Blogger burnout… is this even real? It seems that every year we’re inventing names for new illnesses, syndromes and conditions. But come on… blogger burnout? Really?
What’s next? Freelancer fatigue? Marketing malaise? SEO sickness?
Turns out blogger burn out actually is a thing. Okay so it might not be medically recognized, but it’s something about which many bloggers with some years behind them have spoken about a lot.
Do I Have Blogger Burnout?
I’ve been blogging for a while now myself and something I’ve become aware of is at times I feel pretty shredded!
When I say shredded, I don’t mean just tired… I mean I feel stressed, anxious, overwhelmed, exhausted and unsure about whether blogging really is worth the worry and effort.
My daily routine right at the moment is check email, social media, research content, draft blog posts, social media, edit blog posts, publish posts, promote posts, social media, read other blogs…
I’ve gotten myself into a good routine and I’m hitting my objectives. But the routine is hitting me hard, especially given SideGains is in the very early stages of its life as I write this… and more to the point, not earning me any money.
For the past few years I’ve worked as a freelance online marketing consultant, specifically for PPC and SEO.
But over the last few months though, I’ve deliberately reduced my freelance intake, to really focus on getting SideGains up and running. I’m lucky to be in a position to do this, but I can’t do it forever, and I’m aware of this fact.
Perhaps this isn’t helping the way I feel.
I am working pretty long hours everyday right now and I’ve been doing so for months. Could it be that I’m already suffering from blogger burnout? If I am, what can I do about it?
What is Blogger Burnout?
I’ve read around this subject a lot to find advice from people I follow who’ve been where I am now.
Blogger burnout is something that makes you feel very unhappy about blogging. It can make you feel your blog is worthless, that other bloggers are better than you and make you quit.
It seems burnout can hit you at any point if your spending a lot of time and energy blogging, especially if you’re not getting the kind of feedback you want: visits, engagement, shares, etc.
I feel it’s more likely to happen in the early stages of your blog’s development, where it’s very unlikely you’ll be getting such positive signals. I’d bet my bottom dollar it’s a reason why a lot of blogs fail before they get started.
From what I’ve read, most agree the symptoms of blogger burnout are:
- You’re exhausted.
- You feel like quitting.
- It feels like you’ve run out of blog post ideas and don’t have anything valuable to say.
- Every other blogger seems to be doing better than you.
- It feels like your blog is not growing the way you want it to in terms of the number of visitors and their engagement.
- You feel you have too much to do and can’t possibly do it all.
- You’re not hitting your objectives.
- You’re spending more time on your blog related activities and don’t feel you have enough time for you and your family.
- You think about your blog constantly.
- You feel isolated.
- The road ahead feels like it’s very high and mountainous.
Does This Sound Like You?
Are you a blogger who is feeling some, many or all of these things? While I can’t claim to tick yes to all these, I’m feeling the majority of them myself right now.
There’s a lot of uncertainty about blogging when you start off. I’ve spoken much about the leap of faith it takes, because you just don’t know whether it will go anywhere until long after you get going.
The part that’s hard about this is you have to invest an awful lot before you’ll ever know one way or the other.
You can’t NOT put in the effort required to blog, build relationships, work on your skills, promote your blog and expect to be successful.
But even if you do, there’s no guarantee. It’s a leap of faith.
So you have to jump in and give it the best shot you can. But that means pushing yourself, working the long hours (over months and years) and experiencing all the discomfort and uncertainty that comes with it.
At the beginning you’re highly motivated. A new blog is an exciting venture, filled with lots of ideas and buckets of hope. But a few months in, you can begin to appreciate it’s not perhaps going to be plain sailing.
Blogger burnout might be lurking at this point, ready and waiting to sucker punch you.
But there are things you can do to lessen the potential for burnout as I’m finding out.
How to Prevent Blogger Burnout
The following are strategies you need to think about in order to prevent yourself from overcooking yourself.
You might not need them all, but some of them can give you perspective to prevent you being too obsessed about your blog or too hard on yourself.
