A Day in the Life: How I Run My Blog

Have you ever wondered what a typical day is like in my life? Today’s the day you’ll find out! I get asked a lot how I manage to run this blog, stay active on all of my social media channels, freelance, consult for brands and small businesses, shoot and edit photos, and a lot more as a team of one. I’m not going to say that it’s easy at all… but I am a very process-oriented person, so there are some tools and systems in place that definitely help me to be more productive. And they just might help you, too! Today I wanted to walk you through what a typical day looks like for me as a blogger and give you a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes.

A Peek Behind the Scenes: How I Run My Blog

I want to stress that this is a ‘typical day,’ but that really doesn’t exist for what I do. Sometimes I spend the entire day shooting and editing photos, sometimes it’s just a lot of writing… each day is totally different! Here’s a rough overview of how I run my blog usually:

7:30 am

I usually try to wake up by 7:30 because I have found that I’m way more productive in the morning than later in the day. I’m not much of a breakfast-eater, so I make my coffee and do some chores around the house before digging into work (letting the dogs out, feeding them, putting away dishes, washing my face, etc).

8:15 – 10 am

I start my day by perusing my emails. I mark things as spam (I get a LOT of it), delete anything unnecessary, and look for anything urgent. If it’s urgent, I respond right away, otherwise I let it sit until later. I’m really strict about my inbox, so if anything doesn’t need my response, it gets archived immediately. Then anything I need to handle later stays marked as unread. I also use this time to check that my scheduled posts have gone live on social media and check the stats on those and my most recent blog traffic.

When it comes to emails, I still keep the Gmail tab open on my computer so I can monitor as things come in — especially if there’s anything time sensitive. For example, there are platforms that help to connect influencers with brands and they send out announcements when there are new opportunities. I try to submit concepts and information to those opportunities ASAP. Actually, more accurately, I forward it to my management team and they submit! I’ve worked with them for 4 or so years and it’s been SUCH a huge help. They take a lot off my plate by working with brand partners on behalf of me for things like contract negotiations, invoicing, and more.

After my initial email review, I start writing posts. Because I work on so many different things at once, I have assigned days to do different tasks. For examples, I usually don’t take meetings on Mondays because I like to use that entire day to write posts for the coming week. That means I literally try to get as many of the blog posts written or at least outlined in one day! If it’s a Wednesday, I usually have a lot of meetings lined up, so I can’t get as much writing done.

I also usually publish an Instagram post during this time. BTW, if you’re curious about how I manage and plan my Instagram feed, definitely check out my class all about Instagram and Pinterest for Small Business because I literally share it step-by-step!

10 – 12 pm

If I need to take photos, I usually shoot around this time because the light in our bungalow gets REALLY good. For flat lays, DIYs, and recipes, I shoot those on our dining room table. I feel ridiculous saying this, but the light in that room was a big reason why I bought this property. It’s just so good, even in the winter months. I also use this time to film anything for videos, too!

I try to group photoshoots as much as possible so that’s easier to edit. If the light is similar across different sets of images, I can copy and paste my settings in Lightroom and adjust from there to save time. Taking photos of our bedroom is the one exception to this rule. Because it has only one window that is south-facing, it is really dark. Perfect for sleeping, but not for photos! So if I shoot that space, I tend to take a LOT of photos so that I can use them for different posts in the future. And sometimes, if the light is different, I’ll photograph this space earlier in the day. The bedroom is the one wildcard when it comes to my photography workflow!

If you’d like to know more about my photography and styling process, sign up for my class about Developing Your Brand’s Aesthetic! In it, we cover everything you need to know to create stunning photos for your small business’s social media presence.

12 – 1 pm

Lunchtime! Sean works really close to home, so we have lunch together every day. Usually, he comes home and we heat up leftovers or make something quick and easy. If I need help taking photos that need me in them, we shoot those while Sean is home for lunch. Also, we take the dogs for a quick jaunt around the neighborhood… then it’s back to work!

