Work life balance can be difficult to achieve in any job. As a full-time nurse, I often find myself being at work more than I’m home. Thus, When I am home, I’m often extremely tired from work. It can be easy to let our work life take over. After all, the majority of us have to work to continue living the life we currently love or to create a life we aspire to have. Research and the gurus of self-care suggest that to find a true work-life balance we must exercise ‘work’ that we love. This way, we won’t see going to work as anything other than doing something which we love. I know what you’re thinking, easier said than done right?
Finding a good work-life balance is a technique that can take years to achieve and I know many people who think it’s just about impossible. When I began travelling a year ago I wanted to make a healthy work-life balance the priority. The mission was to experience. I want to live, breathe and enjoy Australia whilst working to make that all possible to fund these some spectacular adventures.
So, what did I do as we set out on our journey down under?
Of course, I decided to start a blog!
Well, that completely threw finding any kind of work-life balance wild. I adore my blog but it is sometimes like work. I love writing, I could sit and write all day every day. The part I don’t enjoy as much is marketing and editing. So, yes I do view some aspects of blogging as work. So with a full-time job, a new country explore how did I manage to find a healthy work-life balance? Not with ease, I assure you that!
It’s taken me almost a year of blogging to get the balance right and that has a lot to do with my mindset and what I want out of my blog. In this post, I share some of the strategies that I’ve adopted which have helped me keep my blog alive whilst balancing a full-time job AND travelling Australia (call me superwoman)!
I thought I’d format this as a list so that I don’t go off babbling on a tangent! I hope you enjoy it and if you have any other tips on how you juggle your full-time job with a blog or other demanding side hustle/hobby – let me know I could always use extra guidance!
Strategies I Use to Achieve a Healthy Work-Life Balance
1) One Post at a Time
This is the most valuable lesson I have learnt since founding Alicia Overseas. Prior to Australia, I had travelled to the West Coast of America. So, for some crazy reason in my crazy mind, I’d decided I needed to write about those destinations first. I have no idea how I even came to this conclusion. As a result, I was stuck writing five posts at once in the early days! My energy at that time was all about Australia and I was so excited to write about this new country I was discovering more of each day.
For some bewildering reason, my brain was spoiling all the fun by screaming, STOP! Don’t forget about all that USA content to produce first – crazy I told you! Anyway, it didn’t take me long to shake this habit and it’s one I’ll keep forever. Some people won’t dig it but for me, putting all my focus on one post at a time makes me so much more productive. This way I’m not worried about the 4 other drafts I have saved that I know need finishing.
PS I still haven’t written much about my time in the USA but it’ll come!
2) Plan Posts in Advance
The internet is full of do’s and don’s when it comes to blogging. As beginners, we read every article we can get our grubby hands on. Some blogging queens say that planning is everything and others swear by writing when you feel inspired. When it comes to creating content for your blog the truth is no one can tell you how to do it.
For months I struggled to keep on top of creating content and I really didn’t want a calendar for my blog posts. I wanted to write about what I wanted when I wanted. I managed to create like this for a while but when I started to ‘up my blogging game’ I started publishing twice a week (and found a huge spike in traffic as a result). To find the inspiration to write two blog posts a week and maintain a healthy work-life balance with my full-time job AND travels I realised I needed a schedule.
At the start of every month, I now write out the blogs that I want to publish then spread them out over the course of the month. Sometimes I know specifically what the blog post will be about and other times I simply decide only on the destination that I’ll write about. By using this simple planning technique I’ve managed to spend less time deciding what to write about and just doing it and quite well too. Planning posts in advance is a huge must in my opinion, especially if you’re looking at posting more than once a week. Of course, life often gets in the way and the schedule changes but I’ve learnt that that’s okay too. This simple plan I make is just a guide to refer back to as the month goes on. I hate calling it an editorial calendar as that just sounds WAY too official!
