How to Better Manage Your Time as a Blogger + Free Worksheet

Time-Management-Tips-for-Bloggers

Some people play video games, some love sports, others are into art.

I happen to love blogging and everything about it.

Before I started this blog, I’ve always felt like a “master of none.” I dabbled in many things but never thought I’m “good” at anything. Blogging has changed that for me. Blogging helped me get out of depression, it helped me find that spark and passion in life, it helped me learn so much, not just about myself, but about life in general. Not to mention the beautiful relationships and connections I was able to make through blogging.

One of the questions I’ve been getting quite often, throughout my years of blogging, is how I manage my time while blogging and working full-time. Today, I’m finally sharing some of my tips for managing your time as a blogger, but I’m also letting you know that in order to get results, you have to put in the work.

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR TIME AS A BLOGGER

TIME-MANAGEMENT-TIPS-FOR-BLOGGERS

BATCHING

Batching is especially useful when it comes to your blog photos, but also when it comes to free-writing your posts (which we’ll talk about in a minute). Scheduling a few hours during one day a week to take photos will save you a lot of time and… frustration. If you love to work with natural light, then you know that there are days when the weather just will not cooperate. I can’t tell you how many times I had a few awesome posts written, but couldn’t publish them because I either didn’t have time to take any pictures because I came home late when it was already dark outside, or it was way too dark and gloomy to shoot anything decent. Photo batching is the answer (stock photos are a great option here, too, if photography isn’t your thing).

While I love working with natural light, I sometimes just don’t have any time to take my photos- that’s where I reach for my studio lighting. There are nights when I take blog photos at 2.00am- which has been the case during the last couple of months post my accident. One, I struggled with sleep due to my injury so rather than tossing and turning, I’d try to do something semi-productive, and two, after a whole day of sitting at a desk at work, all I dreamed of was lying down, rather than jumping around with my camera. If you’re interested, all of my studio lighting/photography equipment is listed in this post.

Point is, this whole time-management thing is not, like many things in life, a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. You have to adjust it to your own schedule, lifestyle, and needs. Two things that are essential for batching are a schedule, and a system. Come up with a system for creating your blog posts, so that you can follow the same exact steps each time you create your content. Then, take a look at your calendar, and schedule in the time for batching your content.

AUTOMATION

Automating as much as you can, will save you a TON of time. When it comes to promoting your blog posts and articles, it’s very easy to get lost a little and let it take up a lot of your time. The good news is, it doesn’t have to! You don’t have to be “everywhere” all the time. Find which content promoting tools work best for you and your blog, and focus on those. For me, this happens to be Pinterest, which takes me about an hour a week to automate. I spend one hour, every Sunday, scheduling my pins, and don’t have to worry about my Pinterest schedule for the rest of the week. That way, I can spend my precious time focusing on something else.

I also am very particular about my blog images, and pretty much always follow the same technique when editing them. To make photo editing easier, you can also use presets or create your own Actions in Photoshop, which makes editing photos SO much easier.


ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS

This is a big one when it comes to managing your time as a blogger and staying productive. I tell you guys all the time that I am one of those people that get distracted very easily- especially when it comes to my blog work.

Here’s how it goes sometimes: I go on Pinterest to look something up or check out an interesting article I saved for later, which is relevant to a blog post I’m working on at the moment. Then, I notice another cool pin and think “oh, this article looks awesome, let me save it to one of my boards.” After that, I get sucked in and start randomly adding pins to my posting schedule. Next thing I know, 30 minutes have passed and I haven’t finished my blog post. The exact same thing happens with email, blog comments, etc.

This is where time-blocking comes to play. I schedule blocks of time to complete certain tasks, ranging from editing photos, checking my email, down to things like doing laundry or cooking dinner. To help me stay on track and hold myself accountable I use a tool like this one. If I see that I have “tackle your inbox” scheduled for 7.00pm, I set my cube timer for 30minutes, and read and answer emails for the next 30 minutes. Once the 30 minutes are up, I move on to the next task.

Yes, I know that to some this may seem a bit too OCD-ish, but you just gotta do what works for you, and this happens to work perfectly for me.

Will this work for everyone?

