Thursday, 1 May 2014

DISCUSSION: Balancing blogging with school and work


How do you keep organised? How do you juggle your blog with school work and your personal life?

These are both questions that I have been asked a million times, and my default answer always used to be "I don't!" But a few weeks ago I came to realise that I do...but in a strange way that probably only works for me.

If you watched my video on online schooling, you'll know that I attend an online secondary school instead of 'regular' school. School usually finishes at 12pm or 1pm depending on what classes I have, and I also have Friday free to do whatever I want because I don't have any classes that day. You might think I have loads of time to blog, but I don't. I have hardly any time for it at all. We get three big homework assignments a day which are usually due within two or three days, plus revision and editing videos and going out places and having - gasp - an actual social life...

That's why I said the way I juggle running a blog with school and other things probably only works for me. In the summer holidays of 2013, there was a day when I literally had nothing to do, and it was incredibly boring. So, what did I do? I grabbed the laptop and almost killed the keyboard by writing and scheduling twelve blog posts. And then I did it the next day. And the next. It was like I was possessed, but I had 36 posts of reviews, tags, discussions and giveaways scheduled. For once in my then-fourteen years of my existence, I felt organised. I was ahead of myself, and I've kept that up ever since. I am always at least a month ahead of myself with blog posts, because then I have time to do homework, film and edit videos, write columns for work, and anything else I have to do. At the moment I'm scheduled until the beginning of October but I've left a few gaps for urgent reviews.

If I've just finished a book and I'm desperate to review it instantly, well...I'm at an advantage. I go to school on the Internet. There is nothing to stop me from opening a new tab and writing a couple of sentences of a review. Usually I don't have to resort to this, but occasionally I'm just so desperate to get my thoughts down before I forget! Obviously, those who go to regular school won't be able to do this, unless you can act like a ninja and jot some thoughts down on paper while no one is looking. Advantage of online school: no one can see you!

This is going to sound totally not logical, but occasionally I prioritise blogging over homework. Not often, because most of the time I just want to get my homework out of the way so I can do fun things like sleeping. The thing is I don't let myself read another book until I've written my review for the last one, so it's irritating and sometimes stressful if I know there's a review that I need to write which I haven't done. This will bug me and I won't feel like doing homework, so I'll write the whole/most of the review and then do homework. You might think that sounds stupid but it works for me and I've never missed a homework assignment...

Had to fit a meme in here somewhere.
I also like to schedule more posts than usual in half-term so I don't have to blog as much during school time. I'm hoping this strategy will work through exam time, too, as I loathe taking blogging breaks. It's pretty much impossible for me to leave Blogger alone, as I've been blogging for half of my life...it is part of me, as weird as that sounds.

~My top tip for staying on top of things~

I remember late 2012 when someone asked me if I scheduled my posts or just wrote them and published them straight away, and I said no, I didn't schedule posts. They were shocked, and now I understand why; I can't bear to think about running out of scheduled posts and having to write and then publish one on the spot. So, if you're finding it hard to get organised with your blog posts or you're finding it hard to post regularly, the one and only tip I have is create a 'bank' of written posts. Try to find the time to write a few blog posts in one go, if you can - maybe during a hiatus or school holiday - and then line them up to publish at regular intervals which work for you. Leave the rest in drafts, and then when you realise you're out of scheduled posts, you can just go into your drafts and schedule a couple more pre-written posts. It's easier said than done, but it's so worth it, and you'll feel better. Trust me.

You can probably see loads of flaws in how I balance everything, but this way has always worked perfectly for me. I just thought it would be interesting to share how I personally do it. Reading this post back, I'm not really sure how I fit all that in, and it also makes me sound like I don't have a social life. I do, honestly! Sometimes. *cough* *retreats back into reading cave*

How do you balance blogging with school and work? Do you have any tips to share with others?

34 comments:

  1. School and work take up most of my waking hours, but I spend almost all of my free time reading or blogging (when not socializing). I have other hobbies, but I don't do them as often. It helps to just focus on one thing. Occasionally I'll just take a few days and schedule posts weeks in advance, but usually it's between 4-7 posts a week as I write them. When I go to school, I spend my free time reading, and when I come home, I write posts and keep up with the blogging social media. On weekends I can take hours at a time to just sit and read (when I'm not working). It all works out when I can just focus on blogging. But when life gets complicated or I try to do too many things at once, it becomes a whole lot harder. Thankfully that isn't often.

