Feb 19 2018

Celebrating Nine Years of Blogging: A Blog-Life/Work-Life Balancing Act!

My very first blog header picture in 2009 – a blurry, blurry mess (but I did love my eye shadow look, lol!

With the recent relaunch of my site, I waxed a little poetic about blogging for so many years. So no worries – I won’t repeat myself!

But nine years ago today, I posted my very first blog, and it’s got me thinking not just about all the experiences and relationships that blogging has made possible – but also about how I’ve juggled blogging regularly with living a very full life. I had no idea when I first started how much time I would need – and want – to dedicate to my site.

So in retrospect of the last nine years, I thought I’d focus a bit on a conversation around balance, something I’m hoping you’ll engage with me about in the comments; I know many of you are bloggers, too, and I’d love to hear your stories!

Blog-Life Balance

Managing my time so I can accomplish everything I  need to – and want to – is a career skill. It’s something I developed long before I started blogging, and as life evolves, it’s something I continue to improve on.

As my life evolved over the last nine years, I’ve had to adjust how I spend time on my blog over the course of a week. And in some ways, blogging has contributed to the fullness of my life when I have traveled to trade shows and press events, and gotten to experience things I never would have before, like New York Fashion Week or meeting the head of a brand I love, like Wende from Urban Decay!

In my early years of blogging, when the only real responsibilities I had were my job and my cat, I could wake up on a Saturday and spend the entire day swatching dozens of nail polishes, editing photos, and prepping blog posts to run five or more days a week. My husband and I were, at the time, the kind of single, unmarried couple that loved spending time together but truly valued our me-time, and therefore I never had to worry about not having me-time, or whether he would feel slighted when I’d hole up with my computer!

However, in those days, I found myself a bit of a hermit. Some people Netflix binge…I blog binged. I would choose blogging over social activities. Blogging made me happy, but I started to feel truly disconnected from other areas of my life.

I also changed jobs – actually, I’d shifted career direction slightly – a year into blogging, and as I grew in my new company and took on different opportunities, my responsibilities grew. In the last 2 1/2 years, I’ve had a demanding role coupled with motherhood that shifts the importance of my blog; I’ve gone from the obsessed, blog-life balance, to true work-life balance, with blogging becoming a part of life…one that has had to become a smaller part by nature of the rest of my personal responsibilities! It was an adjustment, and in the year after having my daughter, I found myself on hiatus for months at a time.

My Balance in 2018

As I said last month, I’m committed to BeautyJudy, so I have found a way to make it work – I’ve found a way to make it part of my “me-time,” when I get it!

That means I’ve had to make the time to do it, vs. filling my time with it. I also had to make sure I still felt  passionate about doing it, because it requires commitment.

I had to set expectations for myself. I feel comfortable that I can post content three times during my Monday-Friday work week, with a fourth post (the Beauty Spotlight Team roundup) once over the weekend.

I also have found that brainstorming and jotting down ideas for content ahead of each month, and mapping out my intentions is a tremendous help in how I think about spending my time. If I’m planning, I know what I need to do.

So, I keep a physical planner devoted to BeautyJudy (see above!). I jot down ideas for content in one space, a potential schedule in another, and write-in posts on the month-view calendar as I finish and schedule them. There is also space for me to keep track of products that I want to feature in “current fav” features, and other ideas I have for regular content. I even have goals laid out – both immediate and gradual – in the front of the planner.

Fitting It Into My Life

During a typical week, I will spend Friday or Saturday nights blogging. After my daughter goes to bed, I will stay up and take photos, edit or write – or all three! I still value having a chunk of time, whether it be two hours or four, to get some blogging done. I have much better indoor lighting than I did in the past, so I can even swatch polishes if I need to at night. I used to have limitations of using daylight only, which didn’t mesh with my busy schedule at all! And if it was pouring rain or very cloudy on a day I had planned to swatch, I was screwed!

During the work week, I take makeup photos in the morning, before I head into work. Or, I do it at home on a weekend if I get to use a new product or products I’m featuring.

Some weeknights, I  will take products to my office and I will photograph them, and if I’m up to it, I’ll upload and edit those photos. Every now and then, I’ll sit down and do a little blogging before heading to bed.

Sometimes, I will sneak writing a bit during the work day, if I have a moment to take a small break while I eat my lunch.

I don’t have a lap top at home, I have a desk top. Which means it’s harder for me to fit in blogging if, for example, my daughter is watching a movie in our living room, since my office is on our lower level. But what I can do is blog on my phone. ONLY if my daughter is preoccupied – I don’t want to miss out on engaging with her.  I have taken advantage of doctor waiting rooms, riding in the car as a passenger and evenings when I just don’t feel like holing up in my beauty office.

Balance is Good

I balance blogging with the rest of my life and with my work very effectively at the moment, even on those days when I can’t keep up with social media. I spend quality time with my family, I go to birthday parties and showers on the weekends, occasional date nights with my husband, work trips, spend 13 hours in the office, work weekends and still make time for me – my blogging is my me-time and that’s my sweet spot right now.

