A question I get asked a lot is "what do you do?"
Whether it be a new friend, date, Uber driver, or that pesky stranger sitting next to you on the airplane who just needs to make small talk (insert eye roll emoji) - your occupation is a large part of who you are and how people perceive you in this world. While I like to think that my career doesn't fully define who I am, it does shape a lot of my life. The people I interact with, personal goals I have for myself, my lifestyle choices - these are all influenced by the career choices I've made so far in life as a twenty-six year old woman trying to figure it all out. Let me explain.
So yes, I'm a fashion/lifestyle blogger. I like to style clothes, document them and then write about lifestyle tips on this blog you're reading. In general, I want to inspire other women to be the best version of themselves with how they dress and feel. A lot of other bloggers can attest that they have blogs themselves to create a similar type of vision. How I differ from most bloggers is that I also have a 9-5 "traditional" job.
Yes, I'm that girl crazy enough to have two jobs BUT I can honestly say I love it. When I'm not blogging about my new favorite dresses to shop or a good cocktail recipe - I'm working in risk management. I know, you ladies (and maybe guy?) are thinking to yourselves what the hell. I think my 9-5 is completely as far away from fashion blogging as it gets. Really the only similarities between the two is that I'm behind a computer answering emails all day. And while risk management may not be the most glamorous job, I really do love working in a field where I can think analytically (I've always been good with numbers), and then come home and get to express myself creatively on my blog.
From my perspective, it's possible to do both. If you want to, that is. So this blog post is really dedicated to all my fellow bloggers with day jobs and maybe those who are curious about starting a blog but think it's impossible. It's all about having a good flow and balance. Scroll down for my tips on how to balance your life while maintaining your day job and running a blog.
ORGANIZATION IS KEY
To stay on top of work and blogging, you need to organize your life. Just do it. Some of my favorite things to stay on top of both projects on my blog/brand collaborations on Instagram and assignments at my 9-5 are:
1. Write down all your due dates and appointments in a planner or a desk calendar. I find that actually writing something down helps me remember it and seeing an important deadline in front of me makes me better organized to plan my week around around a certain day or couple of days where I can anticipate I will be busy.
2. Set reminders for yourself. I do this on both my email by setting up little tasks with due dates for specific projects, and also keeping a list on my phone with an alarm for when something needs to be posted or turned in.
3. Create a visual representation. I think having a visual of what you need to do, versus what you already have completed is a great way to stay organized and on task with projects. I do this with blogging by putting any and all content that needs to be worked on, whether its blog posts that need to be proof-read or photos that need to be edited into little folders on my desktop. When I complete a post, I simply take that folder with all the pending content and drag it to my trash. I get instant gratification in knowing (and seeing) that task was completed, while having a visual representation of what is still needed to accomplish in the next few weeks. I also do this at my 9-5 by printing out a list of accounts I need to work on with due dates next to them in chronological order. Anytime I finish working on an account, I simply cross it out with a pen. Again, instant gratification of completing a task while still being able to see what's left. This is so helpful and productive in my experience.
WORKING HARD IS A MUST
It might seem a little silly to say that. Yes, everyone knows you need to work hard. But juggling a 9-5 job and blogging is really hard work, and in order to do both, you need to suck it up and work even a little harder than everyone else is. That includes both your fellow bloggers and your co-workers you see every morning and that's just my honest take on it.
In my nine months of blogging, I've noticed there is no easy method or formula to it. To get good results, you need to put in good work. If you're like me and lucky to be passionate about your day job and blogging, it won't even seem like "work" at the end of the day. You're just living your life. It's what you do - as so many people like to ask like I had mentioned in the beginning of this post.
BUT - I say that after I've been up since 6 am, been in the office for over eight hours, and am now typing this at 11 pm. I won't lie - I'm tired and just want to put my laptop away and watch The Bachelor some nights. Sure, I get the weekends off my day job as well - but I can honestly say almost every weekend in the past few months has been spent at blogging events. Whether it's shooting photos, creating content, going to networking events, or collaborating with fellow bloggers - I forgot what it's like to have a 'weekend off' anymore.
I am not complaining about this though. I love creating content for my blog and networking with fellow businesses and bloggers. It's something I look forward to and enjoy doing. I think that's the secret to it. Some nights you go without your full eight hours of sleep, some days become stressful as hell with way too much on your plate, and some weekends go by that don't even feel like you got a day off but in the end you're really happy with what you are creating and putting out there. So work hard, but work hard towards something you love.
TAKING TIME OFF IS VITAL
While I pride myself on being a hard worker both at my day job and on my blog and Instagram - I think they key to not losing your mind and having that so-called balance is knowing when to take time off.
I typically plan out my feed on my Instagram using the app 'UN UM', I pre-write blog posts the night before I make them live, and I feel like I'm constantly staying late at the office to get a head-start on assignments for the next day. Trying to always be two steps ahead of yourself is a good thing but that doesn't mean it's always the healthy thing.
At the beginning of this year, I took an entire weekend off posting on Instagram, doing anything for the blog and I even took a day of PTO at my job and got out of town for a quick getaway. Having that long weekend just completely unplugged and enjoying my time away from my phone was one of the best weekends I had in a while. I got refreshed and recharged and it gave me a bolt of energy to work even that much harder on projects coming up and ultimately being even more successful in my tasks following that weekend.
As important it is to push yourself and work hard, you need to know when you're about to exhaust your limits. Putting away your laptop, setting aside some time to spend in the company of friends (sans your iPhone) or going for a run are great ways to manage that balance. Whether you set aside an hour every day to workout, or a weekend every month to get off your phone and visit with friends - find what you need to do to recharge and refresh yourself so you don't tire out. Because life can't be all work and no play, right?