blogging · discussion

Let’s Chat: Blog-Life Balance?!

Hello everyone!

How’s it going? It’s been a busy, busy few weeks for me and I find myself thinking about how I will balance blogging with… well, the rest of life. I feel responsible for my readers, so I strive to write my 2 scheduled blog posts per week, reply to comments as soon as possible, and blog hop to spread the blogging love. On the other hand, I also feel the need to keep the rest of my life under control: writing! keeping dogs alive! go to work! pay rent and bills! [insert more boring adult stuff here]

We are bloggers, yes, and at the same time we are also students, or employees, or pet-owners, or mothers/fathers, or writers, or exercise/music enthusiasts. How can we do everything at once?!

I won’t pretend to be a guru here. In fact, I have no idea if I am doing anything right at all. The reason I decided to write this post is not only to share some of my time-saving and stress-reducing strategies, but also to hear from you guys. Let me know how you blog and do everything else too.

#1: Write My Reviews ASAP

I have the worst book memory (or memory in general haha.) I find that if I wait too long after reading a book, the only thing I will be able to write is a one-line summary of the plot (and if I’m lucky, the main character’s first name.) When I started blogging, I would get into the predicament of staring at a blank page for a long time trying to squeeze out some words to write about that darn book.

I’ve learned since then, to jot down my thoughts right after finishing a book. Usually this is on a note app on my phone and it is a super quick stream-of-consciousness process. I love doing this because all my feelings about the book, whether I love it or hate it, are still fresh, and above all, I still remember the major characters and plot points. When it is time to post my review, I just copy-and-paste this onto WordPress, touch up my grammar, and insert some pictures! Because of this, review-type posts are time-savers for me.

#2: Pre-Write and Schedule My Posts

I designate a day to buckle down and write my two blog posts of the week, then schedule them on my posting days (either Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday.) Once I am in “blogging” mode, the words and the ideas come pretty quickly, so this is faster than writing one post at a time. I also find that it is less stressful when I write posts several days before they are to go up. I know that, if I am really out of ideas, I have a few more days to come up with something.

#3: Prepare a List of Go-To Blog Ideas

I have a blogging spreadsheet where I keep track of any blogging ideas that spring to mind, and tags/awards that I’ve been tagged in. This way, if I am out of ideas, I have a quick go-to list to refer to.

#4: Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize

I love blogging, but I’ve quickly realized that there is an unlimited amount that we can do. We can do blog-related activities forever and ever and never be done. Aside from writing blog posts (anywhere from less than once a month to seven days a week), we reply to comments, blog-hop, improve the organization of our blog, revamp theme and graphics. We can even get involved on other social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Where does one stop?!

I follow a mental checklist of things to do, depending on how much time I have. This is my list of blog activities, in order of priority.

  1. Post twice weekly
  2. Reply to comments within 3-4 days
  3. Blog-hop / Twitter
  4. Update blog menus, review indices, etc
  5. Revamp blog graphics

#1 and #2 are essential for me, and I really really really try to get to #3. Unfortunately, #4 and #5 fall off my radar very often :’)

#5: It’s Okay to Take a Break

Sometimes life happens, whether it is something premeditated (like an exam or a vacation) or an event that is out of the blue. It is reasonable to tone down our blogging activities, or to announce a hiatus. This way we can take some time to get our life together, tend to our mental health (or just have a nice relaxing break) and come back ready to dive into blogging again.

What other hobbies/responsibilities do you have outside of blogging? How do you do it all? What are your go-to time-saving blogging life-hacks?

63 thoughts on “Let’s Chat: Blog-Life Balance?!

