Blogging & Working Full-Time: How I Do It

by jessicaturner on April 4, 2013

Tips from Jessica Turner on how she keeps up with her blog while working full timeA question I get asked a lot is how do I find time to blog while working full-time. While I do have a virtual assistant who helps me with 1-2 hours of work a month, 99% of what you see here on The Mom Creative is done by me.

I thought it might be fun to share a bit about my workflow and how I find the time to blog. Honestly, these tips and tricks would work for anyone! But if you work outside the home AND blog, the biggest challenge for many is finding the time to write quality content and being efficient. Hopefully my methods might be helpful for others like me.

Here’s how I get it done:

Content planning: Use an editorial calendar
Many bloggers I know are not as crazy about planning content as I am. But honestly, I don’t think I could keep with The Mom Creative without being ruthless with my content planning.

This plug-in has been one of the biggest benefits of having my blog on WordPress. It keeps me so organized because I can easily see the posts I have in draft, move content around, evaluate if I have room for sponsored content (I limit sponsored posts to ensure balance on The Mom Creative), see the big picture, etc. It is so, so awesome. Every blogger I have turned onto it says it is life changing – ha!

I typically start working on blog posts 2-4 weeks ahead of when they will publish, though I am constantly shifting post drafts around. (Yes, this means I have some posts in draft that are slated for late April- early May.) I also have a annual editorial calendar of content I plan to highlight over the course of a year.

When I write: Weekends/mornings/evenings
Because I work 9-5, Monday-Friday, I need to get my writing done in the fringe hours. I wake-up at 5 am and often spend a bit of time working on blog stuff from 5-6. Whenever possible, I work on content for the following week on the weekend. I am considerably less overwhelmed when I have content drafted for the upcoming week on the weekend. I also find that working in advance helps my content to be more thought out and strategic.

When I take pictures: Mornings and on the weekends
Because I like to use natural light for my photography, I do all photography for the blog in the mornings and on weekends. Now that the days are getting longer, I will often occasionally use the evenings too. Usually though evenings are too chaotic because the kids and I don’t get home until 6. Since I am always working ahead on content, I keep a running list of shots that I need. Speaking of lists…

Keeping up with tasks: blog to do list
This is a big one for me. I always have several lists going that are related to the blog. Things like:

  • Post ideas
  • Edits to have my designer make to the design
  • Invoices to send
  • Task lists for specific posts (ie: take photos for tutorial, create Rafflecopter widget for giveaway)

Promotion: Schedule tweets and Facebook posts, when possible
I am a huge fan of Hootsuite, which is a free tool that allows you to manage your Twitter and Facebook accounts from one place. I will often schedule all tweets/FB posts related to a post at one time. This helps to promote the post over time + I don’t have to think about it once it is live.

Email: Stay on top of it
I do my best to respond to email as quickly as possible. If I don’t respond to email in a timely manner it tends to get buried.

What blog questions do you have?



{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah (theGIRL) April 4, 2013 at 7:28 am

Thanks for this post! As a fellow working mom blogger, it’s nice to see how others get it done. Now I just need to know when you fit sleep in….JK 😉

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jessicaturner April 4, 2013 at 9:39 am

Oh, I definitely sleep! Most nights I am in bed between 9:30-10. I am NEVER up past 10:30. EVER. :)

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Becca George April 4, 2013 at 7:40 am

Love this post! I am working mom with a small business so it is nice to see how others do it. I, like you, wake up in the early hours to get stuff done.

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jessicaturner April 4, 2013 at 9:40 am

I really want to start training myself to get up at 4:30. Morning hours are such a gift to me.

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Sarah K April 4, 2013 at 9:17 am

I’ve always been so impressed by how you are able to stay so on top of everything around here! As a “small time” mommy blogger, it’s nice to see how someone does it in the big leagues, you know? I’ve been blogging for nearly five years now and my readership and traffic are still pretty minimal, but it’s important to still respect it enough to give it the time it deserves. Thanks for the tips!

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jessicaturner April 4, 2013 at 9:42 am

I’m hardly in the big leagues! Investing in a blog definitely takes time and energy, but I have found it to be a gift to invest in something that I enjoy (writing, sharing things with other women, taking photos, community).

As far as growing your traffic, you might consider looking for sites that take guest posts, as that is a great way to increase your visibility. I love your blog, Sarah!

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Sarah K April 4, 2013 at 10:34 am

Hey, thanks! I appreciate the kudos! I’ll have to check into the guest post thing….great idea! Know anyone? 😉

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jessicaturner April 4, 2013 at 11:28 am

I know incourage.me has guest posts!

