19 Dos and Don’ts to Help You Juggle Work Life and a Blog


One of the hottest allures of blogging is how it can free you from the confines of a normal job.

But what if your current job is so demanding that your blog can never take off?

How do you manage both while still earning enough to live?

My work and my blog are total opposites, and for a few months now I’ve been unable to focus on my blog and social media pages. How can we manage both blog and work?Pranav

For many readers – like this one who wrote in last week – this problem is his reality. And it’s dream-crushing.

So in today’s post, I’d like to explain several things I do and DON’T DO to manage a growing blog and a normal job too (I content manage some old-school nyc.gov sites, for those who did not know).

As usual: My ideas are never quite complete, so If you’ve been here too, please help! And check out the conclusion for a sharp little question I’ll ask.

19 realities of the blog life

Here are several DOs and DON’Ts that have allowed me to keep an edge on blogging even as life gets busy. If you have any questions, just reference the # in the comments and we’ll talk through it!

1. DO create a daily routine for weekdays and weekends. Wake up early and don’t force productivity when you should be relaxing. Reserve some outdoors time on your days off, too.

2. DON’T check your email more than 3 times a day. Once in the morning and once after lunch. If you absolutely must, once before bed. You don’t need to exert more effort or waste time deleting and archiving the same crap.

3. DO set monthly goals you know you can complete ahead of schedule. This is one of my favorites. Set a goal of 100 new subscribers, or 100 comments, or $100 deposited in your PayPal you know is going to make you feel good, yet is well within your reach. Once you hit the goal, you’ll feel more relaxed for the rest of the month and get ahead for the next.

4. DON’T measure success by amount of money earned. Danger, danger – tsk tsk tsk. Don’t force yourself to earn money or you’ll squeeze the life out of your content. Almost every established blogger will tell you the money comes in easier when you’re not focusing on it, sending repeated emails to clients, and generally looking at the glass as half empty. Spend this time challenging yourself with new projects that can blossom and bulge your pockets in the next few months.

5. DO outsource, starting now. The days of being a glorious multi-tasker are long gone, and it reality, this kind of do-it-all-myself is what increases stress and leads someone to leave a blog. Things like logo design, SEO maintenance and editorial are all covered at affordable rates by nice people you can find online. Think of yourself, and your creative expertise, as highly valuable and in need of protecting and understand often times someone else can do a job quicker/smarter/better than you.

6. DON’T over-stress your design. I made the massive mistake on my first blog of always changing the design. Whether it was something small like moving a Facebook box to places I thought it’d get clicked more or rolling out new logos and themes, it just never seemed enough and probably confused the heck out of people. The worst part here is, people don’t tell.

7. DO make it all about the content. If you can get past the 14,000 small tasks in blogging and just keep it simple, all about your content, you’ll be able to really produce. But this is tough. What content are we even focusing on? Ideally, this content should be chunks of content your audience needs, which relates to things they’ve liked in the past. Article / video / podcast series that build on one and another are a great go to if you’re out of fresh ideas (or have too many).

8. DON’T over-edit blog posts. Pretty basic. Pump out your ideas, make it pretty, then move on.

9. DO adhere to a blog post style. Another lesson that took me several blogs to learn, a blog post style is a structure you’ve used that can form the skeleton for a new blog post. You don’t want to recreate the wheel.

Joe Lalonde is a blogger who exemplifies this point. Take a look at any two of his blog posts and you will see that he opens his post with an introductory sentence, includes a picture, writes the “meat” of his post, and ends with a strong call to action using an italicized font. He follows this outline each and every time, and his readers know what to expect when they read one of his posts. (Lorraine even wrote a guest post for him last year, Reaching Out To Others: You Have Nothing To Lose & Everything To Gain, and followed this ready-made style when doing so!)

“Never waste your time solving a problem you’ve already solved.” Tweet this quote!

10. DON’T mix work and play. Your blog is play, your work is work, and it’s pretty clear which one pays the rent. Yet, as things get busier, it will be tempting and fun to blend the time you’re spending on each. I would not recommend this. It can actually take away from both activities, generate lots of clutter, and even trick your brain into thinking the blogging part has become work too!

11. DO complete projects before moving on. Otherwise you will eventually feel like you’re drowning.

12. DON’T let useful moments slip away. Mornings, weekends, even just 15 minutes of quiet time here and there can all contribute to making your system work, or fail.

13. DO use your network, regularly. Perhaps the most valuable item here, so I’ll bury it and see if you can find it. If you look at all the bloggers making noise online (not excluding myself) we all have super strong networks. Favors are granted, and returned. Sure, we bloggers are usually geeking-out at the computers alone, but a few friends (and maybe a few enemies) can make blogging to a consistently large audience a whole lot easier.