Of course, I’m having a baby in two weeks so…we’ll see how my best laid plans go. I’m sure I will have to adjust once again. But I’ve continually managed to do that over the course of nine years – and I’m hopeful I’ve laid a good groundwork for myself!

I know a lot of you are fellow bloggers. How have you set your work-life balance, or your blog-life balance?

  • http://www.makeupobsessedmom.com Stacie Arker Hamilton

    Wow 9 years blogging! Congrats!! It sure has changed, hasn’t it?! I think you’re doing great balancing things out.

    • BeautyJudy

      Thank you Stacie! I’m just a small fry, but I enjoy it so much!!! Even as things have changed so much!

  • http://www.slashedbeauty.com/ Miranda | SlashedBeauty.com

    Congratulations!!!! I’m on year 6 right now and it’s been a wild ride!

    • BeautyJudy

      I can’t believe it’s been six years for you! You have accomplished so much and experienced so much – your brand is solid Miranda!!!!

  • http://www.cosmetopiadigest.com/ CosmetopiaDigest.com

    Congratulations on nine years – and here’s wishing you many decades more of blogging! I’m awed by how well you balance work, life, and the blog. The last one always suffers in my case. And, I like your cursive handwriting!

    • BeautyJudy

      Aw thank you so much Renu!

  • marciaf

    I’m a year behind you – congratulations on 9 years. I post 4 reviews a week but my blog partner also does 4 so we are a 7 day a week operation. What takes me forever is my Sunday Scoop Giveaway post but it’s so popular that I take the extra time to do it. But you have a family that needs you so much more than my family needs me. I give you a lot of credit for having a full time job, a full time daughter, and writing a great blog. Congratulations in advance on your new baby, I can’t wait to meet her when I come back from my trip.

    • BeautyJudy

      Marcia I love what you and your partner do, how you coordinate (like on your Tigi post!) and how you divide and conquer!! I also really love blogs that produce content like the Scoop, especially holiday sales/deals. I don’t necessarily like them because I use them (my wallet hates them lol!) but I love them because it’s what bloggers do for their readers and from the couple of times I’ve done more in-depth pieces I know how much work goes into that type of content and I respect it SO much. Happy 8th year to Beauty Info Zone, I truly enjoy it – I really enjoy eveeyone’s blog that has commented today and also the people behind them!!! 🙂

  • http://www.primebeautyblog.net PrimeBeauty

    When I started blogging 8 years ago I was working a full-time job and I would spend hours on a single blog post. I learned that readers don’t necessarily want or need to read a 800-1,000 word blog post! Doing roundups on the weekends helps a lot! Now I have a part-time job plus the blog and am in semi-retirement so I’m thinking of cutting back to posting 3 days/wk + roundup weekends. I’ve tried it before but it only lasted a few weeks so we’ll see. Congrats on 9 years!!!

    • BeautyJudy

      Yes, that’s so true! Although I do sometimes find myself engaged in longer content, especially a thorough review or a lifestyle piece! I am so glad I cut back to 3 times per week. My traffic is better/more consistent when I’m more consistent! Although these days I don’t much do it for the “traffic!” The planning really helps me hit my goals each week, even through a recent tough couple months at work! Happy 8 years to Prime Beauty!!!

  • http://www.thefabzilla.com Kathryne

    Happy 9 years! Lol on the first photo, we all started that way, blurry but we were fueled with passion. So much has happened to you and I like how you evolved. Now you are going to be a mom again but you have mastered the skill so I’ll be here reading and following your blog still

    • BeautyJudy

      Thank you mama!!! Ditto. We’ve both found new strides and happiness in content creation and I am over here, giving you a virtual high-five. I’d love to know how you balance your time too, especially because you do a lot of YT too!

  • Lola Seicento

    Wow, congratulations on 9 years of blogging, Judy! This is a wonderful post! Amazing that your baby arrives in 2 weeks!

    • BeautyJudy

      Thank you Lola! You write such thoughtful blog reviews – what is your key to blog-life balance?!

      • Lola Seicento

        Thank you, Judy! That is such a thoughtful and meaningful thing to say! It is definitely a tough balancing act since I have a full-time career outside of LSBB, and I have to commute to work. I just try to organize my time as well as I can so that I don’t feel stressed out about my many obligations!

  • http://oflifeandlacquer.com/ Cynthia

    What a great post. I’ve always found the blog/life balance to be very difficult. I think that I need to dedicate a specific amount of time on blogging and then put it to the side. I’ve definitely felt like I’ve ignored other areas of my life when I was blogging so consistently. It’s a good think to look forward to in this coming year. Congrats on 9 years! I’m nearing 7 this year. 🙂

    • BeautyJudy

      Thank you Cynthia – congrats to you for 7 years!!! Figuring out how to budget time so that you aren’t neglecting any areas you also enjoy is a challenge but it’s an evolution!

  • Allison @neversaydiebeauty

    Congratulations on 9 years! Wow! Honestly, Judy, I don’t know how you do it with a full-time job and a family. Amazing. Can’t believe your new baby arrives in 2 weeks! All the best xo

    • BeautyJudy

      Thank you Allison! I’m curious to know when you find the time as well – do you do a bit everyday or find yourself doing it all at once on a day off?