I’m sure you’ve already seen others mention this post over at the NYTimes.com site, about how bloggers are killing themselves by overworking. The real things that the post gets at is that bloggers typically gain alot of weight, suffer from sleep deprivation, and become socially awkward. We also work more than most people with ‘real’ jobs.
It’s true, for the most part, but it doesn’t have to be. When I had a ‘real’ job at Time Warner Cable, in the Media Sales division, I had a strict policy of leaving at 5p, with very few exceptions. My view has always been that I work to live, and don’t live to work, and that I should never confuse the two. However, blogging doesn’t always feel like ‘work’, which is where it gets tricky. In fact, I’m blogging right now, and I would consider this more or less ‘recreational’.
If you’re a blogger and you’ve noticed that it’s taken over your life, I’ve got a few pointers I don’t mind sharing, that I’ve picked up along the way:
1. Use the post scheduler. If your blogging platform doesn’t allow you to schedule posts to publish in the future, ditch it for one that does. This way, when you’re ‘in the zone’, you can get a few days ahead, and then you won’t feel nearly as pressured to keep a constant stream of content. Very often I’ve got 2-3 days totally filled up with editorials/reviews, and other non-date-sensitive posts ready to go.
2. Limit yourself. I work 8-10hrs/day, and 2 nights/wk. That’s my schedule, and what I’ve worked out with my wife. It works great, and the time limits force me to not dilly-dally nearly as much, so I’ve noticed that I’m *more* productive. Be realistic, but set a strict time limit, and adhere to it. When my time is up, I turn the volume of my PC off, and close the lid to my laptop. There’s no way for the notifications to get to me.
3. News will kill you. Personally, I think the biggest pitfall of new bloggers is that they try to get that one big scoop before everyone else does, and thus they’re CONSTANTLY online, seeking it out. You can spend 23hrs/day trying to be the first one to publish news all the time, and while yes, it will build your traffic, it’s not sustainable. Inevitably, you’ll miss news, and news posts are only relevant for a short period of time. If you focus on quality editorials, detailed reviews, or helpful tip posts, you generate more traffic in the long run, and you won’t burn out nearly as easily. You can also step away without worrying that you’re missing something.
Those are just a few things that have helped me to build a blog that I’m extremely proud of, while maintaining my sanity and social life at the same time. If you’re a blogger, definitely make sure that you’re taking care of your body and your mind, and don’t live to work. Live to live.