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How to Maintain a Blog AND a Full-Time Job

How to Maintain a Blog AND a Full-Time Job


    If you’re like me, you can’t spend every waking moment of every day writing, editing, polishing, Tweeting, and enjoying the fruits of your hard labor.

    You have a life.

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    For me, that looks like a steady 9-5 job, during which I work on other stuff–my blog, writing, and life must take a back seat if I want to take home a paycheck.

    So how can you maintain both? Losing sanity, to me, is not acceptable–I don’t want to pull my hair out trying to get everything done at once. And I really don’t want to lose any sleep–I’m a sleepaholic.

    I’ve found that the best way to maintain an active lifestyle and steady job, while still consistently push out great content, is to plan better.

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    Specifically, planning the parts of the day that most people forget about.

    Instead of:

    • Wake up at 6.
    • Go to work at 8.
    • Work until lunch. Take a one-hour break.
    • Work until 5.
    • Come home, watch TV, go to bed.

    This is what a “normal” day could look like for me:

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    • Wake up at 6. Try to get two or three blog posts finished.
    • Go to work at 8.
    • Work until lunch. Try to write 1,000 words (on anything: blogs, books, etc.)
    • Work until 5. On the way home, brainstorm and plan the evening’s writing goals.
    • Write until 8 or 9 pm (I like to do this in Starbucks, because everyone loves to make fun of writers in Starbucks).
    • Go to bed.

    You can see from the above list that I’ve blocked out the “major” chunks of my time, and filled them with some of the goals for my writing. But upon actual analysis of this method, it turns out that it’s still not an efficient-enough strategy if I expect to get a lot of writing done.

    But by taking the above schedule and popping it into my favorite task-management software (Wunderlist is mine, but of course this can work with anything), I can “check in” to my progress throughout the day.

    • During the “brainstorming and planning” blocks, I plug in different tasks to my to-do list, like “write X post,” or “finish novel outline”
    • When I wake up in the morning, I try to get a few blog posts written–I don’t worry as much about doing “structured” writing here–my brain is usually mush anyway until about 11:30.
    • During lunch, I focus on knocking off as many items as possible from the ongoing list. I use the Pomodoro Technique for this.
    • Throughout the day, I’ll have Wunderlist open (part of the reason I love it so much is that it’s literally on every device) and I’ll drop in new tasks and post ideas to work on sometime later.
    • At home (or at the coffee shop), I’ll knock out two or three more tasks.

    This whole plan may seem dauntingly obvious, but here’s the catch: I try to keep everything out of my head and in a tracking tool–pen and paper, Evernote, Wunderlist, whatever my preference happens to be that week. But I try to catch and “dump” every single task and item into a tool. Sure, the little things start to stack up after awhile, but there’s not much that motivates me more than knocking off a little item here and there.

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    So the plan is to block out major sections of time throughout your day first, then focus on writing everything down. When your “chunk” of time that you’ve allotted toward blogging comes up, you’ll have a nice, organized list of things to do. You won’t be worried with checking email, Facebook, or wasting time coming up with post ideas–your entire to-do list will be right in front of you, just waiting to be checked off as “complete.”

    What do you think? What are some other ways of maintaining a successful work-life-blog balance?

    Photo credit: Sami Keinänen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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    Last Updated on December 10, 2019

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

    Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

    But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

    Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

    But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

    Journal writing.

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    Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

    Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

    Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

    1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

    By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

    Consider this:

    Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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    But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

    The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

    2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

    If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

    How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

    Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

    You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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    3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

    As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

    Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

    All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

    4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

    Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

    Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

    The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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    5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

    The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

    It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

    Kickstart Journaling

    How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

    Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

    Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

    Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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