Sometimes, in order to move forward to the place you want to get to, you need to take a step back and re-evaluate the route you want to take.
Last week I took part in the 5 Day Productivity Challenge, run by the fabulous Aby at youbabymemummy.com, in the hopes that I could improve my productivity (obviously). The course was amazing and I took endless pages of notes and came up with a huge list of things I want to do to become more efficient. However, it was also a week where home life was extra hectic, I had joined more linkys than ever before and I had two migraines (a sure sign something needs to give). Every spare minute seemed to be spent playing catch up and commenting on all of the posts I needed to as part of the linky commitments and by the time I got to the course each night I was virtually falling asleep at the screen and I got no new posts written at all (not exactly very productive).
Today I flicked back through my notes looking at all the things I wanted to implement but kept going back to the very first lesson on setting goals (short, medium and long term). It got me thinking back to why I started the blog in the first place and where I want to go with it.
I started the blog because I needed a creative outlet and a place to record all those special moments, I wanted to become part of a community (being a sahm makes this even more important), and I also hope to one day make a living from blogging. But I don’t need to do it all at once.
I have spent the last few weeks joining an ever increasing number of linkys. They are fantastic and everytime I hear about another one I have to join it. The problem is, I am spending so much time doing that, there’s no time left to actually write.
In terms of my long term goal, I want to be making enough money from my blog in two years time so that when my youngest begins school I can continue to work from home and not have to worry about school pick up and drop off times and school holidays. Two years is a long time. I have been acting like I have to get everything done right this minute, like there’s some big ticking clock.
My husband hit the nail on the head when he said that I have a habit of going all out on a project and putting myself under so much pressure that I burn out and it no longer becomes fun. His advice? Slow down and enjoy it.
And he’s right (don’t tell him I said so). My blog is only two months old and I love it and want it be a success but I need to not choke the life out of it in the process. I have a list of posts I want to write that’s longer than my arm but I need the time to actually write them well and do them justice. I have a number of different areas I want to explore and if I really want to make a success of this I need to take the time to discover my style and develop my own voice.
There is also another reason for me wanting to take a slight step back. If you read my last Happy Days post (see here), you’ll know that my husband works away for ten weeks at a time and is coming home this week. Before we had kids I used to work for a temping agency so that I could take on jobs while he was away and then stop when he was home and we worked together renovating our home, it was a great set up.
With him being away for such long stretches our time together is limited. Once the kids are in bed on a night, that’s our time. Since starting the blog I have spent every night commenting on linkys or trying to improve the look of my blog, or work out social media, and I’ve loved it. But, I don’t want to be doing that when hubby is at home. The ultimate dream would be a job that enabled me to work more while he’s away and less while he is at home, so maybe that should be my long term goal. And what’s to stop me?
With that in mind I am going to try and contain my urge to join every linky going every week. I have a few favourites and I can alternate which ones I join each week, joining more when I have the extra time. I am going to focus instead on having fun with my new found creative outlet and experiment a little till I find my style. I will go back through the productivity course and start implementing some of Aby’s amazing tips such as scheduling and bulk actions and then, as I become more productive, I can slowly start adding in more elements.
I joined the challenge expecting to it to help me get more done, because lets face it I was floundering. But what I actually got out of it was so much more. I am now redefining what productivity means for me. It doesn’t mean getting absolutely everything done all at once, it means making the best use of the time I have available. Aby references Parkinson’s Law, that “work expands so as to fill the time available for it’s completion”, and this is so right. I was allocating all my spare time to my blog so every second was taken up, and not necessarily in the best way. I’m not going to do that anymore. I am going to work out some ‘office hours’ and stick to them. I will still read and comment on other blogs in my spare time, but as something I enjoy doing, not as a task that must be completed to improve my social media rankings. At the minute the best use of my time is writing good content and figuring out my style and voice. I will still engage on social media and join linkys but it won’t be the main focus of my time.
So, for the next ten weeks I am going to enjoy having my husband home and spending time together as a family. I will continue to blog but without the pressure of a set number of posts a week or joining X number of linkys. I will spend the next ten weeks exploring the type of posts I really want to write and the direction I want to take my blog in, I will implement Aby’s fabulous tips to become more productive with my time, and most importantly, I’ll have fun and enjoy the process.
