When I shared my 10 years of blogging celebration post last week, I got asked how I avoided burnout over all these years. And the truth is, I really have, all without taking any extended breaks, rebranding or changing topics. I’m very proud of that because I’ve seen many bloggers succumb to the blogging pressures over the years and either quit from burnout or take long breaks away to regroup. It happens, the pressures are many that is for sure. Blogging for income is not for the faint of heart. There is always something more to learn, to do, to hustle for. Literally you could spend 24 hours a day working on your blog and still not feel like you are any farther ahead. It’s hard y’all, especially now with so many blogs on the market vying for reader eyeballs. It’s made even harder with a whole new crop of bloggers making a living adding fear to the mix with posts like “top 10 pinning secrets you MUST know to get ahead” and “do these five things NOW before your blog tanks for good”. You know the ones I’m talking about. Then there are Facebook Live feeds, Periscopes and many a webinar that if you don’t watch right this minute they’ll be gone forever and you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. It’s brutal and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. Now listen I’m not dogging on those who are just trying to make a living, I get that, but for those of us that are constantly bombarded by the pressure, it can be very very hard to not get sucked in to the more and more mentality. Honestly at such a pace it would be very hard not to eventually burnout. Here are a few ways I’ve avoided it all these years.
Purpose and Priority:
I discovered during my first year of blogging that I could make an income writing about organizing, something I’m so very passionate about as you know. My youngest was a baby and I had recently been laid off from my job as a Payroll Administrator while I was pregnant with him. So my husband and I agreed that if I could make an income blogging I could stay home with my little guy, something I’d always dreamed of doing with my older two but couldn’t manage financially. So I was motivated and with a lot of perseverance I did it. For the past ten years I’ve been able to stay at home with my kiddos working from home, helping others and it has been such a blessing. I get teary just typing that, I’m so grateful for it.
Blog purpose = to make an income and to help others get “hooked” on organizing right along with me.
Priority = work from home making a part time income in order to stay at home with my kiddos
However, here’s where it gets tricky. The opportunities with blogging are so vast and fruitful that engaging in all these enticing things can easily become the priority rather than the means to facilitate the priority already in place. It’s a slippery slope especially when blogging can be so validating and rewarding leaving us wanting more and more. And let’s face it, parenting isn’t always quite as glamorous. Yet I kept my focus in tact all these years by essentially using my priority as a decision making barometer and that has made all the difference in avoiding the stress that leads to burnout.
So whether your priority is to create a business that both you and your husband can run or just make enough to cover your monthly grocery bill, to avoid burnout narrow in on what your purpose and priority is to help guide the decisions you make along the way.
Put Up Boundary Fences:
Knowing I only wanted to work part time, I implemented work hours right from the beginning. These boundaries really helped me separate my work and family. When you love what you do it can be so hard to close the door at the end of the day and walk away. There is always one more email to answer, one more opportunity to get excited about, one more webinar to watch, one more person to help. It never ends unless we are intentional about drawing that line that says enough. There will always be more that you can do or that someone will want from you, so you have to put boundaries in place to protect your priority. For me, right now, that means taking two days off a week where I don’t even open my computer and I don’t work evenings.
Another important boundary I put in place early was to keep my personal life separate from the blog. My blog is my work and I try not to mix the two. For instance, I have a separate personal Facebook page that I’m very careful who I invite as a friend. I also rarely cross post my work stuff on my personal page. My friends know what I do but they also know it’s not who I am. I am the Organizing Junkie online but to my friends and family I want to be known as a fun loving girl of God that just happens to blog. Does that make sense?
I’ve also not once in 10 years of blogging, shared a picture of my family or given their names. It hasn’t been easy and I’m pretty sure it has had a negative effect on my blog growth but it’s also been a key way to keep my two identities separate and private. It’s tough though because I do consider my readers to be friends too but it’s just a necessary way for me to simplify things and keep them more compartmentalized in the long run. How organized of me right? Ha! But at the end of my work day I can close my office door and transition to home life without work following me. I can choose not to check work emails or my work social media channels because my work and personal life online aren’t intertwined.
Step Off the Comparison Train:
Okay here’s a big one and quite honestly this has been the hardest one for me to learn. Experience has taught me that in order to keep your sanity about you, you really need to throw away the “keep up” mentality that comes when we compare ourselves to what everyone else is doing. If we are constantly trying to keep up, we can never be proud of where we are and what we have accomplished. The thing is don’t compared yourself to someone else who may have a different purpose and priority to you. You worry about yourself and don’t panic when others seem to be doing more and you feel like you might be getting left behind. Easier said than done I know! Take the advice of this young thing. So cute!
Listen everything comes at a cost. I would absolutely love to provide my readers with ebooks and workshops and online courses. There are some awesome bloggers doing just that. But when I evaluate what can be done within the boundaries I have set (see why that step is so important to do?), these things just don’t make the cut for me right now. Instead I focus on what I have been able to accomplish…I’ve written a book, I’ve written thousands of blog posts and helped a lot of people get organized all while being able to stay at home with my three kids. It truly is incredible and I’m extremely grateful. The thing to remember here is that we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes with these other bloggers we may be comparing ourselves to and what it is “costing” them to do all the things they are doing. There usually is a sacrifice somewhere.
I can only do what I can do in the time frame I have available and as a result this has meant that I have had to turn down many opportunities including things like sponsored trips and blog conferences. Would these things have helped grow my blog? Absolutely they would have and I could certainly be making more money than I am now. But that’s not my priority for this season of life and I need to keep that front and center in my mind at all times.
Remember to just go at your own pace within the boundaries you have set for yourself.
Something else that doesn’t work for me…stat checking. I would live in the pit of despair if I tied my worth to the stats I gather from my analytics especially when compared to how other bloggers stack up. I actually didn’t track stats at all for the first five years of my blogging experience and only do now, once a month, to provide to potential sponsors. Would stressing out over numbers change how I blog within the boundaries I have set? Nope, I would blog exactly the same whether I had a following of 100 or 10,000 a day.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of keeping up with others and all there is to do, sometimes it helps to just stop the noise for awhile.
Let Go of the Guilt:
Finally, having all these above steps in place has really allowed me to let go of any guilt I feel for being content right where I am. I have struck a beautiful balance for this time in my life. It doesn’t mean that this won’t change eventually especially with my kids getting older. Occasionally I do take some time to re-evaluate my priorities and what it means for the future of this blog. At some point I’m guessing I will run out of organizing things to talk about, although I honestly thought it would have happened a long time ago :)
I hope that by sharing my experience with you here, I might be able to help someone who is struggling with burnout from the demands and pressures of blogging or any other job really. Know your purpose and priorities for what you are doing, put boundaries in place to facilitate these, don’t compare yourself to others in the process and most definitely let go of the guilt. What works for you and your family is exactly right.
What else would you add to this list?
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