Probably not. For instance, I don’t have kids, so I obviously don’t know what it’s like having to juggle taking care of children, working and blogging on top of everything else- I can’t help you there, sorry. I do, however, do most of the housework, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, working full time, taking care of my family. If you add my easily distracted mind to that equation, things can get messy sometimes and I can easily find myself being busy, while not necessarily doing anything productive. Which brings us to…

BEING BUSY vs. BEING PRODUCTIVE = TWO DIFFERENT THINGS

When in addition to working, going to school, taking care of your family, cooking, cleaning, you also run a blog, you can’t afford to waste time. Most of us don’t have the luxury of working with unlimited time, which means that you have no other choice but to choose what you devote your time for, wisely.

Taking an hour to write a list of things you need to do is not really being productive.

Creating a list isn’t enough.

Planning your goals isn’t enough.

You actually have to put the work in. Allow yourself to only check your inbox twice a day, answer comments once a day. If you have only about an hour of “free” time in the evening, you have to prioritize and ask yourself, which task is most important to complete? If you try to answer comments, edit a blog post, while also checking your email, you’re not giving any of those tasks your full attention. Remember that just because you’re busy and find yourself doing several things at once, it doesn’t mean you’re being productive.

FREE-WRITING

Every great blog post should start with multiple drafts. Sometimes, when writing, the most difficult part is actually getting started. I know from my own experience that even when you’re really excited about a certain topic or something you want to write about, writing doesn’t always come easy.

Starting with a VERY rough draft transformed the way I write blog posts. I start with a topic, ask myself “what do I want my reader to walk away with?” and just free write. Usually, this involves writing down a few main points I want to make, turn them into headings, and then elaborate under each heading. My first drafts usually look super messy, as I basically just write down everything that comes to my mind at the moment. Literally, just writing down random words. Once my rough draft is complete and I have an idea what I want my post to focus on, I then edit, add text, change my title, proofread, add relevant links. I then create another rough draft for the next post, and the next. That way, when I finally have some time to sit down and write, I already have an idea what my post is going to be about, and about what points I am going to make.

Let’s say you want to write about organizing your wardrobe, just as an example. Start with a blank page and then:

Write your title: “Organizing Your Wardrobe

Think about some of the points you want to make, like:

  1. Get rid of your old clothes or pieces you no longer wear
  2. Separate your pants + skirts + shorts
  3. Hang your dresses by color
  4. Use coordinated hangers

Starting with a rough draft like this one is simple and easy. Save your post as a draft and you can come back to it later and elaborate on each point, change your title, focus on SEO, add relevant links, link to some products you mention, add images, etc.

If you struggle with writing intros to your posts, try writing them last. Of course, this won’t apply to every single one of your blog posts. Not all blog posts will be involved, require some research and multiple edits. Now and then, when writing, we have that incredible rhythm where we just can’t stop writing and yes, it’s awesome whenever that happens. Words come easy, you’re done with your post in 30 minutes and are ready to publish it. When you do work with limited time though, you can create a bunch of these rough drafts, save them, and work on them whenever you have time. That way, you won’t find yourself sitting down at your desk, thinking “hmm… so what do I want to write about today?” Also very important: always keep a long list of blog posts ideas written down somewhere and remember to write them down as soon as they come to you.

EVALUATE YOUR TIME

Again, we come back to the being busy vs. being productive, thing. Do you ever have those days where you feel absolutely exhausted, your mind is racing, you feel tired, drained and yet… you didn’t really get much done? Keep track of what you do during the day. What is the first you do when you get home? Do you turn on your TV? Pointlessly scroll through your Instagram feed for an hour? Look where your time goes- do some tasks take you way too long to complete? Maybe you waste a lot of time focusing on things that don’t necessarily bring any results?

I also find that doing certain tasks at the same time and day during the week, helps you get into a habit of getting shit done. For me, this looks something like this:

  • Monday mornings I write my weekly schedule and a to-do list
  • On Tuesdays, I free-write a bunch of posts and save drafts for later
  • Wednesday night I usually batch-edit my photos
  • Friday afternoon I do all my cleaning after getting home from work so that I can get as much blog work done during the weekends
  • Saturdays I do laundry and grocery shop for the week.
  • Most of the time, Sunday mornings are reserved for taking blog photos.

Of course, this schedule tends to change a little from time to time. Once you assign those tasks to specific times and days of the week, it becomes like second nature and you find yourself being a bit more organized and having more time.

REMEMBER THAT TIMING IS NEVER RIGHT

I used to be THE biggest procrastinator out there, especially when it comes to blogging. It’s something that pretty much all perfectionists struggle with. If I didn’t like a photo I took, I wouldn’t publish a post. There were days where I’d spend HOURS rearranging, re-shooting, re-editing pictures, just to finally give up at the end of the day. Talk about a waste of time!

