I’ve mentioned it here and there over the course of the past 7 months, but I recently started working full-time at an amazing job in a big city. It was my biggest lifestyle change since graduating from college, and it has shaped and changed the course of my life in amazing ways. However, there’s no denying that is also significantly impacted my blogging, which up until I started this job had been one of my main focuses. Book blogging still remains my favorite hobby and one of my largest passions in life, and what I’ve learned is that I didn’t have to diminish the presence of blogging in my life because of working. Rather, I had to learn to accommodate it into my new lifestyle and routine. In some ways it has even pushed me to be a better blogger, an outcome I did not anticipate from the change in my schedule.
I wanted to share some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned and changes I’ve endured to my blogging life since starting my new full-time job, in the hopes that it can help at least one person who may find the balancing act overwhelming, to show that you don’t have to give up something you love even if you don’t have as much time for it as you think is necessary.
I now adhere to more of a blogging “schedule”
Granted, I use the term “schedule” loosely, but I definitely have days where I have a plan to sit down and draft up posts. Since working full time, almost all of my blogging happens on weekends. I try to write 2-3 posts for the upcoming week, as well as respond to comments and check out other blogs. I tend to spend 2-3 hours both on Saturday and Sunday working on all of the elements of blogging, and will save shorter, more sporadic posts for the weeknights if I’m feeling up to it (such as participating in a meme like Top Ten Tuesday). I reserve this time on the weekends to blog because it often is too draining for me to write up an entire post on a weeknight, since I usually only have about 4 hours between the time I get home and the time I need to go to bed.
I’ve learned that it’s so important to not try to push myself to produce content when I’m tired or short on time, because my personal rest is more important. Rather, I spend my downtime during the week (such as my commute to work or lunch break) jotting down post ideas in my Erin Condren planner, and keeping a running list of reviews I need to write and books I plan on reading next. Like I said, it’s a loose system, but it provides enough structure to keep my blogging up without being a source of stress.
I’m pushed to write more meaningful content that matters
I participate in less memes or “fluff” posts because I just don’t have the time to spend on them, and the time I do have is devoted to reviews, discussions or features. While sadly this has meant the decline of some fluffy posts I enjoy, such as my Sunday Funday weekly recap, it also helps keep my blog less cluttered and more focused. I usually post a review on Monday or Wednesday, participate in Top Ten Tuesday (if I like the topic) and post discussions/features on Wednesday or Thursday.
I read what I want, when I want
My ARC envy has admittedly gone way down since I started working full time, because while I would love them and hope to get chosen to receive them, I see many bloggers who struggle to keep up with an insane reading schedule due to too many arc commitments (too much of a good thing, am I right?) I still request ARCs that I am very excited and passionate about, but it’s become less of the focus of my reading, and I find myself more content to read what I want, whether it be new releases or back list books that I’ve been meaning to get to. Already this year I’ve managed to read several incredible books that I just didn’t make time for last year (when I ironically had much more reading time) such as Blue Lily, Lily Blue, and Heir of Fire. My reading time is so much more valuable to me when I don’t have it as a guarantee everyday (I can’t read during my commute due to the fact that I get pretty bad motion sickness) and I make sure to make everything that I read count.
I found ways to integrate reading into my weekdays in small bursts
As I mentioned above, I can’t read during my 1.5 hour commute because I get motion sickness (I’ve tried audio books with varying success but that’s a whole different story). Because of this, I try to squeeze in reading as much as I can in ways that work for me. I now have a pretty near constant habit of reading two books at a time. I’ll have my “home” book that I save for weekends and weeknights before bed, and my “work” book that I bring to the office and keep in my desk, and it only gets read on my lunch breaks. I’ve found that this helps for several reasons:
- By leaving a book in my desk it alleviates adding more weight to my backpack by hauling it around everyday
- By not hauling it around everyday, there’s less chances for the book to get torn, bent, or be susceptible to any other sort of damage (I like to get my books in pristine condition)
- It helps to keep my reading schedule exciting and varied
The books I usually reserve for my “work” books tend to be shorter, contemporary fiction novels that are fast reads. I can usually get through one “work” book every 1-2 weeks, and it helps balance the longer, more “intense” books that I read at home (this past week’s selection was The Distance Between Us by Kasie West). This helps ensure that I’m mixing up my genres and helps me get through more books, as I can always balance a longer book with my shorter lunch time reads.
I learned to focus more on social media
Perhaps the biggest positive change that I’ve encountered since having “less” time to blog is that I’ve focused more on social media, specifically Twitter and Instagram. They’ve moved more to the forefront of my focus since I can engage in them easily from my phone, and can utilize them throughout the day, rather than having to have a dedicated time to sit down on my computer. If I have a 15 minute wait for my train, I can scroll through bookish hashtags on Instagram, send a quick tweet to a fellow blogger, and just keep up with the book blogging world in general in smaller chunks of time. A photo I post on Instagram on a Sunday night, for example, can lead to engagement for the next Monday as I respond to comments, check out new accounts of people who have liked my photo, etc. Leveraging my social media accounts more keeps me feeling connected to my blog even when I can’t physically work on it everyday.
Do you work full time and blog as well? Does blogging feel like it’s own part time job to you? Has you blogging been impacted by a major lifestyle shift before? How do you work blogging into your work (or school week)? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts, and your advice!