Is Time Off a Part of Your Blogging Plan?

take a vacation

OMG you guys. I am writing this post while sitting on a beige oversized chair, listening to Little Dragon, having just come into my friend's lake house studio from floating in yup, a glorious, gorgeous lake, for about an hour. I'm pretty stressed out about it.

In fact, I should be stressed right now. My site has been down since Saturday (apparently requiring excessive resources of my hosting company, none of which seemed to merit a “heads up” email), I have loads of client work on the table, a digital course to develop, design and promote, an inbox that will not quit, and much etcetera.

But I'm actually feeling okay about it – things will work out, and I am doing some of the most important work I will do all year. I'm taking some time off.

I am doing some of the most important work I will do all year. I'm taking some time off.

Running our own blogs as de-facto businesses (or even just an after-work hobby), requires an intense amount of energy, forethought and foresight. It is way too easy to wake-up to the laptop, instead of with a cup of nectarine white tea. I've learned to not only look at time-off as a fun and delicious way to enjoy my life more, but an integral part of running a successful business. Without fail, I get hit with a major inspiration sandwich each time I board the plane for home.

In fact, letting our minds off the hook, to wander, to experience, is actual a key ingredient of the creative process. If you are waiting for the next “a-ha” moment, whether it's a new article idea, blog tagline or potential partner, your best bet is to chill for a bit. Research supports this, suggesting that “sudden insights…are the culmination of an intense and complex series of brain states that require more neural resources than methodical reasoning,” and highly successful bloggers do this all the time as a strategy to combat burnout. In Forbes, Psychologist Deborah Mulhern suggested that “not taking time off can make it harder for our minds and bodies to relax now – and from now on. She went on to say that, “the neural connections that produce feelings of calm and peacefulness become weaker, making it actually more difficult to shift into less-stressed modes.” If that isn't motivation (and justification) to take a vacation, I'm not sure what is.

If you've backed yourself into a posting schedule that doesn't fit your summer plans, or are furiously trying to force out a new big idea, take it from me, and take a break. The world won't end, your readers won't abandon you (they might even respect you more for it), and you just might find that embracing a little downtime is exactly when you need to get back on your blogging game.

Do you enforce a vacation policy for yourself? Tell me about it – and follow more of my Seattle adventures on Instagram.


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15 Responses

  1. Christine & Jenna

    We’re both going on vacation, separately, which was planned prior to even starting our blog! But, we aren’t stressing about it. We are just going to schedule a couple of posts while we’re gone and actually utilize our trip for blog ideas! I think it’s important though to have a balance, like, while instagramming stuff on your trip that’s fashion related is great, you have to remember you are on VACATION and should make it about that first.

    Jenna & Christine

  2. Antionette Blake

    I won’t be able to take a summer vacay this year, but I give myself Sunday’s off from blogging – unfortunately housework fills the void!

  3. Barbara

    I actually take between 2 weeks to a month off blogging at the end of the year which coincides with when my office goes on break for the year so it is usually perfect. The excerpt from Deborah Mulhern hit me hard though because I think I am actually there. I go on leave from work for a week or 2 and end up filling it with other types of work and then I resume and get back to regular work.
    Everyone around me tells me to relax sometimes and get off the internet but I just can’t seem to, even when I convince myself I will. Now I definitely have to make it a priority as my health and even my creativity will suffer for it if I am not careful.

    Lagos, Nigeria

  4. Cindy

    I took a mini vacation last week but tried my best to post about it while I was on vacation. Towards the end of the week I took a few days off since I was exhausted from the flight and non-stop moving about during the week. I normally don’t post on weekends I find that traffic to my site on those days is so slow it’s almost a waste of a post. Should I be posting on weekends? Also my site is relatively new, I don’t plan on taking many more weekdays off, but if I do would it hurt the site?

    • Barbara

      it really wouldn’t hurt to take a well deserved break as long as you let your readers know well in advance. I totally agree about weekends being a waste for new posts but sometimes I publish new ones all the same as shockingly I get my best traffic on weekends most times – when I am not sharing and interacting and the rest.
      I would say go with what works for you. Monitor your traffic, find out who your readers are and what brings them to your site day after day and the rest will be easy.

  5. CynthiaCM

    Scheduled posts! Even if I’m taking a break, I’ll try to post two on my site a week. This just means that I’ll be working extra hard the weeks leading up to vacation. And yes, there’ll be tweeting and Instagraming while away!

  6. My Pollyanna

    Great post. I also think it is about managing your time properly through the day/week/month so that when you do have a break, you can relax – without guilt. Too often, I will start getting unproductive at a number of things then try and sit down but all I do is think about what I haven’t done and what I have to do. When I break my day into productive slots it means that when I do take a break, my mind is free. Just a thought….

  7. Yna

    Considering I’m on a three month vacation from school and started my blog in the middle of it, I’m definitely gonna have to work out some sort of balance between blogging, school, and taking breaks once I’m back on campus. Blogging is not so much a job but more of a time-consuming hobby for me, so the lines between taking time off and blogging and work are definitely blurred for me.

    This Is Yna

  8. Ching

    When I quit my day job to make bags, it was so exciting that yes, I did forget how to take a break. When you’re starting out especially on your own, you end up doing everything from the design to the writing to the photography to the marketing… The work seems never ending. But I realized that by compromising rest, I compromised my creativity as well. So now I make it a point to stop work during dinner time and just give myself some breathing space to chill out, watch some tv, and paint my nails. And I do feel more focused the next time I get back to making bags. Which reminds me, I should paint my nails again soon– thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  9. Miss Daja

    Going through this now. Thank you for confirmation. At times I feel a little guilty for just leaving my audience hanging but I did take a peaceful break and I know that when I come back in the Fall, I will be refreshed and ready to work!

  10. Katie

    I went on vacation in February and I’m going again in November. And, I’m moving next month.
    I’m an avid blogger. I try for daily, but I tend to go more for 5 days a week with content, at least 3 with original content.

    But, when I’m taking a break or a hiatus from my blog, I tend to schedule posts to fill the void. I work hard on my days off for filler content when those come up.