There were other things I would always put off- starting a newsletter and focusing on growing my mailing list, scheduling my Pinterest posts, developing my own photography style, learning more about Photoshop. I always thought “well, I just don’t have enough time” or “I first need to learn more about this or that.” The truth is, timing is never right. The best way to learn how to do something is to… well, start doing it. You don’t have to know everything, before trying something new- you will learn along the way. And that, to be honest, is probably one of my favorite things about blogging, you just never stop learning.


BUT… DO YOU HAVE *A LIFE*?

Here’s the truth: managing your time isn’t always easy. In the past, I had other bloggers ask me: “How do you do it? How do you find time to do it all?

Well, the thing is, I don’t do it all.

Some weekends I sit locked up in my home office, while Mark is downstairs watching football. I sometimes say “no” when someone asks me to grab dinner or go out for a drink. But that’s because I’m the happiest when I’m staying productive. I love working, I’m a huge homebody, but at the same time, I do not enjoy sitting around and doing nothing. I love spending every free minute of my time working on my blog. Not for one second, do I feel like I’m making some kind of sacrifice because running this blog brings me so much joy and it’s incredibly rewarding. This doesn’t mean that I never have fun, or that all I do is blog and work. It’s all about knowing where your time goes and not wasting it on things that don’t matter or don’t bring results. If you’re incredibly passionate about something, you will find a way and time to do it.

I’ve had some readers tell me that they feel like a failure because they don’t get to post as often as they want, or because they don’t feel like they’re as successful as other bloggers.

We all define success differently.

That’s one.

Two, you shouldn’t be focusing on what other people are doing. You shouldn’t feel guilty if you don’t have time to write a blog post because life has gotten in the way. Once you start feeling like you’re forcing yourself to blog, when it becomes a chore, that’s a sign that it’s time for a small break. Don’t ever allow yourself to lose that passion because, without it, you lose authenticity, and, as blogger, that is one of your most valuable qualities. 

BLOGGING, #blogtips #timemanagement #productivity #bloggingtips #blogging #howtobeproductive #personaldevelopment #biztips
  • marblebeauty

    I loved this post! So relatable, especially with the photos. I haven’t had time to take many bath photos over Christmas and I really notice how it affects my blogging schedule! I’m a homebody too, but constantly working on my blog – it’s so rewarding. Thank you for all the advice lovely!

    Chloe xxx

    http://marblebeauty.co.uk

    • Thank you so much, Chloe! Ahh I yess, batching is SO helpful when it comes to taking blog photos, it can make all the difference!

  • You always make such valid points!! I have trouble with the balance, too, and even though you don’t have kids, this is super helpful to me. Do you have any posts about your actual to-do lists? I even have trouble with those. I am also going to get the Worksheet, so I’m sure that will help!

    Xo Jackie http://www.thatswhatsupblog.com

  • This is super handy, especially because I often get really stressed out trying to find the time to fit in all of my hobbies without properly allocating time for each of them. I have a full-time job, do blogging and also do some design work… And it’s really hard to juggle them all! So I really do need to evaluate my time!

    Lizzie Bee // http://www.hellolizziebee.com

  • Jana Gr.

    Thank you for this awesome post! I needed this reminder to sit down and work instead of “pretending” by actually procrastinating.

  • This is so helpful. I will start finding a day of the week to schedule all my tweets. I have tried Pinterest but haven’t got my head around it yet. I’ve shared a few things there but don’t notice and increased on my blog visits from that. Anyway, I tried and schedule tweets every night for the following day but i guess its best to spend a full hour doing the whole week at once and never worry again.

    The Lisa’s World

    • Thank you, Lisa! Oh you’re missing out on Pinterest! It’s my no.1 source of traffic and sends me thousands of visits a day, you should definitely look into it!

  • Bulk work saves me so much time!!! This year, I’m hoping to slay my time management to the T too. I definitely enjoyed reading this!

  • Janet

    This is such a helpful post, Paula! I have often felt alone in the struggle to find time, ideas, and a life, at the same time. Your posts are insanely organized, to the point, well researched, and photos impeccable.

    I was so saddened to see that I had written thirty-eight posts in 2017, as opposed to one hundred-nine in 2011. Where does the time go? I LOVE to write, but sometimes I feel held hostage by my laptop. I do not have a 9-5, but I am a newspaper columnist for two separate papers, and being a professional in that aspect absolutely drains my mind and energy. My best audience has always been my blog. Writing my blog also gave me the experience to reach for more work. I want to take more chances and spread out, but I so have to prioritize everything in my life to do so.