1 – 2 pm

At this point in the day, I go back to my inbox and work on responding to all emails. I picked this time during the day because it’s before my afternoon crash of productivity and eloquence. I chose this time of day because it means I can get a response to people on the east coast before their close of business.

Afternoons are hard for me. I struggle to focus especially when it comes to writing. Because of this, I save easier tasks for this time of day.

2 – 3 pm

This is when I usually check in on social media again and respond to direct messages. I respond to EVERY single DM that I get, so I specifically set aside time for this because it’s important to me to truly connect with my followers on a one-on-one basis. I also use this time to respond to comments on my feed posts as needed and engage with other peoples’ content.

3 – 5 or 6 pm

Because I can’t really focus well on writing in the afternoons, I do other things. There’s always a ton of photos to edit, so it’s a great time for that! I import what I took in the morning, make my selections, and edit from there. I also edit my own videos and am self-taught. I still spend a lot of time figuring out how to achieve the look I want, but I’m getting better!

8 – 9 pm

This is a really bad habit, but I have to be totally transparent with you! I always take time off from working to make dinner, spend time with Sean, commune with my chickens… and probably a glass of wine. Usually in the evenings, I check in with social media and email, responding to anything else that has come in since I last checked. It’s just really important to me to stay on top of my DMs so that I don’t fall behind. Usually we’re just hanging out and watching tv, so it’s a good, chill time to check in and respond before we go to bed for the night. After that, I usually put down my phone and try not to check it until morning again.

My Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Workflow:

I wanted to also share how I break down my workflow on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis because that very much informs what I do and when I do it. I mention this a little bit, but I designate different days for different tasks. Here’s usually how that breaks down:

  • Monday — writing and planning blog content
  • Tuesday — finishing up posts from Monday, taking photos, and working on The Jojotastic School of Social Media (making sure everything is working correctly, updating the Facebook group, etc)
  • Wednesday — meetings and finishing up posts for the rest of the week
  • Thursday — write the weekly email newsletter (sign up here if you’re not getting it already!) and take more photos and video as needed
  • Friday — write a blog post for Monday and a LOT of admin tasks like reconciling my bookkeeping records, paying sub-contractors, etc and responding to any outstanding emails from the week

On Mondays, I also look at the coming week and plan what I want to do each day. This helps me stay on top of my sponsored content (my main income source) and everything else. I also look at the blog posts I’ve planned for the week to make sure they still feel right and timely. If something isn’t right, I un-schedule the post and write a new one because it’s important to me that my blog is a reflection of current events and what my amazing readers need and want.

Then, monthly I plan the next month’s posts. I literally have a Google calendar where I write in the title or working title for the blog post for each weekday. I have certain posts that are part of a series that recur on specific dates. For example, I share my Things of Note posts on the last Thursday of every month. When I look at my editorial calendar, I make sure that there is a good mix of content within each week. That means I don’t have 3 recipes back-to-back. Instead, I try to find a good balance between home decor, recipes, DIY, fashion, and anything lifestyle. This also helps me make sure I am not spamming you with sponsored content post after post after post. To me, it’s very important to share a cohesive, but curated mix of content!

When planning what I want to post, I use Asana to keep track of ideas that I want to write about. So I also make sure to set up time to brainstorm more ideas each month, too. Each category has a list and I keep track of ideas for individual posts with that. When I’m planning the next month’s batch of content, I refer to this. For example, if I need a decor idea for a post, I scroll through my lists and see what works. It’s such an awesome document for me to have! Then at the end of the year if I haven’t used an idea, it rolls over into the next year’s list of content ideas.

So that’s what a ‘typical’ day looks like for me when it comes to running my blog! Let me know if you have any questions or wonder how I do anything else that I share. I’d love to continue to be a resource to help you grow your own blog and business!

Photography by Meghan Klein, see more of this photoshoot here.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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