As you can read in my bio I love to inspire people. To go outdoors more often, to live an active life and to enjoy nature in a better way. In addition, I also like to inspire other (wannabe) bloggers about blogging. I’ve written quite a few blogs about this, for example how to make the most out of Pinterest or Things I’ve learned after 2 years of blogging. A question I occasionally get from readers is where I find the time. To blog, to hike, go be outdoors and read a pile of books. Oh and keeping a social life, too.
The most important thing I’ve learned over the past decade is that time is not something you have but something you make. If something is important enough to you, you will make time for it. Sounds easy, right? Well it is, although I do realize that it’s probably easier said than done. However, just try thinking this way for a while. Define what is really important to you and how you’d like to spend your time. Living this way already is an important step towards creating more time for blogging. However this doesn’t quite get you there yet. That’s why today I’ll give you my ultimate tips on how to create more time for blogging.
Within Holland and probably within other countries too, it seems like everyone is addicted to Netflix. Everyone but me that is, because I don’t really see the fun of ‘Netflixing’ as we call it in Dutch. Generally I find watching tv a total waste of time and although I agree that it’s relaxing, it’s also a super no-brainer. I’m sorry for being rude, but if you want to create more time for blogging, you should take a look at your Netflix attitude. Is it really necessary to binge-watch a complete season of [insert tv show name here] in one go? There you have the answer.
I’ll admit that I do watch series myself, but never more than two different ones at once and usually just one episode at a time. I can’t stay focussed much longer anyway and tend to fall asleep on the couch. I’m currently (still) watching season one of The Blacklist and am of course watching season six of Homeland. Other than the 6 o’clock news I never watch tv. Call me boring, but I have better things to do.
Plan your blog time
I currenly work 36 hours a week in my office job and in addition to that I work another 20-30 hours a week on my blog. Okay, 30 is the total max and sometimes there are weeks I barely reach 10 hours, but the average is definitely more than 20. It’s not just writing a story, but it’s also social media, replying to comments, editing photos, do keyword research, make videos, invoicing and pitching to companies I want to work with. I realize that 20 hours may sound like a lot and that you can do all of that within less hours, but I guess it also depends on the number of blogs you publish each week. My aim is to write two blogs each week in two languages, making that four blogs a week. In general, it takes me about 3 hours to finish a blog in Dutch and another 1-2 hours for the translation.
My weekly schedule is pretty much the same. I go to the gym on Monday and Wednesday evenings and keep Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays off to hang out with friends and family. No matter how busy I am, I always keep one weeknight free in my agenda because running from one place to the next five nights in a row would drive me nuts. That night is usually my blogging night on which I produce at least one blog. I usually get home around 5.15 pm, rush to the supermarket to get some food, will cook and have dinner and am all ready and done to start blogging by 6.30 pm. During dinner I’ll watch a series (check!) and once done I’ll spend my evening working on We12travel. I usually try to close my laptop at about 10.30 pm which means I’ve been going straight for three to four hours, which is more than enough, since I already spend eight hours a day behind a computer at work, too.
In addition I also get up one hour earlier each day to work on my blog. Okay, I do that four days a week nowadays, in order to protect myself from becoming a workaholic again, I take one weekday off from the blog each week, meaning I will not do anything about the blog, other than checking social media once a day. I’m lucky to be living close to the office I work at so I only have to leave 08.15 in order to be on time for work. I get up at 06.30 am and then make sure I’m behind my laptop at 07.00 am. I don’t really need a lot of time to get ready because I shower at night, pick my clothes and wash my hair at night, too. So all I gotta do in the morning is get dressed and have breakfast, which I do while blogging.
Then I also try to blog one part of a weekend day. Sometimes it’s a morning, sometimes it’s an afternoon, but it’s usually never an evening because that’s when I go out or do stuff with friends. See, you really don’t have to give up your social life, you just have to plan it. When I know I’ve got a (blog)trip coming up during the weekend, I usually stay home to blog for two nights the week before that. And if not, then I’ll spend less time, which is no big deal usually.
Then that leaves some other hours that I usually just spend blogging whenever I feel like it. It might be after dinner with friends or before I hit the gym on Wednesday. It really depends what I feel like doing but most important is that you realize you don’t have to spend your whole week behind a laptop to be a successful blogger. Life is supposed to be fun, not a drag.