    I’m thankful that you are much, more than a beauty blogger, and an excellent one at that! You reveal yourself in every paragraph. You are us~~

    Jane xxx

    • Thank you SO much, Jane! Your comments always put a huge smile on my face, thank you for being a part of this blog!

      I used to write pretty much daily and was upset too, when I noticed that I didn’t get to write as much as I used to this past year, but quality is definitely a better thing to focus on! Blogging really is such an amazing thing, you constantly learn new things and the connections you make are just so special.

      Can’t thank you enough for your beautiful comment and your constant support! Sending love!! x

  • I do not trust people who are always ‘busy’. It became such a pet peeve of mine that I do not think I use the word busy anymore, or at least not to an extent I used to. Although, ironically, I am busy all the time right now ;)

    • Haha, yes! I deal with this at work all the time- people always saying how busy they aren’t always getting things done :)

  • The last paragraph reasonated with me the most. The blog is my hobby, despite deciding it was about time to earn a little money from it. So all the time I spend Blogging is time I spend doing what I love. I do have a life, and one filled with things I love. Yes, I don´t watch as many series on Netflix as other people do, but that is not a problem.

    Once you have kids, staying organized actually has the same imprtance as it has now, just the times you can do things at change. While I do love natural light in pictures, I just know that this is not possible for me. All the blog work is done after 8 pm when the kids are sleeping. Other chores like laundry, cleaning or cooking is done with them, so they can be a part of it. Takes longer, but is more fun. Sadly I don´t write my best in the evenings, but I have to make do for the time being. Kids will get older and more independent eventually.

    And Tailwind, discovered thanks to your recommendation, is a lifesaver!

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

    • I feel the exact same way. It’s funny because sometimes some people just don’t get why I’d rather sit in front of the computer than go out, but it’s just something that I love so much!

      I love that you make your kids a part of your chores- I can only imagine that it’s much more enjoyable doing it with them! :) I, for some reason, find writing much easier when it’s dark outside, no matter if it’s early morning or late evening- I think it’s a leftover habit from college days hehe ;)

      So happy you like Tailwind, I agree- it’s so helpful!

  • Natalie Redman
  • Great points, Paula! I kept nodding all along, especially about finding the right time to write/take photos/scheduling. It’s all about time management these days! Lately I try to stick to smaller to-do lists, I have one for each day and this way I don’t get overwhelmed, I am also more productive. Thanks for sharing this article dear, have a wonderful day!

    • Thank you so much, Naya! I think that these days we all have so much going on, learning how to manage your time better is definitely a must!

  • This post is so informative! I took a year off blogging while concentrating on university and now I’m back and feel overwhelmed on where to start! This post has helped me a lot!
    Cloe X http://clxelouise.blogspot.com

  • This was such a great post. I especially could learn from it since I am a blogger as well as a full time college student with a part time job!! Thank you for this!

    Maddie | http://tigerlilydiary.wordpress.com

  • I love this post. Scheduling is everything.

    http://www.yourbeautypantry.com

  • This post is incredible. So incredibly helpful and inspiring! I’m so glad that you found something you love and are incredibly talented at. I felt like I was good at nothing until I found blogging too and I’m still not the best I can be! Hopefully one day ey haha.

    Beckie // The Pale Tails

    • Aww, Beckie, thank you so much!! Your blog is beautiful- loving those pink + blush, dreamy vibes!! Don’t ever tell yourself that you’re not the best, because you’re awesome!! :)

  • Nipa Fashion

    Paula, your advice on free-writing is pure gold! I was writing drafts that were too brief (so they took a long time to finish), or too close to the finished product (so they took a long time to create!) Either way, staring at the same piece for hours on end, isn’t productive. I love your idea of creating the framework, and then coming back to it with a fresh perspective. If I give my drafts a day or two to “rest”, then I come back to them as a reader, rather than a writer (i.e. I’m not emotionally attached to anything). That way, I am more decisive, and the editing process is much faster.

    I also agree that we often miscalculate how much time we spend on what we do (media certainly makes time fly) and keeping track gives us a dose of reality. If you are willing to share, I’d love to know how long you spend on each blog post, editing each photo, answering comments etc. Right now, I think I’m spending 6-8 hours on each of my posts! I’m going to track one, to be sure, but that seems far too long.