14. DON’T ever take any single reader for granted. Here’s a short story. When I started blogging I looked at my analytics each day. Picture me starting a Blogger’s traffic stats each morning. The gains were almost always small, if there were gains at all! Thinking blogging was a numbers game, I set up all sorts of Facebook post blasts and Twitter direct messages schemes to get more clicks back to my blog. While the numbers did go up, so did the bounce rate. The moral here is that if you think of blogging as a numbers game instead of a people’s game, you’d be wise to just not blog at all and focus on whatever other work you’ve secured to bring the bills in. People are so smart these days that they can sniff spam a mile away. As I’ve been talking about in the newsletter recently, you want one good follower way more than 100 random ones.

“It took me a while to realize blogging is not a numbers game at all, but a people’s game.” Tweet this quote!

15. DO make use of organic events and time frames to build momentum. Momentum following a successful blog post or guest post or some larger event is often your biggest edge to level-up your work to new heights. Fortuntately, you can keep momentum going by using naturally existence timeframes. People read email newsletters Tuesday morning. They go on Twitter between 6 and 8 p.m. They don’t share much content on Saturdays. They enjoy pictures on Thursdays. And there’s a lot more of this. Taking advantage of naturally occurring time frames where people are willing to read your post will get your work in front of more eyeballs!

16. DON’T misuse social media. It should be fun. The huge mistake many new online blogger and entrepreneurs make is thinking they need to race to 100 or 1000 likes but this is just a waste of time, and can convince you to spend time and money on endeavors like Facebook ads (not a bad thing, but only should be done at a certain point in your career).

17. DO automate whenever possible. Definitely another Dear Blogger favorite, automation is a topic that I’ve talked a bit about already. You might know what it means – but to use it is another question. I tell countless people each week to get their eBook published and loaded it up for delivery. Automation is the act of allowing your business to run without your physical presence, and as you can guess, it frees up lots of time to perform more hands-on jobs or just do something healthy like hit the gym, which can help your work later on in that day.

18. DON’T break self-made deadlines, over promise or otherwise let your reputation slip. I’d be a bold -faced liar if I said I had adhered to (or even remembered) every deadline I had set. But the problem gets more severe when other parties, especially potential network candidates, are involved. Whether you’re freelancing or just blogging or starting a whole company, you’ll be better off surprising people with little rewards than promising ones too large or difficult to deliver.

19. DO invest and reinvest. Do not ever be afraid to invest. If you make $100 this week, set aside 10-20% to invest back in the business. Investing allows your business to grow. Whether it is a new theme, a domain name, an employee, a social media management software or whatever. Every time I have invested, like in hiring my social media manager, the results have been awesome. More traffic, more followers and just a general feeling of excitement that I’m doing something new – and a bit uncomfortable – in the name of the blog makes the investment worth it.

“When you cant quite put your finger on it, a small investment may be exactly what your blog needs.” Tweet this quote!

Do you devote enough time and energy to your blog?

I know at least a handful of my readers are juggling a full-time job and a blog and maybe even a family and I have a question for you. Are you doing enough for your blog?

If not, how can we help?

Beware though, once you drop off a comment you may have to tidy things up for the community to come say hello! 😉


Share This Post

25 Responses to "19 Dos and Don’ts to Help You Juggle Work Life and a Blog"

  1. Great information Greg. One of my 2015 goals is to begin blogging (for fun!). I’ve struggled to figure out just where to start. Your site provides great information for a novice and I plan on referring to it regularly as I journey through the process.

    Reply
  2. Hi Greg,

    I’ve been blogging since my college days. Back then, studies never allowed me to grow my blogs the way I wanted them to. And now, thankfully, I managed to land a good Government job.

    In the beginning, I felt my day job to be so demanding that I was all set to sell up my blogs and say goodbye to blogging! But with time, I managed to convince myself to give it another shot.

    I must admit that with some good old planning and scheduling, things worked well for me! Now, with proper planning, I’m able to juggle between blogging, day job and social life! Sure, it requires some effort and dedication.

    From the tips shared by you, outsourcing grabbed my attention. I’ve never really given it a thought. Will ponder about it!

    At the end of the day, if one is passionate about blogging, somehow he/she will find time for it! 🙂

    Arun

    Reply
  3. This is a great list! I’ve seen some of this advice in bits and pieces in other places, but this is a nice comprehensive list. It will help me and other bloggers stay focused on what’s important. I think numbers 13, 14 and 16 are the keys to building relationships and a community around your blog.

    Reply
  4. Hello Greg,
    You are right,it is very tough to manage a blog when your job demands more time. Blogging gives me a feel of bliss so somehow I mange to spend some quality time with my blog. Moreover nothing can be more satisfying than getting appreciated for your work from your readers!
    Good post! Keep writing! 🙂

    Reply
  5. Hello Greg
    I am in job ( full time ) manage my home , family and try to write as well.
    I have recently started a blog and I have gone through all your dos and don’ts. I am lacking many of them and making a lot of mistakes but as for checking email thrice daily … I go to work and open my email and all day it is open 🙂 when I get time then I check that.
    About editing , sometime I do that mistake of over editing and when I try to edit from mobile or from blog , always the font style and size changes ….. That is a big problem for me… I will try to avoid over editing now.
    Very Good advice.
    Thank you for an informative blog.

