IT’S BEEN OFFICIALLY ONE MONTH SINCE I TOOK THE PLUNGE AND WENT FULL-TIME WITH MY BLOG!
Sometimes I still can’t believe it really happened. After 4+ years of dreaming to turn my blog into a business, it became a reality only one month ago. Now I know what some of you might be thinking when I say that I’m my own boss & it’s probably along the lines of this: “You basically have all the freedom in the world; Don’t have to work in an office or be restricted to hours; Must be an easy lifestyle, etc..”
While you’re not incorrect with some of those thoughts – yes, I don’t have to work in an office from 9-5 and I do have the freedom to set my own hours somewhat – but working full-time for myself is far from easy. In fact, the past 30 days of transitioning to this new normal of self-employment has been a tough challenge and I’ve had to train myself to stick to a routine that will keep me disciplined, motivated, rewarded, and most importantly, not feeling overworked or burnt out.
HERE’S WHAT I’VE LEARNED FROM BLOGGING FULL-TIME FOR ONE MONTH
ESTABLISH A MORNING ROUTINE
Sounds pretty straightforward but if I’ve learned anything in these 30 days, it’s that each morning from 7:00 – 11:00 am is the only time frame I can use most efficiently to get most of my work done – unless I have a previously scheduled meeting or plan made in advance. Therefore, I make sure to get up at 6:30am on the mornings I have free. I’ve found my brain works best in the morning and I’m frequently crossing things off my to-do list quicker when I have the head start of the early morning to get the ball rolling. Plus, starting early can sometimes mean you can be done early – although I have yet to feel “done” with any sort of work.
ALWAYS PREP FOR THE NEXT DAY
Although most mornings I can use for myself, there are several that become set for meeting times, scheduled phone calls, etc. Sometimes the day can take an unexpected turn and my entire schedule changes in the blink of an eye once I wake up. Luckily, I’ve made sure I physically write out what needs to be done each evening to jog my memory the next morning. By listing out what needs to be done each day, in order of priority, I can prevent myself from getting anxious or stressed if a deadline or posting date needs to be met during a busy day that I was or wasn’t expecting to have. It’s important I remain flexible, as well as practice patience; not every day is guaranteed to go the way it’s planned.
FIND A WORKING SPACE THAT MOTIVATES YOU
If I sat at my desktop computer all day long to work, I’d 1) Drive myself insane from the solitude and 2) Find other distractions to complete that ultimately take up my working time. Since I’m an early riser, this means I can snag the best location at Starbucks, LPQ, NY Library, etc. (i.e. near an outlet to charge my laptop) each morning. Forcing myself to leave my apartment early gets me into a groove to use my time in a working location more efficiently. Often times I finish more work at a quicker pace from outside of my apartment. Being around other working (or pretending to be working) people mentally helps the motivation factor.
On another note, I’ve found that I might benefit best if I set myself up for an open seating desk membership at WeWork. Has anyone ever tried this? I’m debating whether or not I want to spend the monthly fee (which can be pricey) for a guaranteed desk space in a more social, working setting.
SET A CUT-OFF TIME
This is the hardest for me to follow, because I always feel like I should be working on something. But it’s important I use each day’s hours the same as I did when I worked at my 9-5. Of course, some days will be busier than others and I’ll have to work late; but if I can help it, I need to turn off the ‘working mode’ and give myself time to relax, socialize with friends, etc. To force myself not to work late, I purposely make evening plans in advance so I’m guaranteed to give my brain the rest it needs.
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN SUCCESS & FAILURE
Finally, the most important thing I remind myself each day is that I hold the keys for my own success as well as failures. If I don’t organize myself, keep track of my obligations, make reminders for payment deadlines, attend brand meetings, etc., then I won’t succeed as a full-time blogger. Plain & simple. Although working for yourself appears glamorous in the sense of having the freedom to set your own hours and projects, it takes a very dedicated mindset to remain focused and hard-working when reporting to yourself. I’m very fortunate to have the “working brain” on my side and be able to do this willingly, but there’s a downside to working too much as well.
Working harder is not the same as working longer; how efficient you are during those working hours to get the job(s) done that you hold yourself responsible for is what matters.
At the end of the day, I have bills and a rent to pay that my guaranteed salary from my 9-5 used to help me with. Now, it’s up to me and me alone to make ends meet so I can continue to fund my NYC lifestyle. Scary reality, but that’s why it’s so important I hold myself to a strict working schedule, use my hours to the best of my ability, and remain organized in the sense of getting it all done without penalty to my finances.
Sweater: H&M | Jeans: Topshop | Booties: Dolce Vita | Hat: Francesca’s