. Balancing life and blogging can be tough, but there is a secret that will keep you going no matter what and that’s motivation. If you keep your head high and keep pushing with a passion you will start becoming more successful in your work and blogging. I have realized that motivation is what keeps me going most days. When an individual is motivated to do something they will do it with out dreading any of the work that has to go into it. Stay motivated; I have a passion for blogging and my everyday motivation is to change lives. Find something that can motivate you to put in the work that is needed and to succeed. Always keep a positive mind-set, and it will make balancing the craziness of life and blogging. Connor Olivier, TheOfficialCEO.com
14. That is a tough question to answer, as it depends so much on one’s situation. My schedule is largely organized around the schedule of my household, specifically my younger daughter, whom I put on the school bus each morning. Blogging is a big deal, because a post takes me about an hour to draft. During that hour, I turn off Skype and social media (or at least, that’s what I tell myself).
I like to let my posts sit for 24 hours before reviewing, editing and creating the pic, so I make sure to reserve that hour the day previous to publishing. I blog weekly at http://thgmwriters.com/blog/ and monthly on a few other places. On publishing day, I pretty much assume that my main activity that morning will be publishing, sharing and promoting the post. That usually takes about two hours, mostly that morning, but some spread over the next few days (monitoring how it’s doing at Viral Content Buzz, sharing Triberr and JustRetweet posts of other people, etc.)
How does this all relate to personal life and balance? During the designated work hours, work comes first. Sure, there are times when emergencies take me away (for example, when the guck gets stuck: http://www.business2community.com/business-innovation/set-fire-septic-tank-01149461 ), but priority is to clients, blogging and social networking. And in summertime, I often do take multiple short breaks to feel the sun on my face, because taking breaks is important for personal well-being. In wintertime, I often run up and down the stairs to get my blood flowing, but that’s not quite the same thing (no sun on my face).
During off hours, priority is to the family. If everyone goes off the huddle around the TV (I am not a TV person, unless Doctor Who is playing), I’ll catch up on some of my work, and often it is in the evening that I will write a blog post for one of the other sites I post at. But that is while the family is all distracted and has no need/time/attention span for me. When kids need help with homework, or butts kicked to practice their dances or songs, I am there. When the litter box needs emptying, I am there (often a couple days late, but still, that counts).
So if I was to make a recommendation as to how someone should find time to balance their blogging life with their personal life, I would say to consider the people in the household. Look at their schedule and when it is most important to be there for them. Then make a schedule and stick to it as much as possible, to blog and do whatever other work you need to do, within those times when nobody else will notice that you are at your computer. Sticking to a schedule, but being flexible to the ebbs and flows of other people’s schedules works well for me. David Leonhardt, President of The Happy Guy Marketing, [email protected]
15. How do I find the time to balance blogging and life? My actual answer to that is this piece of wisdom: “You will never find time to have balance, you can only work to have life balance within the time that you have.”
Balance is something I work very hard at. The way that I keep balance is to know myself, know my priorities, and know the motivations I have in both life and work. It is very difficult to be a creative type and then also be diligent in the mundane things of life that are not creative or challenging. Hard decisions are made daily for the sake of balanced living. But LIVING is the goal. Not blogging. Living. Jill Levenhagen, www.blogchickablog.com
16. I make sure I do a bit of everything each week… I uplug each week, too, to enjoy life. Lorraine Reguly, http://lorrainereguly.com
Excluding the answer that balance is not attainable, the experts shared eleven different ideas.
We can never get back time. Hopefully, these suggestions provide enough variety that everyone can find a valuable suggestion to use to try to stretch time to fit more in.
Readers, if you believe others could benefit from these productivity tips on how to balance writing and life, please share.
What were your opinions of the interview? Did you feel gender played a part in the discrepancy of the answers? I look forward to your views.
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