(I’m now going to completely contradict myself and add this to lots of linkys, just not to all 28 that i want to join every week ;))
Have you ever had to take a step back? Do you need to?
31 thoughts on “When You Need To Take A Step Back”
I’ve been blogging for 2 and a half months (and also did the productivity challenge last week!) and I think stepping back and looking at the big picture is important. It took me a while, but I’ve found the linkys that I get the most response from. Weeded out a few where most people were just posting and running and found what I really want to take part in! #bestandworst
That’s what I’m slowly working on too. I think I just needed to take the pressure off so I don’t ruin the experience before it’s really begun x
Oh hun I totally understand where you’re coming from. I did Aby’s five day challenge too and it’s helped me so much. I do have “office hours”, I work/blog while the kids are at school. Thanks to Aby’s challenges I’ve been able to get so much more done in the time I have and I also have time for the kids when they come home, and the Hubby in the evenings. It’s great!
I think you’re doing the right thing, family is the most important thing and your success doesn’t need to happen overnight. I’ve been at this blogging thing for nearly 5 years! Take time for your family. xxx
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Thank you. I still have the little one home with me every day but she still naps on an afternoon so going to use that time for as long as it lasts x
I got like this last year and realised that my blog was impacting too much on my quality time with the family. I refuse to sacrifice those times to write about being a parent when actually I just want to BE a parent first and foremost. I think all of us reach that moment of clarity and then find a way that works better for us and our family. #bestandworst
Thank you, I could definitely see I was on a slippery slope and family has to come first otherwise what’s the point of it all anyway.
Oh lovely I am exactly the same – I signed up to Aby’s course and it was fab however I have not followed one of her tips. I simply don’t have the time at the moment. I want to do it all but simply cant and sometimes it is hard to get my head around it.
All we can do is what we can do . Good luck – I love your blog xx #bloggerclubuk
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Thank you so much, put a big smile on my face now x
You’re so right, all we can do is our best at any given moment and we need to let go of any guilt that comes with it. x
My husband is always telling me to take a step back! I am defo one of those do it all and burn out types but I just get really into things and I’m not very good at asking for help when I need it. I will be reminding myself to take a step back – thanks for the pep talk! #familyfun
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So glad I’m not the only one! I get so excited by all the possibilities running round my head that I just have to do more and more and more. I sometimes feel a bit like a kid pumped up on sugar running round saying ooh I’m going to do this, and then this, and this, but after the sugar comes then inevitable crash! Hope you manage to step back a little when needed x
I think we’re both at the same point hun, after you commented on my post about going at my own pace. I’m the same as you, I want to give everything my all straight away and then realise I’m putting too much pressure on myself. Aby’s course sounds fab. Funnily I didn’t sign up because I didn’t think I could commit to it! I’m finding the social side of it most time-consuming. I do enjoy it but having to be on top of it 24/7 is a bit overwhelming! Enjoy your 10 weeks and let me know if you have any revelations. Are you going to Blog On? x #BloggerClubUK
Thanks for this. The only revelation I’ve had so far is that it’s a lot harder to switch off than I expected! Having said that, I do feel a lot less pressure since hitting publish on this post, and all the fab comments have certainly helped x
Your husband has some excellent advise, slow down and enjoy it. You don’t need to conquer the world overnight. Enjoy you time with him whilst he is home.
