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My 6 Best Tips for Beating Blogger Overwhelm

Posted By Kelly Exeter 13th of October 2016 Be Productive 0 Comments

My 6 Best Tips for Beating Blogger Overwhelm | ProBlogger.net

This is a guest contribution from ProBlogger Expert Kelly Exeter.

It was the toaster that did it in the end.

I’d been juggling work around school holidays. I had a book in its pre-launch phase. I was trying to figure out in which of my already tight days I could record four podcasts. And I was on deadline for two guest posts while trying to figure out what I’d write about for my own website.

And then it happened.

I was making toast for my son’s breakfast one morning. Or rather trying to, because the lever on our brand new toaster refused to stay down. After forcefully pressing it down 200 times (give or take) only to have it pop straight back up each time, I did what any normal person would do.

I burst into tears.

Welcome to Overwhelm Town. Population: Me.

Here’s the problem: When you’re a blogger, and you hit Peak Overwhelm in your life, the first thing anyone suggests when you mention it to them is to ditch the blogging stuff.

‘It’s just a hobby. I’ve never understood why you spend so much time on it in the first place.’

‘It’s clear you have too much on your plate, and blogging is what’s tipping you over the edge. You should cut back.’

‘I mean, it just seems like you spend your whole day on social media.’

*sigh*

Isn’t it interesting that when a passionate (but recreational) golfer hits Peak Overwhelm, you don’t hear anyone telling them, ‘Hey, it’s definitely golf that’s the problem. Maybe you should take a break from it for a while’. If anything it’s more like, ‘You need to relax. Time to hit the driving range’.

Just as golf should be prioritised because hobbies are good for us, you should be able to prioritise blogging when life gets crazy.

Now we’ve got that straight; I will acknowledge two inescapable truths:

  1. Yes, blogging (and all the things that go with it) can contribute to life overwhelm.
  2. Yes, it does feel like we should always be doing a million things to grow our readership, increase engagement and forge a path towards eventually monetising (if that’s what we want to do).

So whenever I find myself drowning in overwhwelm (the life AND blogging variety) here’s what I do.

1. Remember that consistency always beats the cute stuff

I learned this one from ten years of competing in triathlons. All my good results came from the fact that I never missed a session (i.e. consistently turning up every day), as opposed to any of the killer sessions I ever did.

The same applies to blogging. When life gets overwhelming, don’t worry about the cute stuff. You know what I’m talking about:

  • Spending an hour creating the perfect flat lay for Instagram.
  • Agonising about choosing the right image for Friday’s blog post.
  • Trying out 30 different fonts for a quote you’re posting on Facebook.

Instead, get back to basics.

Forget about trying to make everything amazing all the time, burning out, and then not posting anything for a week. You’ll get far better results from just showing up each day and delivering something good enough for your readers and followers.

2. Focus on the endgame 

You’ve probably heard this before: Blogging is a long game. If your goals are to go stratospheric in three months and then cash out, then… umm, you might need to find another game.

But if you’re like most bloggers, and are in it for the long haul, being hit by overwhelm is a good time to focus on where you’re going.

I’m quite lucky in that I’ve been working towards the same goal for the past six years—having my books make enough of a side income for me to step entirely out of my business. So whenever I start feeling completely at sea, I remind myself of that big goal. Then I focus on doing only those things that will definitely take me closer to that goal. If anything is a 50/50 chance at best, I’ll happily let it fall to the floor.

Not sure what your endgame is? Focus on a shorter-term goal instead. The same principle applies. The antidote for any feeling of overwhelm is prioritisation. So, look at your to-do list, zero in on what you know will take you closer to your goal, and ditch the rest—at least for now.

3. Remember that just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean you have to do it

A large part of overwhelm, both in life and in blogging, comes from friends telling us about something that worked a treat for them. It might be going Paleo, some killer new Instagram strategy, or joining a particular Mastermind group.

It’s great these things worked for our friends. And while they’d probably work for us too, it doesn’t mean we’re obliged to do them.

There are lots of strategies/approaches/mindsets out there that ‘work’. And part of being a functional adult is choosing the ones that work best for us within the constraints of our time, family, finances and lifestyle goals.

4. Recycle

Okay. Enough mindset stuff. Let’s get practical.

I recently surveyed my readers and found that most of them (well, the ones who took the time to fill in the survey!) had been reading my blog for less than two years. I suspect yours might be in the same boat. (Most blog readerships seem to turn over every two or three years.)

When I find myself so overwhelmed that I can’t think of anything to write about, it’s time to recycle. I find an evergreen type post that’s 2-3 years old, update it if necessary, and then re-publish it. For the more recent readers of my blog it’s completely new material. And my long-time readers generally appreciate me re-visiting the topic.

5. Go the fallback option

Recycling isn’t always an option for overwhelm-induced bloggers block. And that’s when we need to have a fallback option.

You might put a call out for some guest posts. You might do what my friend Allison does, and let Twitter decide what to write about. Or you could try one of Pip’s ‘Taking Stock’ posts.

6. Take a break

It may seem like I am contradicting myself here, but let me explain. The point I was making at the beginning of this piece was how annoying it is that the first option anyone offers when we’re overwhelmed is, “Take a break from blogging”. But if you’ve tried everything I’ve suggested and you’re still struggling to get on top of life, then it’s totally fine to take a break.

And that’s what’s so great about blogging being a long game. If we’re generally consistent over time, taking a month off here and there barely causes a blip on the radar.

And a break doesn’t always have to mean dropping everything anyway. Earlier this year I stopped writing my weekly blog post and sending out my weekly email for two months. But during that time I kept on podcasting.

You might stop writing on your blog but keep posting stuff on social media. It’s up to you.

Whatever you decide, experience has taught me that readers are very understanding when you take a break. And they’re always there when you get back.

