This guest post is by Timo Kiander of Productivesuperdad.com.
Are you afraid that you’ll never reach blogging success? Are you working your backside off on top of your day job to produce articles, ebooks, videos, and podcasts, and learn everything about Pinterest (or any other social network for that matter)?
Do you feel you are running on a blogging treadmill like a hamster but never giving yourself time to rest and recover?
If this is you, then welcome to the club! I have been there, done that, and I can relate. It’s not a very pleasant feeling to experience. However, things don’t have to be that way: there is a solution for this situation.
Burnouts, broken relationships, and abandoned blogs
Let’s face it: working harder and longer hours on your blog doesn’t necessarily make you more productive.
In the short term it might do that, but in the long run you are going to burn out. You are going to lose the fun of blogging too—even on the topic you’re passionate about.
On top of all that, you also put your relationships with your closest ones to danger. When too much of your blogging time is prioritized over the family time, you are soon in a situation where you have to make a decision: you can choose either your blog or your family.
They’re to blame (and you too!)
It’s a lot easier to blame someone else than to take responsibility for your own actions, but in this scenario there are really two responsible parties: them and you.
No matter which blogging hero (or productivity hero) you listen to, they keep telling you that more is better. Create more. Engage more. Be everywhere!
They say, “You cannot build a successful blog without working like crazy, taking massive action, and producing solid, shareable content on a frequent basis. And if you can do it all on a daily basis, that’s even better!”
So, you look up to your blogging hero and think, “Well … s/he must be right. I’ve got to get my act together and work more, do more, engage more. Otherwise, I’ll never see the blogging success that I want or the six-figure income that I’m dreaming about.”
You believe the stories they tell you. It’s virtual peer pressure at its worst—and you take the bait.
Time to slow down
I have been blogging since 2010 and I have consistently produced material for my blog twice per week. That includes written content and videos, and at some points I was even doing podcasts.
In addition, I have guest posted on big blogs and produced couple of ebooks as well—all while having a day job, a family (my wife and a son), and some time-consuming hobbies (I’m a triathlete and a marathoner).
Lately, I have felt like that hamster on a treadmill—I keep running and running but I never have a chance to relax or recover. Nor have I had time to study, do more research, or truly connect with other bloggers.
That’s why I decided to slow down my blogging pace. I’m not leaving blogosphere. I’m just cutting down the speed a bit. By doing this I aim to grow my blog even bigger than it is now.
In practice, slowing down means posting every other week instead of on a weekly basis. This change gives me more room to breathe, and allows me to do more reading and testing, and to create more new material.
For instance, for a couple of months I have wanted to build my own time management system, but I had to postpone the project because of lack of time. Or what about learning photo reading? That’s yet another project that I had to postpone. Interviews, tests, experiments, case studies … I guess you already know by now why I have never started with these projects, though they’re all on my list.
Some people are scared of this change and think that slowing down is like regressing—that if you slow down, you won’t be on everyone’s minds and lips anymore.
Well, maybe. But look around. There are many big bloggers who don’t follow a daily blog post pattern, and they’re still doing well! Derek Halpern and Glenn Allsop and Jon Morrow come to mind (and by the way, check out this video to learn why Derek is posting so infrequently).
In my opinion, slowing down is not regression. Actually, it is the best thing that has happened to me for a long time.
How to slow down successfully
Slowing down may sound easy, but in reality it’s not. One scary word keeps most of the bloggers working the same way they always have: fear.
They fear that if they change their routines and habits, they are not going to reach blogging success. They are also afraid of missing something crucial if they don’t follow to the letter what the gurus are teaching (advice that so many other bloggers are following).
But if they’re brave enough and decided to get through that glass wall known as fear, a new world would emerge for them. Are you one of these brave ones? If you are, here are five steps to follow that should make the transition much easier:
- Acknowledge your current situation. You are stressed or burned out by blogging, thus you want to spend more time with your loved ones. Things cannot continue this way any longer.
- Listen to external signals very carefully: Are you working too much and taking the common time off from your family? Are you working like a madman, but without any remarkable results? These clues should give you indication that you should slow down your blogging.
- Make a decision to test the blogging slowdown. Shift to blogging once per week instead of every day, for example, and see what advantages and disadvantages it has for you.
- Hire some professional help if possible. In fact, my decision to slow down was greatly affected by my blogging coach. Although at first his suggestion of slowing down sounded foreign, I have learned to appreciate it and I feel grateful for this advice! That’s really the power of having an external person looking at you: they have the ability to give powerful, objective advice for your benefit.
