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Thinking of Quitting Blogging? Here’s How One Blogger Turned it Around

Posted By Stacey Roberts 5th of August 2015 General 28

Thinking of Quitting Blogging? Here's How One Blogger Turned it Around, on ProBlogger.net.

You would have read yesterday about the growing discontentment with blogging and what to do next, and how Megan Tietz finally realized it was time to walk away. Liberating, eh?

Today we chat to Nicole Avery from Planning With Kids, who was dangerously close to burnout at the end of 2014. She knew if she didn’t change her approach to blogging, she was going to ditch the whole thing entirely. Her ideas of how to pull back, recalibrate and start again with a new focus is super-inspirational, and I am sure that those of you who are looking for fresh ways to do an old thing will find Nicole’s tips incredibly useful.

 

5 tips to get you back on track when you feel like quitting blogging

Towards the end of last year I reached my lowest point with blogging. I was tired, overwhelmed and feeling completely over blogging. I felt like quitting.

Blogging brings along amazing opportunities but it is possible to take on too many. Blogging is a wonderful medium to share, but it is no longer just about blogging, there are newsletters to write, social media channels to grow and products to make. Blogging is a fabulous medium to start an online business but with tens of thousands of blogs started every day, keeping up can feel like you are continually running a super fast race struggling to keep up.

My love of blogging though won out and I continued blogging, managing to turn around how I was feeling in the space of three months. While I did more than what is listed below, here are 5 key things I did to get me back on track.

1. Take a break

Each year I usually take two full breaks from the blog, one in the summer school holidays and then the second in the winter school holidays. Due to family circumstances, I never had the break in July and never seemed to find the time to take it later in the year.

Taking a break from the blog is essential to maintaining my enthusiasm and love of what I do. So at the end of December, I took a break (I had planned to take time off in late January). Usually to take a break I work super hard in the lead up to schedule blog posts and social media posts. This time I just took almost a week off and didn’t post. I gave my weekly newsletter a rest for the whole of January and I pared back my social media activity, for example I went from four posts a day on facebook to one.

2. Analyse your time

It was in my break that I came across the Pareto principle. If you are not familiar with it, it can defined as follows:

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.[1] {source}

If I was to apply the 80/20 rule to my blogging it meant that 80% of the time I was spending on blogging was only creating 20% of my results. Effectively most of my time was being spent activities that were not adding value.

To understand this better and see if it was indeed true, I used RescueTime to see exactly how I was spending my time. RescueTIme focuses on measuring exclusively active computer time and detects when your computer is idle. My initial analysis showed me very clearly that the vast majority of my time was spent on activities that contributed very little to results, way too much time on email and social media. On my least productive activities I was spending only 26% of my time on design and composition. A huge wake up call and a stark reminder that if you are spending your time on the wrong activities, no matter how well you manage your time, you will not achieve the productivity you are after.

3. Set a goal

I came across and interview with Jay Papasan on a podcast called a Dose of Leadership and it helped me greatly. Jay Papasan is the author of the book The One Thing. Listening to him speak helped me realise something I think I knew all along. My many and varied goals needed to become a goal clear and concise goal.

If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one. Russian proverb

So I created one goal for my work life and one goal for my personal life. It has made a huge difference to how I operate on a daily basis. It has given me clear purpose for 2015 and has aided me in making better decisions. My goal is in the forefront of my mind every time I make a decision – will it help me achieve my goal for the year? If not then I have no choice but to say no. Having one goal makes this process so much easier.

4. Create a work schedule

Creating a work schedule helped me get back on track for two key reasons:

  • It scheduled in the activities that will help me achieve my goal for the year. We are all aware if you don’t plan it is unlikely to happen.
  • It prevented decision fatigue – work is just one part of my life. There is always a great deal going on at home and by creating a work schedule it is effectively telling me what to when. Not having to think about what to do means I can just get started on my work each day and not lose time procrastinating over where to start.

5. Practice daily gratitude

This one is a little out there I know, but I have found my attitude to the task at hand plays a huge part in how I approach it and the results it creates. Practicing gratitude does wonders for improving your attitude – we do really have so much to be grateful for if we take the time to think about it.

