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People think bloggers do nothing.
They think we sit on the couch, write a blog post, hit publish, and then go on with our day doing god knows what (Netflix maybe?).
If you’re a blogger, even if you’re a brand spanking new blogger, you know just how much work is involved in launching and maintaining a succesful site. It's tough to stay sane as a full time blogger!
Without even considering how long it takes to curate exceptional content for blog posts, bloggers juggle social media, blog promotion, search engine optimization, email marketing, sales funnels, product creation, affiliate marketing… and that’s just off the top of my head.
Betcha if you rambled a bit of that to your friends who joke around that you’re a “silly blogger”, they’d stare at you with a blank face and a little dribble of drool falling out of their slightly parted lips (of course because they’re in complete awe at how smart you sound).
Anyways, long story short, blogging is a business (and not an easy one).
It’s hard effin work. And no apologies for the “almost” language their either. Blogging is challenging and anyone who suggests otherwise hasn’t walked a mile in your shoes… and they should (we’ll see who’s laughing then, right?).
Plus, on top of all blogging stuff, you have to manage the rest of you’re life, too. We all have “stuff” that occupies our time. The point is, blogging plus life… not always an easy combination.
So how do you stay sane as a full time blogger? How do you keep your head from spinning?
I’ll let you in on a little secret – I’m a full time blogger, and while I don’t have kids I spend a large (large) majority of my time working.
In my past year of blogging, I finally feel like I’ve found a healthy balance between life and work and I’m about to share with you my tips to staying physically and mentally sane as a full time blogger.
Before we get started, I want to ask you to do me a favor: read this post, then leave your comments at the bottom. I want to hear if any of this resonates with you. Chances are it does. Then, don’t skip this part (please), consider sharing this with your friends and networks. Someone you know might need to read this today. It could save them and their blog… so let’s help each other out and get the word out there that blogging is tough and hard to stick with – but there are strategic ways to stay sane amidst the chaos.
Here we go…
Seriously, though, don’t work all the time.
Full time blogging is just like any other job – you NEED a break. You WILL NOT function well if you work all the time.
Though, I’ve noticed something. Since I adore blogging and it’s truly become my passion, it’s hard sometimes to say “no” and to stop working. But, I have to. YOU have to.
When I first started full time blogging, I worked nonstop all day and all night, and straight through the weekends.
I burnt out within a month.
Also, each week on Sunday afternoon (like clockwork, I kid you not) I broke down into tears.
Full on emotional break down.
Waterworks, blotchy red eyes and all (and trust me, that's not a pretty picture).
Remember, I gave up law school to start a blog. It was a very scary time. Though I was excited about blogging and the new adventure I was taking, that didn’t mean that there were moments that I felt scared out of my mind.
So, each Sunday, I broke down.
That is until I figured out how to balance my new life.
So here’s how life works for me now:
I work straight through the week Monday through Friday, regular business hours. Though, if life gets in the way, I’ll also work into the night (logging some hours after the gym).
On weekends, I either take an entire day unplugged (besides a little engagement here and there in my Facebook group) OR I work half days on Saturday and Sunday.
I’ve found that this schedule keeps me focused, sane, and in the game. No more Sunday breakdowns. Thank goodness!
#BloggerSanityTip: Schedule "rest" days and stick to them!
If you want to be “fit” in business and on your blog, it’s important that you also prioritize being “fit” in your everyday life.
There are tons of benefits to incorporating exercise into your routine…
I make it a priority to workout at least 3-4 times per week (ideally 5 times).
My workout program? I USED to do Insanity (a Beachbody program created by my boy Shaun T!) but now I’m a CrossFitter (loud and proud).
Yes, CrossFit is expensive, but my financial commitment to the gym ensures that I ACTUALLY use my membership! Since I started CrossFit, I’m more physically (and mentally) fit than I ever have been in my life.
And, no, CrossFit does NOT hurt my joints and it’s not unsafe … those are just myths!
#BloggerSanityTip: Exercise regularly to stay sharp and blow off steam
This is my NIGHTMARE and, I won’t lie, I’m not always victorious in this venture. But, when I am, I feel phenomenal.
