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A day in the life of a ProBlogger

This has always been one of the most popular posts on ProBlogger so today I thought I’d update it with some new things that I do on an ‘average day’ as a ProBlogger (originally written November 2004 which will explain the old comments).

A number of people have asked me recently what a typical day of blogging looks like for me – I thought I’d share the basics. Of course what an actual day looks like differs from day to day depending on other commitments (I have other interests/work outside of blogging), the day of the week (weekends I try to get a life) and my mood (I’m an impulsive type).

7.00am – My wife’s (‘V’) alarm goes off. I attempt to ignore it. She hits ‘snooze’.

7.15am – The alarm goes off again – I shove V out of the bed in the direction of the shower and promptly fall back asleep.

7.45am – V returns to the bedroom and the hair dryer starts – sleep becomes impossible – and so my day begins.

8.30am – Having showered, eaten and seen V off to work I sit down at my powerbook with a fresh cup of coffee and begin my morning blogging routine (note that despite public perception to the contrary – this ProBlogger is usually fully dressed (not in pyjamas or boxer shorts) by the time most people are hitting their normal place of work (9am). Of course there are exceptions to every rule).

8.35am - Check blog stats – I use Safari (and sometimes Firefox) as a browser – both enable me to simultaneously open up the statistics page of each one of my blogs in tabbed windows. I run a free SiteMeter stat counter on each of my pages and find the information it gives sufficient for a quick check of overall visitor levels – hot pages and referrals. It take a few minutes on each blog to look for any spikes in traffic and to work out where traffic is or isn’t coming from.

8.50am – Check income streams – I then log into my Adsense and Affiliate reports to see what earnings over night were like.

9.00am – Check RSS feeds – I use Bloglines to track 350 or so blogs and and search feeds on particular keywords. Most mornings I will log on and find that there are anything from 400 to 2000 results since I last checked that I need to wade through. This usually takes at least two or three hours to do because as I check them I enter relevant posts into my blogs using Ecto.

Ecto is a simple blogging tool that lets you post to your blog/s without actually logging into the back end of your blog. It allows the posting of pictures and has a wonderful feature that allows you to highlight text on a webpage and import it into a draft entry on your blog. As most of my blogs are ‘news hubs’ and generally are quotes from and links to other sources with a few of my own comments this features is very useful. I can post something to my blog within minutes.

10.00am – check and respond to emails. I get ALOT of emails. Every comment left on my blogs ends up in my inbox where I monitor their appropriateness. At least a few get deleted every morning due to them being spam comments or using foul language (I try to keep things ‘family friendly’ as I get a lot of kids through my blogs doing project research). I also get a lot of requests for links, advice etc and attempt to respond to as many as possible.

10.30am – Check Google News subscriptions. I subscribe to a number of news services such as Google News. Every morning between around 8.30am and 10am emails start arriving in my inbox with the results of these searches. As I sort through them I upload any relevant links directly onto my blogs. Update: I’m using Google News less and less and relying more and more upon RSS feeds from sites like Topix these days.

11.00am – Coffee time. Most mornings at this point I take a walk up to my local Cafe for a coffee (or three). I generally take either a business book (often on Marketing, Branding, Small Business), a magazine (on gadgets, the internet etc) or a newspaper with me. I always have a notebook handy because this is the time of day I often get my best ideas.

I intentionally clear this space for myself each day as ‘dreaming’ time because it is very easy just to get caught up in the micro level of updating a blog/s and not spend any time looking at the bigger picture. I use this time to set goals, plan new projects, think about ways of improving what i do. If I’m really busy (or really inspired) I’ll take my laptop down to the cafe with me to write or wade through the emails that are piling up but I try to keep this time each day as non online time – partly for my own sanity but partly because it gives me a bit of perspective.

12.00pm – Connect with other bloggers/forums. I chat regularly to a small number of other bloggers who have similar interests and projects. Most days I would touch base with them to bounce ideas around, support one another, work on common projects and catch up on what they are doing. Similarly I participate in a number of forums including Site Point, WebMasterWorld and Digital Point. I find these interactions very helpful and have learnt so much from others doing similar things with their blogs and websites.

12.30pm – Lunch – usually eaten whilst checking stats again. I find its really helpful to keep your finger on the pulse of your blogs by regularly checking your stats. This way you are ready to make changes if you notice sudden changes in visiter levels.

1.00pm – Most afternoons the pattern generally repeats itself somewhat with me heading back to my News Aggregator and checking for relevant articles/posts to update to my blogs. I aim to post at least 25 posts per day – weekends tend to be a little less than the target but week days its usually not a problem and I’ve been known to do up to 70 in a day if there is lots of news about on the topics I’m writing on.