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kim April 4, 2013 at 10:22 am

What kinds of tasks do you have your Virtual Assistant do?

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jessicaturner April 4, 2013 at 10:24 am

She helps me select winners for giveaways, sets up the linky and post template for Project Life Tuesday, tracks sponsored post deadlines, etc.

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Alaina April 4, 2013 at 10:23 am

My blog is small with way less followers, but I blog and work full-time, and I find a really hard time doing it. In the evening, I find that if I write then, I am ignoring my husband. So I blog some at work which is a HUGE no-no. I might try this editorial calendar and planning topics ahead of time for sure. Thanks for the tips!

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jessicaturner April 4, 2013 at 10:26 am

Yes, the calendar is a big help. When you have post ideas, draft them, make some notes, etc. This post came together a few sentences at a time. :) I hope it helps you! Thanks for reading.

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jodifur April 4, 2013 at 11:52 am

Thanks for this, I sometimes feel like I’m one of the only working bloggers, and it can be hard when you are invited to events at 11 am to be like, um sorry, but I’m at work at that time.

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jessicaturner April 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Amen sister! Not all bloggers are available in the middle of the day!!

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Nurse Bee April 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm

I don’t have a blog, but I just wanted to say that as a fellow working mom who utilizes daycare, I appreciate reading yours. Keep up the good work!!

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jessicaturner April 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Thank you for your kind words.

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Stephanie Click April 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I’ve just started doing the editorial calendar and it is a huge help! I laugh because I feel like I have a calendar for everything – meal plan, blog, radio spots, kids sports/activities! But, for a list-maker like me – it’s perfect! Thanks for a great post.

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jessicaturner April 4, 2013 at 1:09 pm

that’s funny!

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Sara April 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Gosh, Jessica, I am such an admirer! I love following your blog — your wisdom has benefited my family and me many times over. Thanks for this great post. The Wordpress calendar is what may push me to move my little blog from Blogger to Wordpress (it seems daunting and I’m a little scared.

Thanks for providing us with great information and the real person behind it! You’re fantastic!

Warmly,
Sara

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jessicaturner April 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm

I hear you about it being a little scary. And honestly, there are many things about Blogger that I miss (everything was easier!). But the calendar makes it totally worth it. :) I don’t know how I would live without it now.

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Small Talk Mama April 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Thanks for these great tips. I just recently started my own blog and could use some great organizational tools. What about advertising? How do you go about that?
Thanks,
Shawnna

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jessicaturner April 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm

That’s another post! :) My ads are all through Beacon Ads or affiliate programs, as I don’t have the time to manage private ads. I recommend reading SavvyBlogging.net to learn about various monetization models.

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Small Talk Mama April 4, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Thanks, I’ll do that.

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Ande April 4, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Awesome post. Thank you for sharing.

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PJ April 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Would love to learn more about your virtual assistant! Where did you find him/her? How often do you “meet” and what do you pay this person? Thanks!

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Kerry April 9, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I’m in your same boat, juggling a full-time job, family and trying to blog. It’s a tough balance, because sometimes I feel like I’m neglecting my husband if I work in the evenings. It’s so time-consuming! Great tips though. I’m hoping as I expand my readership, perhaps I can also partner up and get some guest bloggers too.

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Sarah April 9, 2013 at 2:14 pm

This is great! I’m a full-ime working mama too, and I’ve recently gotten back to more regular blog posting, but I’m still really sporadic about how I schedule posts, come up with posting ideas, etc.

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laura @ hollywood housewife April 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I love reading posts like these! Thanks for sharing how you do it. I don’t work 9-5, but I have a TON going on at all time. It’s safe to say that I’m a little obsessed with time management, so reading about other people’s process is helpful for me.

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Mary Kelso April 9, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Hi Jessica,

What a helpful post. I am enjoying the life of a homemaker, so my hours are a bit more flexible than yours, but I don’t find a lot of blogging time regardless. It’s great to hear how someone else pulls it off. And kudos to you for doing what it takes to share so much of the creativity and talent God has given you, by making the most of the time you have.

I am considering a switch to Wordpress and the editorial calendar plug-in made me drool on my keyboard a little. You mentioned all your lists, do you write these out with pen and paper or do you use something special to keep up with lists like Evernote?

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Baby Shopaholic April 9, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Thanks for sharing! My schedule is very similar to yours! I take all pics on the weekends and keep drafts ready to go!

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ARC April 16, 2013 at 12:56 am

Thanks for the insight. I also set up a Google Calendar just for my blog stuff and find that really helps keep me on track, esp if I have a deadline for a post.

And I love that your PL weekly post keeps me on track to not only finish my pages, but blog about them too :)

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