Why I went Back to a 9-5 (and how I keep my biz & job organized)
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com on behalf of the Paper + Packaging Board
Man, has it been crazy town over here. I keep saying to Dustin: “When things slow down, let’s tackle this project” or “Let’s wait until things slow down before we start working on that project.” Turns out, things have not slowed down in months. I’m not complaining (much) because it’s mostly been the good kind of busy – but I’m not going to lie, it’s been hard for me to keep my head from falling off with everything I’m trying to juggle – especially now that I’m working a legit 9-5 real-world job again.
ICYMI, I was promoted to full-time at my job at the beginning of the year. But, if you’ve been around the blog for a while, you might remember that I actually quit working about 3 years ago to pursue blogging full time. I realized that I never shared why I decided to come back to the workforce, and what led up to my choice to go back to work.
For many in the blog space, being able to blog full time is the ultimate dream. It was definitely the dream for me after I started blogging seriously and I lept at it the first opportunity I had to go for it. Some of you might remember that I actually got a degree in English Education and started blogging after realizing that I didn’t want to pursue a career in it (loved teaching but didn’t love the politics.)
A year after graduating, Dustin and I moved to California for Dustin’s internship and we weren’t sure where life is going to take us after the internship was finished. I had started working at small automotive shop writing up quotes for repairs and the owners were asking me to do some things that made me feel… icky, to put it lightly. Basically, I felt like my integrity was put in jeopardy every time I went to work there. They wanted me to lie to customers about when their cars were finished so that they could charge the full amount of labor that they had quoted them. Yeah, I know. Shady. It was #badnewsbears all around. So, after a few weeks, I asked Dustin if I could quit and work on my blog full time. I had no idea what I was getting myself into (I had been barely blogging seriously for a year) and I wasn’t making any money off of it, but I knew that I loved writing and it would be the ultimate dream to blog full time. Dustin, being the supportive guy that he is, agreed to my crazy idea of quitting my job and pursuing blogging full time.
So, I quit my job. And I spent a glorious summer working on my blog full time. When we moved to Arizona at the end of the summer, things were picking up a little bit, so I kept at it. And then, after Dustin decided he wanted to follow a different career path, we moved to Louisianna for a summer while we reset and got our feet back under us. Since we were in Louisiana for only 6 months, I kept working on my blog full time. It didn’t make sense for me to get a job since we knew Louisiana was temporary. But, things were starting to change for me. Even though it was the ultimate dream to stay home all day and work on creating content, blogging was starting to become more stressful than fun for me. At first, I couldn’t figure out why – I was doing exactly what so many others dreamed of doing. Why was I having problems staying motivated or wanting to work on my business?
I slowly realized that the fun was being sucked out of blogging because I was putting too much pressure on myself to make money off of it. Instead of doing it for fun, I was solely focused on getting sponsored projects and trying to figure out how I was going to pay to keep my blog running and contribute to our household income. I became the ULTIMATE perfectionist – wanting to make sure every little thing was perfect for a post in case a possible brand stumbled across it. That resulted in me almost never publishing anything, because almost nothing was good enough. I got lost in the comparison game and would constantly question why I wasn’t growing as fast as others, or why my photos weren’t as pretty, or why I couldn’t land campaigns like other bloggers were landing.
SO! After we moved to Utah and Dustin got a job in a career he knew would be the right fit for him, I decided I was going to go back to work. I was worried about giving up all my time to a job, but I was ready for blogging to be fun again and to relieve the pressure to make money off of it. I knew I wasn’t going to go back to teaching and decided to look into human resources and got an awesome part-time job as an HR assistant. It was the perfect way to ease myself back into the workforce. After about 8 months there, I made a job switch to a new company as their part-time recruiting coordinator (because I really love the recruiting part of HR.) And at the beginning of this year, I was promoted full-time! I haven’t regretted going back to work a single second, and it’s been SO good for me in so many ways. It forces me to get out of bed and get ready for the day, I have become more outgoing (because I’m forced to interact with people face-to-face, instead over a screen) and it’s actually made me more successful in blogging because I’ve had to use the little time I have left to get my blog stuff done!
This leads me to a huge lesson I learned during the last year of working and blogging: Just because I went back to work doesn’t mean that I’m not a successful blogger! I think that there’s a huge misconception that the only way someone is truly “making” it as a blogger is if they are doing it full time. Guess what? You can work a full-time job (and LOVE your full-time job) and still be successful as a blogger. You can quit being a full-time blogger and go back to work and STILL be successful in the blog-o-sphere. You don’t have to even have the goal of blogging full-time to be successful. You do YOU, Boo!
Do I want to go back to blogging full-time someday? I’m not sure. Things are definitely growing at the fastest speed they ever had for me and I’m actually at the point where I can comfortably hire someone on to the HTC team to help me with some of the projects I don’t have time for right now. But, working full time is allowing me to PAY for the hired help and not stress out about getting a project to cover my bills. On top of that, working full-time gives me extra money to fuel my makeup addiction, so you know, it’s been good for me (maybe not my wallet, but you know.)
So, what do I do for my 9-5?
I work as a full-time Corporate Recruiting Coordinator at a company called Unishippers. We help small and medium-sized businesses find affordable shipping solutions. I am specifically in charge of coordinating all the candidates we bring in for interviews. This means I source candidates on job-boards and Linked-In, I assign the leads out to the senior recruiters, I schedule interviews and shadows, I welcome and direct candidates for interviews, I relate feedback to different managers regarding candidates, and I manage our Sales Director’s schedule to make sure he makes it to all of his interviews. I also assist in branding our company’s Linkedin Page by editing videos of our meetings and responding to messages on there.
I LOVE my job. My boss calls me the “glue” that holds the recruiting department and sales department together and I loveeee being able to help my floor run as smoothly as possible.
