I’m not going to lie: if someone would ask me to sum up last week, I’d probably describe it as “notorious”. Although I mean that in the sense of the-black-death-kind-of-notorious. As I repeatedly complained over Twitter last week (and Instagram Stories, and to the postman, for the matter), I got THE flu—or to be more exact and as I will refer to from now on, the plague.
Last Wednesday, I went to bed feeling a bit dazed but I didn’t take it too seriously. I’d planned an early work morning, expecting to go through most of my blog to-do list while Sebastian was off to France for a conference. Unfortunately, I woke up to a not very pleasant palette of symptoms including (but not limited to) aphonia, a running nose, and the unquestionable promise of a descent into the abyss. It was that good.
Now, I am not telling you about all of this asking for sympathy but to give you some context for this post. I am the kind of person who enjoys being super productive when the opportunity arises and—case in point—with Sebastian gone for a couple of days, working was my number one priority. Of course, Mr. Murphy’s Law had a different plan for me.
By Thursday afternoon, it became quite obvious I was not going to spend the next 48 hours writing without distractions. Instead, there were going to be loads of honey lemon ginger tea, countless tissues and an embarrassing number of The Spanish Princess episodes (hello Starz, could you please stop producing addictive Tudor’s period fiction? I try to have a life of my own, you know?). At a certain point, I was not even able to stand comfortably—let alone researching for SEO—so I resigned myself, lay down on the sofa and ordered a cheeky Domino’s to comfort me. (I don’t know about you but I take heart in tasty pizza instead of chicken soup and it usually makes me feel about a thousand times better, although I suspect my family doctor would be hesitant to prescribe it as a remedy.)
The point is, sometimes life gets in the way: 9-5 job, children, sickness…—you name it. If you haven’t established an emergency plan or routine, the chances are you will end up stressed and with a to-do list as long as your arm.
So, how do you manage to keep your blog running when you are busy or unable to focus? These are the most valuable lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Create batch content
You might have heard about this over and over but that’s just because it is a real life-saver for bloggers and content creators. At least once a month, I block some time to sit down and write as many posts as possible—which was what I was trying to do when the flu hit me last week. Sometimes, creating content on the spot can be stressful and lead to writer’s block (not to speak about how this affects your sub-editing time and the general quality of your writing), so content batching is a great alternative. Although I prefer to take pictures of my outfits in real-time, I have been feeling a bit more inclined towards shooting in batches as well. To be completely honest here, it is not my cup of tea but since my spare time can be quite limited, this a good solution too.
Keep an editorial calendar
This is closely related to the previous tip and absolutely essential. Grab a diary or create a special Excel document in your laptop where you can plan your schedule ahead (organize your upcoming content for the next few days, weeks, months…—the most time, the better!). When I first started blogging, I had created three months worth of content before the official release. I knew my spare time was limited, so this way I was sure I had some room for manoeuvre. As I anticipated, this worked wonders and I could keep posting with minimum hassle.
Set your alarm
Whenever I am short of time, I use this prioritisation strategy: I set a phone alarm for 10-15 minutes and assign a given task for that specific time slot (let’s say, replying emails). Until the alarm rings, I try to do as much as possible in decreasing order of importance (urgent emails first, for instance). You would be surprised to see how much you manage to do without distractions, focusing one thing at the time. Extra tip: Don’t forget to turn your phone notifications off so you don’t get distracted by external time-wasting factors.
I said once but I will again—turn phone notifications off. I can’t count the number of times I will grab the mobile if I keep it ringing next to me. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook… Pick up your poison. When working on your blog, you should try to treat that time as office time, so keep your phone out of reach. That way, even if you only work on an hour, you’ll make lots of progress compared to what you would do if you check your phone every couple of minutes. And you know what? All those cute kitties photos you receive through your family Whatsapp chat can wait too…
When too sick to work, do the fun part
During the plague, I was far too dizzy to focus on writing or planning content, but at some point I found myself reaching for the phone and checking the blog comments which I could easily reply while watching some Netflix on the couch. That’s the good part of this job, you know? It is lots of fun and some parts do not require for you to be 100% OK. With that said, whenever you are not your usual self, it’s time to ask for help or simply have a sick day. Your health goes first and rest should always be a priority—after all, the sooner you get well, the better for your blog.
40 thoughts on “How to catch up with your blog when life gets in the way (or you get the worst flu ever)”
Hope you are feeling better! I hit a blogging block at the end of last year and for this year, I fully changed up how I planned all my content and it makes such a difference! I totally agree with having some kind of plan and batch content.
Ellyn x | Life Of A Beauty Nerd
In the few occasions I didn’t work on my editorial calendar, I found myself totally blocked and lost. It’s such a frustrating feeling, isn’t it? Life runs smoothly with a bit of planning, definitely.
The flu sucks! Especially since I’ve gotten older, my down time is longer when I am sick 😦 This is a great reminder to be patient with blogging. I remember when I started out a year ago, the instagram urge to post a cool picture right away always took a front seat so I would go through waves of consistent content to a dry spell for a couple of weeks. It’s still difficult for me, especially when I am proud of a post I have just written, to have the patience and schedule them ahead, so that there is a consistent flow.
Tell me about it! It takes longer to recover when you are not that young anymore (and symptoms are even more annoying). 😓
You are totally right about being patient enough. Let’s say that has never been one of my strengths, so I keep working on it every day. With something as hard as professional blogging will is definitely key. Thanks God at lest I am stubborn…
Thanks for the inspiration. I have already
my calendar made up when started the blog
but it always changes..
