Burnout is nothing to joke about. It’s real and it is vicious.
Blogger burnout has derailed many potential entrepreneurs and we don’t want that to happen to you.
The good news is that you can avoid this all-too-common phenomenon with a little planning, and a lot of self-monitoring.
Here are 4 tips to maintain a healthy schedule and avoid burnout:
Start as You Intend to Continue
We all know that when you first start a new venture you want to throw your whole self into it. This is normal, and honestly, it’s part of the fun of starting something new. When starting a long-term project like a blog, though, it’s important to set boundaries for yourself from the beginning so that your blog doesn’t end up taking over your life.
I’m not going to tell you to limit yourself from working on your blog when you’re super excited about it – that would be silly and counterproductive. What I am saying is that you need to remember that one of the best things about having a business like a blog is the freedom it creates in your life. Yet we teachers (little go-getters that we are) tend to approach blogging like we approach teaching… we’re all in, 110%, all day, all night… when we’re not giving 110% to teaching.
That is a recipe for burnout.
Instead, think about the things you had in mind when you started blogging.
If you want to be able to enjoy a work-free movie night with your family every Friday night, give yourself a rule that there’s no blog work on Fridays after dinner.
If you want to be able to work from anywhere so you can travel with your son’s soccer team, then grab a laptop and make use of the time he’s at practice (and then put it away afterward so you can hear about the gnarly goal he made).
The fact is that nobody starts a business – even a blog – so they can be tied to their computer 24/7. So if that’s not your goal, then don’t start that way.
It will feel like there’s sooooo much to do, but honestly, I think that’s just life in the 21st century. Start building your blog how you want it to look in the long run.
Eliminate, Automate, Delegate
If you read blogging advice online, you’re going to find a lot of advice on things you “must” do in order to be successful. For full-time bloggers, maybe these things are possible, but as a side hustler, you have to be more discerning with what you take on.
I know I’m taking on too much when I start to feel unsure of what to do next. If I’m feeling stuck and procrastinating doing anything, it’s usually because I’m trying to do too much.
The first thing to do in this situation is to look at your list and take at least one thing off of it. Usually it’s something I read about someone else doing and decided that I had to take on, too. (No, that urge doesn’t go away as you get further into your journey.) Shift these things over to a Maybe Someday list, or just cross it out and move on.
The next thing to do is look for things that you can automate, like emails, social media responses, tagging and segmenting subscribers, your opt-in… automation is a huge time saver and it can keep you from going into burnout.
Truth be told, automation also makes your business more appealing to your readers. We expect things to happen instantly, so when people sign up for your email list, they want the freebie you promised right away… not when you get around to it after school, homework, dinner, and soccer practice.
The first task many bloggers automate is email delivery. It’s inexpensive and easy to use – and it’s a great investment because your email list is key in making money from your blog. I personally use and recommend ConvertKit. Another popular option is automating social media posts. I use RecurPost, but for beginners typically recommend CinchShare.
The last thing to try when burnout is on the horizon is delegate tasks to someone else.
Some things just need a personal touch, or just need to be dealt with as they happen, but that doesn’t mean they need to be dealt with by you!
If you notice that you can’t get the meaningful items on your to-do list because you’re spending all your time answering emails, managing your Facebook group, or doing other non-zone-of-genius stuff, it may be time to delegate to a virtual assistant.
But, don’t forget that you don’t just have to eliminate, automate, and delegate business tasks. You can free up time and energy by applying this same principle at home. If you can’t get to your blog work because you’re too busy shopping, cooking dinner, and cleaning your house, get your groceries delivered, put Hello Fresh on auto delivery, or hire someone to do the cleaning.
Bonus: Hiring for your home is often cheaper than hiring a VA,
Repurpose Your Content
A mistake many bloggers make at the beginning (including yours truly) is creating new content instead of reusing what they’ve already got.
You write a blog post, share it once, then move on and write something else… all while trying to think of something else to share on social media.
It’s exhausting, and can lead to not only business burnout, but also creative burnout. (That’s when you’re still passionate about your blog, but feel like you have nothing more to say.)
Instead, get more mileage from your blog posts and what you’ve already created.
When writing a post, craft a couple of different posts to use to share it, maybe grab a quote, and then share your post multiple times. A common misconception is that once you share a post, everyone has seen it. In fact, only about 1-3% of your followers will see what you share on social media. On top of that, many won’t be able to stop and read what you’ve written at that exact moment.
All that’s to say, keep sharing your content!
By finding ways to go deeper on your content, rather than coming up with new ideas to hit on surface level, you can engage your readers in new ways and promote content you’ve already created.
An example would be doing a weekly Facebook or Instagram live to answer questions about your latest post. You can use a tool like StreamYard to go live in multiple places at once, then download your video to upload permanently to YouTube.
Say No – A LOT
In my first several years of teaching I worked all the time. Teaching was my whole life, from the time I woke up, to the time I went to bed. From what I’ve heard, most teachers are the same way.
If they needed someone to be on a committee, I was your girl.
Schedule adjustments needed? Sign me up to help!
We’re having a dance? Awesome! I’ll chaperone!
It’s in our nature to do whatever’s asked of us, but it’s not necessary, and it’s not healthy.
The problem is that we feel like we need an excuse to say no, as if, “I’m tired and want to go home to want Netflix.” isn’t a valid excuse (it is).
If you’re going to grow a blogging business, saying no is going to have to become part of your vocabulary, because here’s the thing:
Every time you say yes to something, you’re saying no to something else.
When you agree to be on that committee, you’re taking time and mental bandwidth away from your blog, your classroom, and your family.
A few years ago, I found myself a member of 2 district-level committees and serving as a scorer for reflection papers for new teachers… and quickly approaching burnout because I was doing all that and didn’t say no to anything in my business either. So – by default – I ended up saying no to rest, family time, and sleep.
I wrote to my assistant superintendent and told him I needed to step away from all of it, and refocused my energy.
Open committee seat? Administrative something needs to be done? Dance on Friday until 10pm? I’m sorry, I’m busy.
No explanation needed
And guess what. The world hasn’t stopped turning!
Boundaries are important in every aspect of your life. It’s not always easy to set them – or stick to them – but if you’re going to avoid burnout, they’re essential.
In Teacher Blog Academy, we teach you how to build a blog in a sustainable way, with just the basics, and without any of the excess to-dos that aren’t necessary and just add stress to your life. To learn more go to teacherblogacademy.com