How to Balance Blogging with a Full Time Job

How does balancing blogging with a full time job involve a sexy Viking god vampire?

(This was originally published as a guest post for Boston Food Bloggers.)

Between blogging, my full time job as a media supervisor for an ad agency, being a grad student, running, hosting events, and maintaining an active social life, I feel like I’m doing a pretty decent job of managing my time. So if, like me, you’re also balancing blogging with other obligations, then read on.

Here are five simple tips on finding a good blog-life balance:

1. Write posts ahead of time.

This is THE MOST important and useful tip I can give you. Because let’s get something straight: it really all comes down to one thing – time management.

I try to schedule my blog posts in advance, and always carry a notebook with me to jot down ideas on future blog posts. When I have some down time, and I already know what I want to write about, I make drafts and save them, then just polish it before publishing. When I know I’m going to have an extremely busy week ahead, I try to cook a lot during the weekends and document it, writing several blog posts in one sitting, then scheduling them out over the following days/weeks.

There’s an added benefit too to writing a post a few days before publishing it – it gives you the chance to rethink it and look at it with a fresher perspective right before you click “publish”. So if you can, try to plan ahead and schedule your blog posts, then write them ahead of time.

For instance, I knew I wanted to write a Father’s Day post so I thought about it in advance and made this dessert a few days beforehand:

Nutella Banana Pudding

2. Schedule your events.

As a food blogger, you probably have a lot of food-related events to attend: new restaurant openings, blogger meet-ups, brunch, etc. Have your calendar with you all the time, so you don’t overbook yourself. At first it seems tempting to attend as many events as possible, but in the long run, it’s better to spread it out so that your life won’t revolve around food events.

I am one of those old school people who carry around a small leather pocket journal/calendar but you can definitely use something else: your phone, Google calendar, even post-its if that works for you. If you know you’re going to attend a scheduled event (like Mystery Meet for example, which happens every second Tuesday of the month) then mark it in your calendar already. This sounds very simple but you’ll be surprised at how many people forget and end up either overbooking themselves or not attending at all.

Posto pizza from the Mystery Meet in July

(photo from my uber-talented photographer friend Dave Kavaler)

3. Write about things you love.

How does this fall under “tips on how to balance blogging and a full time job?” Well, you know the saying time flies when you’re having fun? When you’re writing about something you’re passionate about, then blogging doesn’t feel like work. My blog is a food blog – food is definitely one of my passions – but every now and then I’ll write about running and bikram yoga. I also weave in a lot of stories about my family and my friends because for me, food and memories are intertwined.

If you don’t like writing restaurant reviews, don’t. Or if you just want to write about one dish, do. When you write about the things that make you happy, it’ll seem as if blogging is actually easier.

I love pasta and Italian food so I write about those often ;)

spaghetti with truffle butter and mushrooms

4. Make sure you have some “me” time.

You don’t want to be burned out. Sometimes, my “me” time are my Saturday mornings runs. Sometimes, “my” me time are my Monday night yoga classes. And other times, my “me” time are those nights when I catch up with my DVR.

We all have a lot of obligations but you can avoid having a too-busy, frazzled, and stressful life if you only take a few minutes to calm yourself down and allow yourself to relax. Having some “me’ time will re-energize you and give you some zest to tackle the rest of your responsibilities.

If your “me” time involves a nice cup of coffee and some pastries at a cozy little café, then by all means, indulge. If your “me” time involves losing yourself in a good book, read away. If your “me” time somehow involves Eric Northman, way to go.

Eric Northman (actor Alexander Skarsgard) on HBO's True Blood - photo from HBO website

5. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

Or: Learn to loosen up!

Don’t get too caught up posting so regularly that you become a robot. Don’t get too caught up on your page views that you’re writing just for the sake of posting something. And please, please don’t ever get too caught up taking pictures of your food that you forget to enjoy the company you’re with, that you don’t get to appreciate the tastes and the textures, that you forget that food is meant to be enjoyed and savored – not necessarily chronicled and dissected.