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    1. Weekends definitely help me get more organised - I tend to not read or blog much (or at all) during the week. :)

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  2. Interesting way to doing things. I used to do all my scheduled post and everything, but over time, I just got lazy. Or maybe I was just too tired. But I try to post at least once per week. That's my only rule. And when I sign up for events, just make sure I meet the deadline. Deadlines are the ones that are encouraging me to make the posts. Haha. Great discussion topic!

    Cindy @ In This World of Books..

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    1. Once per week sounds good to me! I wish deadlines encouraged me in that way but I end up procrastinating until the very last minute... :P

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  3. Wow. I am feeling much more confident now. I'm an incoming frosh for college in the next two months and I'm really anxious and worried how to run a blog with consistent posts and have high grades that i want. I guess I have the option for this. Tho I don't usually have a lot of drafts... but thanks for sharing. Relieved that I'm not the only one. LOL

    Jules @ Jules Bookshelf

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    1. I'm glad this post has helped you a little bit! I'm not sure how quickly you're able to write blog posts but maybe you could schedule quite a few before you start college and then take a mini-break from blogging until you get settled. Good luck! :D

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  4. I limit the time I spend on blogging so that when I do sit down in front of my laptop there's less faffing about and distractions it helps me to focus on getting blog posts written. I have a set schedule which helps me stay organised and I write lists of what posts/reviews that need written and when I do get the written I just slot them into the next available review slot or whatever. I USED TO have at least a month's worth of posts scheduled in advance, but I'm at roughly a week and a half right now. But I'm working towards a month. That's my goal.

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    1. That's a good idea. I'm thinking about limiting blogging time but a new routine might make me go into a blogging slump. Also, I can't stick to set schedules! Good luck working towards a month, you can do it :)

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  5. I'm struggling to balance blogging with work and school too. And your post just reminded me to add tags.

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    1. Hopefully you'll find a balance that works for you soon! :)

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  6. You're making me sound like the most disorganised blogger ever - I'm very rarely scheduled ahead - unless I read a book in advance of publication (not very often!). But then I only aim for between 1 and 2 posts a week and even then if they don't happen, well - they don't happen :)

    Great post though with some fab advice :)

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    1. It's good you don't pressure yourself. I used to do that before I started scheduling this way and it ended up in a blogging break which lasted for months. 1-2 posts a week is good! :)

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  7. Holy Amber, I thought I was organised posting every day and being set up until the beginning of July, you put me to shame! You're very lucky to study through an online school, it's definitely something I wish I could do, because just travelling to college and back takes around an hour and a half a day and on busy public transport, I don't have much time to read, which sucks! Still, this is a fantastic post Amber, well done! :)

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    1. Posting every day is way more organised than me, I don't write blog posts very often anymore but I'm trying to get back into the swing of things! Thank you :)

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  8. It's so strange reading how you managed your blog when I, myself, am very much the on-the-spot blogger. I'll type up a post when I have something to say or am inspired and publish it as soon as I'm done, I've just always done it that way so I don't know any different. :3 I schedule blog tour stops, cover reveals and the like, but not the majority of my posts.

    I may start scheduling if I get really busy in the future though!

    Great post! :)

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    1. That's exactly how I used to be! Thanks Rachel :)

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  9. You have changed my blogging life. :P

    But seriously, this is amazing advice about scheduling posts in advance. I've thought about it but then always put it off. As I'm finishing up senior year in high school though and getting ready for college, I am DEFINITELY going to use this (You are awesome).

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    1. I'm glad you found it helpful! You're awesome too :D

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  10. I'm decidedly awful at this… the most posts I've ever had waiting as drafts is three! And that's right now… which may sounds a *tiny* bit helpful, but it just means I won't be able to upload this month because of exams. :/

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    1. I'll miss your posts but good luck with your exams! <3

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  11. I schedule SOHO much...that wasn't even funny was it..ah well. it's the morning. what do you expect? Anyway, yeah, for the first year of blogging i didn't schedule, i didn't know what scheduling was and i didn't know how to do it. And then i was introduced to the magic world it lived in and was like THIS IS PERFECT. I always had at least three scheduled posts after that but then at the beginning of this year I sat down one week and just scheduled like mad so during my exams i wouldn't need to do anything. Right now i'm scheduled into July i think?
    One thing though. IT IS SO ANNOYING IF I THINK OF SOMETHING AWESOME TO POST BUT THEN I HAVE TO WAIT MONTHS AND MONTHS TO POST IT JUST NO. *throws lego*

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    1. I'm trying to detect the 'humour' you said you attempted in this comment but I can't find it. Was that...was that, like, a place name joke or something? I don't get it. What are you doing. What was that.

