Blog for Your Life: Part 4 “The Time You Take, Part 2”

LauraBlogging

Yesterday, we explored two points to consider when deciding the type of time-commitment we want to invest in our blogs.

Today, I offer two more:

3. Put your blogging time on a budget – and don’t budge it!

We’re big girls now and we have to be honest with ourselves. How much time do we really want to be spending with our computers each day? How long do we want our husbands and children looking at the back our heads as our fingers fly over the keyboard? Better yet, think of it this way: how much living could we gain by minimizing our blogging time? Remember, if we want blogging to be a healthy and beneficial part of our lives, we must own it and tell it what to do.

A woman who owns and writes one of the most popular savings blogs budgets four hours a day for her computer work. She works efficiently and smartly to get all of her work done in that time-frame. (Quite honestly, I don’t know how she gets everything done in only four hours, but she’s a machine.)

Because I do not make an income through my blog, I can limit my blogging time even further. Just as an example (and certainly not as a rule… since, remember, every blogger is different), I limit my computer time to one hour a day; more only if Ryan is working in the evenings. I schedule my work time during the girls’ nap time so they don’t grow up feeling unnecessary competition with the computer. I don’t want to waste their childhood writing about them instead of living with them, and I could easily fall into this temptation without fierce boundaries.

Having this tight computer budget helps me to focus on what I love – writing for my blog! – without getting sucked into other social media that would waste away that precious hour. It has also helped me to make tough sacrifices that I don’t ever regret. For example, I don’t do Facebook; I very rarely Twitter (you’ve noticed?); and I read only a handful of other blogs. Because I so love to write for you, and I so love my family, I just have to make tough choices when it comes to my time.

For awhile, I’d turn my computer completely off unless I was working during these designated times, but now we use it for music, games, and research through the day, so I do leave it on. The opportunity to escape into cyberspace is always available, but my budget boundaries really do help to keep me focused on the work I want to do, when I want to do it.

4. Tips and Tricks for Taking Time

At the Relevant ’10 blogging conference, I noticed a couple of commonalities amongst the women who were happy with their blogs.

First, they helped their families to understand and appreciate their blogs by defining specific “office hours” during which they crank out blog posts, advertising, and other work. Because they commit to these office hours, these women seem to overcome the temptation to escape to the computer at other times. No do they seem to feel guilty or hard-pressed when they do sit down to work on their craft, hobby, or employment.

Second, these writers write and schedule posts up to two weeks in advance! I took their idea right away, and have found such peace! I’m not tempted to “get a blog post in” every night when I could be spending time with Ryan. It also helps me to feel a little more organized, and to shape my posts around a central theme. (It also gives me a couple of days to, erm, tweek anything I might regret having written.)

So, how much time do you need to write your blog?

How much time do you need to really live outside of social media?

What will that look like every day in 2011?