3) Don’t Try to Do Everything
Put your hand up if you’re guilty of this one? If you’re that then I’m not quite sure I totally believe you! We often find ourselves wanting to be the best at everything so. We want to try to do everything and do everything well! In terms of blogging that may come down to a few things. Social media, the actual blogging itself, becoming a blogger, writing a course, starting a facebook group, the possibilities in this blogging world are endless. But if we continue to try to do everything all at once we’ll end up doing nothing and have zero work-life balance.
Take social media. When I first started blogging I opened a social media account for every platform and tried to build an audience on each one. I’m talking, Facebook, a Facebook Group, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and honestly it was damn right exhausting. When I finally decided to take a step back and realise what I was doing wasn’t helping my blog, but hindering it, a lot changed.
I now swear by putting your energy on the platforms you enjoy and bring you the most results. Make sure you only choose a couple at first – this is crucial!
I currently focus mainly on 3 platforms, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram. I do have a Facebook page which people can like but I don’t really put too much of my time into it right now. Pinterest brings me the most traffic so obviously, I spend a lot of time with it. I also enjoy Pinterest so that gives me so much more motivation to get stuck into the platform. Twitter is my fave for genuine connections and conversations. I don’t need to put much effort in with Twitter because the community within is already effortless. It’s a place where there is no competition, friendly banter and supportive bloggers.I wouldn’t be where I am today in my blogging journey if it weren’t for Twitter and my #traveltribe. Click To Tweet
Instagram, meh I have love and hate relationship with it – who doesn’t! I don’t particularly like the way Instagram works. Personally, I don’t like how it gives most of its credit to influencers that have thousands of followers and feeds full of glossy photographs. I keep my Instagram real with some gorgeous photos of my travels. These photos include Selfies, Landscapes and a whole lot of different colours. If to grow on Instagram I need more than that then I am simply not interested. Honest travel is what I’m about and I think Instagram advertises a lot of ungenuine travel without realising it.
For now, I only focus on these 3 platforms because I’m not 100% there yet when it comes to having a solid marketing strategy. For me, these 3 platforms give me enough work to focus on. Any more time on social media would see me again losing the current work-life balance that I’ve created around my blog.
Top Tip: When launching a blog sign up to all the social media platforms so that nobody else takes the name! Remembering that just because you signed up doesn’t mean you need to use it right away.
4) Schedule as much as possible for more Work-Life Balance!
I talked a lot about scheduling tools in my previous post on resources for travel bloggers so, I’m not going to talk about the actual platforms I use.
What I will say is that scheduling in advance makes a huge difference in achieving work-life balance. As a blogger, I can schedule so so much in advance which is incredible! I try to write my blog posts 1-2 weeks in advance. I sometimes do it a month in advance if I’m feeling like wonder woman, and schedule them for posting. This means if one week I don’t manage to write anything I’ve already got posts ready to go! I also schedule and plan social media.
Each week I set aside some time for scheduling for social media, mainly Pinterest. By creating a pinning schedule each week it means I can spend less time on the platform and more time writing or with my family. I also like to plan Instagram in advance. By that, I mean collecting the photographs I want to share over the next 3 days – 1 week.
When it comes to Twitter and Facebook I usually schedule a couple of posts sharing a blog. I don’t like to schedule too much, especially on Twitter, because I feel like it’s more of a conversational platform. Scheduling for social media doesn’t take long usually one morning or afternoon during the week.
5) Find Work-Life Balance by Deciding what you want from your blog
Deciding what you want from your blog is huge when it comes to finding a work-life balance. Especially, if you’ve still got a full-time job which is most of us! Blogging is a wonderful world and so often when we realise how much income we could make from it, we all decide we want to quit our jobs and live on blogging. Wanting to take a blog full time is a great goal and mass achievement when it happens but to get there, we’ve got to be prepared to do the work. Look at like this, if you worked at your day job for 4 hours a week would you get paid the same? Probably not, I know I wouldn’t. So if you only spend 4 hours a week on your blog how you can expect to see growth and eventual income? You always get out what you put in.
