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!
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?