Does blogging affect work?
Last year, when I started blogging, I didn’t know the answer, or at least, I didn’t want to find out.
I got caught up in the intricate world of blogging, to an extent I was never fascinated with anything else. Not even my day job. The reality was, there were no blog income, where as the salary was more than satisfactory.
First week of February was a wake up call for me. The appraisals for 2011 came in. It was a rude shock to me
How blogging affected my work
For past two years I was assessed as “Exceeding the expectation”, or rated 1. This year I was assessed as “Meeting the expectation”, or rated 2. My manager saw my performance degrading compared to last two years.
On a later one-on-one with my manager (a director), I was pointed to my behavioral changes.
1. My work hours got reduced by an average 1:30 hours a day, it is a right observation, instead of spending 11+ hours, I was spending only 10 or even less. This might sound ridiculous to you but, I am fine with that number of hours. I feel hard work is necessary to grow in career or else you just end up being average.
2. I was not proactive in accepting new challenges. I never asked for more work, which is exactly what an average achiever does, I didn’t exceed his expectation.
3. I wasn’t around when others needed help. During week-end project installations I rarely joined the bridge calls. A few releases failed, although they were not my releases (none of my releases failed in 2011, they never fail) still, I wasn’t there for helping others out when they needed. I only helped on-request, I was not proactive.
4. I didn’t take part in team building events much. This is also a right observation. Instead of mingling with peers and their subordinates, I got busy in my work and my blog. At work my mind always shifted it’s focus to OCAAT.
You may feel these expectations unnecessary and unrealistic. But, when the competition is between high performing people in a high performing team, such things do matter. Irrespective of a team structure, these qualities are expected from an extraordinary achiever anyway.
One of the lessons my dad taught me is “To achieve great success, I need to be the best in my profession”. he was not that successful himself, but he wanted us (I have a brother) to succeed and fulfill his dreams.
So far in my life, I have met every academic and professional challenges. It’s difficult for me to accept and continue with the fact that I am not the best among 15 employees my manager has or 120 employees our VP organization has. There are two other above me on my team (my director’s organization) and more than 5 in our department (VP organization). After being at the top for two years in a row, I suddenly found myself at 6th in just one year.
But, when I see the reasons, I seem to figure the root-cause out. I actually wanted to be the best at work and at blog, together at the same time.
How ridiculous was this aspiration? Its impossible by sheer fact that time is limited and I have only one brain!
The monetary gain/loss
This conflict of interest eventually costed me 2% less increment (I got 3% and the top performing due got 5% each) and $15,000 less yearly bonus payment.
This 2% can cost me more than a million dollar over the next 30 years in reduced salary. And, the $15,000 less bonus means, I have to shell out almost $25,000 dollar more for my 15 years mortgage including additional interest charges.
On the other hand, through this blog I can manage to offset the year-end bonus. Perhaps I can also manage to make-up for that 2% salary if the income streams continues.
But, what about my career aspiration?
Money is not the only thing for us. I look for power and prestige in addition to money. I know I can find happiness from my surrounding. I can stay with family and friends and live a very good social life. I shall be happy. But, that can only satisfy my emotional part of the soul.
The other part of me which wants to see me becoming a successful leader, a change agent and holding a reputable position in corporate ladder, would be unsatisfied. I don’t want to see my current peers boss me around in a few years, which would be a reality if I continue to just meet the targets rather than exceeding the targets.
Probably you see people around you at your work who are too much career focused like myself. And, you hate them, right? They happen to be one of the reasons you want to get off the day job and exit the rat race. No, I don’t find anything wrong with your thinking that way. We should listen to our hearts and do accordingly what it says.
If it wants you to quit, quit. A lot of my fellow bloggers have quit and are quitting. They are doing just fine off the day job.
I am not quitting, right now my heart is urging me to take up the challenge to be an extraordinary achiever in 2012.
Then, what about this blog?
Time Allocation, Blog vs. Work
As of now I still love blogging and continue to write, even more than last year. A good comment on blog still gives me more satisfaction than a good feedback at work.
My plan is to reduce the non satisfactory but essential blog work by outsourcing them. I may hire exceptional staff writers who can also share their lives with you in addition to talking about a few tips here and there.
Sadly I didn’t meet a single staff writer who really share their personal life in their posts written for blogs they staff write on, they do it only on their own blogs. I am waiting for such writers.
