How to find balance in bloggingWhen we start blogging, we usually add blogging to our already busy schedule. As our platter of life fills up, we begin to feel overwhelmed.

Finding balance is ideal, but where do we start?

Today’s Lesson

Listed below are a few blogging tips to help save time and find balance.

  1. Write mission, vision and value statements.
  2. A clear blogging focus will help to keep us on track.

  3. Evaluate how much time is spent on social networking sites.
  4. Social networking is a great activity if we want to get, and keep our name out there and catch up with our online friends. However,  it’s often unproductive time. Reducing the amount of time we spend on social networking sites may be beneficial.

  5. Ask, “what can I automate?”
  6. With WordPress there are many plugins we can use to save time. Take, for example, the WordPress database backup plugin. We set the schedule. It does the rest, automatically.

  7. Reduce the amount of time spent checking statistics.
  8. I used to be a stataholic and would check my statistics WAY too often. I finally realized it was a waste of time. Now when I look at my stats, it’s to see what search strings visitors used to find my blogs and where the traffic is coming from i.e. social networking sites, search engines, direct.

  9. Access what blogging activities are helping to get our blog found.
  10. If visiting other blogs and commenting is helping, concentrate on that. What about social networking? Is it beneficial? What about  SEO (search engine optimization) work?   (This information can be found in your stats.)

  11. Quit guessing. Time yourself.
  12. Use a timer to check exactly how much time you are spending on blogging activities. I timed myself on Twitter and although I guessed I had only spent fifteen minutes socializing, it was closer to an hour. Yikes!!!

  13. Trying to make money with a blog? Start simple (or wait).
  14. When I started blogging, I wasted many hours placing and changing affiliate ads on my blogs. Little did I know spending that much time trying to make money on a blog which got very little traffic was worthless.

  15. Give ideas time to work.
  16. Impatience can be our enemy. Let’s say we decide to try something new on our blog. After a week it’s not getting the results we expected, so we drop that idea and go to “plan b” or “plan c”. In blogosphere (as in life) new ideas take time. Practice patience.

  17. Ask for help
  18. Like many of you, I don’t like to ask for help. However, it’s tough to do it all and do it good. Asking others for their suggestions or hiring a professional to handle specific aspects of our blog (such as coding or design) will allow us to spend time on that which we enjoy.

  19. Have fun.
  20. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our blogs we forget to enjoy the blogging journey. Make time to get away from the blog. Introduce yourself to other bloggers. Jump on a social networking site. Exchange ideas. Share a joke. Have a laugh. :lol:

Your blog will wait.

Control your blog. Don’t let your blog control you (and your life).

Today’s Assignment:

How do you find time to do it all?

Do you have any time-saving tips or ideas of how to gain balance?

Or do you have a question either I or someone else can answer for you?

Care to share?

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  1. RickNo Gravatar says:

    For those who want to save time on statistics: Set up a free account with SeeTheStats ( http://www.seethestats.com/ ) and link it to your Google Analytics account (you do not have to give SeeTheStats your password.)

    Paste SeeTheStats code on a page of your blog, for example http://www.rickety.us/site/statistics/

    I added a “more” link and maybe once a month update the non-automated stats I have added. You don’t have to do this, just use the six stats from SeeTheStats and it is completely automated.

    Of course, if you showed no stats at all you would save even more time. :)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Rick,

      Thank you for sharing your find. I clicked over to the link you provided and agree, the output is awesome. When I have more time, I’ll have to dig deeper into what all they offer.

  2. Barbara, you have a wonderful service for bloggers with your blog registry. The design of your site is very unusual and attractive. How did you come up with your Blogging Without a Blog name for your site?

    • Barbara, I have tried to install a CommentLuv plugin on my blog and am using your blog to see if I did it correctly. :)

        • Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

          Hi Barbara
          Just been over to your site and left a comment.
          Don’t see any reference to CommentLuv.

          Are you sure that you can use it on Blogger?

