Blogging can be addictive. The rush from when you get your first comment, the excitement when you post something that pulls in a lot of traffic, connecting with new friends online, and the thrill of a whole new world of possibilities. When you start blogging, it may unleash something in you where you want to blog day and night, where you want to do it all, at least that's what happened to me. Blogging was so exciting, I would literally wake up in the morning and start my day, and continue throughout the day until I fell asleep. At first it was a passion, then it became a duty, then I was starting to burn out. It became apparent that I had no sense of work/blog/life balance.
Having good work/blog/life balance is vital if you're planning to be in it for the long haul. Being as most successful bloggers are in it for the long haul, figuring out how to succeed and not burn out will certainly require a bit of a balancing act. So how do you do it? Believe you me, it didn't come easy, and it's a never-ending process of keeping in touch with how things are going. Is my husband upset that I'm tweeting on our evening walk? Was my boss upset that I missed a deadline? Was I upset because I haven't had a weekend for months? These are all questions to ask yourself when evaluating if you're on the road to burnout.
I remember when I decided it was time to make a change. Planning the IFB Conference by myself for the fourth season, and being awake at 4am to start answering emails and writing posts crying at the computer, my husband woke up and shut the computer. “No more, you have to get help.”
From there, I got help, a few people to assist with the conference. Then I started taking days off. Now, I make a plan to take weekends off and close my computer after 8pm. Life started to change. I wasn't get as much done, but all the important stuff still got done. I started feeling better, more refreshed, and more focused when I was working and generally, I was happier. Still life throws a curve-ball every now and then, and we all have to deal with them. But there are a few tips and tricks to getting priorities straight and getting balanced.
- Establish a routine- This is the biggest challenge especially since the web is on 24/7. Some easy things to do is set a time when you post, and establish windows for Tweeting, Facebooking or whatever you use for your social media. Say if you post at noon, but you can't tweet during the day, schedule tweets for the day, and spend an hour dedicated to your social media channels in the evening.
- Designate times offline- Pick a day of the week where you are offline. Whether it be a Sunday or if you decide you don't spend time online in the evenings, draw that line and stick too it. Don't worry, everyone will be there when you get back!
- Delegate, team up… you don't have to do it alone– Your blog might be taking over your life, maybe team up with a buddy who wants to blog as well, and tag-team? Brit & Whit, Bag Snob and Kingdom of Style are all examples of bloggers who partnered up to divvy up the responsibilities.
- Just say “No.” Nancy Reagan had it right… you don't have to say “yes” because its offered to you. Whether it's crack cocaine or a seemingly interesting blog opportunity, it's ok to hang back and say no if you're overwhelmed. You'll do a service to your readers if you stay focused on creating content that makes them come back, not every opportunity will bring you an opportunity to create better content. So be smart about what you say yes to.
- You don't have to get it all done– The world will be there in the morning. You don't have to do everything today. Become a master of priorities, and if it doesn't get done today, no sweat, tomorrow is a brand new day!
- Enjoy what you're doing- If you're not enjoying what you're doing, everything takes so much more energy. If you're not enjoying blogging, your readers will know. So stop take a breath and evaluate what brings you joy and focus on that. It may not be the most intuitive, but it certainly does work! You want to have fun with blogging, and if you're going to grow it shouldn't be a chore, because then you'll just have a full-grown-chore, and who wants that?
- Evaluate your time management– Just because you're busy working all the time doesn't mean you're getting a lot of work done. Be honest with yourself? Is spending five hours on Twitter yielding you results? If spending one hour on Twitter yields you the same results, then it's time to think about cutting out those extra four hours and using them to get some much needed “you time”.
- Organize your editorial calendars- Create editorial calendars and stick to them. This will help you stay on track and cut down your time figuring out what to post for the day. Editorial calendars aren't just for your blog, you can use the same principles or Twitter, Facebook and hey, even your Pinterest. Just outline what you are going to post on each platform while you're creating your editorial calendar. It'll help you stay focused and narrow down the time you spend figuring out what to do.
- Exercise- There are studies about how exercise increases endorphins and helps you focus. This is pretty much my experience when blogging. When I'm exercising, things are a bit easier, I'm a bit chipper, more focused and better rested. This all helps in bringing life balance together.
Most all, ask yourself, “Am I happy?” Finding balance is all about your happiness, what works for someone else may not be your vision of happiness, maybe you need the challenge. Maybe you're energetic. But most of all, if you're happy you've probably found what's working for you, so take it easy, and don't stress over finding the right amount of balance.
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