Each day consists of twenty-four hours and although that may seem like a lot of time, for the hustlers out there who also have a full time job, it’s not enough. The job you go to each morning supplies a paycheck and health insurance, but the moment you realize a bit of passion or extra income is missing, you may start to seek it elsewhere. For those of us who have found that spark in the idea of creating a foodie space online that we can call our own, blogging becomes the answer. But before you decide to add blogging to your already busy schedule, here are five things you should know.
- Drive to and from your job (and deal with traffic),
- Work 40+ hours a week,
- Visit restaurants and network,
- Work anywhere from 3-5 hours a night on your blog, and
- Get a solid 8 hours in every single night.
That may happen once in a while, but it’s really only under perfect conditions. Assuming you get up on time, there’s no traffic on the road, your boss doesn’t make you do overtime, you encounter zero distractions while at home, you don’t exercise, and you get to bed right on time you’ll be able to do it all. If you happen to be like me then that hardly ever happens because you can’t control circumstances outside of yourself.
Trying to get 8 hours of sleep when most of your days are unpredictable is difficult and that’s just the way it is. If you want to keep your job because of security and you want to pursue a blog because of passion then you have to expect that you’ll lose out on a couple hours of sleep in order to do it all. It will be hard and draining and you’ll probably be cranky and unpleasant every now and then, but it can be worth it once things start to streamline. In the long run, you won’t remember the days where you got little sleep because eventually you’ll be able to rest. I can say that I did that for two and half years straight and the minute I found myself with a holiday out of the office or caught up on posts, I took advantage of it! You’ll get sleep eventually, but until that day arrives, get used to missing it.
As you start to blog in addition to working and trying to maintain relationships, you’ll quickly find that your life is going to get crazy! Spending 8 hours a day at work, trying to write and edit photos once you get home, and spending time with the people in your life will become a juggling act before you know it. Trying to keep all that in order may sound simple, but it’s not so easy to do once it all comes to a head. If your goal is to keep as much as your life in order, then you will have to be as organized as possible. My solution: get a detailed planner. I highly suggest you get a yearly planner and jot everything down to keep things in schedule. That means restaurants you are confirmed to visit and those which are pending should be noted on the appropriate days, time spent with friends should be penciled in, bills that need to be promptly paid should be noted, and blog or social media posts should be added to your calendar so you can stay on top of it. This becomes helpful as things will get added to your plate and you need to prioritize it all. It’s also helpful if you’re like me and you just don’t have a great memory. If you find yourself in that position then I suggest you cross schedule everything in your planner to your phone as well. That way you’ll have your busy life noted in two places so should you leave your planner at home, you have it on your phone and vice versa.
If you look at any successful person who has created “something out of nothing” then you’ll see a common thread between the majority of them all. Each person worked their butt off and devoted long hours to their passion project to get to where they are today. The route is time consuming, but it’s necessary and it can be rewarding. To reach your goal you’ll need to exert more time and energy than you would have initially thought in order to balance it all. In essence, you’re basically holding a second job.
I found this to be personally true while reading Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers as I started Follow My Gut. In the book Gladwell summarizes the concept of the “10,000-Hour Rule” which states 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” will make a person an expert and leader in their field. Whether you disbelieve or support the principle, there is a degree of truth that a person who actively works on developing their skill for an extensive length of time can reach their goal of being an expert in comparison to those who do not. Such discipline and consistency of working hard can result in a well-curated business.
In your attempt to create a brand outside of your regular job, I encourage you to track how much time you spend on it. I started to monitor the amount of time I spent blogging, visiting restaurants, and networking and found I spend an average of 27-hours a week on Follow My Gut in addition to my 40-hour a week job. That’s close to 70 hours each week. Putting in the hours and working as hard as I can isn’t easy, but knowing that my efforts are building something more is incredibly satisfying.
Balancing everything you have going on is one level of intensity, staying ahead of it all is the next level. With your job, your blog, and your calendar that tries to hold everything it’s a good practice to keep it all in order. If you’re looking for a practice that can help you expertly manage all your work then you should actively try to stay ahead of your work and responsibilities. With that said, organize your life into areas of importance: work, blog, family and friends. When it comes to your job, you already know what’s expected of you. Outline all of your deadlines and set reminders in advance. When it comes to your blog, check national holidays or upcoming menus and add alerts to your phone to notify you when they’re coming. And with friends and family, birthdays and special occasions should be listed in your phone. Basically, figure out what projects, assignments, food related events, and life happenings are set to occur then write them down in your calendar and add alerts to your phone. Then should you forget, you’ll see the reminder or hear the notification before they happen.
People will be amazed with your ability to do it all and wonder how you did it.
Taking care of yourself has to be on your list of priorities otherwise everything around you will quickly fall apart. Stop for a second and think about it all: you work a ton of hours, you grind on your blog, and you have a good handle on all the personal aspects in your life. Um, go you! But, if you don’t practice self-care it will take a toll on you. In order to keep things as balanced as you can, you have to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. When the moment finally comes and you find a free hour in your day or if you can schedule it in your planner at the end of the week, do something that lets you release some steam. Talk to your therapist, spend the day at a museum, enjoy an entire day with your significant other, or just watch Netflix with birthday cake Oreos. You can even take my tip and workout! Whatever you choose to do, make sure it makes you happy and allows you to relax because it will be the best way for you to stay revitalized, amicable, and healthy in order to keep going the next day and the day after that.
If you’re working long hours at your job and are interested in starting your own killer blog, please know that it’s not as simple as it sounds. It’s more than just clicking create and watching it grow on its own. If you’re serious about creating a great blog while you work 40-hours a week it won’t be easy but it can be done and I speak from experience. Hopefully you can take the few tips I learned along the way and apply them to your life as you embark on what could be the most exciting part of your life. At least your life online!