          • Keith, I appreciate your effort to help me see if I had CommentLuv installed properly. The Intense Debate site is supposed to be able to install CommentLuv on a Blogger blog. However, I decided not to use it after all, so I did manage to uninstall it, also using their site. It took your comment with it in the uninstall. But thank you for your help. :)

        • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

          Hi Barbara,

          I’m not sure what the problem is with your blog and CommentLuv. Hopefully you get it figured out real soon. :(

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Barbara,

      I appreciate your kind words. How I came up with the name of this blog is explained in my About page. Although I wonder if I made a mistake sticking with this name, most people tell me it’s memorable. :)

  3. Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

    Morning B
    How do I find time?
    I don’t, so I don’t tweet and I’m not on Facebook – simply don’t have the time.

    Most bloggers start off small and hope for success.
    If success does come, the workload increases like crazy and you end up doing more than you ever planned to do.

    You ask great questions Barbara, and you provide some spot on answers.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Keith,

      That’s true. The more popular we become, the busier we get. Adding too much to our plates early on can create craziness later.

  4. AnnaNo Gravatar says:

    I can find time for everything (or practically for everything) only if I plan it beforehand and set priorities. If I try to stick to the plan, I can manage to complete the tasks. Of course, there are sometimes force-majeure – and that’s a tragedy for me as I’m behind schedule for long.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Anna,

      I agree. If we plan and prioritize, it’s easier to get things done, however, as you know, those well made plans don’t always go as hoped.

  5. RichardNo Gravatar says:

    You make really good points here. I also find myself checking my stats more often than I should. This is particularly problematic when you’ve go real time stats tracking on your blog. But I learned to tone down on the checking my stats as it’s really more of a time sync than anything else. I also limit myself to checking the search strings and also which posts are getting traffic from the various social media sites as I can see a lot of trend information from those couple of things.

    Otherwise, I find blogging just takes a lot of patience and time. I find that ideas can take months to take off after implementation.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Richard,

      I hear you. It’s hard to break the stat checking addiction, but what I found is when I limit my time doing that, I have more time for other blogging activities.

  6. Hi,

    In my opinion, blogging is exactly like chess, you need to wait, think and act. In blogging you need a strategy, you need to do the things right – write quality content, increase your rank in time. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    George

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome George,

      Yes. Patience does pay off. Although it’s hard when we know we’ll be playing the waiting game, that gives us a chance to enjoy the blogging journey.

  7. I think the most amount of my productive time is wasted on social networking. I have so much been addicted to Facebook that sometimes I wish social networks were never invented. Also I think it is important to ask for help to other bloggers if any time you do not understand. Thanks a lot for the tips.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Shiva,

      I know what you’re saying. Social networking can become VERY addicting. Although it can help to get and keep our name “out there”, I think like anything, moderation is key.

  8. bobNo Gravatar says:

    The last point, number 10 – has to be they key

    Don’t forget to have fun!

    If you are enjoying yourself then everything else will come together – you’ll put in more hours and be more creative. Plus – if it doesn’t work out it won’t matter because you were enjoying yourself anyway!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Bob,

      Well put. How sad it would be if blogging didn’t work out for us and when we looked back we felt we had wasted all that time and didn’t even have fun along the way.

  9. @Shiva Unfortunately, social networks are very important for Marketing today. You have to use social networks if you like them or not if you thrive for maximum success with your website. Social marketing is now as important as SEO. And social marketing is part of SEO, also.

  10. Hi Barbara.
    Balance? What is that? I don’t have time to do it all — I surrender. When I first started blogging I spent a LOT of time visiting other blogs. I found as my blogging circle grew larger I just didn’t have time to visit everyone… especially if they posted numerous times a week.

    I’ve relaxed quite a bit after 3 years of blogging — June 20th is my 3-year anniversary. I find that more traffic comes to my blog now through SEO. Once I chose a focus, which is grammar and writing, that made all the difference. I’ve not been spending as much time blogging as I used to, but I’m much more relaxed now when I am blogging.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      LOL Davina,

      That’s just it. As our blogging circle grows bigger, we’re forced to make some hard decisions. Do we continue to visit all of the blogs we had in the past, or do we focus our efforts on other blogging endeavors and/or our businesses? Most times the scale tilts away from extending the time we spend away from our own blog(s).