3.00pm – Siesta. I like to take a nap in the afternoons if I can afford the time. Largely because I stay up late working (see below). This is getting to be rarer and rarer however as life gets busier and busier.

4.00pm – it is about this time that my RSS feed really comes alive. I’m based in Australia so I’m not sure what is going on in the world at this time but there is usually a spike in traffic levels and when lots of stories appear on other blogs and via RSS. I work hard at this time of day updating my blogs and in quiet patches coming up with original content (like this very post).

6.00pm – frantically race around the house cleaning up and making it appear that I’ve done some housework before V gets home.

6.15pm – check Adsense figures. This is the time of day that Adsense closes its books on an old day and releases channels figures for the previous day. Its a good time to do a little reviewing of the trends of the past week and see where traffic and income is coming from. Which blogs are performing – which are not? Where do I need to focus my attention in the next few days? What is hot and should I ride the wave of?

6.30pm – V arrives home form work – I welcome her at the door and catch up on the day that she had – tell her about mine – reveal the grand total of earnings for the day. This is usually followed by dinner/TV/friends/being a good husband.

8.00pm – Depending what we have on (we go out a bit in the evenings) I might grab the powerbook (wireless) and sit in the lounge room to do a little more updating from the RSS feed while we watch TV. I tend to use the evenings to review the day’s postings. I go through each entry for the day and ask the question – ‘who could I let know about this post?’ I’ll email other bloggers that I know would be interested in the things I’ve written (I also do this during the day as I think of it) and submit a few of my better posts to some of the bigger blogs and websites out there that I have relationships with in the hope that they might link up and send a deluge of traffic my way. I also use the evenings to think about Search Engine Optimization – often in the heat of the moment during the day time I don’t give as much attention to this as I should and the time in the evenings is a good time to reformat posts so as to get better ranked on Google.

10pm – V is generally off to bed by now and so the evenings see me continuing to post a few stories as they come in. I also chat in the evenings to a few of my colleagues who are in different time zones – again its about building networks, sharing ideas and resources.

12.00am – 1.00am – After one last skim through the relevant stats and RSS feed for any urgent stories that are breaking I hit the sack and promptly fall asleep after a long day of blogging only to be awoken at 7am with that dreaded alarm.

Once again I’ll stress that each day is very different from that proceeding and following it – this seems a lot more organised than it is in practice but it gives you an idea of what I do most days. I do have another job 16 hours a week (a research position) and volunteer for a number of organisations which also factor into the mix.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Will says:

    So your wife supports you as you lounge around all day and blog? Get a life, man.

  2. Darren says:

    Thanks for the comment Will – although I do have a different perspective on that. We each contribute to our households in different ways – V chooses to do so by going to an outside place of work whilst I choose to do so in my home. I have an office where I work and whilst I do take breaks for food, sleep, relaxation I tend to work at least an 8 hour day most days (plus I work 16 hours a week on another non web related project and volunteer my time to a number of other organisations each week).

    I wish I had a bit more lounging around time Will – thanks for stopping by.

  3. jim says:

    Seriously man, get a real job, this whole Internet craze is going to die down anyway. You’re on a sinking ship.

    hahahahaha :)

  4. Darren says:

    if you say so jim….

    weird thing is that whilst my wonderful wife was once giving me grief for blogging too much – now if i told her I was giving it up she’d probably kill me. Its amazing what those monthly Google checks do for someone’s attitude towards blogging! :-)

  5. Duncan says:

    A long day, but I’d like to sleep in to past 7 as well, or in my case even past 6 would be nice, wait to you have kids…..

  6. tom says:

    i can’t tell if the first comment on this thread is serious or humorous.

  7. Migs says:

    Do I see a reality show coming…

  8. Darren says:

    Wow what a great idea Migs:

    Coming soon – ProBlogger – Darren Rowse takes 20 newbie bloggers under his wing and sets them challenges each week to test their blogging abilities. At the end of every episode one is fired until we find the ‘ultimate ProBlogger’.

    Interesing

  9. Darren says:

    I couldn’t either Tom – I took it as serious though at first.

