For several months, I kept putting off writing blog posts because I claimed I was too busy. Each weekday, my life goes something like this:
- 5 am: Wake up, get dressed
- 5:20 am: Drive to the bus station
- 5:45 am: Board the bus to downtown Houston
- 6:15 am: Arrive at gym to workout
- 7:30 am-4:30 pm: Work
- 4:50 pm: Board the bus home
- 5:30 pm: Get to the bus station and drive home
- 6 pm: Eat dinner with my wife and kids, wash the dishes, play with the kids, help clean up the house
- 6:45 pm: Bathe the kids, read them a bedtime story
- 7–7:30 pm: Put kids to bed
- 7:45–9:15 pm: Relax with my wife, help feed/burp our newborn baby, prepare my clothes and food for the next day
- 9:30–10:30 pm: Hit the sack
I thought my blog suffered from my busy schedule. I kept blaming my lack of writing on my kids, or my commute. Things has to change. Since I can’t always control my free time at home, I realized I needed be smarter with my time.
Here’s how I get it done:
1. Blog on my commute
I’m writing this blog post on my bus home. Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” is blasting on my headphones (coincidence?) and my thumbs are going a million miles an hour on my Google Docs app as I write this messy first draft. There are typos everywhere, but I’ll fix those later. I just have to get my thoughts out for now.
Google Docs on my phone enables me to write from anywhere.
It’s about a 25-minute ride into downtown Houston, and a 30–45 minute ride back to the bus station. That’s about an hour or so of precious, distraction-free time I can devote to get ahead (or catch up!) on writing and editing another blog post.
2. Blog during lunch
You’re probably allowed an hour for lunch, which is another great time to write. If I’m not working on a blog post then, I’m reading other blogs or watching webinars from the most respected people in the blogging industry to help take my blog to the next level.
3. Blog while my kids play
My beautiful wife is a stay-at-home mom, and often needs a break from the kids. Some Saturday afternoons, I’ll take the kids to a restaurant with a playplace and free Wi-Fi, like Chic-Fil-A, for an hour or two so I can write.
At some point, I’ll take a break and order fries and ice cream for my kids and I to eat while talking and laughing. Everyone’s happy, and we end up having a fun time together.
4. Blog early in the morning or late at night
Blogger Jeff Goins wrote about how he would rise at 5 am every morning to write, and doing this consistently, was able to churn out tons of blog posts.
I already wake up super early on weekdays, so if I woke up even earlier to write, it would probably kill me. However, I do often wake up around 5 am on Saturdays to write. This gives me a good one to two hours of quiet time on my comfortable couch as I watch the sunrise before my kids wake up. Other times, I stay up late after everyone has gone to bed, and write.
5. Blog when I can’t sleep
I usually sleep well each night, but if my newborn wakes up at like 2 am or the cats are snoring, I often struggle falling back to sleep. Rather than tossing and turning for the next few hours, I might as well sit up, pull out my phone or laptop, and start writing. Otherwise, it’s time wasted.
6. Blog when I’m in line
Besides working on this blog post on the bus, I continued writing while waiting for a prescription at Walgreens, as well as on the light rail to and from work, while in line waiting for my bus home and …while using el baño. Every free minute counts!
Blogging is a big commitment and takes a lot of discipline. If you aren’t getting ahead, you’re already behind.
And, as you know, writing and editing is only half of it. We also have to spend time tweaking our strategy, promoting our blog via email and social media, and engaging with our readers, which also takes up time we “don’t” have.
My writing system isn’t perfect, and neither am I, but it’s been effective for me. I understand some of these suggestions may not work for you, and that’s OK. Do what works best for you. Take every opportunity you have, and git ‘er done.
How do you find time to write? Share your ideas in a comment below.