Decide when to do what
Find out what your good and weak moments are. I’m more of a morning person, which is the time I usually do the final check before publishing a blog. I also answer comments and write emails to potential clients. Things I rather do at night are scheduling social media such as Twitter and Pinterest and editing photos. My administration is something I prefer to do on weekends because I’m looking at numbers all day at work already so I don’t really feel like doing that at night. I also use lunch break at work to answer my tweets. It usually just takes about five minutes which leaves me another 25 minutes to really enjoy my break. I think it’s pretty important to be online a couple of times a day because … see next point!
Use scheduling tools (but make sure not to become a robot)
Most social media messages you see are scheduled. For Twitter I use Tweetdeck, for Facebook I use the FB app and for Pinterest I use the paid version of Tailwind. Whenever I don’t feel like doing anything, I spend an hour scheduling those for a week in advance. However … make sure you will not become a robot. Quite often I see bloggers who just schedule like crazy but never have real interaction with their readers. Such as Twitter feeds that just have tweets with their links but no live updates or chats for two weeks or so. That’s why I try to check Twitter at least twice a day and answer to my tweets as well, just to show I’m actually human and alive. I actually try to reply to all my comments on social media within 24 hours though, but that’s something that could use a little improvement.
Decide what works for you
I think that one of the biggest mistakes that newbie bloggers make, is wanting to be everywhere. Great idea, but unless you are blogging full time, it’s not very realistic to be everywhere all the time. Trust me, I tried it but all it got me was lots of stress. Find out where your audience is at and make that your focus. Check Google Analytics to see what drives traffic to your site. Google can take years to really establish but it’s worth the wait. SEO is an important part of your website but trust me when I say that just putting the lights on green in your Yoast SEO plugin will not make your site SEO proof. This past summer I did a lot of reading on SEO and my average daily number of visitors from Google went up from 50 a day to 200 a day at the moment. In the summer I didn’t publish a lot of blogs but I made sure that I worked a lot behind the scenes to make my site more SEO proof. In addition I realized that I do not really get big numbers from Facebook and Twitter but Pinterest works really well for me, I sometimes get another 200 daily visitors from there as well. So this made me decide to spend less time on Twitter, basically quit Youtube (I’d love to make more videos but I just can’t make time for that) and I don’t even bother for Google Plus and Snapchat anymore.
Find out what gives you positive energy
The main reason I’m still blogging is because it gives me a lot of positive energy and accomplishment I cannot find anywhere else. Not in a gym, not when reading a good book nor when winning the lottery, which I never actually did but you get the point, right? If you cannot put yourself to opening up your laptop at night, then I fear that successful blogging may just not be for you. I’ve been working my ass off for nearly four years now which has taught me that only working hard and being super motivated is what will make you successful. Look, I don’t make big numbers nor do I have the best blog in the world, but I am doing what I like because of this and that’s what gives me energy. Much more and more important better energy than spending my night in front of a tv.
Don’t let it become a must
The very most important piece of advice I want to give you however, is that blogging should not be a must. As I said, if it takes you all your energy to sit down and open up your laptop at night to write a story and if you are not willing to work really really really hard for at least two years in a row, then successful blogging may just not be for you. Does this make me a workaholic? It used to, but in this blog I’ll explain to you why I am not longer a workaholic. I love doing it and it brought me a lot, yet I never felt like it was a must-do. I still sleep in every now and then (not every weekend though), hit the gym and hang out with friends. Of course I say ‘no’ to my computer every now and then and I accept that it can’t always be sunshine and happy days, but generally speaking, I love blogging way too much to ever feel like it’s something that I must do.
I could continue writing for hours on how to create more time for blogging but then this post would get pretty long. I do hope though that my tips and stories have given you some ideas that you can use in your own life. The internet is filled with stories on how to be a successful blogger but just make sure to find a flow that works for you. Blogging and successful blogging are two entirely different things and as long as you don’t have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and how you want to be successful, you will never be. For me it has been clear for nearly four years now that blogging is one of the things that I love to do most and that I could not imagine my life without it. And for now … it’s time to have a High Tea with my friends. Have a great Sunday everyone!
Curious about my life behind the scenes? How my life looks like when not traveling or outdoors? Curious about pictures that will never be posted on my site because they are just horrible? Then make sure to follow my personal Instagram account.
Want to read more? You may also like these blogs:
– The highs and lows of three years as a travel blogger
– The most embarrassing moments when solo-traveling through South America
– How Instagram ruined travel for me
Curious who I am? Check my bio to learn more! For a daily dose of outdoor & adventure inspiration, follow me on Instagram and Facebook!
Thanks for sharing!
[Note to those who have noticed I have been offline for a while and my channels were not updated: this is because my father passed away all of a sudden some two weeks ago. I took a little break from everything and this is the first blog I’m publishing after he passed away.]