This week I returned from the Cyprus sun a little frazzled and not exactly well rested (!) but brimming with blog/vlog/writing ideas and excited about the future. Although I continued publishing posts on my normal weekly basis, and actually ended up filming a lot of content for youtube videos and taking photos for future blog posts, I didn’t physically sit down at my laptop each night and work. And it really did me good. Taking a break not only from the blog but also from the daily grind of work, chores, kids playgroups and so on, allowed me to step back and see things with fresh (if slightly tired) eyes.
Having a break doesn’t necessarily mean going on holiday or even leaving your home. (Although of course we all love a holiday!) It could literally just mean having a night off from your general day to day chores or work and just doing something different. Or sleeping.
For those of us who use social media as part of our careers, switching off can seem impossible. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook never sleep. So how can we when we need to keep our numbers up and readers engaged?
This year I decided to make the most of my maternity leave and have thrown myself into my blog and youtube channel. Despite limiting my blog posts to once a week (apart from Top Ten Tuesdays) and a video only once or twice a month, I have ended up spending more hours working every night than ever before. As soon as the children have gone to sleep I tidy up, do a few chores, have a scrub, then hit the laptop. I’m big on preparation so I like to create or at least plan posts and other content in advance. This works well for when I go away or perhaps am not feeling great, as I can simply schedule posts that I’ve already written. But it means that I give myself more work to do! And as I really can’t get any work done during the day, I only have a few hours at night to get things sorted.
Then of course there’s Instagram. Most bloggers/vloggers I follow post EVERY day. I’ve got a huge photo collection and from time to time will pull out an old photo to keep things ticking along. But my life really isn’t that instagrammable. I don’t usually go to instagrammable restaurants or buy instagrammable clothes. And my carpet is definitely not instagrammable. In fact I consider the most instagrammable subjects in my life to be my children! So there are plenty of days when I have NOTHING TO POST. And don’t even get me started on insta-stories! Now the pressure is really on!
Before all this social media madness it was simply about getting a blog post published. Now you have to instagram it, tweet it, snapchat it, and be sure to instagram, tweet and snapchat daily, and preferably several times a day.
The way I see it – I’m (currently) not being paid to post on my twitter, instagram and so on. No-one is going to bat an eyelid if I don’t post on Sunday, the day of rest. So why am I stressing and not taking some much needed time out?
When I spend some time away from my blog (that is, not writing every night but still publishing posts), it’s like my brain has pushed all the ‘To Do’ lists to one side and left a space for the ‘Ideas’ section. And it’s not even about taking a break to get more ideas. I also find that I can catch up with a good book, or perhaps even the husband…!
With anything and in particular blogging, consistency is key. So far this year, I haven’t missed a blog post and my stats are beginning to reflect this. But if I’m consistent with posting, then I can be consistent with my breaks as well.
If you can’t do it all then don’t. I’m trying to make Wednesdays my night off – by that i mean no working on my blog or other writing projects (unless of course I have been required to meet a deadline!). So once the kids are in bed I can do a few house chores if I need to then it’s bath and a bit of telly, or reading, or just sleep. No taking photos for instagram. No twitting or tweeting around. Complete and utter abstinence from blogger life. And come Thursday I’m ready to crack on!
September has seen a lot of us head back to work or school and get our heads down. But if you can fit in a little bit of downtime, even if that’s just on a Sunday then do it. Taking a break doesn’t have to mean getting behind. It can actually mean getting ahead. 🙂