The Book Blogging Balancing Act: Part 1

As most of you know, I’ve started a new job recently (after not really working for a while which meant I had TONS of time for reading and blogging) and have had a horrible time trying to balance reading, my blog and well….real life. It really has brought me in a little bit of a blogging funk as I’ve mentioned but I’m a tough cookie and I’ve been trying to adapt and find ways to make it work for me.

I decided to enlist some help from my blogging friends and bloggers who I respect to give me their tips for balancing blogging. This series will cover a variety of topics within blogging with tricks that I’ve picked up as well as some advice from other bloggers! I figure, I can’t be the only one who is struggling with balancing it all!

This week we’ll start off with — finding time to read! I figured this would be the best place to start since reading is required for any successful book blog. Being a blogger is hard enough but, as book bloggers, in order to blog we must also find time to read so we have something to blog about. I’ve found my reading time slashed in half and it competes with Twitter, blogging, spending time with the boyfriend and watching tv…because now that I work..I’m dog tired and all I want to do is plop myself in front of the tv.

A few tricks I’ve picked up:

- Just DO it. Thanks for the slogan, Nike. Sometimes I find myself coming home and wanting to do absolutely nothing that requires brain power. But I’ve found if I just put the book in my hands and open it up…I’ll be fine and my brain will turn on. Making the choice to read is always going to mean choosing not to do something else. You have to be ok with that. If you don’t want to, do something else and read when you feel like it. I mean, also, reading is important to me so I make it a priority.

- I bring a book everywhere I go…even in my house. I read while sitting in traffic (but put that book away when you start driving :P), while I’m waiting in lines, if I’m on hold with my banks, while I eat breakfast and whenever else I might find a few minutes to sneak in a page or two.

- If you have a signifcant other who loves sports as much as my boyfriend does..SPORTS ARE YOUR FRIENDS! It’s a win win really. I read while he watches bball games, football games etc. I can look up from my book when I care about the game but mostly I sit there and it feels like we are spending quality time together..and really he’s happy because I’m not talking through the whole game. The caveat…he will NOT let me read when we go to sporting events. lol It’s ok, I like sports too.

- Lunch: At my new job I get an hour for lunch. While I’d really like to not have an hour for lunch so I can get home early..I have to take it so I might as well use it. I’ve chosen to be anti-social during lunch and use that time to read (or sometimes blog).

- I’ve been trying to get into audiobooks to listen to on my way home or while I’m cleaning or working out. I like multi-tasking and it makes some of these undesirable activities a wee bit better!

Here’s what some bloggers had to say about the blogging balancing act and finding time to read:

I read everywhere I can. I leave twenty minutes earlier than needed to pick my daughter up from school and I sit in my car to read. I put the kids to bed and I read some more. Every since the arrival of mini-doom I have less time for my personal reading and I am lucky enough to have an awesome husband who will let me skip off into a bath for an hour at random times during the day. One thing I have learned is if you let go of television completely that frees up so much time for reading” — Pam from Bookalicious


I guess I approach this in a different way – I choose books I really want to read and then it makes it easier to find the time to read them. I do accept review copies but I don’t let them take over what I want to read – if I am forcing myself to read a book, it is not fair to the book or to myself, so I make sure I am really in the mood for whatever I am starting next.
 

If I’ve already got that really great book that I’m reading and I’m looking for extra time to read, I:

*Get up a little earlier in the morning – After I’ve slept all night I am not likely to be drowsy, so this is a great time to read. I know this isn’t going to be popular with many people, but honestly – try it once or twice. You may end up really liking it!
*Tell myself I will read for 30 minutes before starting dinner/chores when I am home from work
*Make sure I have a big block of time on the weekend where I can read
*DVR my shows at night to save for the weekends and use that time to read

I also will reward myself with reading time – if I get all of the laundry done, I reward myself with reading time, etc. Basically, if I have a book I really want to read, my brain helps me find time.”   Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit




“My purse is my current book’s home. I bring it with me everywhere.  You never know when you’ll come across a few extra minutes to read.  Fortunately, I have a job that involves a lot of down time during the day, so I am able to read then.  I know that’s not the same for a lot of people, though.  I have noticed that my tv watching time at night has been cut down A LOT.  There’s only a few shows I make a point to watch & all of them are set to record on my DVR.  I’d rather read a few chapters, then watch random tv these days.” — Ginger from GReads!


