Back when I started blogging I became so immersed with the blogging world that I think it’s accurate to say that it kind of took over my life. I would life, sleep, eat and breathe blogging. It’s all I would think about. I found it really difficult to switch off from the blogging world; what if I missed something on twitter? What if I missed the opportunity to review a product because I wasn’t checking my Facebook and Twitter feeds every five minutes.
It was a problem.
In fact, it was a problem for quite a while – up until the middle of last year in fact.
After two and a half years and finally discovering a job that I really liked where I couldn’t be on my phone all the time I decided enough was enough and that I needed to sort this problem out.
I started slowly by just moving my phone off my desk at work. It’s hidden behind my computer and I now try to only check it two to three times a day. But to be honest, work wasn’t the problem – it was how long I was spending blogging in my own time. That’s when I introduced one ‘blackout night’ a week. I can be any day, and can fit in around work and blogging.
I should explain what I deem as blackout – ‘No blogging, checking social media of any kind, or responding to any texts and emails that come in’.
There’s usually two ways that I spend a blackout night – either out with friends or spending time at home with ‘The Northerner’ cooking and catching up with our favourite programmes (currently Suits!) Both ways suit me fine. I love spending time with the people who are most important to me and quite surprisingly, I’ve found switching off from the blogging world very easy. I definitely think the people around you make a huge difference to that. I worked out that prior to this, most of my time checking twitter was because I was bored with my life, relationships with others and my job and I used blogging as an escape from that. Now I can say that I’m in a much better place – I really like my job and the people I work with (they’re actually amazing!), I’ve moved in with an amazing friend who has seen me through thick and thin, I live a lot closer to my closet bunch of friends and see them more often, I’m seeing a lot more of the world and without getting gushy I’ve met somebody who challenges me and more importantly, makes me smile every day.
I also think some of it has to do with that when you’re a new blogger you’re constantly trying to make your mark on the community – get your follower count up or get the attention of brands you want to work with… Three years down the line I’m finally content with where and how my blog is ‘positioned’. My reputation is good enough that amazing brands now approach me which is certainly a combination of luck and working hard. I think the point that I realised that I could ease up on the constant social media checking was during my break up – I posted about six times within about three months and my YouTube channel fell by the wayside completely – but I was still gaining followers. Actually I was gaining followers at a quicker rate than I ever had before. Brands were also still approaching me and even though I couldn’t give them a definite timeline for any post, they still wanted to work with me. That’s when I knew my hard work had finally started to pay off and that it was time to to really consider how much time I was dedicating to my ‘corner of the internet’.
Don’t get my wrong – I still work just as hard and am still as passionate about my blog as I always have been. But I’ve learnt that by switching off more often and managing what time I do spend blogging in a more structured way has made me a much happier person and has actually improved my blog content – because I’m not using it as a hobby to fill my boring life but a hobby that supplements my new mantra – life is for living!
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that by switching off from the blogging world from time to time, I’m actually doing better than ever and more importantly, I feel better than I ever have. It’s so important to remember that whatever you’re throwing yourself in to, sometimes you need a little break so you can take a step back and re-evaluate what’s important to you. Blackout nights are a fantastic way of doing that and I recommend them to everybody – not just bloggers – because staying happy and enjoying your life is the most important thing you’ll do.