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Maintaining a Blog/Life Balance

Wendy Boswell has written a great piece over at Lifehacker on How to get things done working inside and outside the home where she talks a little about her approach to work life balance as a home based worker.

I think that what she has to say is great and would be well worth reading for most aspiring full time bloggers (and seriously addicted part time ones). It’s very easy to allow blogging to overtake one’s life – the computer just sits there in the corner of your home tempting you to come have a look at what’s happening on your blog:

  • calling to you to come see who has been commenting…
  • dangling the carrot of checking your latest stats…
  • making you wonder how much your earnings are up to for the day…
  • drawing you to it to write just one more post…
  • making you nervous about whether the server is holding up after that link on digg…

There’s something quite addictive about blogging that most full time bloggers have to face at one time or another. It’s probably some mix of the allure of being the center of attention, mixed with the excitement of the chase of the story and readership, mixed with way it can open up doors to new friendship and opportunities.

But there comes a point where many bloggers need to think about creating healthy boundaries around it in order to maintain other relationships, work on our physical well being and to just have a life.

I know many bloggers don’t struggle with the work life balance in the way I’m describing (in fact some are quite the opposite to the point that life crowds out blogging) but over the last 12 months I’ve met a number of bloggers who have seriously worried me in terms of their blog obsession (“blogsession”).

Creating a healthy blog/life balance is important and for me includes:

  • having days off
  • taking longer vacations
  • having times during the day that are set aside for family
  • setting time aside for exercise
  • prioritizing time for face to face interactions with people
  • developing other hobbies
  • setting limits on how late you’ll stay up and when you’ll go to bed

This all sounds basic common sense stuff – but as a blogger whose been close to burning himself out (and having seen a few bloggers who have) I think it’s worth saying. In addition to these things saving your sanity, relationships and health they’ll also help you to sustain your blogging.

Have you ever struggled with maintaining blog/life balance? What strategies do you have in place to keep things balanced?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. “Blogsession”?!!!!! Do I see a title for your next E-book?

  2. jhay says:

    That’s an interesting suggestion, a e-book on Blogsession.

    Taking time off could really do wonders for blogging, you come back fresh and loaded with ideas itching to be blogged, along with some nifty photos you took your self.

    I my self, has a ‘blogsession’ and though I’ve only been blogging for 8 months now, my roomy schedule at the university allows me to be online for almost 8 hours a day. I have also come to a point wherein I have slipped back on my studies and just blogged away as if I had no university to attend to the next day.

    I thought it over and decided to straighten things out and organised my academics + co-curricular and my blogging/online life. I’m still struggling though, but making good progress. I’m even considering seeing the university guidance councilor to seek more help. (Say what?)

    Thanks for the tips

  3. Tillerman says:

    Life? What was that? I forget.

  4. Maricar says:

    Thanks, Darren, for this reminder. I don’t have “blogsession” yet, at least I don’t think so. My little rugrats definitely help me keep a balance. They’re first priority during the day.

    I believe balancing work/life requires discipline, as with anything else. Everything in moderation, even blogging. I’m actually afraid of spending too much time online. It dries up my creativity and gets me in a rut, which I hate. So I consciously make time for other things. For example, I don’t blog on weekends. Those days are set aside for extended family time, and for my other hobby, which refreshes me.

  5. Mick Gordon says:

    Yeah, I recognize myself in the individual that you describe as an obsessed blogger. Thankfully my eyes get tired and scratchy after about two hours in front of the screen and without a continuous new stream of experiences I am unable to sustain the flow of posts. This, I suppose balances my blogging illness, it is in essence my penicillin.

  6. razib says:

    I have been blogging for just over 4 months and I have got married during this time. The main problem is that except the bloggers, other people do not understand what is blogging and that is why most of the problems happen. For example, suppose now I have found a story that if I can cover it then it will give me 500 extra hits today and also another 10 blogs will link my story. Unfortunately, at the same time, some relatives or guests come to my home and I have to talk to them. It is impossible to explain them about this matter. They will feel what is the problem if I write after 2 hours or next morning. I admit often I do extreme and every passionate blogger does it but I feel that if others could knew about the nature of blogging then many things would have become easier for us.

  7. I try to write my blog posts and catch up with RSS feeds before 8am each morning. If I’m not done by then or I have a lie-in, I don’t blog that day.

    Another technique I use is to have a couple of posts ‘on the boil’ during the week that I can send out over the weekend. For example, a pick of the web style post. I add to it whenever I see an interesting website but it doesn’t require a lot of writing. This gives me blog-free weekends.

  8. Lisa says:

    Thankfully my little guy demands my attention enough that I can’t get too sucked in, but I do have to make a point of actually shutting the computer off and paying full attention to family at points in the day.