Eating healthy throughout the week gives you the fuel you need to keep pushing through. It also allows you to spend LESS time away from work prepping your meals (which means fewer distractions throughout the work week for you).
Meal prep doesn’t need to be too fancy.
But just remember, the more you prep over the weekends before the hustle and bustle of the week starts, the less you’ll need to stress throughout the week worrying about what feed you’ll be feeding yourself and your family.
#BloggerSanityTip: Meal prep weekly to avoid the stress of healthy eating
When the Blogger Insights Facebook Group really started taking off, my phone would buzz every single second. Eventually, it felt like my head was going to explode.
Until the lightbulb in my brain went off and I realized… “Aha, I can just turn off push notifications!”
Yes, engagement on social media IS important. But you really don’t need to drop everything you’re doing just to go respond to that new member request, or reply to someone’s comment on Facebook.
Every time you get distracted, it can take you about 25 minutes to get refocused.
Think about it…
Your phone buzzes.
Someone has just requested to join your facebook group.
You slide open that push notification on your iPhone, which opens up the Facebook app on your phone (assuming you’re doing this on your phone, of course).
You let that new person into your group. Done, easy! But then you realize you have 5 other notifications. Your close friend commented on that picture you posted last night. So you go check that notification, think up a witty reply, and then BAM another notification comes through.
It’s a vicious cycle.
By the time you pull yourself together and close that Facebook app, you’re completely lost! It takes you a good few minutes to finally ease back into whatever it is that you were doing.
Just like that, 20ish minutes gone down the drain.
And all because you opened that damn push notification!
Do yourself a favor: turn off push notifications.
Social media can wait until you designate a set time to respond to those comments and Facebook group member requests.
Trust me, you’ll drive yourself mad if you try and hop over to social media every second.
#BloggerSanityTip: Turn off push notifications to avoid distractions
In early April, I experimented with something I’ve never done before: batched blog writing.
I set off with a loft goal to write 7 blog posts in 7 days. In the end, I failed in that pursuit but I got really close (5 blog posts with one of them at 4000 words – now my most popular blog post on how to get 10000 page views to your blog each month).
I consider that pursuit a win despite not quite meeting my goal.
When you batch your blog writing, 3 things happen:
1) You stay more focused on writing
You’re probably not focusing on anything else beyond writing for those few days. When you focus on ONE thing as opposed to more than one thing, you’re less likely to get distracted and more likely to fall into a groove.
2) You start getting anxious
Yes, it was tough to just work on content creation for that first week of April. I couldn’t wait to finish with the task. You’ll probably feel the same.
3) You get excited about the things you’ll have time to do when batching is complete
After writing a month’s worth of content in one week, you’ll be able to spend the rest of the month focusing on more strategic tasks like developing your products, or optimizing your automated sales funnels.
Batching isn’t for everyone, but it’s been phenomenal for me. I’ve been able to tackle tasks I used to think I didn’t have time for. In reality, it wasn’t that I didn’t have time; it was just that I wasn’t using my time efficiently.
Suddenly, with a month’s worth of content done in just a week – the clouds have parted and I can see the sun again!
Okay, I’ll stop being poetic… but you get the point, right? Staying sane has a lot to do with managing your time and being efficient.
#BloggerSanityTip: Batch your blog tasks on a monthly basis
Before you go to sleep each night, talk to yourself.
Tell yourself that you’re going to wake up in the morning refreshed, feeling excited, and motivated to tackle your goals.
Process your weekly goals (you should have set those goals on Sunday night or Monday – use the Weekly Monday Motivation thread in the Blogger Insights Facebook group to hold yourself accountable).
Think about how victorious you’ll feel if you accomplish your goals.
If you think I’ve gone kookie, just try it once. No one has to know – this all takes place in the comfort and safety of your own mind.
I never used to do this. But I decided to try it for the first time a few months ago in an effort to counter my terrible morning grouchiness and my inability to wake up early in the morning.
I talked to myself as I fell asleep, repeating over and over again…
Eden, you’re going to feel excited when you wake up tomorrow. You will not feel tired. You will wake up energized from your night’s sleep. You will not press snooze on your alarm. You’ll wake up at the first sound of your alarm, and you’ll get out of bed ready to start your day.