  1. I know your pain. I think most of us do.
    For a couple of months now, I’ve been sticking to a rather rigid blogging schedule. And it helps keep things organized. For the first 2 months I was like you – writing ahead of posting (usually a day before so that things were still valid). But the past couple of weeks started to prove difficult. I don’t start writing until an hour before my writing should post. That’s unacceptable to me. Quality suffers, and the time of my posts starts to vary.
    I hope that with May around the corner, I can get back in the saddle.
    Good luck to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely. I used to write posts right before posting them, which created a lot of pressure and stress, especially when I don’t have an idea of what to write but need to post something for that day haha. I find that it is must more organized and stress-free when I get things done in advance πŸ™‚ Hope you’ll find a schedule that works for you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great post. It can be really tough finding balance. I like to plan out my posts and schedule as many as I can. I also breed geckos, have dogs, and do all the house stuff. So I feel like I’m always doing something. Planning and notes have been a lifesaver.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you! There are so many out there and last season was my last one after about 11 years of breeding. But I still have to sell all the ones I have left. It’s fun, but the market has become overflooded now with people who don’t care about genetics or ethics. It made it less enjoyable.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh that’s unfortunate that you won’t be breeding geckos anymore. When I was looking into adopting dogs, I heard that there are “puppy mills” who breed puppies quickly and sell them for cheap, however many of the puppies are unhealthy as a result.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That is very true. There is something similar with geckos. People who just want to make money don’t track (or even understand) genetics. Good breeders track back and know what can’t be mixed along with breeding for quality.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a relatable post, Sophie! I’ve currently been on a 1 month hiatus, since I haven’t been able to manage my time well enough to update my blog, while juggling school with work! I definitely find that writing my posts and scheduling them in advance helps me feel less flustered, and more productive! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Kelly! Definitely, it’s hard at times to juggle blogging with everything else that is going on, and sometimes a hiatus is what we need πŸ™‚ Hope that things settle down on your end! Yes planning ahead is a timesaver!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the very informative post. I have about the time-saving and stress-reducing strategies as you but since I started the When Fashion and Nature Collide series it has been hard to write two blog posts a week. I also should take the time to do update on blog menus and revamp blog graphics. These are the aspects of blogging that stress me the most. I am soooo not tech savvy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes two posts a week can be hard to maintain at times, especially with everything else that is going on! I tend to stress about blog menus and graphics too haha. I know there is so much more I can do for my blog although time is always the limiting factor πŸ™‚ At the end of the day, we do our best right? I think it’s great as long as blogging is bringing us joy.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I also have a terrible memory and find that writing my reviews as soon as possible helps so much! I take extensive notes and jot down my feelings while reading but that isn’t even enough most of the time, so if I wait too long it’s such a nightmare.

    We seem to be pretty similar in the plan for the future by scheduling so you can be ready for life things… all of your tips I also do!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! Writing reviews ASAP is a big timesaver for me haha. I am curious about writing notes since I haven’t been doing that as I read books… Where do you keep your notes? (phone vs separate notebook?)
      Yeah scheduling has been a godsend so far, although I’ve only been scheduling a week in advance though I know other bloggers prepare much more ahead πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If I am reading on the kindle I have a highlighting color system and take notes directly in the app! For physical books, I use colored flags to mark sections and keep a running list of thoughts in a draft WP post. I write in my books, but since I started donating them I wanted to keep them fresh on first reading, if possible. haha

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This was a great post Sophie and really useful. Because blogging can take a lot of time and like you said it doesn’t stop and you can always be doing something which can make it quite stressful. But that’s why breaks are so important and you always need to remember to make time for yourself.
    I think pre-writing posts is really useful and I have slots where I write a few posts as I do think it is faster and I can get into the flow of writing.
    And I think writing notes somewhere whilst reading a book definitely helps because I have been know to stare at the screen hoping for words to come out haha!!
    Loved this post and it’s really useful. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Sophie πŸ™‚ Yes it’s hard to find where to stop when it comes to blogging because there is always more to do. It’s definitely important to plan some breaks and adjust our schedules when life gets hectic πŸ™‚
      Pre-writing posts have been a definite lifesaver for me!
      I am curious about writing notes while reading a book and I haven’t started doing this yet. Do you do this on a separate piece of paper or on your phone?
      Thank you ❀ ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi!! Yes definitely– balance is key!! Yes prewriting posts is very, very helpful!! πŸ˜‚
        I write my notes in a separate notebook that I have– they are messy and brief but they help me remember. I also take a picture of a page in the book that made me think of something to write so when writing the review I can read it again and remind myself of the story and what I had to say. It just helps me πŸ˜‚
        You’re welcome ❀

        Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a great post Sophie. πŸ™‚ I seem to be really struggling with my blog/life balance at the moment but I need to get back on it. The main thing that helps me are drafting posts beforehand, I need go-to posts which I can publish right away if I don’t have time to blog, which seems to be a lot to be honest. πŸ™‚
    I’m trying to get back into the habit of writing reviews ASAP! I’ve been putting them off for ages so I have a bit of a backlog, but I’m trying to get back on track, writing my new reviews right away and going back to some of the older ones I have still sitting on my to-write list!
    Again great post. πŸ™‚ ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Beth! Yeah blog-life balance is tough! It sounds like a good idea to have some go-to posts that we can fall back on right away when there isn’t enough time! Are there certain types of posts that you rely on as go-to posts?
      Sounds like you’re getting back into the habit of writing reviews ASAP. I think your approach of writing new reviews right away is a good one πŸ™‚
      Thank you Beth ❀ πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s normally either reviews or book tags, I don’t have like a really strict blogging schedule but I usually post discussions on weekends, and I do Top Ten Tuesday posts on Tuesdays so when I’m feeling lazy I’ll post one of the reviews or tags I have sitting in my drafts. It’s worked for me so far.
        Yeah I just figured it was easier that way. I feel a little more accomplished if I can cross off newer books from my to-review list, even though I still have the same amount of older books waiting for their reviews to be written! πŸ˜€
        That’s all right. ❀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s good πŸ™‚ I remember you mentioning before that you keep a stash of blog post drafts which seems like a good idea. I have a bit of a similar system with my reviews which hang out in my draft folder, though they are in a rougher stage I imagine πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s just handy having them no matter what stage they’re in I think. Between work and everything else I don’t tend to get around to blogging until late-ish in the evening so I’d never have time to comment and write a post to publish! Most of my blog writing happens on the weekends for that reason alone. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Same here πŸ™‚ I get home from work in the late afternoon, but usually I am so mentally exhausted that I don’t feel like writing blog posts (or it would just take me forever haha.) So I prefer doing this on weekend mornings when I am feeling refreshed πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this post so much, Sophie! ❀ I admire you so much for taking notes like that once you finish reading a book, I KNOW I should try and do that more, but somehow I'm the worst at it ahah. I try my best to prioritize certain things and schedule a whole lot of things, as well and dedicate time to blog hopping, too, in order to find the right balance between blogging and life, but sometimes… well sometimes it's a lot and breaks are much needed, too πŸ™‚
    Lovely post!! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Marie!!
      I really can’t rely on my memory when it comes to books, even books that I love (never mind books that are just so-so hahaha) which is why writing reviews right after reading the book really works for me πŸ™‚
      Yes blogging takes time and it’s good to take a break once in a while. I am trying to not get too stressed about getting everything done, this way I can enjoy it more πŸ™‚
      Thank you Marie ❀ ❀ πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hey Sophie, as usual, I admire how structured and systematic your life is (at least compared to mine). My life is not a complete chaos, but compared to you, it is, lol. Intellectually, I get that it’s legit and doable to have a much more changeful and spontaneous lifestyle, but I unfortunately grew up in a family that values structure and routine, and thinks a spontaneous lifestyle is “impulsive/ lazy/undisciplined”. So I still feel internalized shame for being this way.

    You know the Myers-Briggs test? There’s one dimension called Perceiving or Judging. Perceiving is basically about being more spontaneous and open to possibilities, while judging is about being more structured and controlled. Of course we all fall on a continuum, but I always score a P, while my parents score as J’s. (If I remember right, most people get J, although P isn’t that uncommon either.) I don’t get an extreme P, only a slight or moderate P. But you can imagine how it can be a problem when you have two parents who believe in regulated, structured living, with set routines everyday, and a kid who is naturally much more changeful and flexible (some would even say impulsive and willful).

    For the past 20+ years of my life, I had believed what my parents believed, and thus felt bad about myself for failing to live up to this standard. My parents believed that only by living such a regular, controlled lifestyle, will you be efficient and productive. Hmmm. I know some real life people who live in a more spontaneous way, but they are very prolific and do high quality work too. However, as I said, I’m still struggling with that internalized shame, in spite of seeing evidence that contradicts my parents’ beliefs about more spontaneous people.