- Connect with other bloggers and ask them to write guest posts for your blog. That way, you get content almost without any effort, and you can free up your time even more. And don’t forget interviews either. They are great a way to generate valuable content with less effort.
Don’t get me wrong: it is fine to learn from gurus, but be sure to adjust their lessons to your unique situation! You are the only one to say if you are capable of producing epic content every day, or only once a week.
Over to you now: have you slowed down your blogging pace because of increased stress, weaker relationships with your close ones, or just plain burning out—even when blogging about something you are passionate about? Leave your comments and share your experiences below. Let’s support each other to slow down!
Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, teaches WAHD superdad productivity for work at home dads. If you want to get more productive in your own life, grab 222 of his best Tips for Becoming a Productivity Superstar.
Slowing down has been the focus on my life for the past 2 1/2 years, and I am happier and healthier than ever before. Even more importantly, I spend a lot of time with what brings my joy (my faith, my famly & writing). Wasn’t able to focus on those things until I slowed down. Never what to go back. So, I fully support this idea of slowing down in a way that works for you. How this looks is unique to every person, but there is a slower pace for every person.
Sure. Slowing down opens new opportunities and brings more happiness. This is what I have noticed myself.
What a great perspective. Slowing down allows up to see MUCH more clearly!
What a perfect time for me to see this article. Sometimes I do get too much preoccupied with blogging that I do forget a lot of important stuff such as the ones you have listed above. Of course I believe that hard work will pay off one day but too much excessive hard work might be harmful. There should be a balance ! In my part, I guess its time for me to slow down and take it smoothly.
Great article Timo ! :)
Yes, finding your own pace is very important. This helps you to become more productive – but in a relaxed manner.
I understand that Timo Kiander is a guest blogger and it’s very refreshing to hear this point of view but it’s funny to find a post about blogging once a week or even less on a blog that provides content every day (which I love by the way. In fact I made you my home page!).
Ironic, isn’t it? :)
Anyway, thanks for checking out my post.
Thanks for this. It’s affirming and hits on my own recent experience beautifully. I was blogging hard for a year and a half, and then had to shift gears to produce my book. In the process we had our second child and I now find I simply don’t have the time for well crafted blog posts anymore.
So I’ve shifted to cartooning full time. One of my better moves, which I did not make lightly. But I cover some fairly heavy stuff in my writing, and I can now approach it with more humor and brevity. I find that the whole body of work: books, occasional articles, and the cartoon strip, can work together to achieve my true end. It took the crucible of the burnout pace to help me find this new place to work from.
Thanks for writing this post, and thanks to Problogger for giving you the megaphone.
Blogging requires a lot of work if you want to do it properly. Although I had heard this statement before I started, I only understood it until I experienced it myself.
I think that sometimes we think that slowing down means quitting or giving up, but this isn’t so – far from it!
Great to hear that you found other paths to explore!
Oh yes Timo, I have listened and blogged, first daily, then I implemented an every other day strategy, I was still tied. Now I am once a week at most, and sometimes I just don’t – it’s a blessed relief! I’m finding new ways of doing what works, for me. The truth is things have to work for the individual and their life, which let’s face it is more important than the blog post!
You have to find your own way of doing things – no matter if others are telling to do things otherwise.
This is a great message, Timo. I’m in the midst of a blog hiatus for the second time in a year. I never have been prolific–that every-other-week schedule you’re cutting back to was me at my best. But here is what I discovered the last time I stepped back. The people who were really paying attention are still there when I came back, and the time away allowed me to come back with a freshness that attracted new people. It’s hard to imagine how anyone can keep up with the blogging pace that many gurus recommend, let alone when you’re juggling a job and family too. And while more frequent posting might increase your traffic faster, there are many benefits that are perhaps more valuable that come from keeping a reasonable pace.
Blogging on a daily basis is just too much. In fact, even once per week is sometimes too much.
Slowing down gives so much benefits that I wish I had discovered this earlier :)
I really needed to read this one today. I have been struggling with this issue lately. Thank you. I think Quality in blogging is so much better than Quantity. :)
Yes, quality over quantity – that’s a good rule to live by.
I started my blogging doing it every day. Yep, I burned out. Now I have a new blog that I thought I could keep up 4 times each week but it didn’t work out. I am now posting 3 times per week but I still feel a little rushed. I’m thinking of going to two posts each week. I want to stay busy but there are parts of blogging I haven’t done yet because of the time crunch. I need to correct this. Seeing all these other positive comments is giving me the guts to go ahead. Thank you for guest-posting this, Timo.
