Nearly a whole month ago, I took my longest, unintended, break from blogging since I started – all the way back in May 2020. That post, all about my first foray into the realm of productivity, was a kind of soft-reboot. I’d originally started this website in 2018 with the view to chat about absolutely anything that I wanted to but, without a specific niche – which you should absolutely have in the world of blogging – I quickly fell off the bandwagon.
When the pandemic consumed the world in 2020, and I had a lot more time on my hands, I felt newly inspired. It was invigorating. Then, last summer, I set out to increase my output, with a social media strategy working in tandem. I was active online every day, and it was so much fun, like I was operating this as a business.
Of course, when the new term of teaching started in September 2022, my priorities shifted – as I knew they would. The posts decreased to a still-consistent one-per-week, with the odd break every now and then, but it was a lot less than I had been writing. I really feel that the huge increase last summer helped to uplevel my craft, but it wasn’t sustainable without lots of work on backlogging blog posts.
And, if you don’t have the time for that – if you’re too busy actually living your life – then it’s not always going to be feasible. Nevertheless, I remained determined to keep up the habit and, up until recently, had been pretty consistent.
Then this happened
Teaching is such a full-time job. I love it, it is so satisfying and fulfilling and fun, but it does often get in the way of other aspects of your life. This is by no means surprising – I think most people know this going into the career – but with the sheer number of commitments you must make to the job, other priorities in life will inevitably shift your focus.
And that is no secret! I’ve blogged about this so many times before, but it’s always been with the idea that I can balance the job with other commitments. Well, sometimes your focus really does shift. As a teacher, you want your students to all do so well, and you really give your all to the job. As a result, you might find yourself staying slightly later than you’d intended so you can make positive phone calls to celebrate achievements. Other times, you might make yourself busy marking late into the night to ensure that students get the feedback that they need to move them on in their learning. Whatever the reason, the amount of free time on your plate does shift.
When that gets overwhelming, that’s when teachers leave the profession. I will always reiterate that my school is supportive with marking policies and work load, so I’ve been fortunate enough to never feel too overwhelmed with the amount that needs doing. Regardless, I will never tire of that welcome feeling that comes with a half term. It gives you time to reassess and re-evaluate your priorities.
Re-evaluating my time
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t do anything unless it’s fun. What is the point in spending your time doing things that you don’t enjoy? I love writing – whether it’s creatively or for the blog – but if I had continued blogging this past month, when I had so much to get through at work, I’d have been miserable.
That isn’t to say that I had fallen out of love with blogging; much the opposite. If I had continued to put the extra hours into the full-time job, and then opted to stay behind a screen with my brain fully focused, I’d have fully burned myself out. Instead, by choosing to prioritise my health in the gym, or fulfilling my need for entertainment in front of a TV or with friends, I stayed sane while working hard.
Work smarter, not harder
In a meeting with my dissertation supervisor a few weeks ago (more on the part-time MA that I’ve taken on – later), she spoke about setting aside time every week where I ensure that I work on the MA, or else time will get away from me and I’ll have too much on to focus on the research. I’ve been wondering how to get that squeezed into my busy schedule ever since – like what the best methods might be.
Well, I then stumbled upon a video I’d watched a few months ago about scheduling time blocks into my calendar that lay out the commitments that I want to stick to. I’d already done this for ‘creative writing’ and ‘workout’, which pop up on my smart watch once a day, but had never thought to apply this to any other part of my life.
Moving forward, here’s the plan: I’ll pick a day of the week that’s less likely to be busy in my evenings and pencil in an hour and a half for blogging. Whether I stick to these time blocks will be up to me in the moment, but at least then I’m being reminded to make some progress.
And if I still don’t blog for four more weeks, despite the annoying reminders? It just means I’m probably having too much fun elsewhere.
Have you struggled with your commitments lately? Or have you devised your own methods for staying consistent? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
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