I am more than happy to help! Changes are normal and a part of life but organization helps a lot to keep good track of your content. If you find an editorial calendar planning method that works for you, everything will be fine.
Hope you are feeling better already! It sucks when you want to post something and also don’t have the energy to actually write and edit and post. Since I take my blogging like a hobby and more of a way to write down things for myself to remember later I don’t worry too much about my posting schedule. Maybe I should, but for now I like to take it easy and don’t put too much pressure on myself with it.
Thanks dear. Not a 100% back to my usual self yet, but I am sure I will be good in a couple of days. I am taking the chance to read a lot, so silver linings. I think it’s great you take blogging as a hobby. It means far less stress/anxiety and that is always positive. I’d like to be like that too but I am far too strict sometimes and I like to see results when I spend so much time working on a project. I guess it is all about not quitting.
This is such a good post- thank you! I have never thought about batch writing but I think I am going to give it a try. Less pressure in the long run! ❤
Hi there! Always glad to help. It is truly worth it, in my opinion. Give it a go and let me know how it went.
I hope that you are feeling better. It is always awful when there are so many plans but you’re unable to complete some of them but perhaps the downtime is also a way to be productive and work on engagement as you mentioned. As I have a full time job, I probably need to try bulk writing more content myself!
It is surely one of the most difficult things when it comes to blogging but with a bit of planning, you can sort it out.
These tips are amazing! I have a 9-5 job and a blog + youtube channel + social media. So life is in the way often 😛
Thanks for sharing it was really helpful!
Oh goodness! How do you manage? It looks like a bit to much! You’re my new hero.
I just went through a 3 week hiatus where I just didn’t post anything. It wasn’t that I was sick or out of ideas I just needed a break.
Editorial calendars are the best! It’s how I stay on top of my blog. Thanks for sharing your ideas with us!
Sometimes, taking a step back is the best way to reunite the energy you need for the job.
These are some really great tips, I think they would be beneficial for every blogger!
Also just recovered from a flu hiatus (feel your pain, it is rough!) Really good bits of advice here, thank you! 🙂
I hope you are feeling better Emily! Take care. Hugs from a flu victim mate.
And you too! Currently adjusting to life post-cough medicine
I have to say, you are quite an entertaining writer! I absolutely loved reading through this post, and I definitely need to implement a few of your solutions into my blogging routine. Creating batch content is number one on my list, because life does get in the way, and it is great when you have something locked and loaded for those times.
Moneika | Adventure Aficionado
Aw, thank you so much! I am glad you enjoyed the read and I truly hope you found some of the tips useful. Content-batching has been helping my blog from the very beginning, since I don’t own the rare gift of generous spare time.
Great tips. It’s hard balancing both at the same time. Love it
Great post and such great advice too about trying to keep up with your blog when life gets in the way! I’m so sorry that you had to deal with the “plague!” Being sick is awful. But your tips were great and definitely things I should be using in my own life as a blogger!! Thank you!
Emily | https://www.thatweirdgirllife.com
Thanks Emily! I feel much better now. I’m keen to be helpful, let me know if I can be of any use.
I just got struck down with the plague too and my productivity has dropped! These are all great tips, the only way I can actually get regular content out is to do it in batchs!
Ash | https://thisdreamsalive.com
I totally get you: there are entire weeks when the only way to publish is by posting batched-created content. Writing in real time? Lol. If only…
Hope you’re feeling better!! I totally loved the post. I’m always so stressed with things that I have to do, that I totally forget my blog exist and I don’t post anything in weeks!
I’m going to put those tips into practice. Thank you!!
Yes, it’s difficult not to neglect hobbies a bit when life gets in the way (for instance, how blogger mums manage to catch up with their posting schedule is beyond my understanding), but for most of us planning ahead is key. Keep up writing and please, don’t quit! It’s all about consistency and a bit of will.
Great tips Allegra! Hope you are feeling better already. -Jenni at I on Image
I am feeling much better, thank you!
Great tips! I also write blog posts and stock them up for those periods when I simply have no time or inspiration to write. Sometimes it’s required to allow ourselves a break from blogging and concentrate on other things, because afterwards you’ll write amazing content again.
I totally agree with taking breaks but, for me, the only way I can really relax is by trusting a good batch of content before. I guess I am just too demanding with myself but otherwise, I keep worrying people will think I simply abandoned the site.
Great post and advice! I always write ahead of time and schedule in advance, as much as possible. Thanks for sharing!
My pleasure! Glad to hear from you Savannah.
I love this and I am so glad that I found your blog!
Thank you so much Olivia and welcome to my place.
Good post. Thank you for sharing this tips. Sometimes it is hard to keep on track with blogging with we have other commitments. It also makes us depressed when we aren’t able to do the things we love.
Good post. Thank you for sharing this tips. Sometimes we had hard time to be committed with blogging when we have other commitments. It also makes us depressed when we aren’t able to do the things we love.
This was the motivational post that I needed to read. I am not currently sick, but I do suffer from some health issues that can strike unexpectedly and then mess up any attempts at a schedule and productivity, both for my blog and my full-time job. I will definitely be writing down your tips for future use, because time is so valuable and sometimes there isn’t a good option to just not work.