I may outsource even more blog work sooner, once the income stabilize. I am also planning to set fixed time for each blogging activity. For example
- 30 mins a day for commenting and replying to comments.
- 1 hours for reading blog posts.
- 1.30 hours in writing/proof reading my own posts. I take more than 2 hours for each posts. I write, erase and re-write my posts. Thoughts occur to me in my mother tongue and then they get translated to English. It takes time and I need to improve that.
- 10 mins in replying to mails and tweets, I can even do it on breaks during work through my iPhone.
- 20 mins in Blog related research including SEO and other ideas.
I think allocating specific time for each activity would allow me to be more efficient while letting me concentrate at work and possibly reallocating the time save to work.
I will also change a few of my behaviors at work.
- Increased hours spent, which I spoke about already.
- I will not open stats page and continue refreshing every hour.
- I will only check mails and Tweets when I am in a boring-and-nothing-to-do meetings or while on coffee/tea breaks.
- I will go out of my seat more often and mingle with my peers and subordinates more. Asking if they need help.
Basically I will go back to the state I once was. will give my best shot this year to do better at work and at blog.
Other ways your blog can affect your work
I haven’t so far talked about other affects your blog may have on your work. Because I haven’t faced them yet, and this article is about the problems I am facing, not what problems you could face in addition to these.
But for this article to live up to the title, let me list the things that can go against you when your employer finds out your blogging ventures.
1. Do not reveal company secrets. Your blog consists of public contents. You should not talk about or reveal your company secrets on your blog. If you do, you can face termination.
2. You are not the representative. You should not pretend to be a spokesman for your employer. You can’t protest a bad publicity for your employer through your blog. There are spokes persons for this task, if required, its their duty to make public statements.
3. Do not advertise employer products. You can’t advertise products and services for your employer on your blog unless you have a special arrangement with your marketing department. Still you have to disclose your affiliation. be default you are not authorized to advertise for your company.
4. Do not criticize your employer. You can’t publicly do that if you want to keep the job.
Violation of any of these rules can lead to your employment termination. Next time your employer asks you to certify policy guidelines (or whatever name they have for it), be careful to read thoroughly. Your blog may be violating a clause or two there.
Fellow bloggers, what at-work challenges you are facing due to increased focus on your blog?
Are you excelling at both or doing average job on both? Many of us are satisfied with an average performance and few aspire for more. Where you are?
Sunil Deepak says
Such painful dilemmas and high stakes in the career versus blogging wrestling championships! Never realized that by wasting our time in blogging we can lose so much. Thanks for opening my eyes 🙂
Sunil thanks for your input. I sincerely don’t think I am wasting time blogging. Your hobby should not be a time waste. If we can balance hobby with work we should be just fine.
Jai Catalano says
Well I don’t have this problem because I self employed. I do most of my writing around my work… If it gets too busy then I will have to make adjustments.
Self employment helps to a great extent. I hope you’ll do just fine with blog and work as both you can do at your own pace.
The Financial Blogger says
I never had this problem so far. In order to be both productive at work and with my online business, I follow a strict schedule. I have time for personal emails, time for writing… and time for work. When I work, I don’t look at my blogs and when I blog, I don’t look at my emails. If you keep jumping from one to another, you don’t get much done ;-).
My problem was I never really tried to balance work and blogging. I went with my passion. Its not too late for catching that. Thanks for your comment!
It is very interesting to actually see figures and monetary sums added to the costs of blogging that we do not normally think about.
Ultimately, in many cases, its the money which determine priorities. I think if I sell this blog in a few years I can offset the reduced income and bonuses. But the loss in momentum in my career would cost me much more in long-term.
There is a certain mystic discordance to this post that I just cannot put my finger on, SB. Happy that you have been taking a closer look at how you are allocating your attention.
I love readers who disagree. That helps me seeing the other side of it. Please think it through and write it.
I try to never, ever reveal where I work on my blog, which is easy since I’m sort of anonymous. I try to separate blog and work, but sometimes they blend – sometimes, my conversations at work are what spark great posts! I also can’t fathom how people can keep their personal lives out of writing, even staff writing. Maybe I’m just too personal of a writer.
