Time isn’t just going to magically appear in your crazy schedule. You have to make the time.
If that sounds impossible, stay with me.
When I first started blogging in 2012, I was a 24/7 teacher. I ate, slept, and breathed teaching. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about my students, I spent my evenings planning, and tweaking, and making worksheets… and I was exhausted.
How in the world was I going to add the responsibilities that come along with blogging on top of what I was already doing?
Here’s the good news. I didn’t.
What I did was this:
- Decided that my blog was a priority
- Set a realistic schedule for when I was going to work on it
- Planned my time
- Focused on one thing at a time
- Stayed ahead of my business tasks (as much as I could)
- Did something for my business every. single. day.
You may be thinking, “Sure that sounds great… but what about all those teaching responsibilities?”
Funny thing, that.
Once I set 8pm as my business-only time, I still got my lessons done. I still had stuff for my students to work on. I still had grades in the gradebook. I was still prepared for PPTs and 504 meetings…
And I stopped waking up at 3am worried about whether or not my directions were clear or wondering if “that kid” was going to derail my plans. (Of course, I still sometimes wake up worried about a student, but that’s part of being a caring person.)
I was still a good teacher! In fact, I think I got better when I wasn’t a 24/7 teacher.
So let’s dive into the 6 things you can do to make your blog a priority.
Make a decision.
Is blog a hobby or a business?
A hobby is something you do solely for fun, with no expectations on the outcome. You don’t have to make time for a hobby. You can do it whenever you want.
I never had any luck taking up hobbies when I was a 24/7 teacher. I tried many – painting, guitar, kickboxing – but after I bought all the supplies and had a few days of enthusiastic participation, I’d inevitably allow my 24/7-teacher-brain to take over and tell me I don’t have time to paint, or practice, or kick butt.
A business is a commitment. To you and your audience. And most importantly, a business makes money.
That distinction is what allowed me to make the mental shift needed to step away from being a 24/7 teacher and stop making excuses.
If you want it to be a business, and you’d like your business to make money, you need to begin this process with the attitude of a business owner. That attitude adjustment will have a big impact on how you manage your time.
I work full time, help my husband with his business, and I’m the kind of mom who likes to spend time with her kid, so the times of day I can write and build my business are limited.
Because of these constraints, I may not be able to do as much as others. And that’s okay! I’ve still built a successful business without spending hours a day on it.
Look realistically at how much time you have and start small. If you can only spend 30 minutes a day on your blog, that’s fine. Doing something well is always better than doing something more.
And by being realistic, you’re much more likely to stick to the schedule you make.
Have a plan.
If you don’t have a way to organize and plan your time, you will waste a lot of it. You can find planners on Amazon, or make your own. Bullet journals are great for this because you can customize them. I’m also a BIG fan of Trello. The important thing is to have a plan and follow it. This will keep you focused, show you your progress, and help you see the big picture of your business.
Tip: You don’t need to plan out every second. Something as simple as a weekly list and daily dedicated time to work on it is okay. Don’t waste all your time planning or you’ll never get to the doing.
One thing at a time.
Personally, I like to focus on one thing at a time, then move on to the next. Others like to batch their tasks, perhaps writing several blog posts at once, then creating all the graphics, for all the posts, then scheduling everything. Neither is wrong, as long as you’re giving the task you’re working on your full attention.
Turn off the tv, switch off your phone, and go to a place where you won’t be distracted. There are lots of cheap or free tools you can use to boost your productivity.
Have you ever read an email from someone who was clearly distracted when they wrote it? That’s not how you want your business to come across. Whether you’re selling products, services, or just the information you provide, your audience and customers deserve posts that are well thought out, carefully composed, and written with their needs in mind. It’s hard to do that when you’re trying to help your kids with homework, cook dinner, and buy goodies to keep in your class treasure chest while you’re trying to write.
If your side hustle is a priority you will probably have to make sacrifices to make it work. And that may mean you aren’t always up on the latest episode of the latest show.
Stay ahead of your tasks.
I try to have posts scheduled 2 weeks out. (I do not always succeed.) This way if something comes up – like if you have to spend the whole night cleaning up dog/cat/kid mess – you can handle it without interrupting your blog schedule.
I also use a scheduler to get my social media posts up without my constant attention. This is a huge time saver – not to mention, being on Facebook all day while I’m teaching is frowned upon – and it lets me be present without being present.
Of course, this means I have to have my social posts prepped and ready to go at least a week ahead so I can schedule them.
Staying ahead also means that you can make adjustments on the fly. One time I created a series of posts to share once a month. When the original post became popular and gained unexpected attention, I simply adjusted my schedule to publish the follow up sooner to take advantage of the influx of new readers.
Having tasks ahead of time also means that you can take the time to look at the big picture instead of just rushing from one thing to the next, always in crisis mode.
Accomplish something for your business every day.
Even on my busiest days I check something off my to-do list. It might not be everything I want to do, but I will do something.
When you decide to take a day off, it’s really easy for a day off to become 2 days, then a week, and before you know it you’re behind and have to rush just to get back on track, or you just give up.
Running a business is a habit, like exercise. Until it’s part of who you are, you have to work to stick with it. No excuses.
Having a blog is fun – at least it should be – but it’s also work. If you just wait for a free moment to magically open up in your schedule you’re never going to get to it.
You’re not going to find time. You have to make time. You have to decide that your business is worth giving up something else for. Set realistic goals and make a plan. Check off 1 item at a time, but do something every day. No matter what.