I swear to you, the next morning I woke up ready to go. And, if you know me, you know that this just DOES NOT happen normally.
So, I continue to do this on a regular basis and it’s totally changed the way I start my days. Try it and let me know how it goes for you!
#BloggerSanityTip: Set your intentions each night before bed
I used to work a regular, corporate 9-5 job sitting at a desk all day.
I dressed in my typical, business casual clothing and tried to get as comfy as is humanly possible when settling into my desk chair for the day.
But, in an office setting, you can only get too comfortable…
Now, as a work from home blogger, I don’t have that stress of needing to go into a traditional work setting each day.
Everyone is different. Most people don’t feel they can be productive working from the same exact spot every single day. That’s exactly how I am!
Some days I work from home (my bed, to be perfectly honest). I do work well while in my sweats in a reclined position.
Some days, I need background noise – so I head on over to a local coffee shop, grab a cappuccino and settle into a booth for hours on end (that’s what I’m doing right now!).
Other days, I hop from place to place. I start working from my couch, then over to my desk, then over to the kitchen table, and then over to a coffee shop.
I go where my comfort takes me.
If you’re telling yourself that you MUST work from the same spot all day everyday, you COULD be hurting your productivity (spending more time trying to get cozy than you are on actually working).
But, then again, everyone is different. If you’re the type of person who needs consistency… stick to what works for you. The trick is to find your comfort and go with that.
#BloggerSanityTip: Work wherever you are most comfy!
Remember when I mentioned push notifications earlier and I talked about how it can take you an average of 25 minutes to refocus after a distraction?
Yeah, that’s worth bringing up again.
Instead of allowing yourself to get distracted by silly things like your phone buzzing off the hook, plan strategic breaks.
I often use the Pomodoro method while I’m working. This method includes the use of short breaks (5 minutes) and long breaks (10 minutes) and in between those breaks, you work on a specific task without pause for a burst of 25 minutes at a time.
Knowing that you’re about to take a break in X amount of minutes will help you get distracted less. When you’re distracted less, you get more done. When you get more done, you’re less likely to go on a frustrated rampage and threaten to quit blogging.
Plain and simple.
During your breaks, go get some fresh air and sunshine (if weather permits). Grab a fresh cup of coffee or tea, or even read a few pages of that book you’re loving.
Your breaks should help you take your mind OFF of what you’re working on for just a few brief moments.
A break shouldn’t be used to go respond to social media posts or respond to emails… that’s working, not a break.
Use your breaks to help refresh your mind. You’ll feel recharged for that next burst of work.
#BloggerSanityTip: Take scheduled & strategic breaks
When bloggers come to me and say something like, “Eden, I’m feeling blogger burnout. I’m all out of ideas. What can I do?”
I tell them, “Go read a book.”
And I’m not kidding either.
I firmly believe that it is of utmost importance for bloggers to engage in regular reading habits. And, don’t worry, you don’t need to be reading a professional development book. Just any great novel you’ve had your eye on for a while now.
Reading has lots of benefits for the average person, but for the blogger… reading is even more important.
Reading allows you to engage in another person’s writing.
If you’re a blogger, you’re a writer. So taking the time to familiarize yourself with different writing styles is important. You’ll further develop your writing skills without even realizing it as you turn the pages on that new book. It’s professional development without really trying.
Reading gets the creative juices flowing.
I don’t know what it is about books, but my best ideas come to me while reading a book. Yes, that means my mind does wonder while reading (sort of like driving on auto-pilot – you know those times when you wonder how you safely got from point A to point B because you don’t remember driving at all…). Allowing your mind to wander while reading is a good thing – not a bad thing. Reading is a healthy practice and exercise for your brain unlike anything else.
Reading gives a break, but a strategic break.
You could choose to watch a television show or you could choose to dig your nose into a book… both are distractions but only the latter is a strategic distraction to help advance your blogging. I do watch my fair share of television, but I’m always in the middle of a book.
