How to manage a Blog around a Full Time job.

Introduction

For the majority of blogger types out there, working full-time on your blog is pretty much the normal state of affairs, with many using it as a full-time venture, career and job. Some are lucky enough to travel the world, work with brands, tell a great story and develop inspiring content, others do all of the same and yet produce complete rubbish.

At the opposite end of this spectrum and not really falling into any particular category are creative individuals (like myself) who have sourced, developed and maintained a successful blog, whilst working in a demanding full-time job. With that said and indeed speaking from my own experience I think it is pretty much impossible to turn your ideas and blog into a success overnight, so the question is...

How do you manage to do it... While working full time?

In this particular blog post, I thought that I would become slightly more personal and divert attention away from my love of the outdoors and travel. Instead I aim to identify some of the key elements that I feel have enabled me to be relatively successful within the blogging fraternity, in a short space of time. So much so, I think it is every blogger's dream to call themselves a 'blogger', but for me... it's just that I enjoy writing and if that brings me some moderate success or perhaps the ability to further inspire others to follow their dreams and aspirations then I'm more than happy!

How and when I started...

I started developing my website and writing the blog at the turn of the year. It was kind of a New Year's resolution for 2017. It started as a new adventure, but was in fact something I'd always been interested in doing and after seeing others doing it, I thought to myself...it was about time I gave it a go.

All good ideas start with a blank piece of paper...

All good ideas start with a blank piece of paper...

Since starting to write and creating content, many people started to ask me the question... 'how do you manage to write, around having a full-time job?'

Well... sometimes that was the question, I asked myself. With the constraints of a busy life and indeed a full-time job, it isn't easy. But the way I see it there are 24 hours in a day, so with good time management, anything is possible. I also possess strong will, determination to succeed and I have always lived by the ideal that if you want something in life, it is yours to go out and get. 

With that said, of course every adventure does start small, but I've always managed to dream big and that way only good things can come your way.

It's important to find a schedule that works...

Every day, I work full-time. I'm a teacher, so I teach, inspire and lead each day. My day starts early at around 5:45 am, when I leave the house and cycle 16 miles to work. I return home, as soon as I can. Usually, making sure I get home around 5.30pm to at least have an evening and some time to perhaps switch off from work. It is always a full and very busy day, so finding time to do something constructive (blog wise) during the day is almost impossible.

My blogs and general ideas come into my head almost all of the time. I do feel I'm extremely lucky to have the sort of a brain that is never devoid of ideas or inspiration and spending nearly two hours on a bike (daily) certainly gives you valuable time to develop some much needed thinking space. 

When ideas do come to the forefront of my thoughts, I tend to write them down as notes and then further develop those notes into longer pieces of writing. For me, all ideas start with a blank piece of paper and as a result these notes can appear at unexpected moments, so much so that some interesting ideas have come about whilst being in the most bizarre locations or indeed situations. Examples might include whilst washing the dishes, brushing my teeth or believe it or not... sitting on the toilet.

Yes... I did say sitting.

To allow things to run smoothly and my overall intentions come to fruition. I often leave some nights available for writing and editing purposes. Monday's always seem to work for me and during the evening, when all becomes settled / quiet I can finally sit down, develop ideas and utilise a good hour or two in order to produce meaningful written content.

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I also try (where possible) to take advantage of my weekends — I certainly don’t attempt to work on my blog all weekend. Life and family comes first, but I have found it a good way to divide my time between personal time and also time to focus on my blog.

Creating content might find me noting down ideas or simply editing photos, while having a coffee in a cafe or perhaps while travelling on a train or tram around the city. Maximising time while waiting for family members (doing their thing) is also vitally important. Writing notes, storing the ideas and then developing them accordingly across the week, seems to work for me and with the technological aspect of things, I tend to use Google Keep to compile and indeed save my ideas. I personally find it a great way of storing notes, as it is then stored on my phone, compatible with my email and I then transfer my ideas and write freely. Leaving me a fair amount of time to spend on editing.

It seems the perfect combination for me to dream, create and deliver.

I always see blogging as “MY TIME”

At the very start of this adventure. I began simply using my blog as a means of me expressing my day to day life around travel experiences, the Great Outdoors and taking photographs.