  11. JosephNo Gravatar says:

    I wish I can implement all your great tips here…This a timely reminder for me.. thanks for sharing.

  12. MiaNo Gravatar says:

    I think that the most important thing is to prioritize tasks, then to start working/blogging with the most important. It’s easy to lose focus when you have so many things to do, but prioritizing can help.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mia,

      Oh yes. Prioritizing can be a big help. And what I’ve found is to not have TOO much on my plate at one time. When I do, I begin to lose focus and end up with too many distractions.

  13. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara … if I was doing other things too I’d be run ragged – but I guess I’d adjust my blogging and perhaps post simpler things .. except I enjoy what I do … I’m learning as I go and treat it like that.

    The most difficult thing is working out what to do – and most of us have to learn that process & possibly don’t filter what we can, could be able to, should, should not do … ie we take on too much and try too hard in a darting way with no cohesion … not surprising when so few people know what to do re blogging.

    Balance – ah! that’s a challenge too .. being happy and content with our lot and our family’s lot is the important aspect ..

    Cheers – great thoughts here .. Hilary

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Hilary,

      I hear you. Many bloggers don’t know what to do with a blog once they start it. And I wonder if that’s why so many give up early on. Although blogging is classified as a hobby, the opportunities blogging opens up to us are endless. We just have to let it play out….

      ((hugs)) to you and your Mum. :)

  14. susanNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb! I wrote a long comment the other day and somehow, be it magic or technical snafus, it poofed. Love all your points. I think that the “social media” things can swallow you up whole, eat away your time, get you emotionally involved with comments or people you don’t know or who enjoy taunting or randomly attacking others. I’ve heard such horror stories – one friend had a break down – and I’m thinking to myself “Back away from the computer!”

    Balance is so key. So is realizing while you are connected on line, you also are not living life. It’s one thing to make a living blogging or offering services that require a constant on line presence, but how many really DO? It’s just a hang out for the majority.

    Gosh this is nothing like my original comment – ha! Guess it’s how it hit me this morning.
    hugs
    suZen

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi SuZen,

      Ooooooh! I hate when that happens. I checked my spam folder for your comment, but it wasn’t there. :(

      What you said is very true. It’s extremely easy to get caught up on social networking AND to get involved in other people’s business. Like you said, it takes us away from our daily life and maybe for some, acts as a temporary “band aid” so problems on the home front can be avoided.

  15. “Reduce the amount of time spent checking statistics.”
    Great advice. I still spend too much time on that! Although doing better than in the past.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      I think that’s pretty typical – to check stats too often. Glad to hear you’re on the uphill side. :)

  16. Patience and having fun are VITAL for those who’re trying to set a presence online. These advices are very helpful, not only to bloggers but from all of us who’re trying to make a living on the web.

    thanks.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Mario,

      Yes. Patience and having fun are key. Success doesn’t happen overnight, so while we wait, why not enjoy the ride.

  17. Yay, Barbara. I feel so fortunate to have found this blog. You bring up the topics that are so important – sometimes you are onto a subject before we newer bloggers even recognize we need it! Other times, it is so good to have some validation from seasoned bloggers. Many thanks.

    Typically I dive in, obsess and then start taking it easy. The obsession has to run its course with me and it’s important to be fully cognizant when I am in it. I was hell-bent for blogging the first year. The stats meant a great deal because I needed some form of validation. Now, as you said, the stats are guidelines, not the be all.

    I still love blogging and I thoroughly enjoy reading and commenting on my favs. However, I have learned some techniques that bring balance in this blogging life for me. (Example: I take a time-out regularly. I can get waaay behind in my commenting, but every one of my friends are still with me. Perhaps I’m being an example…??)

    I’m off to do some volunteering at our local theater – a great way to meet friends with skin on! :)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Amy and thank you for your kind words. I truly appreciate your continued support. 8)

      I know what you mean about becoming obsessed. With blogging, it’s easy to do. But like you said, when we’re aware of it, we’re more apt to put it in the right perspective.

      I agree. Taking blogging breaks and getting out in the real world is VERY important. And as you’ve found out, your blog waits, as do your readers.

