How I Balance Work, Volunteering and Blogging

I'm the type of person that loves to be busy. Sitting around in my pyjamas, sleeping until lunchtime and being unproductive just aren't really my thing, which is why I work (sort of) full time, volunteer and put a ton of effort into my blog. But how on Earth do I balance it all? I'll tell you right now, it gets difficult sometimes and I do get a bit weepy about clashing schedules, but it's very doable. If you're like me and just love to be doing things, or you're just looking for a bit more structure to your life, I'll be sharing my top tips for getting that perfect balance.

But before I get into that, let me tell you a little bit about what I do. I'm currently a second cook and baker in a local tea room, and, like I said, I work full time sort of. What I mean by that is that my hours can vary a lot - at the time of writing this, I had just finished working 6 days in a row, but the week after, my hours were much less and I actually had a weekend off. It's a bit sporadic, but it works for me as it means that I might have the odd day or two in a week that I can dedicate to volunteering. My mum is the president of her local WI and they were looking to build their online presence. I offered to give them a helping hand and now I've become the social media volunteer for the group! I run the Facebook page, the Twitter account, update the website with at least 5 posts a week and create newsletters. It's a pretty big thing to be doing, but I absolutely love doing it and is something I'm definitely interested in chasing a career in. And of course, I've got my blog on the side, which I'm starting to take so much more seriously. Yes, I still view it as a hobby, but I'm starting to put more time into my photos, my social engagement and my content. I'll admit, sometimes I take on too much and end up burning myself out. but let's chat about some tips on how to avoid that sort of thing!

Prioritise and organise
If I could only tell you one thing to take away from this post, it would be to prioritise as much as you can. It may take a while for you to learn what needs to come first, but once you've got a grip on it, you're good to go. For example, if it's a Saturday and I haven't got any content for my blog, but I also need to do the Sunday recipe for the WI, I will 100% do the Sunday recipe first. I've found that it takes about an hour to do the WI recipe post, so I can quickly get that sorted and scheduled, which should leave plenty of time afterwards for blog stuff. If you're a fan of lists, you could make a to do list, and put numbers next to each point, with 1 being the most important. If you work away from home as well, this can make things a bit more tricky, but again, the to do list is a great way to sort out what needs doing first and which things can be spread over the week.
Use a planner
I don't use my planner nearly as much as I should, but when I do, I find it really effective for organising my week. I use my planner to write down the hours that I'm working each day, my blog posting schedule and the posts to go up on each day, and sometimes what I'm using for the WI Sunday recipe and Monday Makes. Having things written down like that really helps to cement my schedule into my head and I pretty much know how my week's going to go. Super duper top tip: if it's within your power, I totally recommend planning ahead. What I mean by that is if you're a blogger, get ideas, create a bunch of posts and schedule them as far in advance as possible. If you're in school or university, plan when you'll be doing homework, writing essays or your dissertation at the earliest moment possible. It'll mean that you have a structure and more time to play with in the future.

Leave room for any changes
Still thinking about planners and to do lists, it's so important to give yourself some time between each item, just in case plans change or something goes wrong. An extreme example of this is that I had a day off, just this past week actually, and I had planned a really productive day. Lo and behold, the other girl that works in the kitchen called in sick, and not only that, but she stayed off the day after as well, meaning I had to cover two shifts unexpectedly. This meant that I had to spread all of the things that I'd planned for those days across the rest of the week. Yes, it was a pain, but at the end of the day, it meant that I earned more money and figured out a way to complete everything else I had set for myself. If you're someone that is self-employed or works from home, I imagine that you could keep your schedule pretty tight, but it'd definitely be beneficial to space things out, just in case!

