Oct 24, 2014

Let's Talk About Balancing School + Blogging

Life is like a nice big bowl of cereal. (Not what you thought I was going to say, was it?) If you pour in too much milk then your cereal is just swimming in it. But if you don't pour enough milk into the bowl, then your cereal is too dry and unenjoyable. Just like a PB&J sandwich, fruit salad, or Top Ramen (I don't like too much water in my final product), it's all about two things: ratio and balance. Too much of one thing doesn't work and too little of another won't work well, either. It's also like blogging and school (or work).

This year I'm finally back in school, taking online courses from one of my state's universities for my Creative Writing degree. As a computer addict (and also constantly checking all my sites on my phone), I probably need an intervention. But with school, I'm on the computer even more and it's kind of crazy. I'm also not used to the rhythm of being back in school, so my priorities are kind of skewed. 

I need a fairy godmother (heck, or even Rumplestiltskin) to help me balance everything. Give me enough time to blog and read and do all my school work and for crying out loud, NOT PROCRASTINATE. (I have an A+++ in the latter and always have.) So far, all my school work is getting done because, well, it's school. I may not like it, but it's the priority. Things are due by certain days and times and, hey, it's being paid for. So that's always number one. But how I can mix in time to get blogging and reading done and watch The Walking Dead? (PRIORITIES.) (Note: Don't spend a lot of time looking for gifs because there's a good chance you will fall into a hole for hours.)

Full disclosure: I've never been very good at reading and blogging. Okay, so you can't really be bad at reading, can you? But I'm a slow reader. I'll sit at the computer and even procrastinate reading. I see people reading a book in two hours or a book in a day and I'm just like SORCERY. How do they do it? I do best reading at night, because it's quieter and no family members are constantly talking even though I am so obviously reading. But I can't read in silence so I have to have the TV on, which can also steal my attention. I need to work on that; maybe have the volume down lower.

But blogging? Maybe it's because blogging sometimes seems like something I have to do that I'm so bad at it. (Bad word choice.) I tend to have at least two posts a week: Top Ten Tuesday and Waiting on Wednesday. A few months ago I started a weekly post on Fridays called Be Our Tattooed Guest, but I took a break from it this month (October) so I could focus on my Halloween feature, which still hasn't happened, of course. (I place partial blame on my sister because I need her help.) I am horrible at reviews. I'm behind on review books, I don't get them read fast enough, and then reviews don't get posted at least once a week, which is what I would like (twice would be ideal). Aside from that, this blog lacks anything personable, which I don't like. I'm going to try posting some kind of discussion of sorts (like this one!) on the weekends, but we'll see.

So. What next?

I have tips, for you and for myself. Step one, figure out the priority. For me, it's school. I would much rather it be something bookish, but it's not. I need to get over that. Before I blog or read (or do much of it), I need to get my school work done. And for goodness sake, I need to READ the stupid boring school books. (Remind me to do this better next quarter.) As an online student, I typically have assignments due by midnight on a certain day. And they're usually not super time consuming...though they might take up more time if I did more of the readings. Once I'm finished with the day's work, I can do other stuff. Or, if other stuff doesn't need to get done right this second or can be pushed aside a bit, I can get ahead of my school work so that I can do more of the other stuff later.

Now, school work is done and I have time do something. (Forget TV shows, they can be done when I'm available some other time, or I can try to pay attention to them while blogging, not so much while reading.) People won't see what I'm reading, so the blog is first. Huge tip: try to schedule ahead. I have a bunch of Waiting on Wednesday's scheduled and it's super helpful because I don't have to worry about getting them done the night of. If I get four of those done, four Top Ten Tuesdays, four Be Our Tattooed Guests, and a few discussion posts or something of the sort, I have a whole month of blog posts set up. And if those get done ahead of time, I can spend more time commenting on other posts (which I'm trying to get better at) and reading so I can post what I should have a hell of a lot more of: REVIEWS. I try to at least get a little reading done before I go to sleep, and sometimes I set goals: a few chapters, a hundred pages, etc. I'm also trying not to worry too much about publishing dates, because then I feel super pressured to finish a book by a certain time. At least until I catch up, I'm trying to just get books read and reviewed. Once I'm mostly caught up, I can try to pace books better and hit closer to pub dates.

It sounds simple. I just need to do it.

The one day in the week I have never have an assignment is Saturday. (Yes, I have assignments due on SUNDAYS.) That means my best time to get work done is on the weekends. If I can schedule the week's posts on the weekend, then that means I'm all set for the whole week and won't have to stress or worry about my content. I can just do the fun stuff, which is reading. (And why I have this blog in the first place.)

To recap (and bits I may have forgotten), in lovely little bullet points:

-Set priorities.
-Try not to procrastinate (hilarious).
-Don't stress or worry.
-You don't have to post something every single day. Don't freak out! People understand that work and school have to come first, and the days are short.
-Use available time doing blog work or reading instead of messing around doing something else.
-Schedule, schedule, schedule!
-Remember to still HAVE FUN!

So, I think that's it? I probably forgot something, but that's the gist. Now, I do have a final draft of an essay due today. But it's still kind of early and it's not due until later, so I'm going to go do a bit of reading before I get other work done. As for you...

Do you try to balance blogging with other work? How do you do it? Do you have any tips?


  1. Great post!! I know exactly what you're talking about, I have the SAME problem. I don't have time to read and blog. I procrastinate so much that the time I would have to read and blog are wasted from my procrastination!! Thank for the tips, great ideas :)

  2. I pretty much do the same thing. I procrastinate a lot so I use the StayFocused Chrome extension to block YouTube and other social media sites... it makes me sad, but also helps me stop procrastinating and actually get some work done. Great post! Thanks for the tips! :)

  3. I am a huge procrastinator too. Procrastination is such a plage! As hard as I try to get rid of this awful tendency of mine, it always comes back. My tricks to find a balance are pretty much the same as yours too: setting priorities, and schedule ahead. It doesn't always work (I suck at respecting my own schedules!), but most of the time it does :)

  4. I'm a mom with one of my kids doing a virtual charter school at home this year. For me-priority one is my family/daughter's schooling. 2nd is reading (I usually read two-three books a week). 3rd-blogging. 4th that pesky think called housework :p

    Having said that though-I actually have blog posts scheduled out into next summer (which I do realize is very odd, snort). Sooo, for blogging right now I'm mostly focused on responding to comments, reading other blogs etc :)

  5. I'm not in school and I only work part time, but I still feel like I never have time to do any reading. It probably hurts me that I'm a slow reader too. I think that's why I like smaller books; I've been chiseling my way through The Name of the Wind (about 700 pages) all month!


I've been having s-to-the-pam issues, and I wasn't thrilled with Disqus, so sorry about the CAPTCHA!