It took me a long time to realise that I had to put the work in if I wanted to quit my day job.
No one else cares.
Why would they?
I like my day job, even though it pays peanuts, and I enjoy writing for free. I don’t have aspirations of being a billionaire, so from the outside, I’m doing ok.
If I was crying on my boyfriend’s shoulder every Monday night (my work week is Tues-Sat), then he’d have cause for concern, but I don’t.
But maintaining two blogs and a YouTube channel needs work. The work isn’t hard, but I need to find the time and motivation to do it, and I’m afraid that took sacrifices.
(There’s always the option to get up at 5am, but, er, no ta.
I used to work, broadly, 9–5.
I loved it, after having done split shifts for years. I was in a managerial role, so I got the best shifts.
But it wasn’t conducive to writing. The best opportunity for writing was in the evenings when I had a few hours free, but it presented a couple of issues:
- I was tired and struggled to get the words to work properly
- My brain was fully awake by the time it got to bedtime, which isn’t ideal.
So when a colleague left, I switched my shifts up. Now I work from 11–10 three days a week and 11–5 on Wednesdays.
It’s tiring yes, but CHRIST it means I can get a lot of writing done.
How my schedule looks:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday — write a post for both blogs, plus publish on Medium
Thursday — plan, film and edit YouTube video, water plants,
Friday — publish on Medium, finish off posts I didn’t finish,
Saturday — clean the house before work. And usually still finishing off posts.
Sunday — off, or, more likely, finish anything I didn’t finish that week. Once a month I use Sundays to prep my blog posts.
In an ideal world, I’d work on my fiction novel, but 2020 is focussed more on online content.
The importance of a content calendar
I couldn’t keep to this schedule if I didn’t have a content calendar. Deciding what to write is not only time consuming, but it dictates the success of your blog.
I don’t do any promotion for my blogs on social media — all of my views come from Google, plus a few from Pinterest. I did my keyword research before I launched my blog, so now I just do a quick competition analysis before writing my post.
In general, I like to have a year of content planned out, but I’ve only got a few months at the moment. I also plan my blog posts out the month before — I create a draft, subheadings, and create a featured image in Canva, so all I have to do later is fill in the gaps with writing.
Writing in the morning
I’m naturally a night owl, and if I was writing full time I’d probably write later in the day. But, as I mentioned before, squeezing in writing after working an 11-hour shift isn’t the best, so I write before work.
I’m not a 5 am person.
Even 6 am is an alien world to me.
I get up around 7 and aim to be at my desk by around 8/8.30. That first hour in the morning is for coffee and blogs, and scrolling on Twitter.
I’m sure a lot of people would use that time more wisely than I, but I like a hot drink first thing, and I don’t want to spill it on my laptop, so I remain on the sofa until 8. Or, more usually, half past.
What this schedule has taught me
I’m extremely good at wasting time.
I don’t even know how I do it. I can sit and do nothing like I’m being paid for it.
I used to struggle to publish on my blog twice a week. And then I started another, and my first blog went untouched for months.
It got me down a bit because it made me think I couldn’t write about all the things I wanted to write about when I actually can. It was just a matter of setting up my systems to make it as easy as possible to be productive.
Blogging takes time
Firstly because it takes time for Google to start crawling your site, but also because it takes time to get content live. Especially if struggling to put out a couple of posts a week.
Admittedly Medium is new to me, so who knows how long the five-posts-a-week thing will last? Because I don’t really have an audience here I don’t worry too much about the content I post, which is one of the crappest content strategies I’ve heard, but there you go. We need to practice somewhere.
Imagine if all the writing pays off
Humour me for a moment.
Imagine if I can make money doing this and can quit my job.
Imagine if I could stick to this work schedule.
Think of the books I could read. The sofa and I could finally have the relationship we’ve dreamed of.
I could finally write that fucking fiction work, which is currently one twice-drafted book, and the outlines of two sequels.
As you can see, I don’t dream of riches and wealth. Or fame, or recognition. I want to help people live full vegan lives, with house full of thriving house plants. If I can achieve this by leaving my house only on my own terms and can keep my rabbit in the manner to which she has become accustomed, I’ll be a very happy girl indeed.
A few productivity tips that work for me:
- Do a quick tidy on an evening, so that you’re not tempted to let picking up your mess eat into writing time
- Schedule your days off in such a way that you don’t start to get unproductive. For example, I begin my Thursday by planning my video and setting up my camera and lights. Then I might decide what to have for dinner and walk into town to get what I need. Then film the video. Then may go for a run and have lunch. Then edit. It feels like I’ve had a break, but I’ve not wasted any time
- Schedule your morning the day before, so that you’re not tempted to sleep in (always a risk when you wake up five hours before you’re due at work). I write my morning routine down in my planner every day, to hold me accountable.
I hope this was helpful. It should be known that it’s taken me YEARS of trying different productivity methods before I found systems that worked for me. I’ve woken at 5. I’ve tried the Pomodoro technique. I’ve dictated posts, tried bullet journalling, all of it.
Good luck with finding your own schedule. I hope for your sake it doesn’t involve 5 am. Unless you like that kind of thing.