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What to do When You’re Burnt Out on Blogging
At one point or another, every blogger gets burnt out. If you're a parent, your likelihood of burning out is three times as high. And if you’re like the rest of us, you've probably already experienced this once or twice in the time you've been blogging.
To be honest, burning out for a short time is not the be all end all of your blogging career.
What IS the be all and all, however, is whether you let it stay that way until you essentially give up on your business.
Getting burnt out is kind of like cheating on your diet.
If you fall off the bandwagon, your best bet is to get back on as soon as possible!
Don't use falling off as an excuse to stay off.
That being said, when real burnout hits it can be really hard to get your groove back, and it's probably not going to happen overnight.
I've been in this situation numerous times, and I've learned a few things since then that I think will really help you. The good news is that blogging burnout is very preventable.
The feeling usually stems from too much overwhelm and too little clarity, and trying to squeeze too many tasks into each day.
This post will not only help you recover from burnout if you are experiencing it, but it will also help you prevent it in the future. Let's jump in.
1. Take A Week Off (For Real!)
Feeling unmotivated, tired, and uninspired? These are classic signs of blogger burnout, and it's important to pay attention to them. If you've gotten to this point, the first thing you should do is take a week off.
And I mean take it alllll the way off!
Don't check your email. Don't check your Pinterest stats. Don't look around on social media just to stay in the loop.
In fact, I would highly recommend you set up an autoresponder for your email that says you'll be out for a week, and then put away your laptop and smartphone completely. You're going to need a computer and social media fast for this week.
The most important thing here is that you really step away from everything. You cannot step away halfway and expect to feel rejuvenated when you come back. You won't. You need to take a real, honest break and spend more time outdoors and doing fun things with people you love.
This is really the only way to recover, so don't half-ass it.
Otherwise you'll just have to start over and it will waste more time!
2. Figure Out What Blog Tasks Are Overwhelming You
Once your screen fast is over, you can come back to this with a clear head. Spend 20 or 30 minutes and write down what you think is becoming too much in your business.
Are you trying to create new blog posts four times a week and it's killing you to do it? Are you spending hours and hours promoting your posts every day? Too much time creating pins for Pinterest and uploading your blog posts?
The key here is to figure out what is taking a disproportionate amount of time or mental energy and compare that to how important it is.
The fact is that many of these things can be hired out or dropped completely, which will reduce your workload and your burnout.
3. Make a List of Blogging Tasks You Should Stop Doing
Once you have a list of things that are taking up too much of your time and mental energy, it's time to make a list of things you should STOP doing.
Remember, the heart of your business is your content and your products. This is the creative part you should strive to work on regularly. Everything else is taking time away from those tasks, and they should be minimized and optimized as much as possible.
So what are you doing that really isn't making a difference in your business?
Are you spending a ton of time creating beautiful images on Instagram, but getting effectively zero blog traffic from it?
Are you spending an hour or more per day answering the same emails over and over?
Are you doing small potatoes promotion tactics like commenting on other people's blogs and and applying to blogging directories?
If you can identify tasks that really aren't helping you directly grow your business, stop doing them. Or hire them out. The reality is that you only have so many hours per day to work, and so much mental bandwidth to do it.
Every bit that you waste on “small potatoes” tasks, you take away from the important part of creating content and products for your readers.
You need to be ruthless. Everything you do in your business should essentially come back to growing your email list, building your brand, and creating paid products. If it doesn't fit in one of these three, you don't want to give it too much of your time.
Sure, there will be some things that don't directly relate to one of these three.
You will have to do blog maintenance from time to time. You will need to do some learning and researching from courses you buy or coaching programs you join.
These things are important too, but they should not be the forefront of your daily schedule.
Promoting the content and products you have, and creating more of them, is the most important thing you can do in your business.
4. Figure Out What’s Working in Your Business
The next step is to figure out what is working, so you know what to prioritize.
Where exactly is your traffic coming from? Which of your products are selling? What things have you done or offered that directly convert readers into email subscribers? What do people tell you they love about you and your work?
These are just a few important things to ask yourself.