“It’s kind of crazy where I’ve found ways to sneak reading into my schedule. I’ll tuck my book into my purse and read it on the El to and from work. Though, that’s definitely made me miss my stop every now and then. I’ll read for 10 minutes in the morning while my hair is drying a bit before I blowdry it. And I’ll read for the 10 minutes I can stay conscious before bed. It’s not much, but if you sneak it in here and there, it’ll go a long way.”  — Anna from Anna Reads


“I luck out in that I take public transportation to and from work everyday. That’s a built-in 90 minutes of reading time every day, plus if I read on my lunch breaks and before I go to bed. I don’t leave the house without a book, so if I’m waiting in line for something or at the doctor’s office, I just whip out my current read! And you will always find me with a book and my couch on the weekends!” — Tara from Fiction Folio


“I spend about 30 minutes to 60 minutes a day reading and maybe more if it’s the weekend.  I ask my students to read 20-30 minutes a day, so I should be able to, right? ;)   I try to read when I come home from work or before I go to sleep.  It definitely calms me down a bit.  Sometimes if I am doing a light workout at the gym, I’ll bring my book with me and end up working out extra, because I’d sucked into a good book. That’s definitely a win-win situation!” — Christina from Confessions from a Book Addict


“Once I started working a full-time job, my reading definitely fell to the wayside a bit. However, as my schedule changed, I realized I just needed to make adjustments to my reading. Want to know my secret? Read at the gym…I know, I know. It sounds harder than it actually is. I do a ton of reading on the elliptical. A great workout and a way to catch up on my pages!”   Jess from Cover to Cover




What about you? Where do you sneak reading in? Do you find it hard to find time to read, blog and have a real life? Any tricks you want to share?


Next week, I’ll have another group of bloggers talking about finding time to actually create consistent and real content—because we all know how much time it takes to write reviews, brainstorm ideas for features, write up interviews, etc. Future topics will be about not letting social media take over your life and finding time to read other blogs and comment.

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 28 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating gelato, listening to music with oversized headphones and teaching her niece how to be as awesome as she is.

Comments

  1. Ginger @ GReads! says:

    I was wondering what you were going to do with those questions :P It's funny because since I said that mentioned above about reading & not watching tv as often, I have canceled my cable. And guess what? I don't miss it at all!

  2. Midnyte Reader says:

    Excellent post and subject. You have a great point that for a book blog, we also have to find time to read so it's more challenging. I read everywhere I can. I also don't usually go out to lunch so I can read. And the audio books are great…1/2 hour to work & a 1/2 hour home is really nice to listen to books.

  3. Haha, what you said about the sports thing is so true!! I do the same thing with my hubby and it totally feels like we're spending quality time. But sometimes I do get caught up in the game too LOL

  4. Michelle (my books. my life.) says:

    I do most of my reading on the weekends but I am trying to make myself sit down for at least 30 minutes each day with my book. Sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening, sometimes on the treadmill. Like Shanyn said, some books force me to find time. But when they don't, I try my best.

    I wish I could use my lunch break to read. I am forced to be social. I also miss public transportation but listen to audiobooks when I am driving.

  5. Jen (Makeshift Bookmark) says:

    Awww, I'm such a punk. I totally forgot to respond to your email about this! I'm gonna do it for the next topic! See, real life gets in the way of proper brain function, too :(

    I usually read when I get home from work, if I don't have a school related function the following day. My husband goes to bed fairly early, so when I get home, I either read in bed or stay out on the couch and read till I fall asleep. Last night it was 1:45am. Graveminder is really good.

    Honestly, I used to be super anal about posting ALL THE TIME. That quickly faded, because it's just not possible for me. Like I said on Twitter the other night, you don't have to be sorry when blogging comes second or friggin sixteenth. That's OKAY! We still love you <3

  6. Meredith says:

    I try to read every day if I can – I think of it as something that's just part of my regular routine, like brushing my teeth. I also keep an open Google Doc for my blog and I carry around a notebook so I can jot down ideas for blog posts. That way, when I do finally sit down to write, I'm not exactly starting from nothing.

  7. I love this quote: "Basically, if I have a book I really want to read, my brain helps me find time." That's perfect. I also have quit watching as much TV. I didn't make this decision consciously, but it has happened. I think I just want to read so badly, that I've culled down my list of "essential" TV shows. — So, my brain has found time! I also read while cooking — there's lots of time when you are just stirring, or waiting for that pot to boil when you can read a few pages….Great post!

  8. alexristea says:

    The easiest way for me was to read before I went to bed, every night when I didn't get home too late and too tired.

    However, like it's been mentioned, I more have trouble holding myself back from reading. I read books that I really like, and the extent to which some of these captivate me is ridiculous.

    It's gotten a lot easier with my e-reader, because now I can read during my meals, or even while I'm walking between my classes.

    Reading in the morning is also great, like Shanyn said! The house is quiet, just make yourself some nice tea and start the day off right.

    Having something on the cloud (google docs, evernote) to store your ideas is great. Whenever I think of something I want to put in my review, I just stick it there, whether I'm at home on my computer or on the go on my phone.

  9. I do read less now that I am blogging– but I don't worry about it. I don't worry about blogging. Blogging is for fun– it is silly to stress over a hobby.

    At the beginning, blogging overwhelmed me– I have two blogs and I felt an obligation to entertain readers by posting as often as possible– but it was all self-imposed drama. Readers and bloggy friends don't disappear if I post once a week or miss a week or two. They all have lives outside of blogging too.

    So really, just enjoy– don't stress. Blogging is small potatoes in the scheme of things.

    :o)

  10. Jennifer O. says:

    GREAT Post. I was thinking about posting something like this today, but you saved me the trouble.