But let’s be real – it’s been kind of crazy working full-time and running my blog AND doing local blog and Pinterest mentoring AND being part of two masterminds. On top of that, I try to have a social life, get to the gym on a regular basis, spend time with my husband, and work on our various home improvement projects. It’s a lot to balance (and as my friend Erica says, balance is a unicorn) and I’m learning that in order to attempt to get everything done, I need to have some solid organizational strategies and systems in place. It’s taken a lot of trial and error (and some missed deadlines in between) to figure out a system that helps me keep my head on straight and allows me to stay on top of everything (kind of.)
How I Stay Organized With my Blog and Job
There are some aspects of organizing both my blog and job that are online, but I’ve learned that in order to mesh my biz and job together (and keep everything straight) I have to use physical PAPER! It’s the best way to keep everything on the same page – there aren’t multiple apps or notifications getting in the way! Here’s how using paper helps me stay organized with my blog and job.
Use a Paper Planner
I’ve tried using calendar apps, but they are just too risky. Typing something isn’t as effective as writing it down for me – and it’s a lot harder to see the “big picture” when looking at a screen of tiny boxes. I’m the type of person who loves being “ahead” on her plans, so it really throws me off when something comes up at work (like a late group interview) that I didn’t “see” on my calendar beforehand. That’s why I am a huge fan of paper planners – and the Panda Paper Planner has quickly become my ride or day. It’s super flexible because you can fill in the dates as you go. I also love that it’s small and compact – it’s not a massive brick that hurts my shoulder when carrying it in my purse.
I find it super helpful to see all of my due-dates, events, and projects spread out in my planner (and color-coded, depending on if it’s work-related or blog-related.) I’m never caught off-guard with late night interviews and I can easily plan my one-on-one mentoring sessions around my work schedule.
Write your To-Do Lists down.
So as it turns out, experts say that writing things down is the best way to help you remember things. I 100% agree with the experts on this – especially when it comes down to to-do lists. I don’t know about you, but there is nothing quite as satisfying as physically crossing a task off your to-do list. Plus, I absolutely HATE it when my to-do list app deletes my list (this has happened a number of times and it is one of the most frustrating things in the world.) So, using a physical paper to-do lists, like the Knock Knock Goals Notepad helps keep your to-do lists safe from deletion. Plus, by having my to-do list on paper, I am forced to put down my phone and stay away from Instagram – which is the king of productivity killers.
Unplug and Read
Okay, I know this sounds like a weird way to stay organized, but hear me out. It’s been proven that those who read and write regularly have a markedly slower decline in memory and that reading on paper can help you stay more focused. Since I am juggling SO many jobs and tasks and regular “life stuff” I need all the help I can get when it comes to remembering things and staying focused on the task at hand. That’s why I’m joining Paper & Packaging How Life Unfolds®
#15PagesADay campaign and committing to reading 15 pages a day!
I’m constantly trying to improve my productivity strategies, so I’m currently reading Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, which offers valuable insights for any kind of professional on how to maximize your time and increase productivity. Um yes, sign me up for ALL the productivity tips, please. I’ve been reading 15-20 pages every day right when I come home from work and it’s been the perfect way to take a break between jobs while still learning and growing. Plus, it helps my brain reset and switch gears between jobs and it’s really allowed me to be more focused and productive when sitting down to work on HTC!
Keep Things Filed
I have a LOT of loose papers to keep track of at both my corporate job and for my blog. At my corporate job, I have to keep resumes, receipts, and survey answers printed out and organized. When I first started working here, I didn’t have any kind of file system in place, so resumes would get lost or end up in strange places (like next to the fax machine or in the break room.) I’ve found that having physical file folders, like these cute Carson Dellosa ones, helps all my paperwork straight. I’m able to hand off a folder directly to my manager and can easily find it on his desk when he forgets to bring it back because of the bright colors.
I also use file folders to keep all my blog contracts, sponsored post derivatives, and PR information organized so that I can easily access it and refer to it. It’s really hard to work on a sponsored project when I have to pull up the information on the same computer screen I’m trying to type my post on, so printing it out and having a hard paper copy (and being able to cross things off as I go) keeps me way more organized.
Write Thank you Notes
At the end of the day, working at my job and working my blog is all about the connections and relationships I make. I’ve found that one of the biggest ways I can grow in both my career and my blog is by expressing my gratitude. And while it’s easier to send an email, nothing says thanks than by taking the time to hand-write a thank you card. When I got my promotion at work, the first thing I did was sit down and write a thank you note! I wanted my managers to know how grateful I was for the opportunity to grow in my career and to prove myself in this new capacity.
The same goes for my blog. Any time I have the chance to express my gratitude to a company or reader for supporting me and Hey There, Chelsie, I send a thank you note! I love these bright ones from Erin Condren, because they just scream JOY and that’s what I want to share when I send a thank-you card. I’ve learned that by taking some time out of my busy day to express my gratitude to those who have helped me get to where I am is the best way to be productive. It allows me to reflect on what I’ve done and it gives me the motivation to work hard to make those people proud of me!
Even though things are so busy for me right now, I don’t regret going back to the workforce one bit. Having a full-time job has allowed me to grown in ways I never knew I needed to and it’s allowed me to become more confident and independent. It’s also relieved the pressure that blogging full-time was putting on me and it’s given me the most important thing back – JOY! I no longer stress out about blogging – it’s back to being fun! So please remember – there is NO shame in working a job and running a blog – you are still successful even if you aren’t blogging full-time!
And even though it’s crazy town balancing both of my jobs, I’m glad that I finally have figured out how to keep everything organized between the two. I’d love to know what strategies you use to keep your life organized and for staying on task in the comments below.