October 29, 2016
How to find balance between a Ph.D, blogging and life.
The past couple of weeks have been the busiest of my entire life! I’ve been in and out of airplanes (four in a week, in case you have been wondering), that I should probably have camped in one of them (KLM preferably). The sound of incoming emails didn’t seem to stop pinging for a month now and my inbox is about to explode. I also have three BIG collaborations running, which require at least four hours of my attention per day, but blog aside, I also have a real work…
Whistl blogging and travelling keep most of my evenings and weekends busy, I also have a Ph.D to complete, which to me is my biggest priority regardless what goes on in my personal day to day life or blogging business. As we speak, I have a mini experiment set up in the lab, I am getting ready for next week’s meetings with my supervisors and I am hoping to complete writing up a chapter by Monday night. Too ambitious? Maybe, but at least I’ll sleep at nights knowing I did my best.
Part of the reason I am so busy, it’s because I like what I do! There is no point to complain about how much work I have to do, if I keep signing contracts and get more and more blog collaborations, while I hold a 9-5 (or even more) day job. Being passionate about both my work and the blog, I cannot quit either of them, however I follow a few tricks that I thought it would be fun to share with you today hoping to answer the second most frequent question I am being asked recently….
…how do you balance travelling, keeping up with a busy blog, an active lifestyle and that Ph.D thing?
Well here it goes nothing!
01. Most of the posts you read here, on Natbee’s are written days before the actual day that they are published, and mainly during the weekends. I tend to schedule all my blog work every Sunday night and also schedule my tweets. So when you read a random tweet about an archived post, chances are, I am most likely working in a lab and Twittimer is doing the job for me!
Fun story:: One of my colleagues once found me working in the lab and said “hold on a second, I just read a tweet of yours- do you tweet while being in the lab working?” As soon as I explained him the concept of Twittimer his eyes light!
02. My day job is my priority, it has always been and will always be! And for me these kind of deadlines, meetings, experiment planning and studying means more than anything else. Of course juggling between a demanding Ph.D and a blog, isn’t the easiest thing on the world. But wherever there is passion, there is time and will! When there is lab work, blog posting gets slightly lesser. That being said, I’d rather post less and focus on quality, than post every night ‘filling’ meaningless posts.
03. Time management is the key! I don’t overthink about stuff, I just make things happen. Yes washing beakers is boring, but I don’t think about it, I just walk in the lab, wear my gloves and get down to work. If I am to make excuses not work, then I’d be sitting on my desk all day long, checking on other people’s lives on Instagram, pretending that I am “working”. Sooner or later though I’d get caught, and let’s be honest it’s better working towards on improving your life (and living it to the fullest) than looking at others.
04. I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to say this but if I am not interested in a collaboration, chances are I might not even respond to the email. And the reason behind it is because one email will bring another and fire up a conversation about something I’ve made up my mind at first place. Through the years of experience I have learned to let things go and not really care about missing out. And frankly, every single time I follow this rule, a fantastic opportunity lands in my inbox next!
05. Choose the brands you want to work with carefully and honour your collaborations. There’s loads of money on the blogsphere, and the more you work with people the more people get to know you and bring you even more suggestions. Since I have a day job though and a life to live, I keep a minimum of three collaborations and two restaurant reviews per month. Natbee’s has started as a personal, lifestyle blog and people have loved it through the years for this exact reason. I don’t want to overfill my blog with sponsored content, because then Natbee’s will not be my blog anymore! Having only five sponsored posts per months allows me to post as much as I want in between about my life, Cruz and travels, and these are the most interesting posts and the posts that mean to me the most.
06. Life goes by fast, so turn your laptop off and watch this movie, go on a walk with your dog, cook with your partner. If you choose your life to be filled with work then it will be. But I’d rather look back in life and think, oh I did this and this rather than I got paid that much for this project and that much for this collaboration. Money means nothing if you don’t have time to spend it and enjoy things.
And since that’s the most important message I want to leave you with tonight, I shall post this, close my laptop and eat the delicious pasta (it smells soooo good!) that Steven has just cooked for us.
Are you a student and a blogger, or a (working mum) and a blogger? I’d love to hear your tips on how to manage everything!
Happy Saturday, Anastasia x
P.S: Under no circumstances do I claim that keeping too many things under your belt, doesn’t lead you to a state of chaos. But I’ve learnt that chaos is good, it can teach you valuable life lessons and so I have accepted it. As I have accepted Cruz waking us up at 05.30 am every morning needing to get out….