Remember That Your Blog is a Long-Term Project
Rome wasn’t built in a day… and neither are successful blogs!
You cannot expect that just because you’re positing quality content, people will just show up. I know it’s what we all want but it’s unrealistic to expect this will happen just like that… your being unfair on yourself if this is your expectation.
Try to think in terms of months and years rather than days. Don’t check your stats every other minute, especially in the early months when your traffic will be depressingly low.
Neither is it fair on yourself to be depressed that your blog isn’t making you money right out of the box. You have to put in to get out… and it takes time.
Don’t Compare Your Blog to Other Bloggers
I know for sure I’m guilty of this and it’s tough not to do it. But as with looking at other people’s lifestyles, you never know what the reality of their lives actually is.
Of course, be inspired by other bloggers and allow yourself to take their ideas and advice. But don’t desire to be them.
Remember that every time you do something with your blog, you’re taking it to a place where one day it will become a blog that other people will look at and wish to be you.
Your blog is yours. It reflects you. Don’t look at it and wish you’d like it to be someone else’s.
You Can’t Do Everything Today
This is one of my bugbears. If you put too much pressure on yourself, you’re heading for disappointment.
Have plans for sure, but take each day as it comes.
There is only one you, and there are only so many hours available to you each day. Don’t beat yourself up because you can’t change both of these unchangeable facts.
Post Less Often
A difficult pill to swallow… especially if you want to grow your content quickly.
However, pushing yourself hard to write posts to the point where you hit blogger burnout is pointless.
I’ve recently written a post discussing how often you should blog, and believe that 3-5 times per week is a respectable and achievable target… for me. However, if this pushes you to the brink what’s the point?
We’re all differernt. At times we can be more motivated and driven than other times and that’s great. But if you’re pushing yourself hard to hit a target during a time when your burnt out, you might do more harm than good.
If you feel burned out, think like professional athletes who need to rest if they suffer an injury. Allow yourself to recover before you throw yourself back into your normal routine.
Know Your Limits and Set Realistic Goals
There’s a big difference between knowing your limits and acknowledging them and knowing your limits and taking action before you hit them.
We can all push ourselves too hard to squeeze out the maximum output we can. But pushing ourselves towards unrealistic goals is only ever going to cause potential burnout.
When you start a blog it can be difficult to know what your limits are… a suck it and see approach is what’s needed to figure out what’s possible.
But after blogging regularly for a month or so, you’ll start to get a feel for what you’re capable of. Why strive for something that’s beyond your capability?
I’m not talking about pushing yourself here because we all need a little motivation. What I’m talking about is working towards an impossible goal.
Goals should push you, but they should be achievable… in my opinion.
If you set unrealistic goals, you won’t hit them, and we’re back to looking at disappointment and disillusionment. These are the polar opposites of motivation and a path towards blogger burnout.
Get a Plan and Work to Routines
Despite the idea of something being routine and boring, having routines you can stick to is vital for most people.
Routine helps to give us a sense that we are in control. Without routines many of us can feel as though we drifting without direction.
I’m happy to admit I am in this camp. As I work for myself, the natural routine of going to a place of work at a certain time is not something I’m anchored to.
This is potentially dangerous for someone like me, because without a structure like this I can become aimless and detached. A daily plan which involves routine is something that I find enormously helpful.
Right now I am feeling like the control I have is limited so the routines built around my plan definitely help me.
If you’re suffering from burnout, perhaps it will help you too.
Understand Your Burnout Triggers
For some people, thinking up blogging topic ideas are a problem. Others struggle with the writing process or blog admin responsibilities.
If you understand the activities that require more energy from you than some others, you can prepare yourself properly for them in your plans.
For example, if you are on a day where you have a blog post planned and you know it will take you time because you struggle with writing, then make sure you build extra time into your plan. Shift all other planned activities across other days if that’s what it takes.
By doing this, you’ll ensure you don’t finish off your day with a bunch of planned activities you’ve been unable to start, let alone finish. Finishing a day with activities on your to do list that you haven’t even looked at can be disheartening.