I think we need to be personal on our blog. Otherwise its not blogging but, news reporting. people read blogs because of its personal touch. We like to learn from other’s experiences. You are doing just fine.
Marissa @ Thirtys Six Months says
I have the same issue. I try so hard not have my personal life be part of what I write but it ends up being out there.
Its actually a good thing. When readers know who you are, then only they can trust your opinion. Your friends and family listen to you right? That is because they know you.
Money Infant says
It is too bad you got to #6 in your department, but it sounds as if it served as a wake up call for you and led you to determine what is most important in your life.
I am still within top 5%, but I am no longer a front runner for next promotion. There are five others ahead of me. This thought is killing me most
Oh it definitely affects you! What I try to do is not let it consume me! A side hustle, is just that. Shouldn’t affect my primary job.
And thats where my pain point is. I took up blogging as if its a bread winner for me. But at the same time perhaps I got more satisfaction from this blog
SB I agree with your statement “we need to be personal on our blog. Otherwise it’s not blogging …” Some bloggers get away from that, I believe people read our blogs for the personal touch and actual numbers we deal with, keep up the good work
Thanks PFM, that was a good catch. At least I read blogs for personal touch. Else CNN or WSJ provide far better coverage than any blogger does.
Julie @ Freedom 48 says
The time commitment AND the mental commitment are a killer. I find myself literally daydreaming while I’m at my job… thinking of points to make in a blog entry I’m pondering.
I feel the same way. Once I over heard some guys talking about splitting cost of something. They were talking a few cubicles away from me and I started pondering about a next post with the lessons of cost sharing among friends or roommates.
Those are good points in the “other ways your blog can affect your work” section. And wow, you get an awesome bonus if you got $15,000 less in bonuses due to not being rated as exceeding.
Is your job all about being “visible” so that they know you’re spending a ton of time on it? I ask because your boss observed that you were working 1.5 hours less a day, and that’s kind of an odd thing to bring up IMO instead of the quality of work you are doing.
My performance at work has improved over the past few years, as has my blogging. I don’t believe in working long hours for the sake of working long hours though. My supervisors know that they can count on me, but I’m not going to hang around just for appearance’s sake. I try to work smart, although I struggle with that more when it comes to blogging than at my job.
I am in a team which handles mission critical and tight-on-schedule projects. Our team is indisputably the best team in the 50,000 employee strong company. The leader (my director) and all 15 of us, his direct reports, who in turn manages almost 20 resources each makes up the team of size 300. We were chosen to work in this team because we are best fit.
We constantly win all excellence awards and our achievements are measured even by top executives. Naturally we have high rewards. We have high and almighty targets to achieve and each of us are almost maniacal to our work (except me perhaps) number of hours doesn’t matter much in this team.
In order to be within allowable limit and not breaking company policies, I can only tell you that the projects we undertake often decides our overall business performance. The work is that straight to the bottom line of my employer.
I joined this team knowingly. I can’t complain now. I can’t quit either, that’s not in me. guess what has to be sacrificed?
I have definitely ran into the problem of trying to manage my time to be efficient. I even found that I sometimes wouldn’t be as proactive at work because I would rather researcdh SEO or read other personal finance blogs rather than volunteer to take on a new project.
You make some very good points!
Yeah all along, since started with blog, I had faced the same problem. Now that I set fixed time, still I find it hard to stay focused at work and not think about blog
I have been wondering the same thing and in a future post am asking if I should clock my hours, much like I do with clients. THis way, I can have an index of how much income blogging is generating (or isn’t, as right now its simply for fun).
Good one, love to read that post.
Edward Antrobus says
This really isn’t an issue for me. I do still take on all the extra shifts and work I can get, and I have volunteered to come in on days I’m not scheduled. Also, aside from a rant about driving in a construction zone, my job and my blog really don’t have any overlap.
Interesting to know. How did your last few appraisals go? Are you excelling at both? More aspiration = more stress
Edward Antrobus says
We don’t get formal appraisals. But my boss makes it readily known how much she likes my work.
I agree with your post. I feel that my work has gone down slightly, but that could also be because of my busy schedule.
A lot of factors affect your work actually.For some its their blog, for others its their family life or even health. if we identify the issue and try to rectify, that would be great
John | Married (with Debt) says
My day job affords me a lot of downtime at work because I can finish a day’s worth of work in a few hours. But I know how you feel when outside stuff like the blog creep into your workday – one feels a bit guilty.
