Mid-August Report: Losing Steam To Avoid Burnout

If you’ve been following the Blog Revival Project you know that my strategy basically looks like this –

  1. Post on the six project blogs.
  2. Regularly promote via social media, blog comments etc.
  3. Focus on one blog each month and push that blog forward.

By “push forward”, I mean invest time (and funds, as may be necessary) to improve on infrastructure. This could mean setting up social media accounts, creating a lead magnet for the mailing list or improving the way the blog looks.

July was dedicated to working on blog #1 and things went according to plan. I worked hard on implementing all of the planned action items during July and the monthly report showed a nice increase in traffic and revenue.

By “working hard” I also mean posting a total of 54 blog posts in the six Blog Revival Project blogs. Keep in mind that this project is not my core business. I also manage a fairly large website in a different niche which gets well over a million unique monthly visitors. I kept churning out quality content for that site as well. If that’s not enough, I also have one more online project that’s not covered in this blog.

All in all, I wrote more than 80 pieces of content in July. Then I promoted them. I also did infrastructure work on blog #1, remember? And let’s not forget life itself. You know, living with a loving partner, two wonderful kids and now a cat too (yes, we adopted a cat!)

Losing steam… to avoid burnout

One of the challenges of the Blog Revival Project was burnout. When I started the project in June, I found myself working for 70+ hours a week. I knew this would be hard to keep up with for the long run but I was having too much fun to stop.

I am fully aware of the danger of burnout.

It has happened to me before. Almost twenty years ago while working on my very first web publishing project, I reached the burnout point. It was nasty. From working on my project around the clock I moved to the point of not being able to take another single look at it. It took me months to recover.

I don’t want this to happen again. Ever. So, this time I kept looking for the telltale signs of burnout approaching. I could see them early this month. Too many tasks, too little time, too much pressure. Working is no longer fun. Not good.

Burnout

Instead of reaching burnout I decided to lose steam. Deliberately.

Losing steam isn’t the same as burning out.

Losing steam means slowing down.

I believe the metaphor originally relates to locomotives – losing steam means the train slows down. However, in this case, I like to think of it more in terms of a pressure cooker.

Losing steam to avoid burnoutThe higher the temperature the more effective your cooking. The problem? If you cook for too long at too high a temperature, your pressure cooker could explode. You have to deliberately (and carefully!) use the safety valve to lost some of the steam and depressurize the cooker.

Losing steam and slowing down is crucial in the long run.

Which is what I’ve been doing in the past two weeks.

I’m still working. Have worked almost every day this month but for fewer hours. I prioritized my tasks and focused on my flagship site.

I also –

  • Traveled with my husband and kids to watch the meteor shower in the desert
  • Spent time with extended family
  • Worked on our investment portfolio (which I may blog about at some point)
  • Helped our new cat adjust to his new home
  • Prepared our travel plans for 2017

Time to regroup

This post is the fifth content item that I’m writing today. Playing catch up with all of the blogs isn’t easy! They now all have fresh content, I’m happy to say.

Whew!

Now it’s time to regroup and plan ahead. Time to gradually pick up steam again.

Back when I started the Blog Revival Project I had wondered if maybe I’m biting more than I can chew. The jury is still out on that question.

Maybe six blogs is too much for a “side gig”. Should I cut down to three blogs? Or perhaps slow down the pace but keep all six blogs going?

For now, I’m going with the second option, keeping all six blogs in the project but slowing down the pace of posting to once a week. If and when I find that I have the time and inclination to push the publication schedule back to two posts a week, I will.

My plan for picking up steam looks like this –

  1. Fill up on fresh posts on all blogs (done today).
  2. Re-adjust content plans on all blogs for one post per week.
  3. Schedule posts in advance for one week ahead – one per blog.
  4. Add a second blog post for the same week on some of the blogs.
  5. Still have time? Find a blog to focus on and give it the TLC treatment.

That’s it for now. No deadlines either. It’ll happen when it happens. It’s summertime and I’m trying to relax!

Summertime relaxation

As  always, I’d love to get your feedback! Have you ever reached burnout? How do you regulate your work flow to avoid that?

5 Replies to “Mid-August Report: Losing Steam To Avoid Burnout”

  1. Wow that is a heck of a lot of blog posts for one month. I don’t know if I”d be able to write that many myself. Hope you are able to recoup. I had burnout after the month of April and had to take a break to recharge.

    1. Thanks! So far, so good! I wrote about a dozen of blog posts and other content pieces in the past 4 days so I think it’s safe to say I’m ok for now. But yes, actually burning out – that one is hard. I’m glad you recovered!

  2. Wow, Anne! That is a ton of content!

    I have to have time to think things through and let the content “flow” in a natural way. You must have quite a gift to be able to handle all of the things you’ve listed!

    Also, glad to hear about the cat! We adopted two sister-cats back in 2010. They really make my day!

    Yes, I have experienced burn out. It’s not something I would want to go through again. As a matter of fact, I had to take time off from blogging to totally focus on my health last October.

    You have to have your priorities straight, that’s for sure! Health should be one of those priorities. Without it, retirement won’t be what we all hope that it will.

    Very impressed with your progress, Anne! Wishing you all that you desire from you projects and more!

    Deborah

  3. Hi Anne,

    This is so relevant right now. I was just today thinking that I needed to cut down on some of the projects I’ve got myself involved with because I’m not really doing justice to any of them. Time to focus on my two main online businesses, and of course my blog.

    However having read your post and schedule I feel a really lazy blogger with my one blog post a week. (Making my excuses / reasons, I am a part-time blogger alongside other very busy offline businesses.)

    Off for a coffee – I need to rev myself up 🙂

    Good luck with all your projects.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    1. Don’t feel bad. I’m not at all sure that one post a week isn’t a better way to approach blogging. It could mean putting more time into crafting each post than I do and providing your readers with better quality. That’s always a good thing! Besides, I’ve been away from the computer for several days (will blog about that shortly) and tasks sure have piled up! I don’t think I’ll be meeting my goals for this month.

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