What’s the point of that? Why put too much pressure on yourself? Remember you’re in it for the long-term.
If there are tasks that burn you out, don’t plan to start them later in the day. Plan to work on them as the first activity of your day and finish them as soon as possible to get them out of the way. Clear your decks so they don’t hang over you.
Outsource Things That Trigger Your Burnout
If you understand your burnout triggers, and certain ones really make your life difficult, you could consider outsourcing some, or all of them.
Of course if your blog is not making any money this is a hard pill to swallow… but it might be worth it if it helps you reach your goals.
Outsourcing is certainly something I’m considering right now, since the sheer amount of things I want to do are not possible for me to reach alone in the timeframes I’m aiming at.
If this can help me avoid the pitfalls of blogger burnout, it’s probably an investment worth making.
Give Yourself a Break… Actually Give Yourself Breaks!
Giving yourself a break is extremely important in all senses.
Firstly, metaphorically give yourself a break. Don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go quite the way you want, when you want them too.
Did I mention blogging is a long-term thing? 🙂
Secondly, take an actual break from blogging.
We’re not machines… we need to step away from our work to recharge and get perspective. Build breaks into your daily plan and stick to a regular routine of taking them as you do in a job.
Use a break to go outside. Take your dog for a walk if you have one. Walk around the block if not. Take a break from sitting in front of your screen and take in some fresh air.
Remember, even machines break if they’re overused!
Thirdly, take a day off. It’s important to completely step away from your blog so you can think about something else… so you can be someone other than just a blogger!
Finally, when you take a holiday make sure you are in a position whereby you can happily step away from your blog. Enjoy this time. Use it to totally recharge so you can come back firing on all cylinders.
Giving yourself breaks is important… don’t break yourself from blogger burnout!
Do you drink too much coffee? Do you drink enough water?
These points may seem like trifles but coffee can increase your cortisol levels (cortisol is the stress hormone) and drinking an insufficient amount of water can make you dehydrated. Even mild dehydration can make you feel dizzy or tired.
What about exercise?
For me, a hard session in the gym is a perfect way to let off steam and give me a more balanced perspective when things feel a little off kilter.
If that’s not your thing, take regular walks. Any kind of activity can help you feel more healthy.
Connect With Other Bloggers
If you’re suffering from blogger burnout you can feel isolated, as if you’re the only person that this has happened to.
Remember the saying, a problem shared is a problem halved?
If you feel you’re a burnt out blogger, reach out to others who might have experienced the same problems.
It’s good to talk. It’s better to talk and find out that what you’re feeling is normal.
Remember the Reasons Why You Started Blogging
As a final thought, think back to why you started a blog. Sometimes our reasons can get lost in all the other noise created by blogging as a daily activity. It’s easy to forget WHY we began blogging in the first place.
You never started a blog so you could max yourself out and be a blogger burnout casualty that’s for sure.
Step away from your blog for a moment and write down all the positive reasons why you embarked on this crazy route!
Reflecting on your initial reasons for blogging can help restore your perspective and remind you of your purpose.
- Blogger burnout is real and can impact how you feel about your blog and how productive you are.
- If you’re aware of how you feel before burnout sets in you can take steps to stop it in its tracks.
- A plan and routines can be useful to give you a sense of balance and control.
- Set realistic expectations for yourself and learn your limitations.
- Consider outsourcing your burnout triggers.
- If you’re feeling unhappy about blogging step away from your blog for a day or two.
- Take regular breaks during your blogging days and make sure you take holidays where you don’t have to think about your blog.
- Look after yourself. Don’t sacrifice your sleep, eat well, stay hydrated and get some exercise, even if it’s just a walk around the block.
- You are not alone. Most bloggers experience (possibly regularly) burnout. Reach out to other bloggers and talk about it.
Thanks for reading.
Have you ever felt blogger burnout? Please share your experiences and what you did to revitalize yourself.