I think you are doing the right thing by refocusing your efforts where the money is, while still maintaining a solid plan for blog success.
Actually not money alone, my heart is also with the job. I like what I do. Its great that you have that kind of work which can be finished earlier. believe me Iw as also able to finish off my work. But its a demanding team that I am in. Work just never ends here.
Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer says
Blogging has given me skills and knowledge that are helpful at work; I’m the resident social media expert.
Having said that, I agree with The Financial Blogger that balance is important. Remember the day job pays the bills.
That’s great, your blog and your job are aligned to an extent. A software development and a personal finance writing do not go hand in hand.
There are things like, improved written communication, understanding different viewpoints etc are the positives I take from this blog.
Dr Dean says
It is a constant battle in life to juggle your various responsibilities. In my case, I have to focus on my patients during the day.
Blogging does help avoid burnout as I am doing something completely different than my day job.
Sounds like you’ve made your decision to focus where you think it’s most important. We all could improve our efficiency and productivity, at work and at our blogging.
And I agree, looking at stats is addictive, but of no value except to monitor the big picture, but it’s hard not to keep doing it.
I need to go look at my stats again, so bye for now!
In your profession is there a manager subordinate relationship? aren’t you almost on your own?
My stats for today is excellent, just checked 🙂
Dr Dean says
I am my own boss. But in the service industry your clients or in my case my patients are truly my boss. They quickly can tell if you are not “all there” and paying them due attention. I am blessed that I can focus that way, though it drives my wife crazy when I’m reading or working and don’t hear a thing she says…
if my female readers allow some guy talk here…every married man has to face this. 🙂 But, Dean you don’t have to face this stiff peer competition in your profession, right? You do face it very much but not to an extent we face in corporate jobs where every one is trying to surpass each other.
Not saying my job is stressful, but the nature of our jobs are different.
20's Finances says
My productivity at work has been slacking as well. I guess that’s what you get when you are addicted to blogging… but I work in a slow-paced work environment and my mediocre productivity has yet to raise any eyebrows. If you want to start outsourcing your carnivals to me, feel free to let me know. No pressure – just giving you an option to increase efficiency.
Corey your productivity slowing down and you are planning on take more work? Even my carnival work! Ok joking apart, what I am really looking at now is someone to proof read my posts. Carnival submission, on a Friday evening takes only 5 mins for submitting to 10 carnivals.
But, I’ll keep you in mind.
Andrea @SoOverDebt says
Before I made the jump to self-employment, I noticed differences in my work habits. As a therapist, I couldn’t exactly deal with blog stuff during sessions with clients, but it was the times in between that I noticed. For instance, if a client canceled an appointment, normally I would have used that time to catch up on paperwork. Once I started blogging, I would use a canceled appointment as time to answer emails, respond to comments, etc. At the end of the day, I would get stressed out by all the paperwork I had left over – paperwork that could have been done throughout the workday instead of at the end.
I don’t think the differences were noticeable to anyone but me, simply because the nature of my work was more private. But over time I believe it would have been more and more difficult to balance the two, so I sympathize with your situation.
And here, I was a stupid one to think only I can see my degradation. I underestimated my boss forgot that he;s a boss after all.
I should disagree to all above comments which suggested that commenters managing great balanced life. I argue that either they don’t aspire much or they don’t have any challenges.
For me I just can’t manage the both world with equal intensity, one has to give in.
Wow…this is a great post and something I’m struggling with right now.
I’m only in the beginning stages of growing my blog (started in late November 2011) and I recently joined the Yakezie Challenge!
I, like you, am not afraid to put in the hours at work or on my blog. However, I wonder if you can do both exceptionally well.
I’ve found that I get more excited about growing my blog than I do with working my day-job…maybe that’s says more about my day job than anything else?
I will say that I’m learning to balance both and strive in both areas. My job allows me to work from home and opens the possibility to grow a blog in my “down time.” However, I always have to remind myself not to forget what pays the bills and what doesn’t. 🙂
That’s a great advantage you have. I am not allowed to work from home. And its not you hate your job. this is how human psychology works. We want to get instant fruit of our labor. on blog you get immediate feedback on your good work.
At work, you need to wait to get recognized for your good work, sometime up to a year.