    Anyhow, I’ve only just begun to take my natural disposition seriously and am still figuring out what to do. It seems that my body/mind will always force some hours of break on me everyday, unless I’m rushing a close deadline. So the break could involve talking to friends, in person or online, going on Facebook, writing on WhatsApp, reading blog posts, or playing Pokemon.

    These breaks are good because they are unrelated to my work and responsibilities, and they involve external, sometimes even social stimulation—Pokemon Go can feel social when you see other trainers in gyms you want to conquer. As I’ve mentioned on our Camp Nanowrimo board, I probably won’t have any vacations anymore, and even if I visit my family in Hong Kong, I’m still reading and writing everyday! So I seriously need a breather from all these work responsibilities (even Nanowrimo feels like a responsibility). I need a break even from my favorite things in the world!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Sieran! Haha yeah I am a pretty structured person although by my standards I feel like I’ve been pretty spontaneous (when a friend asks me if I want to hang out in the evening, even though I planned to exercise/walk dogs/eat leftovers/write, I will say yes! This is a huge step out of my comfort zone if you can believe hahahaha….)

      I think that everyone is different. Though we might try to adapt to other people, be it friends or family, I think our innate predisposition is hard to change. (For example, being spontaneous for you, and being structure and routine for me.) The best approach is to try to make the most of what we have, I think πŸ™‚ and to use our traits to our advantage, whatever it may be πŸ™‚

      Yes I am a big fan of MBTI haha. In fact all my characters have MBTI scores. I am INFJ (pretty much 70-30 for everything haha) πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha yeah INFJ sounds just like you! I am a through and through ENFP. LOLLL some close friends were surprised that I got P, because I gave off the impression of being a J… Or maybe I’m just a P who was trying very hard to emulate J’s. XD But now I know it’s not for me. It’s not that there’s zero structure in my life, but I find it hard to maintain ANY routine long term… (That’s why I freak out when people say “you should” go to bed and get up at the same time every day. 😨 That sounds extremely stifling and boring as hell.)

        Yes, I’m slowly learning how to make the most of what I have! I grew up in a family that sees the J style as “the good way”, and the P style as “the messed-up and shameful way”. So I have a lot of internalized shame to work through! I’m happy to say that I’ve come a long way since, though I still struggle with some internalized shame.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am not surprised that you are an ENFP! Judging by the way that you describe yourself, you definitely sound like a P rather than a J πŸ™‚ It’s interesting that you say that you try to emulate a J. I actually try to emulate a P haha, especially in my interactions with friends! When my friends spring up spontaneous plans in the moment, I really try to be flexible and go along with their idea, and I probably sound like I am totally up for it, but in reality I am panicking a little bit on the inside (when am I going to exercise? when am I going to write? how about the dogs?) Lol πŸ™‚

        It’s interesting because I kind of see P as a neutral if not positive trait! Although certain careers might favour Js (for example, jobs that have the 9-5 schedule) I feel like socially the P trait is favoured. Who doesn’t like the friend who is easygoing and spontaneous? πŸ™‚ That’s why I’ve been trying to pretend to be a P!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. It’s me again. I also don’t understand friends who say they like the Mon to Fri, 9-5 pm work schedule. That regularity would bore me to tears. I’ve always wanted to work irregular hours, even willing to work nights and weekends! (Not mornings, though, lol.) Hehe even with my rather flexible schedule at my practicum placement, I find myself feeling a little stifled and bored because there’s some regularity and sameness. Every Monday I will see these clients at these times, every Wednesday I will see these clients at those times, etc. So I think that’s why my body is trying to rebel by putting in Pokemon Go adventures to disrupt the sameness of my weeks, haha.

        I might have been happier if I grew up in a family environment where Ps were seen as wonderful, flexible, fun, free-spirited, adorable, or any other positive light.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I think Ps are awesome! They tend to be easygoing and spontaneous, while Js tend to be organized but also kind of anal hahahaha :’)

        I kind of agree with you about the 9-5 schedule. Right now I work on a rotating schedule, so mostly 8-4 though occasional weekends and weeknights. I actually don’t mind having the variety!! The idea of Monday-Friday 8-4 every week would feel a little bit stifling for me too haha :’)

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yeah I read about some common misconceptions about Ps and J’s. Even though I’m a P, most people see me as pretty reliable and organized, and I’m almost always punctual. I also meet all my school deadlines, and to my memory, I have only ever made one deadline extension request in my life, because I got sick unexpectedly. (Guess I was lucky I got this far in life without having sickness prevent me from meeting deadlines!)