I began using the 5 minute journal app which I cannot recommend highly enough. I have always thought practicing gratitude would just add to the list of things I have to do and become a burden. This app however allows me to practice intentional gratitude in 5 minutes each morning and evening.

Instead of bemoaning the pressures that come from running a small online business, I would very frequently list it as something I was grateful for. For example:

  • I was grateful I could easily help out in my son’s class at short notice.
  • I was grateful picking up a sick child from school was not stressful and could be done in minutes.
  • I am grateful I can choose to clear my calendar and not take on additional work to free up more time when family life gets busy.
  • I am very grateful blogging allows me travel overseas each year.
  • I am so grateful I receive the most amazing feedback from readers who read my posts and take action.

Have you ever felt like quitting blogging? What did you do to turn things around?

Nicole Avery is a Melbourne mum to five beautiful kids aged 16 to 6. Nicole is slightly addicted to spreadsheets, tea, running and CrossFit. Family is the most important thing in her life and her goal for 2015 is to be a planned, patient and present mother to her beautiful kids.

Comments
  1. Hey Stacey,

    So very important to set a goal that is for sure.

    I mean, how rewarding it is to know you hit that goal and can move on to your next goal.

    A quick question for you:

    During your time off, do you still answer emails? Or do you put up an out of office message?

    Thanks,

    Christopher Pontine

  2. Taking a break is important. I’ve been blogging for close to 7 years now. There were 3 times when I seriously felt like quitting, yet after taking a break, I found that was all I needed to come back refreshed. My last break led me to decide on a good way to change the direction of my blog to keep it fresh. The landscape of blogging has changed so much since I started, and I see the need to change with it.

  3. I almost quit, once upon a time. I was teaching full time and blogging, and couldn’t give 100% to either. I saw the potential in blogging and had already built a great audience that had become a regular part of my creative life. They are my inspiration! So, to drop the blog would have been a bit of a heartbreaker. But to continue teaching and blogging was out of the question. I was rapidly burning out on both. I took the leap and went to blogging full time. When I feel any burnout approaching, I shake things up with a new project or series on the blog. I haven’t had the guts yet to take a full-fledged vacation from blogging, but I’m thinking this is probably a good idea once a year. Good points! Thanks for the post!

  4. How I need such article to be able to stop blogging for people and do something to myself. I wish I could restart blogging.

  5. Hi Stacey,

    I love #2!

    I spent today getting over jet lag, having just flown from Bali to New York City.

    Let me tell you….my arms are tired….;)

    Days like today force me to be even more ruthless with my time. And I’m ruthless to begin with.

    I waste little to no time online so I never feel like quitting.

    All feels efficient, effective and I have fun doing what I do. If I didn’t have fun this would be work, and “work” happens when you spend too much of your time doing wasteful, boring stuff.

    Analyze your time to get on the straight and narrow, blogging-wise.

    Thanks for sharing, Stacey and Nicole!

    Ryan

    • oh haha good joke Ryan!
      I love how you never feel like quitting. I think if I had any small business there’d still be days where I felt like the effort wasn’t worth the reward and I’d want to pack it all away and do something else. your heart’s passion can still be “work”!

  6. Towards the end of last year I reached my lowest point with blogging. I was tired, overwhelmed and feeling completely over blogging

  7. It is inspiring, but I think blogging has become too saturated and people are getting used to consuming content and information from other mediums such as Podcasts and Youtube so it is worth considering.

    People like Pat Flynn are using Podcasts whereas Derek from Social Triggers and the guy from ProjectLifeMastery are using video content to connect with their audience and I believe that is where we are heading.

    What is your take on this? I see you’ve started podcasting too ;)

  8. Hi Stacey,
    A great post – particularly as it’s the school holidays here and I am feeling overwhelmed. I don’t want to quit blogging – in fact, I love it – but I am struggling with multiple priorities and have realised that I need to pare back.

    Your tip on creating just one work and one personal goal is a good one – I am bad at being that focused – but I think it’s needed or I’m in danger of falling out of love with blogging altogether. Or burnout.

    Thanks for the tips! Good luck with your own goals for 2015.