That makes the big difference and we think our day job is not satisfying. The management gurus may need to think now about ways to motivate people at work.
Brent Pittman says
I’ve been self-employed from several income streams for several months trying to get my blog going and wondering how I’ll keep up the pace, once I start back at a traditional job (hopefully not for too long). Great perspective.
Thanks Brent. I think if you make a time table, even a mental one, that can help you.
Invest It Wisely says
Good thoughts, SB. Welcome to the Yakezie!
I liked this tip: “I will not open stats page and continue refreshing every hour.” I have been too guilty of that, myself. 😉
You know what even after taking resolution I still check my stats, not hourly any more, but definitely once every couple of hours. Damn it!
Dannielle B says
Blogging has overtaken everything in my life. It can be time consuming especially when I have to read up on stuff to make sure that I understand what I’m doing. This week I’m on a new time schedule and I’m praying that it works. I’m dedicating one hour per night to blogging and two hours to my MBA studies. I don’t ever bring home work from my job or stay late, because I don’t get paid overtime and bonuses have nothing to do with your performance. I would admit that blogging has inspired me to look at becoming self-employed, but I’m still a long way from that.
Where is your heart at the moment? At your MBA or work or blog?
Dannielle B says
My heart is really with the MBA and blogging. But, I need my job to pay bills. That’s the only satisfaction that I get from it… Sad to say.
After the MBA the job you’ll get may not be to your liking again. Try to find out the real reason behind this. It may happen that you go after instant fame and recognition, which a blog can give you but a job can’t.
Sustainable PF says
Great post SB. When I briefly looked @ trying to be a blogger ad rep I noticed my work quality declining so I quickly stopped participating in that type of work / revenue generation.
Crystal had to quit and soon Justin will too I guess 😉 As wisemen said, time is the most valuable and scarce resource.
After College Money says
Heh, I wish blogging did not affect my work, but I tend to agree with you. It does. I constantly strive to balance my work and blogging and I hope not to burn out.
If you want to be best at both you will have problem. If your job doesn’t require you to be much aspiring then you may not face the stress. Problem comes when conflicting interest come in to play.
Elizabeth @ Broke Professionals says
Yeah, been there, done that! My first year of blogging, I got a similar review. Of course, that year also coincided with the first of my first child, so I chalked most of it up to being a new mom… but I knew differently, and I suspect my manager did also. I ended up developing a “no blogging at work” rule, which was nearly impossible to uphold, since my old job had so much down time. Thanks for sharing this with all of us; it’s hard sometimes to remember there is a monetary value for our distraction.
Thanks for sharing your story with us. Yeah the day job is one that pay the bill and fill up the retirement coffer. Even a huge successful bloggers don’t earn that much every month. Except you do some side blogging hustle like Crystal does.
Financial Samurai says
SB, I agree with your perspective 100%, which is why I wrote a post on FS called, “The Upside Of Being Average.” It kinda suck at first to be told you are average after your review, however, once you change your mindset, it becomes quite satisfying!
Yeah perhaps I have to do that eventually if my love for the blog grows. Root of all problem is aspiration.
Robert @ The College Investor says
SB, I agree with you 100% as well – especially when you say a good comment is better than good feedback at work. That is how I feel!
Instant gratification is more satisfying, life has become faster we want instant fruit for our labor.
Thomas G says
Thank you for this post (and everything else you share with us). Love your blog! Please, write some more!
Thanks for reading and the comment Thomas! I shall write a lot more.
Hack @ Smart Money Hacks says
I hope you’re able to find the balance in your work/hobby dilemma. I’m sure you will make the right decisions.
I hope so. Decisions can go bad or good. Situation improved in last few weeks.
Poor Student says
I know that there have been times where I should have been studying but instead I was reading the Yakezie forums or other blogs to leave comments or writing columns for my own. I am getting better at the balancing act but still have some improving to do.
All the best!
Wealth Artisan says
It’s definitely frustrating when you’re sitting at your desk at work, thinking of all the things you could be getting done if you were a full-time blogger. I look forward to the day I only have to manage Wealth Artisan and don’t have to worry about performance reviews! Great article and good luck with everything!
Thanks Tim! Hope the day come sooner for you.