        In contrast, I have a friend who has the messiest apartment I have ever seen, but she is a J. I have another friend who has the tidiest apartment I have ever seen, and he’s a P, lol. Also, I have another friend who likes to have a late sleep schedule, and is very spontaneous (she criticized me for lacking spontaneity!), but she’s a J. Haha!

        Some people could be close to the middle, though, so a J or a P can be a simplification. Even you, as a J, would appreciate a work schedule with a bit more variety than 8-4 every single week!

        That’s super interesting that you see Ps as more socially desirable, because I thought the society sees J’s as more responsible, and Ps as more impulsive and childish, lol. Glad we had this talk! I want to write a blog post on the topic of Ps and J’s lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. That’s really interesting that Ps and Js aren’t as straight forward as we would think πŸ™‚ People are complicated and can’t be defined by a letter (or 4 letters for that matter.)
        I’d definitely love to read a blog post about Ps and Js πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Sophie, I’ve finally finished writing my blog post about Ps and Js! Well, it’s mostly about my own experience as a P. But I’m going to publish that blog post I’ve been working on since January first. 🀣 Talk about having an irregular working schedule…

        Like

  10. For books, I try to jot down notes in a drafted blog post. I just did in the car an hour ago before the teenager came. I make cards and knit. I feel I’ve been blogging a lot more this year and I have so much more knitting content since the conference.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, Sophie. There are STITCHES conferences all over the US. I go to STITCHES West which is held at a conference center that is 17 miles from m the last full week of February. I took three classes this year and shopped one day.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. These are good practical tips – I think they pretty much summarize the best strategies for managing an ongoing blog. I love the feeling of having posts scheduled and ready to go days or even weeks ahead of time, but I rarely had time to do that – there’s never a time of the year when I’m less busy! I’m either studying, working, or travelling. Hopefully one day I can settle into more of a routine, but until then I will continue embracing tip #5, haha. Blogging is a fun hobby for me and I keep it that way by making it a low pressure activity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Jenna! Absolutely. Blogging is a hobby after all and it should be fun for us rather than pressurizing and stressful. I really admire bloggers who can keep on top of making posts more frequently and planning more ahead of time, however I don’t have the time for that! We blog as much or as little as we want, as long as it brings us joy! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Such a fantastic post, Sophie! I really liked reading about how you try to juggle life and the blog 😊 I try to write my posts on the weekend so I have them all ready to go! It’s just so much more relaxing to know you have this week’s posts all scheduled to go without having to rush to finish them at the last minute πŸ˜„

    Liked by 2 people

  13. If you asked me this a year back, I would have a bunch of handy tips and stuff ready to say. I had my answer to how I manage my blog and life. But since then, I’ve had to prioritize other things more, such as my health and college. For the last few months I’ve been barely posting 5 posts a month when I used to post 3 a week before. It’s taken a hit on my stats, my motivation to blog and mostly my engagement with people in the community. But now, I’ve decided to let it go. It’s true that I need to prioritize other things and someday, I will get back to giving my all to blog. I will get back to scheduling and pre-writing, I will get back to planning. It’s okay if it’s not today, or tomorrow.

    I loved your post! I’ve just been visiting a bunch of your posts and I’m liking what I’m seeing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Sumedha πŸ™‚
      Yes I get it. Our priorities change, and what was important to us before might not be important to us now. I can relate since I used to post 3-4 times a week and reply to comments everyday. However because of real-life demands I post less regularly and can’t keep up with comments as often. If I committed more time to blogging, my blogging stats would be a lot better, but at the same time I don’t have that much time to commit to blogging (oh well!)
      If life is demanding your attention right now, that’s all right. Blogging will always be there for you whenever you want to take it up again. It’s up to you to decide how much time and effort to put into it, depending on your current situation πŸ™‚ Thank you for stopping by Sumedha.

      Like

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