In the early days, running a blog was simple.
You could sign up to a free hosting site; choose a premade template; write a post and publish it within an hour. When a post was complete, it was complete – you might go back and answer any comments that came through, but that was pretty much it.
Over time, however, blogging has changed, morphing from an occasional hobby to a full-time occupation. While this change has been a positive one, allowing thousands of people to make a living from a type of work they are genuinely passionate about, it has had its downsides – and one of the most significant of these is the impact on work-life balance.
Modern blogging at a glance
The simple days of blogging – when people just wrote about what they wanted to write about and published as and when they felt like it – are far behind us. Successful modern blogging demands constant attention, both into the creation of each post, but also into areas such as marketing, SEO, high-quality photography, and managing social media.
These additional areas are, of course, one of the reasons why blogging has moved from a hobby into a viable profession – they’re the extra steps that can help to ensure a blog can consistently bring in revenue. The blogosphere has grown exponentially since its early days, and without effective coverage of all of these add-on areas, the chances of a blog succeeding are slim – there’s no denying they are necessary.
However, marketing, SEO, photography, social media, and all the other blog-related tasks are also incredibly time-consuming – which can be bad news for bloggers.
The signs your blog is taking over your life
- You perform a blogging-related task every single day, even on weekends
- You have responded to blog comments or social media replies in the middle of the night
- You have blogged while on vacation
- You have canceled social plans in favor of working on your blog
- Your friends and family have commented on how much you are working
Why are these signs worrying?
If you want your blog to be profitable, you have to invest time – and often money – to ensure you see results. Due to this, many bloggers assume that the transgression onto their personal lives is par for the course; a necessary sacrifice that allows them to build their blog and sustain their income.
In truth, the above perception isn’t a bad one – anyone trying to start a business (which is what many modern blogs function as) will need to sacrifice some elements of their personal life in order to do so. Such a sacrifice very much is par for the course.
However, the sacrifice shouldn’t be continual. It’s okay to work very hard to achieve results during your initial launch, or when you’re expanding or improving your blog – but these should be isolated occurrences. During regular functional periods, you should be able to balance your personal life with your blog.
What happens if you don’t achieve optimal work-life balance?
Burnout is a term used to describe a point where people feel they simply can’t continue; when the stress and lack of personal time mount up and becomes intolerable.
While burnout can happen to anyone in any profession, bloggers are particularly at risk. This is due to the fact they tend to work alone on a self-employed basis from their own home, which means the line between personal and work is always more difficult to establish.
What can bloggers do to establish an optimal work-life balance?
There are a number of ways you can achieve a good work-life balance while still running your blog to a high professional standard:
- Alter your perspective. We live in a culture that very much expects – and even outright celebrates – a desire to work extremely hard, which can make it difficult to slow down and take a break every once in a while. However, you can counter the “all work” argument with a simple fact: if you continue to be “all work, no personal life”, your ability to continue to work on your blog will eventually be compromised by issues such as burnout. Try to see time off, and time spent on personal activities, as a kind of investment in the long-term viability of your ability to continue blogging in the future.
- Create a fixed schedule. There should be a certain point, every day, when you down tools and focus on living your personal life rather than your working life. After this time, all activities related to your blog should be avoided; don’t check stats, look at comments, or post to social media. It’s often tempting to finish the work day but still check-in when you’re meant to be relaxing; try to avoid this wherever possible.
- Outsource. As a blogger, you will have to learn a variety of different skills, with marketing and SEO arguably the most important. Wherever possible, outsource these tasks to agencies or specialists, so you can focus your time more effectively on the core content creation all blogs need to flourish.
- Be cautious about who you interact with. Many blogging forums or support groups emphasize a non-stop dedication to work and will insist that this is vital for a blog to succeed. If you’re part of a network that emphasizes this “all work, no play” attitude, it may be best to detach for a while. It’s also important to be cautious when working with outside companies, choosing to work with agencies who share your focus on balancing work and life effectively. It’s natural to be influenced by the people we engage with, so if you’re trying to alter your perspective regarding work, you need to be surrounded by those who think along the same lines.
Blogging is hard work, and requires substantial time investment in order to succeed – but not at the expense of your personal life. By achieving a good work-life balance, you can enjoy the best of both worlds, and ensure you – and your blog – can go the distance.