Maybe you’ve finally taken the leap to become a full-time blogger, or maybe you’re still in the “pending” phase.
If you have taken the leap, congratulations! The world is your oyster, and your home is your office.
While this is an exciting time, and you have an amazing journey ahead, there is a new set of problems you must navigate.
Balancing work and life is a struggle for the majority of working adults, but the problem escalates when work is home and home is work. The two become difficult to separate.
While balancing your personal and professional blogging life at home can be tricky, these five guidelines will make the process manageable and… even enjoyable!
1. Set a work schedule.
The typical 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM workday that most employees face is often criticized for its rigidity and lack of freedom, but it does have one thing in its favor: structure.
You cannot work to your highest ability unless you have structure, even if it is just a loose foundation.
When you become a full-time blogger, you gain a lot of freedom with deadlines, and you might get frustrated when you find that you’re not as productive as you had anticipated.
For this reason, it is important to set your own work schedule. As an entrepreneur, you can set a schedule that is effective and works well for you, but there still needs to be structure.
Let’s say your working schedule starts at 10:00 AM and goes until 4:00 PM Monday through Thursday. Once you’ve set it up, you should be committed to sticking to your schedule efficiently and consistently.
2. Create a work space.
Now that you have a structure, you need a space. This space can range from your dining room table to a home office.
The importance is not the size of the space but how efficiently you work in that environment and your ability to consistently be there day-to-day.
It is recommended, for example, that you do not work in your bedroom. This is because your bedroom is a place where you are programmed to want to relax. Instead, you should find a space that is conducive to working and set that as your office.
That way, every time you are in that space, your mind is programmed to be ready to work.
Efficiency is always important, and in the beginning you have some room to try various places to see what environment works best for you.
Some people prefer ambient noise, while others require silence. A window facing a bustling street could be pleasant, or it could be distracting. As much as I love working from home, the idea of being at home all the time can make you feel quite trapped. This is why there are times where I just like the visit my local cafe or library and just work from there. It can become quite a useful tool, a change of environment, when you’re always working from home. But what I have found is that people can be so nosy when it comes to people using their latops in public places. I don’t need someone peering at what I’m doing over my shoulder. So I mentioned this to a friend of mine who also happens to work from home and she recommended I look into using a privacy filter on my screen so it means all my information stays safe, secure and most importantly, away from prying eyes.
Find your preference, and then stick to it. Consistency is the key to success in forming a habit.
This underlying, biological programming works greatly in your favor, if you understand the concept and use it in the right way.
3. Keep your free time… free!
When you constantly have access to your work-related emails and calls, it’s hard to shut off the urge to immediately respond. However, there are two very important reasons you should shut it out after work:
1. Prevent Burnout
When you cave to the need to respond at any given time, day or night, you will essentially be putting yourself on the clock 24/7. You will start to feel extra stress.
The work you have will seem like more of a chore and less of a joy. Working can become so habitual that it is easy to forget that our life is passing us by.
Look at the bigger picture. It’s not just another Monday. It’s one of the numbered days in your life. That email will still be waiting there tomorrow.
2. Preserve real-life relationships
Just like you want to be present for your online following, your family and friends want you to be present with them as well. This is your tribe. The people who are making an effort to do life alongside you.
At the end of the day, these relationships are the most vital and the most important.
Don’t squander away moments with those you love in order to take a work call. It may be a short call, but one leads to another, and soon it’s normal for you to take a call when you’re out to dinner with your family. Don’t do it. You’ll be thankful later.
How do you make sure that you are keeping your free time free?
Set ground rules for yourself, which go right along with your schedule.
If your work day ends at 4:00 PM, stop answering calls and emails after 4:00 PM. If you don’t work during the weekends, don’t take that Saturday afternoon call.
It may seem minor, but all of those moments add up into days of your life where time was lost. If you find this approach too difficult, you may need to invest in a work phone or computer that you can turn off at the end of the work day.
What this clear separation does, primarily, is give you peace of mind. If you decide that you are not taking calls after a specific time, that’s the end of it. When you see a call, you can calmly send it to voicemail. When you see an email, you can swipe it away for the moment. You’re off the clock. Relax.
4. Embrace flexibility.
One of the biggest perks of being a blogger full-time is the flexibility.
We have previously discussed how a disorganized, structure-lacking schedule can cause disaster, but that’s not what I want to address here.
I’m referring to the one-time moments in life that you can, and should, take advantage of. We need structure, that’s a main course, but spontaneity is the dessert of life.
Maybe it’s a special event at your child’s school, maybe an old friend is coming into town, or maybe your favorite author is doing a book signing. Regardless, you should embrace your freedom and grasp these opportunities.
Don’t allow yourself to be so rigid that you can’t have fun every once in a while, take the day off, or take a vacation week. You have freed yourself from an impossibly rigid structure, so don’t become your own jailer.
5. Be transparent, but don’t give yourself away.
Honesty is always the best policy, and your followers want to know the real, authentic you. This is a great chance to be open about your story and reach out to others across the world, but be sure to avoid one fatal mistake.
Do not assume that your audience is entitled to know everything about you.
There are some things that you can, and should, keep to yourself, for the sake of both safety and privacy.
It has become very popular lately for people to share topics such as struggles with weight, eating disorders, and mental health. While this type of sharing can be healing for both the writer and the audience, it can also be harmful in some cases. Make sure that you are taken care of first, and that you are not opening yourself up to new attacks.
Oversharing doesn’t have to be as serious as the first example. Actually, it could be something like giving a controversial political opinion where it doesn’t belong.
Your audience will want to know you. Some well-intentioned reader may ask you a personal-opinion question, but there will be others who don’t agree or may even be offended. If your following is more broad, it is better to stay away from controversial stances on your blog to prevent backlash.
Especially if the piece of personal opinion isn’t relevant to what you normally write about.
Another way bloggers overshare is by giving away moments. You may not mean to or even realize what you are doing. We get so stuck trying to capture the perfect picture of the moment, or write the perfect description, that we miss it altogether.
The best way to live a full life is to be present.
The bottom line here is that everyone has their private opinions and moments, and you should not be ashamed to keep yours. Just because most of your life is shared virtually doesn’t mean you can’t save some moments for yourself.
At the end of the day, you are a person and not a commodity.
It is so important that we make it normal to prioritize personal well-being when navigating the line between work and home life. One way to do this is to support the other bloggers making these decisions and even the other workers making these decisions. As a society we need to be more caring towards other individuals. We must realize that work is important, but balance is even more important.
Now I want to hear from you!
What are some ways that you have prioritized self-care in your work/life balance?