Blogging encompasses a huge range of skills and tasks, so everyone gets overwhelmed from time to time. Here are some strategies to push past the very real feeling of overwhelm and achieve your goals.
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01. Take a step back
This is the most important step – don’t skip it!
It can be one of the hardest things to do when your to do list feels a mile long, but it’s also the best thing to do. Take a break from all screens for a little while and give yourself permission to do something you enjoy – dancing to a favorite song, feeling the sunshine and fresh air on your face, having a bubble bath. Whatever your favorite thing to do is, do it, and do it mindfully until you’re not thinking about your problems or to do list.
After you’ve done that, pin down the reason/s everything feels a bit much right now.
Are you tired? If there’s any chance you could be over-tired or sleep-deprived, fix that first before trying to make yourself do something that takes mental energy.
Worried about skills? Make a list of the core basics you want to work on first, don’t start with anything advanced stuff or try to rush through learning all of it. No one gets everything straight away; everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses within blogging. Have a look at What To Learn First (Or Next) As A Blogger if you feel lost with where to start or what to focus on.
Does everything feel too much? Don’t give yourself a hard time; many bloggers get burned out by trying to do too much too fast, or by taking on a lot of commitments. It’s not just you! It takes a lot of time to learn everything, and even when you do feel confident you know enough…that doesn’t mean you have the time to do it! But this is also one of the great things about having your own website; you can make it whatever you want and the sky’s the limit. Just break everything down into steps and then only focus on the next step and nothing beyond that – just like a mountain climber does.
Suffering from comparisonitis? It’s hard to do, but try setting a golden rule: don’t compare yourself to other people, compare yourself to your (past) self. Compare your stats to your stats last month or last year, and be sure to write down all your achievements and milestones to look back on, including your favorite collaborations, comments, and so on. As most bloggers will tell you, the reality of blogging behind the scenes is very different to how it looks on the surface. No one is an overnight success; anyone getting a lot of traffic with a new blog either already has an audience (e.g. they’re a YouTuber) or it’s not their first blog.
Need a shoulder? There’s lots of support for bloggers out there, and a whole bunch of people who know exactly how you feel. Later in this post we look at support in more detail, but don’t write off calling a friend or posting in a safe space on social media.
Not feeling motivated? Normally there’s a deeper reason behind lack of motivation (such as the reasons above!) but ths post may have some tips you can use too: 7 Ways To Fall In Love With Your Blog Again.
02. Review your time & tasks
Do you have to do lists and notes and plans everywhere? If so, start by bringing everything together in one place, like a Trello board where you can easily move things around and create lists.
Next, look at your schedule and use of your time with two questions in mind – 1) are you using time effectively? and 2) do you have enough time? If you answered no to the first, or you’re not sure, take a look at what you can streamline, batch or cut out altogether (we cover reviewing your processes in more detail in the next section).
If you don’t have enough time (and who does?!), try to work out what you can realistically get done in the time you do have available. Even ten minutes a day can add up to bigger progress than you may think. Try setting six month or yearly goals, then work backwards with the time you have available in mind, to determine what you can realistically achieve. If you want to sell copywriting services in year’s time, but you only have an hour a week to work on it, what’s most important to get done? What can be done quickly, and what needs refining? For example, you may only want to spend one month (i.e. 4 hours) on editing your website theme, but you may want to spend four months (i.e. 16 hours) refining your website copy and messaging, since it’s the most significant reflection of your core service.
Make a plan by picking one thing from your big, long-term to do list, and honing in on that. It should be a results-driven task (e.g. not changing your link color or moving things around in your sidebar, but rather doing keyword research or updating an old post with better information). It should also be one single, specific task – for example, “Make notes on course lesson about link building,” not “Learn SEO.”
03. Look at your processes
Set aside anything big/time-consuming that’s not essential – If there’s anything you don’t need to do in the immediate future, put it on a “Future” list to look at later. These may be things like starting multiple sites close together, or a big overhaul project that has small returns (for example updating hundreds of images with a new watermark).
Cut down on demands – Are you putting a lot of demands and pressure on yourself for each blog post? Can you remove or reduce the tasks you’re doing to get a blog post published?
For example, for our blog we only create two images per post: an image that’s assigned as the header and feature image, and a pin image for Pinterest. If each of your blog posts contains a whole bunch of images that need to be shot, edited, watermarked, linked and so on, try to batch some of those tasks so you have a finished library to draw from, or outsource or cut some of the work down where possible. It doesn’t really make any difference to your visitors to see 3 images instead of 5 (and your page speed will thank you!) or have some posts with a stock photo…or no photo at all.
Or maybe you’re committing yourself to writing X number of posts per week – you don’t need to. You blog best when you’re inspired, and it’s totally normal to take breaks where you don’t post at all too. There’s not a magic equation where X number of posts will ensure success.
How can you streamline your blogging process?
Make a list of all the tasks you do to complete a blog post and work out what you can repurpose for another task, or what you can cut out, or what you can batch. For example, for the Lyrical Host blog our process looks like this:
1. Keyword research for blog post topic (5-10 mins using Keysearch).
2. Create title (checking the slug to remove any numbers) and subheadings for post based on keywords & what we want to say.
3. Copy over code for tweet box and pin image from an already published post. Edit tweet box text to match post title.
4. Write paragraphs under each heading to create blog post.
5. Write & add meta description.
6. Crop and optimize a header image.
7. Create pin image, optimize, and add to post. Tweak meta description to use as pin description.
Your process probably looks very different and that’s okay. The most important thing is that it’s a process that works for you. Your readers prefer to see another blog post from you rather than you waiting for the perfect day to do a photoshoot. Your readers would prefer you to be happy over stressing for hours over the perfect meta description.
Blog posts typically follow the 80/20 rule, which means that 20% of posts see 80% of the traffic. Aim to write a post that’s “good enough,” then go back and improve it if you see it’s taking off.
04. Time & measured action
Now you’ve done the above, is there anything else you can change about how you work? For example, if you catch yourself spending too much time down rabbit holes of research, can you put a time limit on it or separate out your consuming time from your action time? It’s easy to get so involved in listening, reading or watching something on a topic that in your head you’ve already actioned it.
It can also help if you have a specific trigger to go from consuming information to acting on it. For example, creating a rule that you’ll start acting on notes when you’ve written two pages of them, or setting a timer for half an hour and then committing to action after that, or limiting yourself to a number of articles a day.
If you find yourself reading or hearing things you already know, that’s a strong sign you should be in action mode rather than consuming mode!
Are there any other steps you can take to get the most from your time? For example, listening to podcasts in any dead waiting, queuing, showering or travel time, hiring a virtual assistant (even if it’s only for a couple of hours), fast tracking your learning with a course or a quick call with an expert? Although some of these things have costs attached, your time also has a cost (and so does your sanity!).
05. Find support
Support from other bloggers is the best thing to cheer you up in stressful times, because everyone’s been there at some point. If you don’t know any in real life, social media groups or writing-related forums can be invaluable for developing relationships and just having a rant in a safe space.
If you’re a Lyrical Host customer, our Slack workspace has a “Turn stress to success” channel for this. We also periodically run one-to-one “Stress to success” sessions via our Facebook page. To find out more about these, please raise a support ticket.
Maybe only one or two tips in this post will help, but we hope you found something to take away from this post – even if it’s just a reminder that you’re one person and it’s okay to take a break!
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