Also, don’t be afraid to want to keep blogging as your side hustle or hobby. So many of us think you need to want to go full time with a blog. This definitely isn’t the case and blogging with a full-time job does have its benefits! Ellie, from The Wandering Quinn, wrote a blog post about this a few years ago and I still refer back to it now. Ellie talks about the positives of being a travel blogger with a full-time job and I must admit I agree with so much of the post! Read the post here!
6) Focus on the right things instead of time-wasting on the wrong
Answer me this. How many of you have sat at your computer and changed your theme 1000 times? In the process spending 12 hours a day getting it right? Or spent hours one end editing photographs for Instagram? These things may be somewhat important for a blog but they are not the be-all and end-all. When I first started blogging I spent hours making it look all pretty wasting valuable time when I could’ve been writing. I used to think to make a website look nice was important for people to take me seriously. But of course, the most important part about blogging is writing.
Procrastination takes form in so many different ways but making changes to your blog, that don’t really need to be made, instead of writing counts! Time is valuable, so spend it on the most important aspects of your blog. After all, if you have great content the rest will follow.
As someone once said to me, if your content is decent then it wouldn’t matter if you had a black and white blog in font New Times Roman – wise words to remember folks.
7) Make sacrifices
Finally, I want to talk about making sacrifices. Running a blog with a full-time job is hard work. There’s no way to sugar coat it so I’m not going to try. All of the above have made a huge difference in finding my a good work-life balance. BUT, the ultimate factor that allows me to spend time on my blog is the sacrifices I make. In order to blog I know, I need to set time aside in my week to do so. I’m lucky in the sense that I work twelve-hour shifts so I work 3-4 days a week nursing and then have at least one full day to blog/do things associated with the blog. This then cuts down my actual days off to even less but I love writing this blog so it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make!
This year I’ve turned out nights out and social events so I can blog. I must admit it took me a long time to make these sacrifices. I thought that people would think I was crazy. Why would I not want to enjoy time with friends or family just so I could sit at my computer and write something, that quite possibly, nobody would ever read? Well, the reason is that I enjoy it and it makes me so damn happy! What other reason do I need? I love blogging so I make time for it – simple.
PS People do actually read it too 😉
This list may be short but these seven things have helped me so much when it comes to blogging alongside my full-time job. You have to learn to prioritise. If you really want your blog to work then you need to put in the time. Of course, you can use tactics like scheduling and using time wisely but ultimately it comes down to the same saying we hear again and again. You get in what you get out. Unfortunately, if you do have a full-time job plus a blog then you’ve got your work cut out! Trial different schedules and see what works for you.
Maintaining a great work-life balance is possible but it all depends on you and how you want to spend your time. If blogging is going to take way too much from your social life and you’re not okay with that then maybe rethink what you want from your blog. Is it a hobby? A place you go to unwind and feel connected or somewhere you want to earn a living? Think hard about it because these factors will influence how you manage your time.
Kiki from The Blonde Abroad also has a great blog post on tips she gives on running a blog full time. I also refer to this post time and time again when I lose my way! Read it!
Do you have a travel blog?
Or any other blog for that matter! I’d love to connect and hear how you manage to fit in having a full-time job with a blog! Let me know in the comments below or send me an email at [email protected]!
The End of My Mini-Blogging Series!
As I hit publish on this post I’m aware that this is my final post in this mini-blogging series I’ve been writing! In case you’re new here, Alicia Overseas turned 1 in May! To celebrate, as well as getting a new logo, I decided to write four blog posts on my first year blogging and this is the final one! I’ve actually enjoyed writing about my blogging journey more than I thought I would! But the question I would love you to answer is have you enjoyed it? This won’t be the last ever ‘blogging’ post that I share. But for now, I’ll be focusing solely on travel and a little nursing. So let me know what you’ve thought!
Happy and Healthy Travels,