    Reply
    1. Hey Andleeb,

      Great to hear from you. Careful leaving email open. Over-checking reduces the focus on real projects that make you feel good at the end of the day. It also leaves you vulnerable to other people’s requests. But email is very personal so it’s up to you.

      Over-editing is pretty bad for all bloggers so you’re not alone. You obviously have good ideas if you are blogging. Try to get them solidified then do ONE edit then publish. Have you thought of hiring a virtual editor? Oh boy, mobile edits? I only use that for comments.

      Check this out: http://www.dearblogger.org/good-enough-to-publish

      Happy to help out more. Lastly I often remind myself that I am just one person and blogging overall is a pretty minor thing. It helps reduce the pressure 🙂

      Cheers,
      The Blogger

      Reply
  6. Hi Greg,

    Your advice is spot on! It definitely applies to many business owners online and offline. Balance is something we all struggle to have and it is a daily battle.

    I have full time job, clients to serve and a blog to grow. I can tell you, I have been able to stay pretty consistent and I have grown my blog to a good level with all that is going on. So yes, I have been giving it a good chunk of my time. But you know what, there is always more room for improvement 🙂

    You’ve provided some awesome tips and thank you for that!

    Regards,
    Kumar

    Reply
    1. Well said sir! Every time I check out gauraw.com I am impressed.

      So, question – what one piece of advice would you give for a newbie WITH a job and ALSO on the cusp of a successful blog?

      Reply
  7. Greg for a great informative post. I have been on the internet since the early 90’s selling promotional products and realized I needed to go to the next step of social media. I have to say doing blogs has been a struggle because selling is forte. But this is part of business and I plan to keep it even though it can be overwhelming.

    .

    Reply
    1. Pretty sure we were talking about this to some extent at your blog, Arleen, right?

      Was it easier back then?

      I just try to be really useful and provide new information on products. You have to be clever. And available for help.

      Reply
    1. Hey Chelli!

      Just got for it with a hatchling or baby plan! It’s been extended until 3/26 11:59pm CST so bit more time. They’ve already discounted the plans. I can walk you thru it so let me know.

      — Greg

      Reply
  8. Great advice. I think I’m failing at more of these than I’m succeeding at, but that’s why I’m reading it right? Right now, I’m mostly working on creating systems for myself, kind of like a mix of #17 and #18.

    Reply
    1. Thanks Mer. Maybe it just sadly comes down to being more of a jerk?

      Yeah I think any two of these like 17 and 18 are enough if you just stick by them. And automation is basically like a bacon donut.

      Reply
  9. Thanks Greg for a great informative post. I have just recently started taking my blogging seriously – mainly because others were telling me that my posts had become very interesting – but I do find it difficult to stay the course. Now I want to jump into big traffic numbers etc, – but your post put things into perspective.
    Good stuff.
    Lenie

    Reply
    1. You’re very welcome Lenie. You blog looks legit and you already have some PageRank too!

      Stay away from common pitfalls…missing deadlines, writing off-topic, over marketing. Invest in design.

      I always picture a common sitcom. How annoyed would be if your fav show was off-time, topic or style? And a blog has even less of a chance…

      Anyways, heck, this is like a book-markable checklist I guess 🙂

      Reply
  10. Hi greg; Thanks for this excellent post. You packed a lot of good advice in there. I think the best was your suggestion about not making it all about traffic numbers or dollars earned. and I definitely agree that sometimes the best thing to do is start a new project for your site to keep you from focusing on or stressing about the wrong things. I don’t do enough for my site or blog but I don’t know that I can actually do more. I am active in our blogging community, have my own blog posts, started podcasts and google hangouts. I use social media and my mailing list. I could use some new customers. got any friends that need a roller coaster or carousel for their back yards? thanks again for the post and take care, Max

    Reply
    1. Thanks Max. Right, I keep thinking of ways to expand your business. Your blog is so unique and I can see you’re doing a lot for the blogosphere.

      I don’t personally have friends, though it’s basically my dream to own an amusement park.

      Well – your past costumers – what are they like? Can you turn them into more customers?

      Reply
  11. This advice is solid and spot on, Greg. The truth it it can apply to many business owners. I have been struggling with this balance a great deal of late, primarily because of a move. I know that will end then Things will return to normal, but for now this really hit home.

    Reply
    1. Thanks Sue. They definitely will 🙂 Sometimes a big change is just what the doctor ordered actually, to step back and realize what matters most.

      Your blogs looking fantastic now!

      Reply

Post Comment