Sure! I happy to hear that I could make a difference with this post :)
Ultimately, it’s schedule that fits you the best and you should stick with that.
Ha! I suppose smack dab in the middle of my Blogversary-apolooza frenzy is a funny time to be reading this! But huge fun event aside, I’m with you! I took a complete no internet vacation with my family and came back super energized and happy to be blogging. Making sure I keep things balanced is vital to long term success.
Thank you for helping us to get off the treadmill! Kathy
You brought up a very important point.
Keeping non-Internet vacations and spending time with your family is a great way to balance your life.
I know what you mean. I find hard to find the time to just make a couple of posts a week never mind a couple, or even one a day. Anyways, great post. I’ve learned a thing or two from this post and therefore, I’ve bookmarked it. Go here if you want to Make Money Online
That is great to hear!
It surprised me that producing even 1 or 2 quality posts per week is so much hard work.
I agree. Sometimes the BEST strategy is to take a step back because blogging is hard work!
Thanks for this great post!
Yep. Slowing down a bit can give you so much more energy for creating really outstanding stuff!
Excellent! Slowing down is a key to success. Why? You see your blocks. You observe your fears. Facing, embracing and releasing fears is the easy way to become successful.
I meditate daily for at least 1 hour. I also began my extensive commenting campaign recently, penning 3 to 4 paragraphs for each comment. This forces me to be mindful and add value, and you can do those 2 things well if you slow down and relax. Force negates. Power attracts good things. Rushing forces things, making your job 1000 times more difficult. Slowing down makes your job easier.
The neat thing about our world? We attract our experience. We live in a Universe of attraction. So slowing down and doing things from a calm, confident place allows you to manifest more quickly, and with much less effort. Straining and striving is for the birds, and is TOTALLY counterproductive in a Universe of attraction. Makes zero sense to chase what wants to come to you.
Take your time folks. Write 1 blog post every few days, or week, or with whatever frequency vibes with your new, calm, confident, relaxed vibe. Just stick with it and watch your thoughts and feelings. Observe when you begin to rush. Stop. Take a deep breath. Remember, it all comes to you. No need to run around like a mad man or woman.
Thanks for sharing your insight Timo!
Nice to see you again :)
There was a lot of wisdom in your comment, but especially this one hit me: “Rushing forces things, making your job 1000 times more difficult. Slowing down makes your job easier.”
Couldn’t agree more :)
Totally agree with your position Timo. As you know I recently published about this too.
You need to define what allows you to deliver your best work, and I’ll bet its not tied to a schedule. It lies in your thoughts, your genius, your creativity.
Stop beating yourself up trying to follow someone elses rules, and do it your own unique way.
Fab post Timo :)
Thank you Jackie!
Yes, many times trying to force our creativity to a rigid timetable is not possible. That’s why you have to find your own way of doing things.
Thanks for the good reminder. I’m actually starting my *third* blog, my first two attempts having ended due to burnout and left for dead. I’m taking a new approach with my new site, I’ve been taking it slower posting only once or twice a week and slowly making tweaks and working on it instead of devoting so much of my time, energy, and focus into it at once.
I feel it has helped me to have better thought out content, and has helped my creative juices and motivation to stay steady. Great advice!
Great to hear that!
That is definitely one of the great things when slowing down: You have more time to create and give your creativity a chance to shine!
Great post and sage advice Timo.
Thank you for sharing.
Thank you :)
It was awesome to realize that you found the post valuable.
I have been blogging like a madman. I have two blogs; one in Danish and one in English and my goal were to write one post every day for a year on each blog. After six months I hit the wall and I started to loose passion. After eight months of blogging I was burned out and I had a todo-list that could keep me busy for several years.
I don’t want to quit and give up, but I decided to slow down. It is only two weeks ago I made this decision and today I’m not as tired as I was and I’m starting to find my passion again. I even have time to read and comment other blogs.
My new strategy is to set a goal for every month and keep focus on that goal. I only publish when I feel like it.
For example this month I’m working on an e-book and while writing it I get great content for posts. Next month I’m going to work on a new blogging platform (it’s time to get rid of those free templates ;-)
Thank you for showing me that success is possible even though I don’t publish every day.
You know, before I started my current blog, I was planning of starting 3 blogs at once … So glad that I didn’t :)
Good luck with your e-book project! Slowing down the pace will definitely help you with that project.
This is such excellent advice! I was in the same place for a while – going, going, going and I realized I wasn’t sure quite where. It was only when I slowed down and pulled away for a while that the inspiration came and my passion returned. Now I am launching a rebranded blog that is a place where my authenticity can shine through. The work is feeling like play again. But I know I will still need to listen when that little voice tells me to ‘show down!’