Sure, I asked you to write your blog posts in advance. But if you miss a few days, no problem, it’s not the end of the world. If you forget to bring your camera with you when you’re at a new restaurant, no biggie, you don’t have to be food paparazzi all the time. If you mess up in the kitchen, relax, maybe you can write a funny kitchen fail post instead. And if you didn’t get an invitation to the latest event, remember that there will always be more.

If there’s one thing you can call completely yours, it is your blog. It’s all you, your efforts, your time. So remember that your blog is yours – not your readers’, not your ad sponsor’s. Don’t be too hard on yourself if things get a little shaky.

Enjoy yourself, and enjoy your blog.

Baby Guiness shots

Cheers!

   

31 Responses to “How to Balance Blogging with a Full Time Job”

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    Megan posted September 10, 2011 at 8:11 am

    This is such greta advice. I read it over on Boston Food Blogger before too. I definitely agree about writing posts in advance. I try to stay one week ahead.

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    A Plum By Any Other Name posted September 10, 2011 at 10:53 am

    These are all excellent points. Sometimes blogging takes on a life of its own. Last winter I found myself getting burnt out, so I changed the atmosphere I was writing in, made it much more cozy, and that helped a lot. (As did the occasional glass of red wine.)

    Happy blogging!

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    Kathryn posted September 10, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    This is a great article – sometimes writing a blog can feel more like a chore than something fun so it’s great to try and take the stress out and remember why you started it in the first place!

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    Heather posted September 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Great tips! I have to say that writing posts in advance is huge, makes things so much easier!

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    Hannah posted September 11, 2011 at 4:10 am

    Amen, hear hear, absolutely, yes yes yes! These are all points that I’ve come up with in the past but, sometimes, it’s so hard to maintain perspective when things build up and blogging suddenly starts to feel like too-much-pressure rather than the fun, creative outlet it is. With the rough month my family’s having, my own unwellness, and crazy work deadlines plus accumulating socialising, I’m having to keep reminding myself that it’s not the end of the world not to post as constantly. Thank you for the reminder, my dear! :)

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    Emily @ A Cambridge Story posted September 11, 2011 at 11:12 am

    Soooo true! I try to have a good stash of posts in case life gets crazy. Now, could you please write a post on balancing full time school, part time work, a social life and blogging?! ;)

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    cassie posted September 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    love this post, really good advice,,, i have yet to find the balance between blogging and working.. work always seems to get in the way.. but definitely need to start scheduling posts.. i try not to let it bother me as i want to enjoy blogging and not have it feel like work.. thanks again

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    Meghan@travelwinedine posted September 12, 2011 at 8:09 am

    These are great tips!

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    Michelle posted September 12, 2011 at 9:10 am

    You know that I 100% agree with everything in this article!

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    Erin @ A Nesting Experience posted September 12, 2011 at 11:10 am

    These are such great tips. This last month, I’ve been so bad at blogging. I try not to beat myself up (sometimes life gets crazy!) but at the same time, I’m trying to get better at having a stash of posts to rely on. We’ll see how that works out. Thanks for the tips!

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    shannon posted September 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    definitely good advice :) *try* to follow many myself!

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    Paige @ Running Around Normal posted September 12, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Number one is CRUCIAL!
    And of course – enjoying yourself and having you time is key, too :)

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    Liz posted September 13, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    All great tips. I definitely struggle to have extra posts written for when life gets crazy, but I agree, that’s where your suggestion of ‘don’t be too hard on yourself’ comes in. Balancing so many competing responsibilities often results in me posting once/week, and I’m okay with that!

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    A Boston Food Diary posted September 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    GREAT tips! Its so easy to get lost in it all at times-and as someone who has had things get a little “time management crazy” recently I truly appreciate your tips!