Mayor of Humbleville says
I think that once you’re determined to start and manage a blog, the other parts of your life will always be affected one way or another. Thanks for the read!
Very well said! The time has to come out of other quota.
Newlyweds on a Budget says
Blogging does take up a lot of time and I can see why your work would suffer. I do as much as my job requires and I always make an effort to be proactive and search out training opportunities and such. I think it’s about finding a balance. If anything has to go, the blog is usually the first thing that goes when I’m stretched out…although house cleaning is on that list too
Thats what it is, the gist of the matter is you got to sacrifice some time to allocate time for blogging.
Big money post, Thanks for the thoughtful and honest look at your thoughts and experiences.
Thanks for reading Bax!
Paul @ The Frugal Toad says
Blogging does not effect my work, at least not directly. Blogging does however effect how I allocate my personal time and I have found myself blogging instead of pulling the weeds! I’ll get over it though….;)
Honestly Paul, if someone says blogging doesn’t affect their life and they don’t have to cut down time on other activities, they are not speaking the truth or they haven’t tried to find out the truth. Blogging should take time out from your life.
Drew @ Epicfinances.com says
It’s sad to hear that you think blogging really is causing these negatives effects.
You just need to assess if the consequences are worth it — if they are not, then you need to stop blogging.
This is an interesting question of life balance — but be careful not to back into results, meaning maybe your performance is actually lower for other reasons (bored of job, lack of sleep, etc.) .
Drew, believe me I checked everything out before drawing my conclusion. This is normal when your hobby becomes passion. It starts to take up your main profession. I don’t know about you but a lot of us are tuned to listen to heart rather than brain.
I still enjoy blogging and I love my job. When I think too much I find my heart tilted towards the blog lately. I am trying to change that, just that! Not willing to stop blogging and not at all interested to quit.
Very interesting thoughts on the problems that bloggers can face when working at the same time. I hadn’t really thought about this much, but have been lately thinking about the amount of time spent on this hobby. Your post has made me think for sure.
It got to be taking some time out from your usual ‘other’ things.
Yes, blogging affects my work for sure. I established a ritual to check my site and stats every morning, check my email box, twitter and so on. So it takes me about 30 minutes to start my actual work. And then during the day, I also check my stats, email, Twitter and respond. So overall I think I spend a lot of time on blogging during the day. I feel guilty and I need to limit it to my lunch time only and occasional break. Great post SB!
Aloysa thanks for acknowledging. I need to self manage much more to stop blogging or related activities during work hours.
Kraig @ Young, Cheap Living says
I’m doing an above average job at both right now, but it’s barely satisfactory to me. I aspire for high performance in everything I do, at least for the last few years I have. I’ve done well in my professional life since college. I got into blogging just as a side hobby but have become very passionate about it in the short 3 months I’ve been doing it. It hasn’t slowed me down to average at work, but I have noticed its effect on me. I’m thinking about my blog every day. I’m wanting to stay at home longer in the mornings to read, comment and network more instead of getting to work. I’m exhausted in the evenings after work and feel that it’s effecting the potential creativity I could be pouring into my blog. I think I could be doing better both at work at on my blog. That is the frustrating part for me. I think I have good balance, but where do I cut if I want to do well at both? I’m struggling with that. Or a better question yet, is it possible for me to do well at both?
If you do well on both, you need to be super man. And more likely that your family may suffer. For me, I stopped trying to be perfectionist at blog.
Your post made me grateful that I am self employed and blogging is actually part of generating my income. It was very eye opening, thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the acknowledgement Rejina. Happy to see your comment
Great post and something I can completely relate to (I am writing this comment while at work). I definitely need to be more disciplined, but the problem is that I enjoy blogging far more than the work I do.
I think to get really serious about your career in the corporate world you need to focus, which for me means selling my site. Otherwise my career will never really be my main priority.
Financial Samurai says
I like how you say you are looking for “power and prestige”! I’ve never heard anybody say this before in public, so it’s good to know. Just to let you know that it is overrated. I think I may have been your manager equivalent, and more money and recognition is fine, but that’s not something I cared about anymore the older I got.
Did the 2011 reviews just come in, or the 2012 reviews?
I think we do what’s rational. You like your blog more than your job, so time is spent accordingly. I began to tire from work after 13 years, and just focused on my site instead by negotiating an exit. It’s turned out fine.