Schedule tweets
This one relates directly to blogging. If you don't have a lot of time to comment on people's blog posts, join comment pods or chat to people on social media, scheduling tweets is the ideal solution for you. I used to be so involved on Twitter, but now, I sometimes find it tough to put in the time. In steps Twittimer, a website dedicated to scheduling tweets for you. As I'm only on the free option, I devote about 20 minutes a day to topping up my tweet schedule, which is really no time at all in the grand scheme of things and it helps to keep my engagement up, as well as keeping my Twitter account alive. It's seriously easy to do and massively beneficial if you're stuck on time.

Have a hobby (or hobbies)
If you're like me and just love having your time filled, then having a hobby is great. There'll be odd times where I find myself with nothing to do for an hour or so, and that just doesn't sit right with me. I get fidgety and annoyed, so keeping my hands busy is the only solution! That's where baking, cross stitching and drawing step in for me, and not only are these things great for keeping me busy, but they also each have an end goal to work towards so that I feel like I'm doing something productive. I bet there's a lot of you that are like 'girl, if I have time to sit and take a breather, I'm gonna do it.' I like to have a breather too, but I turn into a grumpy mess if I don't have something to do and I know that some of you will be able to relate!
Allow yourself time off
Like I said in the previous point, finding yourself with a bit of time off is all fine and dandy, but it feels extra yummy if you've actually scheduled it in. You can do whatever the hell you want to wind down, whether it's bingeing on Netflix, playing on a games console, going outdoors or baking! It's ok to give yourself a break and it's actually very healthy too.

Realise that you're a total boss and you've got this
Sometimes it can be difficult and that's ok. I haven't even talked about keeping up with housework and maintaining relationships, so yes, it's fine to acknowledge that things get tough sometimes. But when I hit a bump or I'm going a particularly difficult patch, I just remind myself that I'm an absolute girlboss and I'm smashing it. Internally bigging myself up like that really gives me the confidence to keep going and reminds me that what I'm doing now will definitely benefit me in the future. Once you start thinking like a boss, you become a boss!

I realise that not everyone will have a crazy mad schedule, but I'm certain that there are many people that could take something from this. A key thing to remember is that at the end of it all, we're all humans and there's only so much we can handle, so don't push yourself too far and be aware of your physical, mental and emotional state always.

10 comments

  1. I completely agree with you! Things can get really hectic at times especially with school as well as blogging, social and extra-curriculars. I think the most important thing is not to stress yourself out too much and plan ahead of time. xx Nikita

    BLOG//Jasmine Loves

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    1. Yes, I totally agree! It's so easy to get caught up in the stress, but just remembering that there is calm on the other side is so important. Thank you for the comment! x

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  2. This was really useful thank you! I need to get better at prioritising my time x

    http://chloeharriets.com/

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    1. Ahh, prioritising is key! Thank you, Chloe x

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  3. Wow. You are super busy but there is some excellent tips. I think I need to get my planner organised and plan more things there. Katie x

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    1. I just love having stuff to do! Starting with a planner is a great idea to help get things in order. Plus, if you get a super pretty one, it'll feel a lot more fun x

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  4. Enjoyed reading - thank you! Specially the girl boss smashing it! I'm going to tell myself this...

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    1. I'm glad you've taken something away from this post, Fiona! We can all feel a bit snowed under sometimes, so it's super important to remember that you're a total girl boss! x

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  5. As much as I would like to relate to those people who have pizza and movie nights every other day, I can't, because I'm like you! I always need to be doing something, unless I'm in a new environment like when I'm camping or on vacay when I can really relax. I do find it quite difficult to manage school work, volunteering, blogging, and hopefully next year I'll have a job (!!!) that I'll sacrifice one over the other. I already use a planner and I create lots of lists, but I always have about half I never actually end up ticking off. Maybe one day I'll figure balance out, haha! x

    Kyia at WANDERLUSTGIRL// Lifestyle & Beauty
    Let’s be BLOGLOVIN friends!

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    1. I totally agree! I find it so difficult to relax if I'm at home, but if I'm on holiday, I feel like I can chill a little better. I'm glad I'm not alone in this! I'm sure once you get your job, you'll manage to work yourself into a routine and get the balance right x

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