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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)

    More by this author

    Nick Thacker

    Nick is a novelist and founder of Sonata & Scribe. He shares productivity hacks on Lifehack.

    7 Ways to Leverage Your Time to Increase Your Productivity How to Maintain a Blog AND a Full-Time Job Why I Write Using a Minimal Text Editor Why You Should Be a Writer The Amazing Secret Behind All Habits

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    Last Updated on February 11, 2021

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

    Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

    The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

    Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

    Perceptual Barrier

    The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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    The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

    The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

    Attitudinal Barrier

    Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

    The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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    The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

    Language Barrier

    This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

    The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

    The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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    Emotional Barrier

    Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

    The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

    The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

    Cultural Barrier

    Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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    The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

    The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

    Gender Barrier

    Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

    The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

    The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

    And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

    Reference

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