  10. jim says:

    Just don’t take that second comment seriously. :)

  11. jim says:

    Errrr… third comment. :)

  12. Jpatrickm says:

    I hope these posts about ‘lounging’ around without a life are just humorous jabs. I’ve been following your blog for a few weeks now and I find it a great resource. I’ve been on both sides of the ‘get a life’ equation, as VP of a tech firm and as the work from home freelancer. I’m a relative new arrival to the blog scene and only run a couple blogs but I love it. I think people who try to define blogging in the context of their own life aren’t really giving it a fair shake. Maybe they are just bitter at their own miserable office jobs. I guess it depends on how people define being successful and earning their way in this world. I prefer to think one has to be happy, and success is defined by loving what you do, whether it’s photography, painting, sitting in an 20-story corporate cell, or blogging. As the old wagon-train saying goes, choose your rut wisely, you’re going to be in it for the next 20 miles. Thanks for the glimpse into your routine Darren. ;)

  13. Nicole Simon says:

    Instead of ‘you are fired’ it then would be ‘off to the sandbox with you!”? ;)

  14. Jarkko says:

    Howcome this reality stuff always relies on dropping someone out? Darren, you should take those bloggers under your wing and race to see who makes it first to 1000 USD per month. Done 1000? Well, it’s “off you go” for you mate and the rest of you 19, keep on blogging there is no quitting here.

  15. Bruce Allen says:

    Darren, I have to say, I envy your lifestyle and I aspire to do something similar. You’re a great role model and the glimpse into your daily routine is helpful and an eyeopener.

  16. WR says:

    Sounds really anti-social and boring, to me. No offence or “flaming” intended… but I prefer the hustle and bustle of the corporate world.

  17. Darren says:

    Ho offence taken WR – I guess its a matter of each person working out what suits their personality type and life goals.

    I like the fact that I have a job that pays me very well, that is flexible enough for me to work anything from 0-15 hours days, that I can do while travelling the world on holidays and that I have complete control over.

    Having said that some people couldn’t handle it because it is a job where you don’t have a lot of face to face time with other people which would drive them crazy and they need other things from their work which I totally understand.

  18. Hey Darren
    Like the post.
    But I don’t get it – how do you survive financially? You surely don’t make that much from running AdSense ads on your site? Or do you…?

    Hmmm – wonder if my wife would let me give up the commuting life?

  19. Carla Jolley says:

    Sounds a lot like my day although I only run one blog and a spreadsheets site. Love the reality show idea though! Jarkko definitely put the best twist on it though. Now…to find a network to support it….

  20. jesse says:

    interesting. Sounds kind of fun…and tiring.

    How on earth do you follow 350 blogs? I probably couldn’t name 100 blogs

  21. Wendy says:

    Kind of sounds like my day, except since I have kids at home I work around their schedule:
    5AM-7AM wake, read feeds, blog
    7AM-8AM kidlets
    8:15AM-10:30AM – deal with dd, clean house, catch up on emails
    11-2:15 intense focussed work; articles, blogs, emails, SEO tweaks
    2:30-4PM – rugrats again; stay OFF computer if possible to give them full attention
    4PM-8PM-husband, kids, dinner, life
    8PM-11PM-work

    so I guess I can do around 8-10 hours a day; I do the About thing, stuff for other online pub’s, and have my own set of blogs.

  22. Swade says:

    Hmmmmm,

    In light of earning revelations over the last few months, I could imagine you having a slight chuckle over comments no. 18:

    “Hey Darren
    Like the post.
    But I don’t get it – how do you survive financially? You surely don’t make that much from running AdSense ads on your site? Or do you…?”

  23. Darren Rowse says:

    hehe – true :-)

  24. syahid says:

    i wish i had a day like you! great job and a supportive wife! you are quite a stat-junkie aren’t you? :D

  25. Pamela says:

    Darrell,
    Thanks so much for the insight into your day. I happen to be one of those home business wannabee’s that do alot of research and then do nothing. I think this blog will change that. I love blogging.

    I love what you do and staying home still being able to bring income in sounds like heaven. Thanks for sharing I look forward to soaking up all the knowledge and acting on it right away. I am quite sure that V loves you being content with doing what you love.

    Thanks again,
    Pamela

  26. blogmunch says:

    Hi Darren,

    I am not doing full time blogging (still have a 9-5 job). May I know schedule like when you are not a full time blogger? Do you still keep track of so many feeds?

    Thanks.

  27. Good article Darren.

    I have one blog focused on gaming, but it makes no money to speak of. I am a stay-at-home dad with an 18 month old son. My wife is supportive of blogging, but I just can’t seem to get my head around how exactly to make money. I know I’m not stupid, but I’m not “getting it”.

    Do you have any suggestions for effective “blogging for dummies” type sources of information that can give me some real-world workable “system” or gameplan?

    I’m frustrated.

    THANKS!