Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Blogging and Real Life: 5 Ways to Keep Sane

Back in August of 2016, I decided to be for real about my blog. It's been a little over six months now of what I call for-real-blogging (super scientific term there). I blogged on and off for a few years, starting blogs, then leaving them, then coming back to them, sometimes even starting a new one. I never made a real hard go at one and I decided that it was time to do a blog! I attended a blogging class, learned some valuable tips and, voila, The Zinn Life was born! I'm no expert, but for the first time in years, I've actually stuck with this!

The two things that keep me sane: my planner and my laptop!
But I still have a life. I don't plan to blog full-time. I still have a full time day job and I'm the Secretary/Treasurer for my professional association. And I live at my gym. I don't say that to brag or complain, but to say that anything worth doing requires some planning. Blogging is no different. Here's how I help myself stay sane. And really, I think these tips can be useful for any hobby that you have!

1. Buy a Planner!

A planner is your bestest friend at any point in time, but especially if you're blogging. I get my planners on Etsy from Plum Paper Designs. I found them when I was doing Jamberry because they have a direct sales insert. Turns out they also have a blog planning insert! There are pages to plan out your months (goals, posts, giveaways, etc), views tracking page, income/expenses tracking, and advertising and sponsors. This has seriously been a great tool to help me manage my blog.

My planner is the fitness planner, meaning that I have extra room to set my fitness goals, track calories and workouts on my regular calendar pages. It's been one of my favorite investments and I already have it marked when I need to replace it!

Fitness pages make tracking your goals and calories super easy!

2. Brainstorm time!

When I first started getting serious about blogging, I took a beginner blogger class. It was such valuable information from one of my favorite bloggers! One of the things the blogger recommended was to sit down and brainstorm ideas. Blogging can be hard, especially when blogging multiple times a week, and having a list of ideas that you can work off can be a lifesaver.  I've started doing big brainstorms once every other month. I am super high tech about it - I take four pieces of printer paper and give each a title of my core topics (food, fitness, fashion, and other). I try to come up with enough content to cover my blogs for 2 months. I like to leave the papers around for a few days before settling on my topics. Sometimes topics change, sometimes I nix them all together.  You could do the same for any side projects you might want to take on.

3. Plan Your Time.

Wanna know when I write? Sundays and on my lunch hours. I don't do it everyday and I try to mostly stick to the weekends, but sometimes it has to happen during the week. Since those are really my only free times, Sundays and lunch hours it is! Whatever works for you, make it a point to reserve that time. If you don't make time for it, it won't happen.

4. Realistic Schedule

Another great idea from the class I took was to set a schedule for yourself. I haven't kept this religiously, but I post Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I like Tuesday instead of Monday because if I didn't have time that weekend, I can get a post done before Tuesday. Sometimes I miss a Wednesday post. Sometimes life happens. Fridays are always pretty easy. Five days a week seemed too much for me and one day a week wasn't enough. I like 3 days a week. It's enough to be challenging, yet still realistic.

5. Good equipment (aka - a good laptop!)

For my birthday/Christmas this past year, we replaced my dinosaur of a Mac. It was a college graduation present from my family. We had a love/hate relationship, to say the least. When I first started my blog, the Mac was running super slow. It was old and loaded down with music and photos. It also wasn't very portable. I started traveling more for work and it just didn't work for me anymore.

So we researched. And researched. And finally landed on doing a 2-in-1 laptop. I didn't really want another Mac. Even though I have an iPhone, iPad, and iPod, I just didn't want a Mac. Most of my work is done on PCs and I wanted my laptop to be blogger and work friendly. So we settled on the 14" Lenovo Yoga 710. I love it. I can put it in my purse and cart it to meetings like it's another case file. I can switch to tablet mode when I want to zone out and play solitaire. I never truly realized how slow the Mac was until I got my new laptop.

I've really enjoyed these past months of blogging. It's been a fun challenge for me and I love that people continue to read. I've had over 8,000 views since I started The Zinn Life. For some bloggers that is nothing, but for someone like me that does it on the side? That's pretty cool.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with a planner. It is really hard finding one that has all those slots so you can separate blog, work, classes, life, etc. I'll definitely have to check out this planner! Thanks for the recommendation

    -xoxo, Azanique