Listening to your inner voice is very important – it will tell you what is the right thing to do.
Also, I noticed as well that if I work too hard, my inspiration and passion were facing hard times :)
I agree with your article. I have been facing such issues lately and it has only burnt me out even more. I plan to slow down things a bit now! Great article :D
Great! That was a good decision!
Wonderful advice! Have been doing this for the past few months and it has given me more time step back and really decide what needs to be done and actually do them!
It’s hard to see the 20,000 ft view if you are always nose to the grind day in and day out.
Hi Alan, how are you?
Definitely, losing that 20 000 feet view is not good – you lose you direction completely.
Hi Timo, thanks so much for this post! I have also just gone to posting every other week and I think it makes a lot of sense to do so. It gives me a lot more time to work on guest posting and e-book writing and, most importantly, it takes a lot of pressure off me!
Yes, taking your focus a bit off your blog gives you a chance to work on other important projects instead.
Hi Timo, What a great post. I had an enforced slowing down 2 years ago and without a “real” job to return to, have started blogging. I love writing and am plucking up the courage to approach other blogs for an opportunity to submit guest posts too. Good luck and enjoy your slower pace of life.
Thank you Carolyn!
When you start your guest posting, start out small – then proceed to bigger blogs.
That’s how I started myself :)
This is the second time this week alone that I have hear this point. Slow Down to move forward. Slow down to get more done.
This weekend in canada it is our May Long weekend! There will be no working, just fun!
PS. commenting is fun, not work :-)
So true: Slow down to get more done.
Sometimes that advice may sound counter-intuitive, but it is true.
Interesting article. I admit that I am one of these bloggers that become a nervous wreck when I have not posted new content for a while. Its not that the readership of the site I manage decrees – in the past few years it has been quite stable, but somehow I almost feel obligated to refresh the articles. A movie review takes me a while , and trough there is a section of my site for books review I haven`t written one in a while just because it takes longer to get trough a book and sometimes even my editor is blaming me that I am rushing things instead of as the author of this article suggests slow down .
I think I shall consider the advice of Timo – if only I could manage to do things more calmly….
Hey Skykid, I understand what you feel!
It was a big decision for me too – and especially since all gurus are saying that one should post very often. That made the decision very hard.
Then again, you have to listen to yourself and see what’s your personal situation. Only you know best if it’s ok to post bi-weekly, once a week or even every day.
Timely reminder for me, this! Thanx Timo. I only post 3 times a week but have been deliberating to take this slowing down approach. I am beginning to feel like that hamster on the treadmill :)
Yeah, that is not a fun feeling – I can tell you :)
I’m happy to have read this, be ause I just recently discovered this idea on my own. My blog is less than 4 months old and I’ve been trying my best to learn everything about blogging as fast as I can. My blog is a vegan recipe blog, and I didn’t learn until after I started my blog how much work it would be to stage and do photoshoots of the food. At first I tried to post every day, while also still teaching myself about the blogging world and advertising. I’m so greatfuk for everyone who reads my blog, but I didn’t have time to check out their blogs in return and return comments. I don’t plan to slow down forever, but I decided to take this last week slowly. I’m reading other blogs, gathering ideas, and still testing recipes- but at my own pace without the rush to do a photoshoot and edit the pics and get the post up and submit it to all the sites I need to to get the traffic I want. I think every once in a while, I’ll take a slow week like this to give my brain a rest, reflect, get some sleep, and learn some new things. I think a week gives me enough time to get rested and motivated again :) and also to build new relationships with other bloggers, and respond to comments and emails. This post made me feel like this was acceptable, because all week I was wondering if this was a poor decision that would make me look lazy to my readers.
It is acceptable.
It was a surprise for me too, how much work it is involved – even when posting once or twice per week.
There are so many hidden tasks when blogging and writing a post is just part of it.
What a great message, I started out blogging daily and then at least 4x a week. Recently I had to have maintenance on the blog so I’ll be almost a week without it and it has felt a little liberating. Sometimes we take ourselves much too seriously. And we need patience- good things don’t happen overnight like they may sound from what we read in the news. All good things do take time and patience. Thanks for writing this one.
Thank you :)
Yep, you said it right: Things take time. You just have to be persistent enough and good things will happen.
Starting in 2006, I began taking breaks from technology so I can have a recharge. Every summer since then, I’ve made sure I’ve taken by annual Technology Break>. Bloggers are not machines, they only use machines. When that role gets blurred, I don’t think you do yourself or readers any favor just throwing content out there without the same gusto that you once did.
