Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
I will admit: Some days I am just burned out. I believe that the amount of words I churn out on a daily basis would mean that by the end of a productive week I could have written a novel — I am not even kidding. Why do I keep doing it? Because writing and having a writing career had always been a dream, and once I was able to take the step away from “traditional” employment and create my own job, I have never been happier. I have also never worked harder. I know that when I worked a 9-5 job there were days when I spent far too much time at the coffee pot and around the water cooler and my employers may not have gotten a full eight hours out of me. I’m sure that I am not the only one who can admit this, right?
Once I struck out on my own and created my own job, I knew that the time I spent in front of the computer, on the phone and at networking events had to be productive. I also know that up until a couple of years ago I did waste time. That didn’t mean I didn’t get my client work done, but it meant that I was in front of the computer — some days — until 9 pm after having started my day at around 7 am. What?! I was burning out and quick! Something had to give, and unfortunately something did — my health. Two years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I knew that if I wanted to remain happily self employed AND have my health, something had to change.
I tackled burnout from blogging and every task that goes along with it, turned my work schedule around and now get more done in fewer hours! Why? How? You may be asking. Here are some of the ways I did just that:
- Get out of your head and out of your niche! If you constantly blog about dogs, read a blog about cats. If you are always involved in the world of pets and pet blogging, pick up a piece of fiction. Grab a non fiction business book. Find inspiration outside of your area of expertise. This will allow you to clear your mind and expose you to new ideas.
- No! That has become my favorite word. “No, I can’t do that today, or tomorrow, or ever” whatever the case may be. No is a powerful word that not many of us use often enough. If you have a handle on your business and your business plan you can easily say no to those tasks or opportunities that don’t fit into your niche. If you have family members who don’t seem to understand that you ARE working when you’re home, tell them no. “No, I can’t babysit, or run your errands, or meet you for lunch every day.” Set boundaries.
- Email be gone! Email is insidious. It never stops and you have no control over it! Oh, wait. Yes, you do! Turn it off! Log out of your email so that you don’t see desk top notifications. Set aside times throughout the day when you will respond to your messages and stick with it. PS, Facebook is also a time sink, turn off your desktop notifications on there as well. Do you truly need to see what everyone has had for lunch? Probably not.
- Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful, or that my blog gets more comments or that I have more Facebook followers! There are enough to go around. Let go of competitive jealousy. Just because Susie is doing great doesn’t mean you’re not, right? You are unique and so is your blog. Embrace that, wish Susie well and concentrate on your niche.
- Does your laptop share space with your recliner in the living room? Do you wake up at night to the haunting glow of the computer screen? Do you need to shove your computer and paperwork to the side in order to feed your family at the dining room table? Nothing spells burnout more than never truly stepping away from your work. It is mentally draining to see a computer screen (or your Smartphone) at your bedside table with the light blinking away. In order to prevent burnout you need to take a true break from your blogging tasks. Is there a room in the house that you can commandeer? A space where you can designate as your office and upon which you can turn your back at night? If not, you might need to decide whether it makes sense to rent an office space or take up residence at the local coffee shop for your office hours. Remember, though if you hang out at a coffee shop, you’re taking up space so become a patron as well as a fixture.
- Talk to people who do not blog. Who do not even understand what you do and who have not even read any of your posts! What?! You are not your work! Just as your spouse likely doesn’t talk about every single aspect of his or her job and doesn’t only spend time with co-workers, you need to be with people who are so far removed from your chosen career path that it doesn’t appear that you’re even on the same planet. Believe me, it’s nice to be with people who do not want to talk social media comments, likes, blog comments or SEO.
- …That being said… Find someone who does understand what you do. Find a mentor. An accountability partner. Someone who understands your tears when you have written a fantabulous blog post and NOONE has come to read or comment on it!? Schedule a time during your week to bounce ideas off a fellow blogger, look for ways to collaborate. Form bond and a partnership with someone who understands that sometimes you simply cannot write another word. This person will inspire you and spur you to get back in front of that computer screen and continue on!
Burnout could strike when you think you’re just not meeting the goals you’ve set for yourself. If that’s the case, step back and see if perhaps the goals are too lofty or if they aren’t truly what you consider to be “success” any longer. Take a break. Count your blessings and remember why you became a blogger in the first place!
How do you beat blogger burnout?