If you had told me, back in August when I started a full-time job, that my life would turn upside down, I wouldn’t have believed you.
“I’ll have time to blog,” I told myself. “After all, I’ve been working at home the equivalent of full-time—writing, crafting and volunteering.”
What I hadn’t counted on was how tired I would be at the end of the day, and how few hours would be left before bedtime for household tasks, socializing with my husband, and running my Etsy business.
My number one goal this year is to try to get back into some semblance of a blogging schedule, which means old strategies need to be reviewed, and new strategies may be in order. Time management is a topic I have discussed previously in these posts:
- The bane of procrastination
- 12 ways to carve out time for creativity
- A development plan for creatives: 12 simple steps
- Taking time to make time
- Finding time to create
- Too frazzled to create?‘
- Setting realistic expectations for time management
I must admit, however, that things look different when you’re on someone else’s clock for the better part of the day. After giving this some thought, here are three strategies that I think will work for anyone who wants to blog while working full-time away from home.
Find your focus
When you have limited time to write, knowing ahead of time what your focus will be is invaluable. In her article, Tips for Creating Catchy Headlines, Lauren Hooker of Elle & Company suggests you direct your attention to the title of your post.
It’s helpful to have a goal in mind as you’re writing your post. Creating your headline first helps you set that goal and maintain your focus; it gives you a reference point and a purpose to work toward.”
If you’re stumped for ideas about a title for your post, Lauren includes a handy list of title-starters that will solve that issue:
- How to (Desired Result)
- (Number) Reasons __________
- What Every __________ Should Know About __________
- Why __________ is __________
- (Number) Ways to Avoid __________
- My (Adjective) Way for __________
Save the leftovers
You’ve probably heard it said previously that people today want their information quickly in short bursts, which leads to a recommendation that you keep your blog posts short, with short being defined many different ways. On the other hand, according to Shelly Pringle in Blogging Best Practices: The Ideal Length for the Perfect Blog Post, “After a lot of research I eventually found the answer: longer content tends to rank higher in search engine results pages, attract more inbound links, get more social shares and convert better.” But in terms of the time you have to write versus the length of your blog post, it probably serves your purposes well to say what you have to say, and if you have a lot more to discuss about your topic, save it for another day and another post. Find another point of view, an angle you haven’t covered, or a connection to something else, and spin that into another post. You can even promise your readers a follow-up post in the near future, giving them something to anticipate. Your posts, especially if you have limited time to write, don’t need to be encyclopedic in length, breadth and depth.
Throw out the “buts”
When you lead a busy life, it’s altogether too easy to tell yourself you would write more, but you simply don’t have enough time. Very few people have the luxury of large chunks of time that they can devote to writing. In her book, Writer with a Day Job, Áine Greaney says that the word “but” signals what we cannot do. In other words, it’s negative thinking. She says you should instead challenge yourself with but’s opposite, the word “can.”
“Okay,” she writes, “what can you do? Can you write for 10 minutes every morning?”
I decided to accept Áine’s challenge by taking my laptop to work several days of the week to write this post. I usually have 10 to 20 minutes left after I eat lunch, and discovered you can write an amazing number of words if you allow yourself to focus on nothing but your writing, even if you only have a few minutes each day.
For the typical nine-to-fiver, Áine suggests you set objectives for yourself that are achievable, measurable, and clearly stated. For example, you might promise yourself that you will write a single blog post each week during your lunch hour. Even if you’re only writing for a few minutes each day, your post is getting longer and you’ll eventually finish it.
Blogging is tough to fit into your schedule even if you don’t work full-time at another job. Your life may simply be filled with many other demands. “The key,” according to How to find time to write while you work, “is letting go of the idea of a perfect, unblemished block of time for your writing and looking for new strategies that will give you 30 to 60 extra minutes per day.”
If you work full-time away from home, how do you fit blogging into your schedule?
© 2016 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.