You want to figure out what is helping your business grow so that you can focus on that and eliminate the rest.
Here's what's working for me:
A) Pinterest is growing my traffic like gangbusters.
After taking Pinterest Traffic Avalanche about a year ago, I was able to triple my blog traffic and it is still growing every month.
And because this is bringing me so many new email subscribers, I prioritize Pinterest highly. It is something I work on most days of the week, and I can justify that time because I'm seeing a real return on investment from it.
B) Creating New Opt-Ins
Creating a new opt-in every couple of months has worked very well for increasing my sign-up rate. It gives me some good insight into what types of content people are looking for (Which of your opt-ins is getting the most signups?) and it provides new chances for people to sign up if a previous offer didn't strike their fancy.
C) Writing Highly Engaging and Fun Emails
People get a lot of emails these days, so it's important to write really good ones if you want to stand out. Having an email list is the backbone of almost every online business out there, and it will be for yours too. The same goes for me!
The income my blog produces comes from the products I've created and offers to my email list to help them with their own businesses, so it's important for me to write helpful and vibrant emails that my readers love to read.
When I do this, I am able to help more people as well as make more money. The same will very likely be true for your business as well.
5. Consider Hiring Some Help
If you've listed out your priorities and it still feels like more than you can do given the time you have, it's time to start looking for some help!
Don't stop reading yet.
I know this topic is scary. I know that you don't want to leave your business in someone else's hands. I know that you're worried about how much it will cost.
These are valid fears, but that doesn't mean that you should let them hold you back.
Hiring a part-time VA to help you with some of the more time-consuming tasks is one of the best ways to propel your business forward at a faster rate.
Right now my VA works 20 hours per week and uploads my blog posts that I've written and creates all of my Pinterest pins. This is so, so helpful to me because it takes a good 15 to 20 hours per week off my plate.
With two blogs to run, a family, and a life outside of work to keep going, I really need those 15 to 20 hours. And I'm guessing that you do too!
I found my VA through the Facebook group Virtual Assistant Network Philippines . This is a great way to find VAs without having to pay fees to use job sites like Virtual Staff Finder or Onlinejobs.ph.
I do recommend doing both an email interview and a Skype interview.
I did a Skype interview with each of my applicants, and it was very clear to me that the VA I chose was far more knowledgeable and interested in working with me than any of the others.
Go ahead and post what you are looking for in that group! Even if you aren't planning to hire right now, it's a great idea to get a feel for which VAs could help you, what it will cost you, and what the process will look like.
6. Plan for Hard Times
This last tip is my suggestion for how to deal with burnout the next time around. If you are like most bloggers, the feeling may creep up again. So what can you do?
You can plan for it!
Let me share a personal story with you.
A couple of months ago, we had a shocking event happen in my family that caused a lot of grief. It was very sudden, and not something any of us could have seen coming.
It was extremely heart wrenching, and to be honest, I had to step away from my business for about a month.
If you've been on my email list for a while, you probably remember those few weeks where I wasn't sending emails or uploading new posts. It was a really, really hard time. I simply was not in a frame of mind to work at all. I was in survival mode. It was everything I could do each day to simply take care of my kid and keep our family moving forward.
I hate to say it, but these sorts of things will happen to most people at some point or another. The best thing you can do is prepare ahead of time.
Here's what I'm doing now to help prepare myself for the future.
- I'm working on scheduling out 60 days worth of blog posts on both of my blogs ahead of time, so that if I need to take some time off I can.
- I'm also working on scheduling a handful of emails ahead of time.
- I've created a backlog of Pinterest pins that I can use down the road if I run out.
I think that all bloggers should be planning a bit ahead, whether burnout will strike or not. There are so many things in this life that can cause us to need some time off. We are human after all!
If you have a baby, you'll need a few months off to adjust to your new lifestyle. If you go through a separation, you will very likely need some time off to grieve.
If something amazing and fun happens like you get the opportunity to take a month off and travel the world, you'll want to have some preparations outlined so that you can go do that.
Planning ahead of time is the best way we can deal with burnout and recover from it as soon as possible.
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