  18. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – stepping back and getting a perspective really helps – then I can get things done really quickly that I might otherwise waste heaps of time on – R

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Robin,

      That’s true. When we step away from the blog, it does give us a better perspective than if we stare at a blank screen wondering what to share next.

      BTW: Congratulations on your new blog. :)

  19. Wool OversNo Gravatar says:

    Great Ideas

    You can save loads of time by switching off Facebook/Twitter/Email and then only checking these every couple of hours. This helps you to focus on the task in hand!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Wool Overs,

      I agree. If we can get into the habit of turning off those applications which distract us, we’re more apt to stay focused and get more done.

  20. StarfallNo Gravatar says:

    This is a brilliant article of yours Barbara, when I’m trying to do things, writing, coding, family, blog commenting and others… I really do made a list of activities for this day or weekends. I know I can’t manage lots of things everyday, anyone isn’t a superhuman. As a freelance I can work anytime, I can manage to work half day just to spent blogging, friends, family and other things.But is ain’t a day to day activities. Still, my first priority is work to earn for my family and chain effects to other priorities! Every “time” will be made successful with trust in God.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Starfall,

      I hear you. No one can do it all, but if we make an effort to take care of the important stuff first, we can relax a little when we have time to blog and enjoy the journey.

  21. Finding time and getting (and staying) motivated are real issues that aren’t always seriously considered.

    >>>Trying to make money with a blog? Start simple (or wait).

    I feel like the “or wait” part needs to be emphasized to a lot of folks just getting started with their blogs and/or general internet presence. You can’t expect to make money right off the bat and should start by offering useful content for free so you can establish yourself as a worthwhile presence on the web. Then maybe somewhere down the road you can begin monetizing things!

    freddy k

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Freddy,

      Yes. It is better to wait to try and make money with a blog. Like you said, the longer we’re online, the better reputation we get. Then when we start monetizing, our word will mean something and our visitors are more apt to follow our lead.

  22. I wish I had read this post four years back when I began with my blogging journey. My first few blogs went downhill because its very hard to dedicate time and energy to research and write articles and then again spend time on marketing and promotion and still not getting desired results.

    I’m finding it really hard to save and dedicate more time towards my blogging activities. Thanks for this post.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome John,

      Like you, I wish I knew all of this when I started, too. :)

      It is VERY time consuming to research, write, market and promote our blogs. And even when we try to do it all, there’s no guarantee we’ll be successful. All the more reason to make sure we’re enjoying the process.

  23. KarenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi, we are just starting blogging, it’s great to have a better insight into how it all works and the other comments help towards the goal of writing a great blog, we will be looking to increase our presence on the web and do not really see it as a get rich quick scheme.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Karen,

      You’re right. Blogging is not a get rich quick platform. Although many bloggers share how they make lots of money online, we often forget they’ve also been at it for many, many years. Patience and perseverance are key.

  24. Hi Barbara,

    Excellent points. I’d like to share that we could also schedule to blog for a day and socialize the next day. Daily posts isn’t necessary right? So we can schedule 3 times a week of blogging and 2 days socializing. It can really be hard to track time when socializing.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Calli,

      That’s a great idea – to blog and socialize on alternate days. That way you’d keep your focus on only one thing instead of trying to balance too much on any given day.

  25. Thanks for the fabulous tips Barbara. I agree that blogging takes time but the good part is, you’re learning along the way. There will be ups and downs. What I can from my experience is have patience. A lot of it :)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Jill,

      You’re right. We’re constantly learning while we journey into blogging. And yes, patience is key. :)

  26. I have decided blogging for any reason other than the pure desire to write and share my own thoughts is just not for me. It won’t happen; I don’t have the patience and never will (and I am comfortable knowing this), and with a toddler and no childcare, there is no way I’ll have any time to invest in anything worthwhile until she’s school-age.

    In that light, I will blog when everything else has already been seen to, and that includes sleep. Since coming to that realization, most of my stress has gone. And then I find balance.

    Delena

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Delena,

      That’s smart of you to evaluate your life/time and realize if you blog, it’s for your enjoyment. I think when we have a full plate and try adding even more onto it, we not only begin to feel overwhelmed, but could easily lose the joy of blogging, as well.