    Thank you again, for all of your recommendations! You’re a gem :) Nipa

    • You are very welcome, Nipa! It’s the only way I write my posts these days, it makes the whole process so much easier. My first drafts are always super messy and all over the place, but by the time I’m done, they look just the way I want them to :)

      Creating a few “messy” drafts for different posts is so much better than staring at a blank page, thinking what to write. I sometimes spend 1 hour writing a post, and sometimes it takes me days to write a single article! I do not think 6-8 hours is too long- not if you’re going for quality. On average, taking and editing photos alone can take me up to 3 hours. Of course, some posts are easier to work on than others and sometimes you have to learn to let go of that perfectionism- otherwise you can spend weeks working on your content, hehe :)

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post, Nipa! So happy you enjoyed it!

  • Kay Nguyen

    This is such an interesting and helpful post! Thanks for sharing <3

    https://www.myblackcloset.com/

  • Gina Daily

    What a great post, Paula! So many thoughtful ideas and tips and I appreciate your perspective that it’s not “one size fits all.” That’s really such a key point. We all have a different set of demands on our plate and different criteria for blog/life balance. Comparing gets you nowhere.
    Gina || On the Daily Express

    • Thank you so much, Gina! It’s definitely very different for everyone. I sometimes do wish I had more time, but then I remind myself that having a flexible work schedule does allow me to have more time to work on my blog than someone who has a more strict work schedule, or is also raising children. Love what you said about comparing yourself- it definitely does get you nowhere!

  • Amazing post! And it’s so true that there’s no one size fits all time-management solution. It depends on your circumstances, as you said, and also the type of person you are. For example, I recently took 2 weeks off from my full time job. A 9-5 takes up so much time and I figured that 2 weeks would be the perfect opportunity to get some some extra blog work done as well as some other general life stuff I’d been putting off!

    It was NOT for me! I hardly got anything done, lol. Somehow I managed to stick to my posting schedule but apart from that, having all that free time made me overestimate how much time I actually had and I’d end up procrastinating until nothing got done!

    Now that I’m back to work and I’ve got my little routine back I’m back in full swing. I’ve learned that knowing I only have a few hours to get everything done once I’m home from work helps me to get on with it rather than procrastinating.

    This why I think time-blocking would really work for someone like me. I’ve never looked into it, but I’ve seen you mention it a few times and you’ve inspired me to try it out!

    Janah | http://www.littlelifechanger.com

    • Thanks, Janah!! You know what, it is kind of funny because when I have time off I always hope to get more blog work done, but I just love the rhythm of my regular daily routine where I go to work then come home and do my blog work, that it just feels a bit… unnatural. I’m such a creature of habit! Time-blocking is a lifesaver for me, hope you give it a chance!

  • Girl Boss Boutique

    Love this article! informative and inspiring ❤️

  • Thank you so much for the worksheet! Hopefully I can use it to keep my blog on track for 2018!

    A xx
    alexisadrienne.net

  • This post resonates with me 100%, i totally agree just making lists is nothing, work needs to e done and i love the idea of a timer for every task.
    http://www.thestyletune.com

  • Paula, you’re such a treasure for fellow bloggers. Of course I don’t struggle with some of these tasks as my blog is fairly small compared to yours – I can answer comments and emails as they come.

    I agree working in batches is excellent. When I feel inspired to write, I do several rough drafts and then check facts, re-read and edit, fix titles and images later. Same with photos: when I have the drafts, I feel much easier to take photos for both my blog and Instagram. Finding a perfect day for photographs is just hard – especially in Winter. If you have a post about getting inspired or how-to photograph lifestyle, please drop me a link! If I don’t feel particularly inspired about anything.. I edit photos, as it’s mechanical and easy for me. Photoshop is my friend and I don’t over-edit my images lol.

    I used to wake up at 4 or 5 am to edit blog posts, that’s when is quiet and good time to work! What I need most help with is getting readers to my blog and promote my texts. I’m so lost with Pinterest and my IG following is small, although my content isn’t half bad… maybe. Tips?

    xx Laura / Laurantaina Beauty Blog

    • NAww Laura, thank you SO much! I really wish I had discovered the power of making several rough drafts at once, when I first started writing/blogging. It just makes it so much easier to create content. I also find that I work best early in the morning and getting an early start to your day definitely helps when you work and run a blog.

      I have a whole bunch of Pinterest posts, you can browse through my Blogging section to find them. The great thing about Pinterest is that you do not need a large following to get results and traffic to your blog!