About Kelly Exeter

Kelly Exeter is a writer,
editor, and
designer who’s endlessly fascinated by the power of the stories we tell ourselves. She explores these on her blog and in her books
Practical Perfection and Your Best Year Ever. Connect with her on

Facebook
, Twitter, and Instagram.

  • Hey Kelly,

    Sometimes we all get overwhelmed in our life. While blogging, people get frustrated because of not getting the results they thought about.

    I totally agree with your quotes about blogging as a hobby and more. The bloggers give up but they don’t know how can blogging turn into something sparkling.

    We should always take a break so that a free time can cool down the pressure and energise our mind.

    An informative post indeed.
    ~Ravi

  • Hi Kelly,

    Good tips! That dog looks miserable LOL ;)

    For me, I follow the easiest, most simple path to defeat overwhelm: I drop everything and relax. Everything is energy. Meaning, if I push and strain and strive, and since force negates, I just made my job a hundred times harder. But if I chill, my job gets a thousand times easier, overwhelm dissolves instantly, and since I’m using power and not force, everything comes together almost effortlessly for me.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

  • Ava

    Hi! I just read your article. Blogging can become overwhelming, that is true but I just popped in at your blog! Its really nice and you have published two books! Congrats. Sometimes you have to take a step back and just breath! Try meditation, when you feel frazzled, it means your mind needs to relax. TMI but as I get older, I incorporate a lot more fish into my diet, keeps my mind sharp! Anyways will check out your blog tonight and read some of your posts! Take Care.

  • Great one Kelly,
    Consistency is always worked. Sometimes the blog looks will not look amazing as we want it to look but it’s okay to go with the consistency. Blogging needs patience and time to draft new article.

  • Hi Kelly,

    Cute dog picture,

    And this is good to know that consistency always work, focus on end result. Well detail and explained in this 6 points. I will use this on my blog

    Best Regards,
    Nathan

  • Great & useful information Kelly. I have been always scared for if I should develop my own skills or should follow the usual one.
    I got my answer.

    Thanks

  • I try to post once a week on my blog and I’ve been doing it for around a year and a half now. I recently took a break for a few weeks. This allowed me to focus on improving it by stepping back from it. Taking a break from blogging can be a great thing sometimes!

  • Hello Kelly,
    This is a really great post! I am currently finishing an apprenticeship, looking for a job, while working on a top-notch University application AND trying to keep my blog updated. It can be so easily overwhelming. If I come across one roadblock on my journey, I sometimes end up reaching a meltdown and feeling like I can’t be successful in *anything*. Which (hopefully!) is not true.
    I actually wrote about five online resources for relaxation, a lot of these don’t require a lot of time being dedicated to them in order to feel their effect as well, which can be really handy! They might help take the edge off things, and help you de-stress a bit, why not check it out and let me know if it’s been helpful to you? http://campbellxemma.com/top-5-online-relaxation-resources/

  • We definitely hit this stage a few times at my company. Trying to manage an entire content schedule is certainly an undertaking.

    With a lot of up and downs we finally found our groove, but we had a lot of learning along the way to get to where we are today.

    Thankfully it does all get better and for those out there wondering if its really worth it in the end, yes, yes it is.

    Just as you mentioned, be consistent and the fruits of your and everyones labor will start to pay off.

  • Hey Kelly,

    One of the main reasons people tend to feel overwhelmed is because they have so many things to do and feel overwhelmed when thinking about it. The first thing we should do is get organized. Making lists of tasks in order of priority and how much time we anticipate each task taking enables us to see what needs to get done that day and what can wait until you have more time. We will see that some tasks can be done in short intervals when we have a free moment. There is no greater feeling than completing a task and crossing it off the list.

    Taking breaks while we have so much to do might sound like it will increase our feelings of being overwhelmed. The number one source for stress and overwhelming anxiety is our expectation on a particular outcome. In trying to satisfy that expectation, we place unnecessary pressure on ourselves, thus causing stress. Grasping for control is another source of stress, because many times, we cannot do everything ourselves.
    One of the resistances to releasing control is our lack of trust in other people, and trusting that they can do the job as well as us. Eventually, thanks for your wonderful thought.

    With best wishes,

    Amar kumar

  • Excellent advice and a post I definitely needed to read right now. I’ve got several posts started on multiple blogs over the past few weeks, and I just can’t seem to bring myself to finish any of them. I overwhelmed myself to the point of not being able to get the motivation to continue on any of the posts. I will especially take #1 to heart and just get through them with consistent focused effort. Thank you!

  • Hi Kelly,

    Lots of common sense tips and reminder here, thank you. Blogging certainly needs a measured approach and consistency is a key element.

    All of what you say is vital because the majority expect to receive exposure and heaps of “traffic” from one or two contributions here and there, but the truth is it takes a consistent build up of content to gain traction… the long game as you say.

    A favorite of mine is what you call recycling; I’d like to extend your point to call it re-purposing – in other words take your evergreen content from other areas online (i.e. video) and turn them into blog posts. It amounts to the same thing, and is a great way to spread one’s content.

    Thanks

  • Hi Kelly,

    I agreed Consistency is very important and later on its help a lot.

  • What great reminders, Kelly. I especially liked the first one – being consistent.

    Sometime ago, I read Agatha Christie’s definition of a professional writer. She said that they write whether they feel like it or not.

    Raymond Chandler set aside what he called “do nothing” time. He’d sit at his desk and he’d either write, or do nothing. If he couldn’t think what to write, he did nothing. He didn’t let himself get distracted into doing something that had nothing to do with why he was sitting at his desk.

  • Great post, Kelly! I completely agree that sometimes we get bogged down on the small things and forget to focus on the big picture (i.e. end game). Thanks for the thoughts and inspiration!

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