  27. teatreeNo Gravatar says:

    One thing I did was to make a list of tasks and then did them first, before I allowed myself to read forums or social network. Previously I was doing the social stuff first, and it generally took up most of the day, and left no time for the actual work.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Teatree,

      Good point! Social networking can not only be addictive, but VERY time consuming. I like your idea of using it as a “treat” AFTER your work/tasks are done.

  28. Thanks Barbara for the great tips. Will be starting my blog tonight so am cramming for some late tips.

    One of my own, coming from a blog reader, don’t make private anything that’s not necessary. When I’m checking out a blog I get annoyed if I get excluded from banal topics such as ‘my favourite movie’. Why? If you’re setting up an online clique, fine, but if you want publicity let your readers get hooked by lots of free access stuff and then, if you really feel the need, set up members-only sections.

    Also, the cliche ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ doesn’t necessarily apply at all times. e.g. Google doesn’t care about your images, just their labels when it’s searching for your site!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Sherone,

      That’s true. Anytime our readers feel excluded, we risk the chance of losing them.

      I wish you well with your blog and hope to see you here again soon. I’d love to read some of your writings.

  29. Hi Barbara,

    This is such a hot topic. It seems we all lose our balance somewhere along the blogging way.

    I especially loved tips #5 and 6. I used to have a great circle of friends on twitter that retweeted my stuff, but many have gone into hibernation or re-established their priorities. It takes so much time to make new connections. It can seem like an endless circle and I still miss my original friends! I need to re-look at the time I spend on twitter for sure and consider which activities are the most effective [in addition to the most fun and connective.]

    Timing helped me a lot when I first became overwhelmed with all the activities in blogging. I set a weekly time allocation for blogging and that was a perfect way to take back the reins.

    I love your conclusion > that we need to control our blog instead of allowing it to control us!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Sandra,

      Yes. Balance is tough to find, and to keep. I don’t know about you, but oftentimes I THINK I’ve got balance, but before I know it, the plate gets fuller or I go off track.

      I like your idea of having a weekly time allocation for blogging. With it being so easy to overextend ourselves online, I think time limits could be the key.

  30. Time management is crucial to me and I just work and work and work and hope to get everything done.

    My puppy had emergency surgery last night for an object stuck in his throat. There I was going into credit card debt again, focused on a maximum and then gave the directive if they could not fix the problem with their next attempt – they were do put him down ….
    He is in recovery and quite a bit of pain. I will find out in a few hours if I have to drive to another city to pick him up or wait until tomorrow…..
    right now: well I feel awful about the money and so sad for the pup, easing my thinking by writing on blogs and reading….
    No balance what so ever :)

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      I hear you. Some days balance goes out of the window as we deal with life’s issues.

      P.S. I hope your puppy is doing well. You’re a great Mama. :)

  31. Aaron EdenNo Gravatar says:

    I think many are reaching that ‘social media saturation’ point with all these accounts that we need to keep updated everyday. It’s like having a panic attack when you don’t . Imagine if your job is a social media marketer who needs to keep up with all these updating, not to mention keeping their own personal accounts as well. I used to have this nightmare and I’m glad I found the right fix – now, I can follow the 80/20 rule, as in 80% conversation and 20% automation. Cheers!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Aaron,

      Isn’t that the truth? With so many social networking sites we could be part of, to do it all would take every waking hour. I like your idea of using automation. That’s a real time saver.

  32. I have decided blogging for any reason other than the pure desire to write and share my own thoughts is just not for me. It won’t happen; I don’t have the patience and never will (and I am comfortable knowing this), and with a toddler and no childcare, there is no way I’ll have any time to invest in anything worthwhile until she’s school-age.

    In that light, I will blog when everything else has already been seen to, and that includes sleep. Since coming to that realization, most of my stress has gone. And then I find balance.

    Delena
    Check out shipping a car’s awesome post.GMC back atop HD truck towing and payload ratingsMy Profile

  33. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Delena,

    How smart on your part to realize that. I think it’s too easy to get hung up on blogging, the numbers, etc. and forget about our real life, and most importantly, sleep. Sounds like you’ve found the key to balance – which is not always an easy feat.