After a short time and good interaction with others who kindly read my blog, I soon realised that there was some mileage in what I was attempting to achieve. So, it became important for me to approach my venture, more like a job.

Soon enough, it started to work for me and I was being approached to write blog posts and in turn I could also approach others, with growing confidence. At the time and if truth be told, it wasn't all plain sailing. In fact, at times it turned about to be really hard, especially when the blogs rolled in and striking the right balance or reaching a deadline did often prove somewhat problematic.

Being determined to succeed I maintained my focus and always remembered why I started the blog in the first place and it soon became the perfect time to make sure what I was getting of it, was what I had initially intended. This not only allowed me to fine tune my work, but also led me to further inspire myself and obviously maintain high levels of enthusiasm to achieve the content I wished for.

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To establish this on a consistent level, I started to re-shift my perspective and started to look at blogging as “my time”. My time to break away from the daily norms, to be creative, open up 'to the world' with meaningful thoughts, develop content through photography, improve my editing skills and also use feedback in a positive way.

Soon enough my writing began flowing nicely and I was in turn really enjoying everything that I was creating. The pressure began to disappear and the words started to flow quite naturally. I started to listen to advice, build on my confidence and indeed (most importantly) learn from my mistakes.

I also began to take the pressure of myself, by simply planning ahead and not undertaking work I didn't really like the look of. I kept my feetand maintained the approach that I was never planning on turning my blog into a full-time job, and that really helped to ease the pressure. 

Establishing Realistic Goals

Throughout my life I have always worked towards having goals and continuously working towards them. It doesn't really matter how big or small these are, from my point of view all goals are there to be achieved, so don't set them too high.

From experience, it is vital to make sure you are setting realistic goals for yourself. There is no point in over-promoting yourself unnecessarily or setting goals that are almost impossible to achieve, is not realistic and not conducive to what you are trying to do.

Of course in the pursuit of that prize-winning goal you are more likely to go crazy than actually achieve what you thought you wanted to do. In an ideal world of no responsibility and then blogging full time, maybe I'd like to post 5 times a week, but if that’s not realistic, then that shouldn’t be your goal. Start slow and build up gradually. At the moment blogging once a week is about my limit and for me, that is feasible.

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I think it is always good to put things into perspective and continue the realisation that you also have a full-time job and it is okay to post less often than your ideal. This also rings true when attempting to grow your own blog. It is very easy to take your eye off the ball, become distracted by others and then read too much into things.

We all do it as it is really easy to look at others’ various social media accounts/blogs and feel envious of their large following or perhaps focus too much on the amount of comments and likes they receive. Believe me, it is not worth it as you will probably end up driving yourself mad by trying to aspire to do something that perhaps is just simply out of your reach. Especially in a climate, when everyone suddenly has become the expert and there appears to be endless ways of convincing others you're not cheating, when actually you probably are.

For me, my goals remain pretty simple and always have been. To keep it real, enjoy what I do and complete my work in a personal and meaningful way. No doubt I will continue to enjoy what I do and not focus on what others do, just simply focus on myself. I'm personally really proud of myself and indeed how far I have come and if others feel the same, then that is indeed a bonus. 

Don't forget to also enjoy life

It is really important to not lose sight of life. Life is important and nothing really should stand in the way of you enjoying it. I have always worked hard, but at this stage in my life and career, I know that my blog will probably never fully replace what I trained and worked hard to do. It merely serves as an avenue for me to express myself. Develop my creative sense and enjoy something other than the things I do on a daily basis.

Like with everything in life, it is really important to also find balance and continually put things into perspective. I frequently see a variety of blogs where people make it look fantastic on the outside, but when delving a little deeper and reading the overall content, it doesn't actually live up to much. Then there are others where all that is created remains somewhat seamless and inspiring. Those are the people I look up to and continue to be inspired by.

Top Tips

At the end of the day I'm not an expert and therefore not in a position to say that I know best. To me it is all swings and roundabouts and no matter where you are on your adventure. Just simply be yourself, enjoy what you do and good things will almost certainly come your way. 

Thanks for reading this latest post and I hope that the following thoughts resonate and perhaps come in useful one day.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Gareth.

 

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