    Heather

  9. What a great article! I couldn’t agree more with the first 4 tips. Staying focused is so hard when you work for yourself and when all these amazing opportunities coming you way. You’re trying to do everything and at the end nothing gets done! I’ve been trying to launch something for a year and it’s only when made this ‘something’ my main goal things started moving. But! If you really want to grow BIG and take your blog to another level, you have to hire people to work for you. That’s when you can start making not just one but a few of your dreams come true.

  10. I’ve been working online for just over 16 years now. “Blogging” since 2003. I have developed and sold several blogs. I go through phases of being passionate about something and when the passion wears off, I sell it to someone who will carry on. I have allowed myself more breaks than I used to – for those times when I am taking a break, I always have a notepad handy. In my handbag, at my lake cottage, at home and in my car. I keep those to jot down ideas as they come to me. With these notes, I don’t feel as pressured to blog them immediately. Getting them out of my head and on paper allows me to free my mind and enjoy more ME time with my husband and family. Burnout does happen. It’s so important to pace yourself so that you are giving your best to your blog and readers.

  11. Blogging is joy to the soul and should be viewed as a serious medium towards building good money from the internet.

  12. I’ve been blogging since 2011 and finally hit the burn out stage this year. I almost quit. Actually, I guess I did quit, I just never got around to closing my blog.

    After spending the last four years pulling 15 hour days 7 days a week, I collapsed. I spent the past six months catching up on sleep, and actually having fun.

    I had forgotten how much I like fun.

    I’ve recently “come back” to blogging and feel rejuvenated. Although I’m going to have to start over from scratch, I don’t regret the decision. I feel like I know now what I expect from blogging and have a better idea why I enjoy it.

    I’m also only allowing myself to spend a few hours a week on blogging. I now see the experience as a nice hobby and a way to generate a small side income.

    For myself, making the decision not to use blogging as a full-time career has helped me out a lot and I’m less stressed this time around.

  13. A very timely and interesting topic for me.

    I’m currently on that “blogging break” so to speak, as I seek to refocus and realign my priorities.

    I committed myself (own choice nobody else’s) to a minimum posting schedule which I maintained for close to 3 years. Well all the advice was post often and consistently. It lets your readers know where and when and also demonstrates to the big G that you are active and consistent.

    Yet, life just gets in the way. Burnout is a big risk and I’ve taken a step back just before I hit it.

    I’m not sure on my strategy when I return but I think it will be different. Like mentioned above I need to think about how my time is spent for the best results to my objectives.

    Last year I set myself (and shared with a couple of blogging friends) a personal monthly audience target to reach by 2015. I never hit it. Yet now I’m close. I’ve been offline for a few weeks and the viewing numbers keep increasing. I’m close to that target!

    Yet is this target a vanity check or a genuine measure of success? I guess that all depends what you want out of your blog and your experiences.

    Always good to see Ryan Biddulph share his experiences like he has in his comments here. I know for sure he works intensely on his site. connections and portfolio. Already he is rewarded for his efforts. He is working hard and smart too.

  14. Hi Stacey Roberts,

    I am new to blogging and enjoying it. I don’t thing I will get tired of blogging as this is earning me MONEY.

  15. Glad I came across this post! I’ve been thinking of giving up on blogging because I just don’t have much time but yeah need to set a plan and all that. This will keep me going :)

  16. Thank you very much for the advice, I think that as a blogger sometimes I feel discouraged because the results expected seem to get me no where, I guess I’m going to rethink my efforts to not throw away all my work done until now.

  17. Same thing as me, i remember when i started blogging in 2009, i was like quitting that time because i do not get any readers not until i keep doing it and i have a set goals and now am happy, blogging is my world..

  18. Good analysis, I often have the same dilemma – to blog or to design new products or talk to customers. Got to check this “One thing” book, I’ve heard a lot about it already. Thanks for sharing hints, Stacey.

  19. It’s so easy to get burnt out with blogging. All the research, commenting, publishing posts as well as the backend of blogging and not to forget the never ending social media sharing. Shew! I’ve tried quitting several times, only to come back because I missed my outlet of sharing myself with the world. Instead, like you, I take a few breaks for a week or so, regroup my thoughts, and come back stronger.

    You share some very good tips above. Definitely passing this one along.

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