We live in a culture of business (or should that be busy-ness!?). When was the last time you answered a question about how things are going with anything other than some sort of expression of how busy you are, how tired you are or how hectic your diary is? It’s pretty much contagious. I remember working in job where there was almost a silent competition for how late people could work. If it was a cartoon you would have seen people peering over their screens with thought bubbles willing the other person to leave first so they could leave…but instead the silent battle to stay the latest continued. I’m just as guilty of all of this. However, one of the major changes since going from full time work/blogging in my free time to working for myself with blogging as a large chunk of my job is how I take time out.
When I was working full time and blogging on the side, I was a sort of level of busy that makes me tired just thinking about it now. And I’m sure there are a TONNE of bloggers in this very boat now (I can think of one blog friend I know I was talking to about this very thing recently). You work all day, most likely well beyond the ‘typical’ 9-5 then you maybe head to a blog event, maybe two. Sometimes you squeeze in a breakfast meeting first thing before dashing to the office. Or even an early morning workout. Then you head home and maybe look at your blog emails or write out a post. Weekends? At least one day is usually assigned to blogging stuff – from taking photos, to replying to emails or typing out posts But it’s ok, it’s your hobby and you love it.
When I switched to work for myself I envisioned how much more time I would have and how much more I would be able to do. But you know what, coming up to three years doing this ‘full time’ and I can be honest and say I don’t really do any more content than I did when I was in full time employment. This isn’t because I’m lazy and can’t be bothered. It’s a combination of factors, one of which being that I actually allow myself a social life and down time. I KNOW, such scandal.
The thing is, taking a break actually taught me something about blogging and living life as a blogger. Now, a note here is that I’m not going to sit here and say ‘take a break and you will become the BIGGEST BLOGGER EVER’ as clearly I’m not the person to say that. I’m not the biggest blogger ever, and have no desire to be. But what I do have is a ‘career’ in blogging that started over seven and a half years a go. And I’m still going. I’ve sustained blogging over a considerable time (especially when you consider how long blogging has been a ‘thing’) and as such I feel I can share some thoughts that might help fellow blogger a little. And as a blogger who has experience in blogging under a number of guises from starting out, to hobby alongside job to professional level. I’ve been there through all those different phases and kept going through the different ups and downs each one presents – along with the changes the whole blogging world has gone through over time.
One of the biggest things I’ve learnt is the importance of allowing yourself a break. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hamster wheel of producing content that you forget how good a break is for the soul. A break can take many forms, from taking a walk (and not snapchatting the whole thing) or giving yourself a day properly off from all things blog or You Tube related. It might feel like you ‘can’t’ but trust me, you can and should. What will happen if you don’t post for a day? Does the world stop spinning? No. Do all your readers abandon you and not come back? No. Do your view numbers drop? Maybe a little, but they won’t plummet to nothing and they will bounce right back when you post again. So what are you so scared of?
I can bet your friends/boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/family will appreciate having time with you that maybe skips the photo snapping and filming of every meal/experience/moment. Experiencing life without doing so through an Instagram filter can feel a tad alien and you might feel a case of the FOMO, but it’s ok. Personally, I ALWAYS feel like a better blogger after a break. I feel ready to go, full of ideas and more excited to blog. I don’t feel that heaviness of routine in the same way as I can when I haven’t had a break – when there are times blogging feels more chore than pleasure. I feel more excited to blog when I take a breather.
I write this as I’m part way through a week away a the beautiful St James Club & Villas in Antigua (which is where the photos in this post are from). Of course, I am doing some blogging about it and planning a few posts on it. I have had a few mornings where I’m spending time doing some work. But I’m also giving myself a break too. I’m not photographing every moment. I’m leaving my phone and camera in the room when we go for dinner. I’m spending time with Ollie, reading, snoozing, relaxing. And I already feel refreshed and full of ideas for posts or content or just the general direction I want to take the blog.
One of those ideas is that I wanted to write this post. So that’s exactly what I’m doing here. I’m sitting on my balcony as the sun goes down and tapping out a few words. Of course, no-one can force you to take a break – but if you’re a blogger (or You Tuber) and want to keep creating your best possible content long term then please – give yourself a break. Don’t be scared to be offline for a while – a day, a few days – you and your corner of the internet will survive. I promise. And I’d put money on it even benefitting from it. And not just your blog – those around you will likely appreciate sharing some non-internet time too.
I hope this helps and you do manage to take a break – be it a phone-free afternoon, a wifi-free weekend or even a blog-post-free week. I would LOVE to hear from you what you think on this front. If you ever get that ‘can’t’ feeling when it comes to taking a break as a blogger or you tuber. Or even if your job is the sort of pressure when you feel you can’t take time off. I’ve been there too and same idea applies.
I am a guest of St James Club Antigua.