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.
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.
Specifically, planning the parts of the day that most people forget about.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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)
Nick Thacker is a writer from Texas, and he's interested in hacking life to make it better. His posts are helpful for writers, bloggers, and pretty much anyone who wants to hack their life! Check him out on his website, www.nickthacker.com.