See what I did there? Optimal. My blog office daily routine is a little less “on-task” and a little more easily distracted. It’s all about being realistic because there are days, many of them in fact, that this just doesn’t happen. Such is life. Setting out with an idea of what I want it to look like helps me be more productive, get more done and know what’s coming up next.
What does blog life look like? It goes a little something like this; I work about 15 hours a week outside of my home, usually across three short days. I work the rest of the days, in my blog office, on my blog and social media business. The combination of the two makes for some action packed weeks and juggling, but I make it work. If you’re interested in how I managed my blog, business and working over the last eight years, check out this blog post on balancing the two.
This post is about what happens on those two weekdays and usually at least one of my weekend days. The systems I use, the way to break things down and why I find it’s important to have my space to get what I need to do done.
A day in my blog office.
There are a number of tasks that I do in any given one blog day. The sheer volume of tasks that it requires to own and operate a blog and business as I do is a bit ridiculous. So my tasks are interchangeable. Sometimes I have consults or appointments, and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I’m scheduled in advance, and sometimes I’m not.
I try to be flexible, keep a list of what there is to do and go from there. I’ve also shared a few tips that work for me to get what I need to get done done. Some time ago, I shared this post about blogging as a business and the things I’ve learned, check it out too if that’s your thing.
As far as an actual breakdown of time goes, my optimal blog office day would look a little bit like this;
6:00 am Wake up, scroll through social, check in on overnight creepers, etc. There was a time when I went to the gym between 6 am, and 7 am, and I loved that. If there’s something I want back in my optimal day, it’s that.
7:00 am Get up, dress, get coffee! Eat something, of course. Mentally prepare for work; as someone who is easily distracted, I find it necessary to get focused using music mostly, and sometimes it’s about finding somewhere quiet; whatever works on the day.
8:00 am Head into my office if working there. If working somewhere else (dining table, cafe, couch, I head there). Review emails, respond or flag, create a list of things I’m doing that day for clients and me. I make a plan of attack.
9:00 am Commence batched tasks. Whether it be photos, editing, creating social media share images or whatever. I start task one and block out a set time to do it. I work in 15-minute blocks because when you get down to it, most stuff doesn’t take that long to do. For more about this technique, check out Batching below.
10:00 am Continue with batched tasks. As much as I like to think I’m immune to a scroll or check in throughout this time, I take occasional breaks (making a snack or moooore coffee) and check in then. I do my best not to get drawn into conversations or social media platforms, but sometimes if there’s a conversation to have, that’s where I’ll be.
11:00 am Continue with batched tasks. By this stage, I might be circling back to something I started with like checking my emails (comments on social, etc.). I should be making some progress on my daily list. I check in with this and contact people who may be waiting on an update or something from me that may not happen that day.
Noon: Lunch! I like to go out for lunch to break up my day. This is risky, though; often it will end up going over an hour and leaving me in need of a little rest when I get home. Haha. But still, interacting with people is important to me when I spend so much time in an office by myself, so lunch stays!
1:00 pm Resume batched tasks. After lunch, the light in my room doesn’t work for photos, so it becomes more of a time to do client work, schedule and chip away at the things at don’t require ‘good lighting’. I think it’s important to be in the right frame of mind to be responding to emails or creating posts for social media, so if I’m flat, I find something else to do that will pick my energy up. Something I consider more ‘fun’.
2:00 pm Resume batched tasks. By now I’m one hundred percent circling back on earlier jobs, finalising some and rescheduling others. I don’t like leaving loose ends if I can avoid it. So, I use the last ‘official’ hour in my office updating people on their project and assessing progress.
3:00 pm To be honest, I nap. More likely for 30-40 minutes, but I allow the entire hour because it takes me a little time to wind down. I get that this is a MAJOR luxury. For some people, it would be a break to pick up kids or something like that. That’s the upside of being childless I guess; I get to put myself down for a nap.
4:00 – 8:00 pm I take a break. Usually, Kel gets home somewhere in the middle here, and it works for me to break during this time to hang out with him, cook dinner and catch up. By 8 pm, he’s settled into some form of program, and when that happens, I go back to work.
I also use this block for meetings and other commitments. I find that these ‘break’ hours can be an excellent time to slot consultations and appointments into my day without giving up the workflow. For most small business owners (who I predominately work with) this is a time that they can commit an hour or two to our meeting and by extension, their business.
9:00 pm to late I find this the most productive time for me to write. My laptop and I curl up on the couch, or at the dining table (so I stay close to Kel), and I write and plan draft posts. Netflix has been a bit of a killer for this one. I used to get A LOT more writing done at night before there was soooo much streamed content available at my fingertips.
Some hot tips!
Do you know about batching?
Let’s face it if you’re blogging part-time, or any other style of side-hustle, you need to work with batches of tasks. No. Questions. Asked. Batching is when you tackle one single thing for a set period, then move onto something else. It stops that ‘flitting about’ that can happen between your inbox, a task, a phone call, and other incoming distracting type things.
The way I make this work for me is that I take photos, whether they be outfits or food, in a block of time. I don’t review or select or edit or share them on social AT ALL. I keep my focus and get that one job done. Other than taking photos I block out time to edit photos, to schedule updates and social media shares, respond to emails and write (of course).
It works for me, my short attention span rallies against any one task done for too long, so this works. For some of you maybe it’s not about your attention span, but about getting everything done. You might be someone who needs to set a timer to remind you to move onto the next task. Great, do that. I know batching will work for you, give it a try.
The closed-door policy
This one is simple, during work hours I don’t encourage the drop in visitor, the coffee date or the husband being home and wanting to give me an update on life. I close the door and shut out distractions. Not an easy feat when you’re still getting around to air conditioning your office, and it’s a Queensland summer. But, you get where I’m coming from, right?
The same system goes with my phone; when I am working phone calls go to message bank. Not to mention that I’m one of those people who can’t resist a notification, and it sucks me in if I see them. My phone goes on silent, and I leave it to the side to avoid seeing pop-ups.
Learning to say no is a lesson I was slow to learn. People email me, message me, call and reach out to me on a regular basis for coffee, for a chat, to pick my brain or otherwise. The demand is a huge reason why I started incorporating social media consulting and planning to my ‘services menu’. I love talking about this stuff; I want people with blogs and small businesses to succeed.
Except that, let’s face it, for most people, they don’t want to pay or show any real commitment to the conversation we are having. I’ve had these conversations over and over and never seen a result. No blog ever opened, no advice taken, nothing happens. And that block of time that I handed over so freely, it’s gone. Wasted.
Now, I respond to emails and messages when I can, but on the whole, I say no. Or I say, sure but, here’s my fee. For a while, I thought that made me a jerk. I’ve always been a pay it forward blogger and prided myself on that. Anyone has questions or wants to talk about what I do; I’m in! Except that for every hour I’m with you, that’s an hour less I have to work on my business.
You, whatever your business is, need to start doing the same. If your expertise is so in demand, those wanting to avail themselves of it will pay for it. And when they pay for it, they will value every second; they won’t show up late or never act on the advice you gave. Nope. They’re in it.
There you go, team! My best tips and tricks and a bit of insight into my day-to-day tasks. I’m opening my comments to your questions. No saying no to be found. Haha. Got a burning question, ask away. Now is your chance. I hope it helps!
Chief Blogger at Suger Coat It; An Australian lifestyle blog for women who work for themselves. Melissa is a social media consultant & lover of stripes. Most weekends you’ll find her at the beach or home on the veranda kicking back. Around here, they call her Suger. Feel free to do the same.