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Blogging ain’t easy.

If you’re like me, you don’t have the luxury of spending all day writing, coming up with ideas, networking, and enjoying the benefits of your hard work.

You need to pay the bills. And paying the bills with a blog usually doesn’t happen for a long time.

For me, this means having a steady day job – one that demands my attention for 40 hours a week. During this time, I have other things that need to get done. The rest of my life, including my blog, must be put on the backburner if I want to survive.

So how does one do it? How can you maintain your job and your blog while also trying to have a life?

Your boss needs you to perform. Your audience wants consistently awesome content. Your wife needs you to perform ;).

As you might’ve guessed, the best way I’ve found to juggle the three is better time management and better planning.

Plan out a list of your tasks ahead of time. Be very specific.  

This is something I started doing while making writing a consistent habit. Previously, I’d find myself sitting down to work on my blog, only to mindless check Facebook, Twitter, my email, and end up on the 10th page of Reddit. I finally kicked my bad habit by becoming very clear on what needed to get done.

You can do this by creating what I call a Writing Cycle. Your Writing Cycle is basically a list of the core tasks that you need to successfully grow your blog. Here’s an example of what one might look like:

  • Brainstorm 4 good headlines
  • Create an outline
  • Write an introduction
  • Write out 1 section of your post (repeat until each section is finished)
  • Write a summary/conclusion section with a clear call-to-action
  • Edit your post
  • Reach out to other blogs for guest post opportunities

The Writing Cycle takes away all distractions and narrows your focus on one, simple action to complete.

I’ve found – especially for beginners – making the tasks incredibly small eliminates the friction of starting.

Your list may vary depending on your level of expertise. I personally use a similar Writing Cycle to above and knock out several in one sitting, but I’m always deliberate on which tasks I’m doing. Which leads me to my next point…

Schedule your blog time.

The good thing about having a steady day job is just that – it’s steady. You might not know when you’ll have time to blog during the work day, but you know what your time looks outside of that block. That’s why we’re going to schedule our Writing Cycle activities when we can focus on them 100%.

By scheduling your blog time, you give it a place to live. You also make your actions intentional, which means you’re much more likely to follow through. Take a lesson from habits expert James Clear:

“A study in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that 91% people who planned their intention to exercise by writing down when and where they would exercise each week ended up following through.”

You already have a list of tasks that you could be working on, now you just have to block time off in your calendar for them.

Keep those times and use them only for 100% focused activity.

Make a sub-list of tasks that you might be able to do during the work day.

Not all full-time jobs require a constant stream of work. Sometimes, you get what I call “bonus time” that you can use for your blog.

If the Gods are in your favor on any given day, it’s important to be able to utilize that time to your advantage. My suggestion is to have a list of tasks that you can pull from in case the situation arises. I typically will not write during this time for a couple of reasons:

  1. I’m usually too burnt out from the work day. Without having a relaxation period or a full night’s sleep, my creative juices are depleted. I choose not to write during this extra time because I don’t want to sacrifice the quality of my work for the sake of getting something done.
  1. There’s still a decent chance I’ll be interrupted at work. Just in case I do find myself “in the zone”, I’d rather not risk being interrupted by a co-worker or something urgent from my boss.

What I personally do during this time could be any of the following:

  • Blog and market research. This means getting ideas from other blogs in my niche, writing down new blogs that I find, and jotting down potential articles.
  • Pitching guest posts.
  • Commenting on other blogs.
  • Being active on social media.

These activities are still semi-important to growing a blog, but they aren’t the core tasks that I need 100% of my focus for. This time is considered bonus time anyways, so anything I do is really a win-win.

Write down everything.

If you’re like me, you have this constant stream of ideas swirling around for your blog. If you don’t, read. It helps big time. Anyways, it’s important for me to be able to stay focused on work while I’m at work, but I also need to save those super awesome ideas for blog time. I use Evernote to jot down anything that comes to my mind. Getting it out of my head and onto paper saves myself a lot of headache and missed opportunities.

Don’t dismiss the weekends.

I love the weekends as much as you do, especially after a long week of work. But my blog is important to me. If I want it to grow and thrive, I’ve got to water it each day. This was the biggest struggle for me in the beginning. I didn’t have a consistent habit of writing. Now, even during the weekends, I make time for it.

I enjoy getting up and banging out an article or two before the rest of the world wakes. It makes things easier on me during the week, and I can relax the rest of the day having felt accomplished.

Go forth and conquer.

 So your new Modus Operandi when it comes to your blog is think first, write second. The plan is to:

  • Come up with a list of specific, repeatable actions that you need to do
  • Schedule those actions as blocks of time during your day
  • Have a sub-list of actions handy just in case any spare time arises during the work day
  • Get everything out of your head as much as humanly possible
  • Don’t forget about weekend time

That’s how I do it. It keeps me pretty sane (most of the time). How about you?

About Jason Gutierrez

Jason Gutierrez teaches young professionals and entrepreneurs how to build better habits. He writes at themonklife.net about overcoming fear, making habits stick, and achieving your goals. Sign up for his free newsletter to get practical advice and tips for becoming better, faster, healthier.

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