    I don't work outside the home, but it's tough cleaning up after 5 other people, cooking for them, making sure everyone does their homework, and still finding time to read and write. Twitter has also begun to swallow up some of my time and I'm left wondering how so many of you manage to be so prolific.

    One of my best times to read is in the evenings. 7 o clock rolls around, I put some bubbles in a tub and everyone knows not to bother me or to dare knock on the door. That's momma's time. :)

  11. I try to squeeze in reading time whenever I can. I'm a little nervous because I'm starting a new internship Monday and will probably be a lot busier then. Like Annette said: read while you're stirring :) And with an ereader I can read while I'm eating. I also pretty much stopped watching TV, and it frees up loads of time I spent watching shows I didn't even really like anyway.

  12. Megan Swicegood says:

    This post totally hit home with me because I've been really struggling with blogging/reading and work/life balance lately. I was in a major reading funk until this week.

    Reading in little bits helps me big time. Reading a page or two at breakfast, during lunch, in line, on the bus, on breaks – waiting for my husband to get his shoes on. I also just make reading part of my bedtime ritual – sometimes that backfires because the book is so good I end up cutting into my sleep – but mostly it helps me unwind and relax and guarantees I have an hour of reading everyday.

    Audiobooks have also become my friend. I listen to them on my iPod when I do chores or walk to work. It's tough though – because sometimes you get a bad reader and that's frustrating. But just like paper books – sometimes you have to try a few before you find the right one.

    Best of luck finding that balance. It's a daily struggle but if you make it a priority you can do it. There are 24 usable hours in each and every day after all.

  13. Rebecca Rasmussen says:

    Oh lordie — I need to figure out a balance still. Thank you for the great suggestions!

  14. Loved hearing all the answers.

    This a.m., I forced my way into a corner on the El so I could stand and read at the same time. It was a balancing act. Injuries almost happened.

    And I just ran away during lunch to read for 20 minutes in a Panera. Some lady said, "Wow, that must be a good book!" Hahaha. Gotta do what you gotta do.

  15. I love all these answers. I try and sneak reading in during lunch , right when I get home around 4 or 5 in the afternoon, and after dinner. I don't read quite as much as I'd like, but I'm working on it.

  16. Amy @ www.bookgoonie.com says:

    I read everywhere. I always have a book…sitting in the pick up line and at stop lights while driving. Kind of scary. My problem is the blogging. Sometimes it is hard for me to stop reading and get on the computer.

  17. Jasmine (The Reading Housewives) says:

    I recently started doing this thing with my favorite TV shows…I'll start the show and then once a commercial comes on I pause it and read a chapter. That way I feel like I'm getting both things accomplished at once even though it takes me longer to watch the show. So far it's working out quite well!

  18. I carry a book with me everywhere I go, too – even at home. I've always been like this with books I really love, but now it's even worse! I have to make an effort to put the book down and socialise, oh dear, hehe.

  19. I feel like I'm in the boat with you on this one (sounds fun right?). I was underemployed for the latter half of 2010 and so while still busy, I had much more time to put towards reading and blogging. I'm now overemployed (oops) and finding time to be really tight. I try to read first thing in the morning and right before I go to bed – I don't always manage to do both, but if I intend to do both, I'm likely to make time at one of those two points. And I always have a book with me, just in case I can squeeze some quality reading time in. Another great way to get myself to read is to get away from my computer! I get sucked into checking work email too easily if my computer is nearby. Bad habit. Very bad habit.

  20. A Backwards Story says:

    This is such a great feature! I especially loved the comment about reading while your BF watches sports. :) Great scenario!

    This is why I love e-readers and e-reading apps for your phone. Read anywhere, any time!

    Can't wait to see this again next week!

  21. BookQuoter says:

    MY kindle is my emergency book/s. It is always in my purse. I read anytime I am waiting anywhere. It is also the best one to read while you are eating!

  22. I read a little every day. When I was a child, I was not allowed to go to bed until I watched Jeopardy with my grandmother and then read aloud to her at least half an hour, and we could never stop mid-chapter. I think that carried over into adulthood.

    I usually have a book with me wherever I am, including different rooms of the house. I have bouts of insomnia, and recently had a lot of dr appointments so I got tons of reading done. Sometimes I'm very spoiled and my boyfriend reads aloud to me before we go to sleep. It's like an audio book but better.

  23. Right after college I was unemployed for awhile too. I read a lot, but looking back now, I wish I had read even more because now that I'm working full-time, I miss that free time.

    After I get home from work and eat dinner, I'm so tired! In the evenings, if I watch even one TV show, I feel like afterward it's practically time for bed already. I'm trying to limit the TV I watch so I have more time for reading.

    I had to giggle and nod when I read that you choose to be anti-social during your hour lunch breaks, because I do the same thing! I read a book during lunch or listen to an audio book. Maybe I look a little weird sneaking out to my car instead of joining others in the lunch room, but at least I'm catching up on my reading! :)

  24. Great post. I love this series of your so much. I'm trying to come up with a reading and posting schedule, so I find your tips really useful. Thanks! :)

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