  9. For sure I have found many a day that I would suffer from blogsession. I have to back away from blogging to do other things so I don’t get totally burned out.

  10. Motte Bonk says:

    making you nervous about whether the server is holding up after that link on digg…

    If you make more than $500 a month in revenues, you might want to look into outsourcing the monitoring of your server. It costs about $70 per server and gives you peace of mind (PS: You will know what I mean after you have woken up at 2AM to reboot the server — or worse — gotten up in the morning only to realize that the server was down the whole night)

    For people who own/lease their own servers, I would recommend http://www.totalserversolutions.com/ . They charge $70 per server and I have had good sucess with them (they are up all night and I have seen my server restarted in less than 2 mins in the wee morning hours). I am sure there are other companies or individuals who do this as a service. You ideally want to go with a group of admin so that someone is on shift 24/7.

    Darren, given the amount of money you make :-), do you have an experiences to share on this ?

  11. Darren Rowse says:

    Motte Bonk – it’s not been too bad. I have most of my sites hosted on a server that is monitered for me via the host (very personal service). The DPS site isn’t on that and is more of a worry for me. I’ll be changing servers on that at some point soonish as all it takes is a couple of big link ups in the one day and I’m in a bit of trouble with going over my limits of 13GB (mainly cause the site is image heavy).

  12. Geneve says:

    You raise some great points in this post. I’m new to blogging but already sense how addictive it can be!

  13. Ben Wilks says:

    Hi Darren,

    Good to see an Aussie blogger doing so well!! Re: Blogsession, I have suffered from SEobsession for nearly 3 years, burnt myself badly last year.

    Exercise is the best remedy, also 8hrs work, 8hrs sleep and 8hrs play is a good policy, provided you don’t ‘play’ SEO as well like I do.

    Cheers!

  14. Halfdeck says:

    Limiting the amount of time I spend on one post to X minutes a day prevents me from overtime blogging.

  15. gary says:

    my wife would definately say i’m blogsessed. i however say that i’m focussed on a long term goal. :)

    that said, the reading required to write 3-5 quality posts a day can be challenging when there is a full time job and 3 kids. I’ve taken to spending an hour or so in bed with the lappy before going to sleep.

    on another note, this often gives me the jump on news from other time zones. i may post about some news late in the evening & the other auto bloggers don’t post on it until more than 12 hours later.

  16. FaithBalance says:

    Darren,

    Of all of your posts on this site, this one has hit home the closest. I’ve also taken to creating a hobby and turning it into a business, and I too am blogging about the importance of balancing life with our commitments — whether its family, work or faith.

    We actually speak about this regularly at our site, and have you on our Blogroll as a reference to maintaining a life-work balance.

    Keep up the great work,
    R

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Maintaining a Blog/Life Balance While not really on the subject of themes or plugins, I think it is still worthy of talking about the problems that many bloggers find themselves having, and since many plugin and theme authors have blogs, I thought I would take a second to talk about a great article that Darren Rowse pointed to today. [...]

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  3. [...] If you feel that maintaining a blog, or maintaining a group of websites is a real challenge and makes you cancel the smoking habit quit; you are not alone. It’s a problem to some others too. [...]

  4. [...] Escrito por blogpocket el 28-6-2006 a las 10:35 am | Archivado en: Blogging A propósito de un post escrito por Wendy Boswell en LifeHacker, Darren Rowse en Problogger da en el clavo explicando los probables motivos por los cuales bloguear es tan adictivo: Probablemente se trata de una cierta mezcla del encanto de ser el centro de la atención y el entusiasmo por encontrar historias interesantes. También tienen que ver con el número total de lectores junto con las posibilidades para abrir puertas a la nuevas amistad y oportunidades. Pero llega un momento en el que muchos bloguers necesitan ponerse límites para mantener otras relaciones, conseguir bienestar físico y tener una vida simplemente. [...]

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  6. Jason Haley says:

    Interesting Finds: June 28, 2006 AM edition…

  7. [...] I’ve recently read two great articles on the hectic, demanding life of bloggers and writers. The first was Maintaining a Blog/Life Balance written by Darren Rowse. The second was by Wendy Boswell and called How to get things done working inside and outside the home.The issue of scheduling came up in both articles. Finding a balance between writing or blogging and the rest of life is a delicate balancing act. Since starting to blog seriously in March I have found that the pressure to post has sometimes taken a little enjoyment out of the whole process. Yet the challenge is there and is, in itself, enjoyable. I have certainly done far more writing in the last four months than ever before. And that has to be good. Some of my frustrations – in no particular order: [...]

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