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    sarah@Spinach&Spice posted September 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    You’re such an inspiration! I started my blog this Summer because I enjoyed reading blogs, and it was my first Summer without a job (due to traveling,etc). I was always worried about how I was going to keep it up once college started (I start Thursday!) but this is just the pep talk I needed. Great post! :D

    • Bianca Garcia replied September 13th, 2011 at 10:14 pm

      Hi Sarah, thanks for the comments! I’m glad I was able to help :) Good luck with school!

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    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga posted September 13, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    every single point in your first point…I do

    write ahead
    cook ahead
    write several at once
    then think about them and polish them up

    totally agree with everything you wrote!

    great post & tips!

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    Joanne posted September 13, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I LOVE this post! I never ever have a “down” moment…it’s always GO GO GO. But I definitely employ a LOT of these tactics!

    • Bianca Garcia replied September 13th, 2011 at 11:19 pm

      Thanks Joanne! I’m not gonna lie, sometimes my best antidote to a GO GO GO lifestyle is some TV time and a giant bowl of ice cream :)

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    Barefeet In The Kitchen posted September 14, 2011 at 1:22 am

    #1 sums it all up for me. As long as my posts are scheduled in advance, I love being a food blogger. I enjoy posting something every day. If I had that hanging over my head as a deadline though, I doubt that I’d think this was nearly as much fun!

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    Amy @ Elephant Eats posted September 14, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Love your blog! This is a great post. You’re way busier than me so I have no idea how you do it. I have a hard time just managing my job, making dinner and blogging (and having some “me” time!)…you def have excellent time management skills!

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    Beth (Well I'll Be) posted September 14, 2011 at 11:50 am

    My “me” time definitely involves Eric Northman! He is SO much hotter this season now that we’ve seen his good side, yes??

    • Bianca Garcia replied September 14th, 2011 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Beth, ohhhhh YES he is so much hotter this season! Although, in all honesty, I kinda prefer the vicious/cunning Eric more than the super-sensitive/amnesiac Eric hehehe

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    Simply Life posted September 14, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Great ideas! I couldn’t agree more about keeping it fun and not feeling like you have to stick to a certain schedule!

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    Taylor posted September 15, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Love these tips! I just started a new full time job and I thought I would have way more time to blog than I did when I was in grad school but I definitely still struggle to find time to “do it all.”

    • Bianca Garcia replied September 15th, 2011 at 9:44 am

      Thanks Taylor. Good luck with the new job and finding the balance!

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    Lena posted September 30, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    All of this is so key – and absolutely essential for me to learn/put into action now while doing my internship at ATK. Thank you for sharing!

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    Lindsay posted October 18, 2011 at 9:43 am

    These are great tips – I find myself struggling sometimes, between work, school, blog, running, boyfriend, ME TIME, life in general…it’s extremely hard. Time management sure is key. Thanks for your tips, it’s great to see someone else in my shoes :)

    • Bianca Garcia replied October 18th, 2011 at 10:21 am

      Hi Lindsay, thanks for dropping by my blog and the nice comment. Good luck with balancing everything!

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    Sues posted November 5, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I definitely clicked on this the SECOND I saw the link on Twitter. Great advice! With working full-time, blogging, and freelancing, I’ve been working most days I work 7 a.m. to midnight with only minor breaks. It can be draining, but cooking and blogging are definitely one of the things I son’t consider “work.” So, I definitely agree with the write about things you love :) And scheduling in advance… I need to get better about that :)

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    Mallory posted December 28, 2012 at 4:47 am

    Thank you so much for this advice! I’ve just barely started blogging so I’m in the process of getting all the tips I can get from bloggers. What I love about this post is that it’s different from the others that I’ve read so far. I love how you tell how to balance blogging and a job while many posts I’ve read usually say that blogging is the only thing they do. As someone who has many aspirations and many things she wants to do in life, this definitely helps me!

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