Let me see if I have this correct:
You’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a while now (or maybe you started one years ago). You have your topic all figured out, you’ve come up with a list of posts you can’t wait to put together, but
- you work full-time
- you have small children at home
- you barely have enough time to get dressed in the morning, let alone tackle a project, photograph it, edit the photos, write a post, hang out on social media and reply to all the comments and emails.
I get it, believe me. And yet, I still would say if you really want a blog, you can figure out a way to fit it in. So let’s talk specifics about one of your most asked questions: How much time will blogging take? And then let’s take it even further and discuss strategies for fitting it all in.
Initially, you will invest time into setting up and designing your blog. Once those steps are set, you can move on to adding content, growing and perhaps even making an income to your workload.
Depending on what you’re doing with your blog, the time requirements will vary. You post frequency, post content, reader engagement, social media presence, special projects and sales numbers will dictate how much time is needed to keep your blog healthy and thriving. Coming up with a broad statement of how much exact time you’ll need to commit to is tricky, so we’ll just stick to generalities.
Here are some general, very basic time estimates of what it takes to run a blog:
POSTS: 1-3 hours each
EMAIL/COMMENTS: 1-2 hours daily
SOCIAL MEDIA: 1 hour daily
EXTRAS: 5-15+ hours per week
- setting up email list with follow-up emails
- creating graphics for posts
- developing, creating + promoting products
- shipping products + customer service
- shop maintenance
- managing ads
- social media
- special projects
As an example, my average blog work week consists of three 6-hour work days, four evenings for 2-3 hours and another 1-3 hours on the weekend (for a total of about 25+ hours per week). This truly depends on what projects are going on, what blog posts need to be created, what schedule my kids are on (summer break means work time goes way down). I have an assistant (my sister!) who is front-line customer service and ships all orders from the shop. She works 10-20 hours per week. And Ryan adds in another 10-20 hours per week on technical/marketing upgrades/class development.
When I was just starting out, I probably put in 10 hours per week. Adding a shop boosted the time requirement and as readership has grown, so has email.
So how can you possibly fit blogging into your already full life? Here are a few helpful ways:
1. Take an inventory of your time
It might help to really look at how you spend your time to see if there are any Fringe Hours you can pull from. Write down all the things you each day for a week to get a clear picture about how you spend your time, where there is any free time or how you can move things around to free up space in your schedule (see #2).
I’m a sporadic reader and I’m always amazed that when I am in the middle of a good book, I find time to read. I still get everything done that needs to be done, and yet I figure out a way to also get some reading time in.
The same can be true for blogging. If you set it as a priority – or even just something that you choose to do for yourself! – you’ll probably be able to find a few hours each week to give to it.
2. Make a trade
If you don’t find that you have hours to spare in your current schedule, look through your inventory and see if there is anything you can trade out. Do you spend an hour on facebook or pinterest? Take a break from that and work on your blog. Watch TV in the evening after the kids go to bed? Maybe give up a show or two nights per week to write a blog post instead. You may need to stay up a little later or skip out on a volunteer opportunity and instead focus on blogging.
Give yourself the permission to pursue this dream and take the time for yourself. It’s okay, I promise.
3. Set a specific time
To gain momentum and stay at the forefront of your audience’s mind, you’ll want to blog consistently. You’ll find a posting schedule that works for you (I post three times/week, experts suggest five. That just doesn’t work for our family at this time, so I stick with what works) and optimal times where you can focus on your content. For some, that means getting up early and posting first thing in the morning. For others, we stay up late and schedule the posts to go live while we’re sleeping in. If you can steal away for an hour in the afternoon during lunch break or while your babies are napping, that works just as well. Creating a blogging routine – whatever it is – will be helpful in keeping consistent and moving forward with your blog.
Again, look through that time inventory and see if there are any places where you can fit in a few regular blogging hours. The optimal time to publish a post is 6am est, but that doesn’t mean you need to be awake at that time writing. You can schedule your posts weeks out and set them to publish on a specified date and time.
One tip I’ve learned is that if the post I’m working on is going to need photos, those must be taken during daylight hours. Photos just don’t turn out well without natural light and so I’ll take any necessary photos during the day and finish editing and formatting the post late at night.
4. Create an editorial calendar
If you’re making sacrifices and giving up time to work on your blog, you want to take full advantage of it. So when it’s time to write, it will be so helpful if you know what you’re writing about! You can use our list of 50+ Blog Post Ideas as prompts and compile a list of your own as well. Creating an editorial calendar will help map out what content you’ll be posting throughout the week, month or beyond. There are several tools for this, but a regular paper calendar works just fine. Use the margins to jot down ideas and fill in the dates with the post titles as you decide where they should go. (Hint: use a pencil. That way you can move things around as needed)
Once you have a general idea of what your upcoming content will be, it will make it much easier to prepare – take photos, buy supplies, do research, schedule interviews.
5. Get your people in on it
As with any new hobby, business or passion, you’ll want the support of your friends and family. Not only will you appreciate their positive feedback, comments and sharing, but you’ll also need their encouragement and support in committing to a regular schedule. It’s so easy to lose motivation (especially at the beginning when you don’t feel like anyone is reading!), so having a friend or co-worker or your mom to hold you accountable will make a big difference in pushing through.
If you’re married, make sure your husband is on board. Talk through what content he’s comfortable with you posting. You will need his support in allowing you to steal away and write, so make sure he knows how important it is to you. Come up with a scheduled time each day or week that you both agree on for you to head to a local coffee shop or close the office door.
If you have kids, tell them about your blog. It’s so good for them to see their mama doing something for herself! You can involve the kids as much as they’re up for which gives them a bit of ownership as well.
And, of course, tell your friends and family. They will help get the initial word out about your blog!
AND REMEMBER … there is a season for everything
If you find yourself in a spot where you just can’t squeeze anything else into your life, it’s okay. Seasons of life are real and maybe you’re just in one that wasn’t meant for blogging. Soon enough, a new one will come along and then it might be your chance.
When JDC became a blog, our oldest was in kindergarten, the two middles were at home with me and Audrey was a newborn. Why I thought starting a blog at that time is beyond me! I had an urge to create, to get outside of my ordinary mothering days and found a great outlet in blogging. I began slowly – maybe posting short post two times per week. When we made the official decision to use the blog as a business (about a year into it), Ryan and I came up with a plan so that I could get extra hours in. We hired a nanny once per week to do homeschool preschool for the middle boys and I shut myself into my office to eek out as much work-time as possible.
Now, 5 years later, our schedule looks a bit different because our season of life has changed. The boys are in school every day and Audrey goes three full days per week. I take those days to work and the other two to run errands, do projects around the house, etc. I still work most evenings once the kids are in bed and occasionally on weekends, and if I had the extra time, I would gladly spend it on the blog. There is always more that I wish I could do.
We realize that the kids won’t be little for long and don’t want to miss this sweet season of our family. Coming up with a balance is challenging, for sure, so we’re always adapting and adjusting to fit work and life and fun in.
I hope you’ve come to this point and feel encouraged and equipped with some suggestions to move forward with your blog! Remember, you can take it all at your own pace and do what works for you.
Let’s keep chatting about this … do you struggle with finding time? How are you about taking time out of your schedule to do things just for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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