I suddenly feel the need to slow down, go offline, and enjoy this beautiful Sunday. Hope everyone follows me in that direction! Cheers.
This is a great sentence: “Bloggers are not machines, they only use machines.”
I wish blogger would remember this more often :)
Also blogging helps to meet new wise and nice people and be a part of some cool communities.
Sure, that’s a nice side of blogging: connecting with new people.
Interesting that I came to this conclusion about two weeks ago, that I had to slow down. Instead of blogging twice a week I’ve gone to once a week. It is very liberating. When I clicked on the link to your blogging coach I should have known it would be Danny Iny. His rise through the blogging ranks this past year has been astounding. He did it by blogging a lot but now his guest bloggers have taken on the load for him.
Yeah … I have been working with Danny for a couple of months now and that was the best decision I have made for a long time :)
This article is incredibly well-timed for me. I’ve been mulling a good slow down strategy for a while. I have a fairly engaged followership that tends to notice when I stop following my schedule which is pretty much a post per day (or more!). I’ve been making small incremental changes to sort of wean down and gradually change the expectations.
I don’t want to let my readers down, but I won’t be much good to them if I just burn out and walk away one day. Plus, I want to launch another blog, and it’s not physically possible to run them both at the same pace I’ve been going. If I can run each at 25% power as compared to the original, that means I’ll be doing twice as much with half the effort, right? :)
Yeah … knowing how much energy is required to run one blog, I can only imagine what it is for two.
Sure, your logic is right :)
Thanks for the timely post Timo, I was just thinking about my pace of blogging the past few days and realized that, with summer approaching and more opportunities for family time ahead (and, as something you’d appreciate, fall marathon training ramping up), it probably is time to reduce the expectations I put on myself about blog post frequency. Now I think I will move to once per week and, if there is more time available, work on other blog projects that I’ve delayed, like updating some merchandise and writing more guest posts.
That plan sounds great!
Slowing down gives you a chance to move forward with other delayed projects – and spend more time with your family and hobbies.
BTW, good luck for your marathon! I’m training for Helsinki City Marathon and I have two other marathons on my racing calendar for this year :)
I think it’s about knowing your own limits and what your writing standards are. I originally started blogging with the intent to write at least an article a week. Seems very doable … until life and other business matters got in the way.
From the beginning, I held myself to a high standard. I would not publish a post just to meet an arbitrary deadline. If I were to publish something, it would have to be something I am proud to share with the world.
I’ve now slowed down to blogging once every 2-3 weeks. My new focus is to write longer, well-research, value-packed articles. Bloggers like Glen Allsopp of ViperChill is the perfect example that you don’t need to blog often to have a successful blog. He blogs on average about once a month. His secret? Write long comprehensive posts that provides tremendous value to the readers. Period. And he’s got a large following to show for it.
That’s the model I’ll be following from now on. Quality over quantity.
I agree and I think your strategy is working well: I have learned quite a bit by reading your blog :)
Thanks so much Derren for this timely and well said caution in the blogsphere by bloggers who are letting their over-ambitious blogging zeal to tear their love-lives apart.
It once happened to me too, setting out time is the best thing, its makes you try and research better untapped money niche and its always makes you more productive.
I have reading, coz its motivates and inspire me as a motivational speaker as well, i know if stop reading other non blogging books, very soon i will start dying.
Awesome, great to hear you found this post valuable! Thanks for checking it out!
Thanks you :)
Blogging for me is not only for fun. It’s a profession that needs to be looked at. Thanks for the blog :) Its gives me awareness that I need to be focus on this job.
Great, thanks for checking out the post!
blogging is something I”m bad at. I never seem to have the time to keep my posts up to date. This is something I need to work on.
Yes, blogging can be very time consuming. That’s why slowing down will help you to improve your posts quite a bit.
wow! this is a relief, I was up all day and night to set up my blog and keep posting as in everyday, and now I feel exhausted. im a wannabe blogger, so everything is new to me. I stumbled upon this blog from BC, thanks for the great post! I need to slow down now. :)
Timo, Danny linked this post on his recent update on blogs which brought me here.
As much as i love slowing down in blogging, the best thing is to make sure you are doing the right thing and that your niche does not need everyday blogging. You can cover a week or 2-weeks post in just 1 single post which means you’ve fed them….
Danny is such a great writer, i doubt if the guy sleeps at all… Lol.
Gald to connect with you here Timo.