When I first started blogging I knew it was going to take up a lot of time.
I knew there would be writing content, growing my email list, sourcing photos and lots more. What I didn’t realize was how long some of these tasks would take.
I underestimated the work involved in maintaining a self-hosted blog. When I first started blogging, I was freelancing as well. Both required significant amounts of time (and in hindsight I realize I should have been fully focused on one or the other).
I quickly discovered it’s not all about writing.
Consequently I got to asking the question – where am I spending my time? What should I be working on every day and for how long?
Inspired by reading The EMyth I started an exercise. I wrote down everything I needed to get done in one day to achieve my end goals as both a freelancer and a blogger. To be clear, I’m not talking about a to-do list – more setting a structure for my average working day.
It was a quick and simple table. Column one – the task; column two – approximate time for task and thirdly in the last column the purpose of task. Fundamentally a ‘why’ column.
The finished product was quite an eye opener. What I didn’t realize was the tasks I was trying to cram into an 8 hour day, barely fit into 12½ hours and 12½ was being conservative, as some of the more important tasks such as writing and preparing pitches could have easily benefited from more time.
So how many hours did I have on my plan for actual writing?
Well that was the interesting (slightly terrifying) part. The answer: 4 hours.
Four hours a day for starting a new freelance writing business. Out of 12½ hours each day. Hummm….. I could see where my source of frustration and lack of progress was coming from.
Once I had a closer look, I realized depending on my priorities and deadlines there was flexibility to allow for extra writing time when required. Hence the importance of the ‘purpose’ column in my table. If I needed to reschedule my day, I could see exactly what I am delaying or sacrificing to make it happen.
I wasn’t sure if it was realistic to try to implement a 12½ hour working day, every day of the week, though I suspected it wasn’t. My coach confirmed this to me when I sent her the plan to review.
The key consideration she pointed out was sustainability. I needed a more sustainable plan.
Now that I have given up freelancing altogether, my focus is completely on my blog and business. But again it’s not about just writing. It’s about creating valuable products and content for my readers.
The other interesting thing my coach said when she got the email with my plan – ‘Welcome to Business’. As she explained so much of what is involved in running a business (even a small one) does not involve working on your core product (writing in my case and coaching in hers). There is so much more to be done and to learn.
Definitely a valuable lesson learnt.
In fact, that would be the best thing about this experience. Other than writing (which I enjoy) there is the thrill of constantly learning and improving each and every day.
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Hey Thea, thanks for the great, inspiring and RELIEVING post. Relief because I was just lamenting to my husband yesterday that I was in a constant state of work frustration as I couldn’t work out where my whole SIX HOURS (!!) went between dropping the kids at school and picking them up!! I’ll follow up on your advice – still scary though. By the way, love your blog and will be back! cheers Amanda
Thank you for the comment! Sorry for delay in responding, I wanted to get my gravatar fixed first. Took a little longer than I hoped but all up and running now.
It was quite an eyeopener completing that work schdedule exercise and finding out exactly how many hours a day I needed to get the work I wanted done. I am glad that the post gave you some relief. It definitely helps doesn’t it, realising others are in the same boat. Sometimes we feel like its just us and everyone else has it all worked out and are blitzing through their days!
I am so pleased you like my blog. I look forward to seeing you here again soon!
Good look with the schedule…I totally understand your frustrations. I really hope you keep motivated and able to stick to plan.
I recently did a post on managing our to do list and making the universe work for us. Not sure if it is your kinda thing, but It is a method that has helped me no end. Working full-time and running an on-line business is hard work.
I would love to know what you think.
Keep up the good work, I really enjoyed your post.
Thank you so much for the great comment!
I went in and had a good read of your “What has the universe done for you today’ post. Really enjoyed it. Good timing as well as I did up my to do list for the next two days this morning. There are 9 items on the list. I could have put on a lot more but I was trying to be realistic. You make a very good point in your post. Being realistic is important. Constantly having an unfinished to do list is frustrating and can be energy draining over the long haul. I like the idea of picking the 3 most important tasks and making sure those get done. The Universe can look after the rest!!
I really like the content on your blog. I will pop over regularly to read updates.