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Thank you hun, you’re right. And I feel so much better since I removed my self-imposed pressure, although it is still hard to switch off at times x
I think this happens to everybody at some point. I’ve really cut down on the number of linkies that I join in. Its just too much work trying to keep up. #momsterlink
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Glad I’m not alone, thank you
It’s so easy to get caught up feeling you have to do it all, or you’ll miss out if you don’t link up everywhere or keep sharing regularly on every type of social media – it’s all a bit much! Do what you can/want and take a big breath. Enjoy! #SharingtheBlogLove
Thank you, that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling. Sound advice x
Aww thanks for linking to us! It’s a pleasure to have you. I think it’s a bit of an epiphany when we realise the blogging is out of hand! Good luck and enjoy your husband!! Thanks for linking up to #familyfun
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Thank you, I feel it’s an epiphany I will have to keep having as I can imagine as soon as my husband goes away again I’ll go back into overdrive! X
Aaah boy can I relate to this. I think we are in very similar boats. I am a SAHM and want my blog to be more than a hobby by time the kids are at school. I also think I need to do everything RIGHT NOW. When truth be told it doesn’t. I have found not only does that take some of the shine off it also makes me a bit crappy at home, always staring at my phone, on the laptop or iPad overnight…. A time will come when there is more time in the day and less time to be playing with and entertaining my kids. Its hard though because blogging is addictive and it is what you make it so we want to plough as much into it as possible! You are right though, sometimes the best thing we can do is actually take a step back! Super post thank you for sharing it at #FamilyFun, hope you can come back next week xx
Thank you, it’s always nice to hear that other people are going through the same thoughts and feelings. It has been great this week slowing things down a little and taking some of the pressure off and I have still managed to join some of my favourite linkys and actually take the time to enjoy them x
I am going through this exact thing. Started my blog about 3 months ago, totally overwhelmed and surprised by how time consuming it is. I’m a SAHM with a toddler who often only has 30 mins sleep and I struggle to get stuff done in the day so spend my evenings doing it. Then I feel like a crap wife and my husband gets irritated. He’s told me to stop putting so much pressure on myself and he’s right. I’ve joined more Libkies his week and have to say it is time consuming reading and commenting but I have found some lovey blogs like yours! Now I’m starting to recognise the names of the ones I like too which is nice. You’ll get there but slow and steady wins the race. #FamilyFun
Thank you for that x. Linkies have definitely introduced me to some amazing blogs and the community aspect of it is fantastic. I think we just need to let ourselves off the hook if we can’t join all of them all the time. Removing that pressure element has definitely helped me this week, hope you manage to remove some pressure too x
You sound just like me, so exactly like me actually! I nearly gave up blogging over the summer when I was so overwhelmed and realising it was taking over my life, to the detriment of everything else. My hubby gave me similar advice to yours, and I pulled back and allowed the pressure to ease, and felt much better for it. I’ve been poorly the last few weeks (I often am as I have a heart problem) but instead of feeling guilty or stressed about what I was missing, I’ve finally chilled out a bit. I hope you can too. (And feel free to email/PM me via any social channel if you want help or just to chat xx) #SharingtheBlogLove
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Thank you, that’s really kind. Sorry to hear you’ve had a rough few weeks. These husbands know what they’re talking about sometimes don’t they? I have taken things much slower this week and it has really helped, although I sometimes have to fight the urge to jump back on it every time I sit down!
Gosh, you’ve hit the nail on the head with this post! It could have come from me. Exactly where I was at last month, I started my blog 4 months ago and felt like it need to be perfect and successful straight away and went mad with linkys. Now I’m focussing on writing and getting a better balance 🙂 Your blog is fantastic for only two months old! Look forward to following more posts. x
Thank you, that’s really kind. It’s so nice to hear that other people have experienced the same thing and have then been able to find a balance, gives me hope x
oops forget to add #sharingthebloglove
I’ve definitely been there! Blogging is so addictive that it’s so easy to get caught up in spending all hours of every day on it, and not necessarily on the pure writing which is probably why we all start. Linkys are a huge time sink – you want to give as much as you can when you join, but you also want to support the hosts by joining in. I’ve limited myself to maximum 4 a week which I find manageable. I’ve also found that by taking a step back, we end up doing more things together as a family, which gives you far more material to write about, so it ends up having a really positive effect. Thanks so much for joining us again at #SharingtheBlogLove – we’d love to see you again next week, but absolutely no pressure if time is too short!!
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Thank you. I guess my main concern is that as my blog is still so new if I don’t take part in the linkys will anyone even read what I write, at the same time though I think that I need to acknowledge to myself that my blog is still new and needs time to grow organically. I’m getting there slowly though x