So head to the book store, the library or wherever it is that you get your books – and get to reading! P.S. I’m always on the lookout for book recommendations so send some my way if you have any!
#BloggerSanityTip: Bury your nose in a good book
You can’t do it all. You’re not superman/superwoman. And even if you are, every hero has a weakness.
Blogging is challenging and you’re bound to struggle with certain components of it. When you find your weakness, dig into it. Figure out what is confusing you and compile a list of questions. Then, head over to a Facebook group or shoot an email to one of your blogging mentors and ask away.
I got dozens of emails every single day from people who have questions about blogging that they need answered. And I spend time everyday answering those emails – it’s my pleasure to do so!
If you don’t feel comfortable sending an email to a mentor to ask for help, head over to a Facebook group and ask there. You’re bound to get tons of responses from people who have had the exact same question in the past.
There’s no reason to struggle. If you need help, be your own advocate and ask for it! There’s no reason to drive yourself crazy over all the things you don’t know when there are thousands of people out there who are ready and willing to help you through.
#BloggerSanityTip: Lean on other bloggers - ask for help!
If you’ve been a blogger for more than five minutes, you know that there is always something to learn. While this is extremely exciting, it’s also incredibly overwhelming.
The feeling of “not knowing enough” is enough to drive you insane if you allow it.
So, how about you don’t do that?
Yes, it’s true, you probably have a lot to learn.
But we all have a lot to learn. So cut yourself some slack.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and your blog can’t be built in a day either. Take small and strategic steps. Compile a list of things you want to learn, and work through that list at your own pace. Don’t hate on yourself if you don’t catch onto things as quickly as you’d like.
But, most importantly, don’t criticize yourself because you feel you’re not where you should be. Yes, other bloggers might be further along than you. But everyone is different. Don’t compare the beginning of your journey to someone else’s middle or end.
#BloggerSanityTip: Cut yourself slack - no one expects you to do it all!
When I first started blogging, there were to types of people in my life:
1) The people who totally supported my journey 100%
2) The people who thought I was completely insane and talked not so quietly behind my back
As a blogger, there will always be people who can’t seem to find the will to understand the adventure you’ve undertaken. That’s okay – it’s your life, not theirs.
But, still, it’s important to be sure you find the right people to be in your corner so that you have a support system to lean on when times get challenging.
Where can you find a support system?
If you cant find a support system, I’ll be your support system.
I know how challenging blogging can be at times and I want you to have someone in your corner to help you through when you feel like quitting. I can be that person for you!
#BloggerSanityTip: Keep your support system close
One of the things I ask my Bread & Butter Blogging students to do is think about their "why".
Why did you start blogging in the first place?
Was it to work at home and spend more time with your kids?
Was it to bring in extra money to pay off your debt?
Was it to one day retire your spouse from his/her day job?
Was it to prove everyone who said you couldn't do it wrong?
Whatever your "why" is, it should be put on display.
Go grab a piece of paper (a post-it will even do the trick). Write out your "why" then hang it up somewhere you look at everyday. Some people even put it on their bathroom mirrors.
Remembering "why" you started will help you get through those struggles that you're bound to encounter. It will keep you grounded and focused, and it will motivate you to continue.
If you're feeling bold, send me a picture of your "why" hanging up. I'd love to see it!
#BloggerSanityTip: Always remember your "why" (why you started)
Blogging is an ongoing challenge. There's always something to do, something to learn, and something to improve upon. At times, it can feel so overwhelming that you'll be tempted to give up. Life's easier when you don't challenge yourself with something as complex as blogging - so that can be alluring to many. But your job is to avoid falling into that trap. Most bloggers fail because they choose to give up. Are you going to be that person. Are you going to be the person that gives into those temporary feelings of weakness?
I hope you'll find the strength to bring balance to your life as a blogger. I hope you'll use this blog post as inspiration for how to stay sane as a full time blogger even when the world seems like it's plotting against you.
Remember, I'm here for you if you need me! Thanks for sticking with me until the end.
By the way, do you have tricks to stay sane that I didn't include above? I want to hear about them. Leave me a comment below.
Oh, and don't forget to share this post! You never know who might really need to read this today.
Happy blogging, friends.