      You're right though, scheduling is perfect. :)

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  12. I balance it by first: doing everything I have to do for school. All my other time is spend between reading, watching TV shows/movies and blogging. I also have a special 'system' for commenting. I think I've found something that works for me :) Blogging is all about finding a way that works for yo.

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    1. I'm glad you've found something that works for you! You're right, everyone has their own way of doing things. :)

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  13. Because I finish work at 4pm on Sundays, I generally spend my Sundays working on site posts. I scheduled everything in advance otherwise I am way too lazy to do it manually - like, day by day. Since I also read in advance (or as much as I can) it's super easy to stay on top of myself. The only thing that I end up having to post as drafts is book news, everything else is always drafted up ready! :)

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    1. It's good that you find it easy to stay on top of things! :)

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  14. Awesome post, Amber:) We get given homework packs for five of our subjects at the beginning of term, and then we hand in one piece from each pack each week. I used to get the whole term's homework done (teachers don't set us things in class yay! xD) then write blog posts up every other evening and publish them as soon as I'd finished them... that's kind of swapped, now, and I'm scheduling blog posts on free weekends for the next fortnight ahead of myself, then doing my homework on school nights... Though by 'homework' of course I mean procrastinating on Twitter and Tumblr... ;D
    -Gee

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  15. I'm always busy with school work too and so I'm always legging with posts. "Sorry I know I promised that I was going to post it, but I couldn't..." It just seems that I'm not so devoted, but I am, it's just not so easy. Therefore eventually I decided to schedule my posts. Currently I'm in the phase of waiting for the day when I will have time to do that as even at most of my weekends it's impossible for me to get to the computer. -__-

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  16. Right now I'm really struggling to find a balance. School is crazy and I have no computer of my own to schedule or write any posts. But I'm hoping to find some enthusiasm somewhere and schedule a bunch. PS. I am totally jealous of your online school :)

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  17. How do I stay organised.... I don't... *hides in corner* haha! I schedule posts as much as possible and before, I had them scheduled two weeks ahead. Then everything caught up to me and I just wrote tomorrow's review now... *facepalm* I really admire your organisation, especially since you've got coursework and exams (Am I right?) I start exams next year, and to be honest, I don't know how it's going to affect my blogging... Hopefully, I'll figure something out.. Keep on being organised and wish me luck! :)

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    1. Good luck with your exams and everything! Yep, mine are in June, and then again in November and then May 2015. :)

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  18. I feel like I don't fit in with most people who go to school, because school never took up that much of my time. I think I'm just extremely efficient without realizing it. For example:

    When I went to high school, school ended at about 3pm, then I had maaaybe 30-45 minutes of homework most nights (not every night). That left me with... at least 4-5 hours of free time a day. But people in my same classes would spend HOURS on homework a night. Now personally, I can't imagine how that's even possible. I don't think we had that much work to do. But apparently everyone else felt differently.

    Then fast forward to college. I had fewer classes (sometimes only 1-3 hours of classes a day, instead of class from 8am - 3pm). Many classes didn't give homework, but those that did only took me about 1 hour or less. So again, I had TONS of free time. But then I read blog posts about people struggling to keep up with college and blogging because they have so many things to juggle.

    Now you might think maybe I just had school in "easy mode".. but I'm not sure that's the case. My high school was a fancy schmancy private "college prep" school. Then I went to two different colleges, so it's not like one of them was just a fluke (unless they both were).

    So idk. I'm thinking I'm just super efficient or something, which might be true. Like, my little sister would spend hours struggling with an informal 500 word paper. I would whip that out in about 10 minutes and do pretty well on it because I know it's informal and I don't stress over every single sentence. I just do my best and don't worry about it.

    I totally did not mean to type this much O_O

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  19. Thanks for the tips. I think it really helps to write scheduled posts. I used to write on the spot and that distracts me from school so my grades fell XD. I'm currently making an effort to prioritze school over blogging though!

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  20. I know what you mean, I find it so difficult myself at times.

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