How to Cut Through Overwhelm and Love Blogging

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How to cut through overwhelm and love blogging

I recently posted this question in my Facebook group, Blogging on Your Own Terms:

What is the ONE thing that gets in the way of achieving your blogging goals?

And you know what the most common answer was?

It wasn’t finding the right niche, or learning how to market, or learning tech skills. The answer people gave the most (by far) was about overwhelm.

Lack of time. Not knowing how to use time well. Not knowing what to prioritize.

I totally get that.

It’s really easy to fall down dozens of different virtual rabbit holes. Facebook. Pinterest. Instagram. Optimizing for SEO. Eeeek!

If you’ve felt this way, you are not alone. But blogging doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Really.

Here are 10 ways to make blogging less overwhelming and more delicious.

1. Get clear on your plan and purpose

I think the main reason many bloggers get so overwhelmed is because you don’t have a clear sense of what you’re trying to accomplish in the first place.

You start writing your story, hoping that you’ll draw a hungry audience.

You read somewhere that you’re supposed to blog 5 times a week, so you start churning out the posts.

Then you read another blog that suggests growing an Instagram following to promote your posts. So you devote yourself to learning Instagram. You spend hours trying to become an Insta-expert.

But you don’t get followers as fast as you wanted to, so you decide that you need to learn SEO.

…I’m going to stop here, because I feel overwhelmed just writing this.

Here’s the missing piece – actually knowing why you’re doing these things to begin with.

Instead of jumping in the water and trying to tread water for months, why not figure out where you’re swimming first?

When you understand what you’re building with your posts, when you have a crystal clear outcome you’re trying to accomplish, and when you set specific milestones for yourself along the way, you’ll be able to stop running around like a crazy person and start prioritizing the tasks that actually make a difference for you and your blog.

Cut through blogging overwhelm by understanding your purpose and goals. Click To Tweet

2. Stop doing low impact things

I get it. You want your blog to be super successful. And you’re willing to work your ass off to make it happen.

You don’t mind going into 20 Facebook groups everyday and sharing your latest post.

You’re fine with writing a blog post every single day if that’s what it takes to grow your audience.

But guess what? Doing these things may actually just be a waste of time.

Yeah. I know.

Here’s what I want you to do:

  1. Write down everything that you do for your blog on a regular basis.
  2. Circle the tasks that have actually made a big impact on the success of your blog.
  3. Re-evaluate the low impact ones. Why aren’t they making a difference for you? Is it because you’re not doing them right? Or because they’re just not effective for you?
  4. Based on your evaluation of the low impact activities, either stop doing them, do them a lot less, or learn how to to do them right.
  5. Underline the activities that do make an impact, but that are overwhelming you anyway.
  6. Look at the underlined activities. Why are they stressing you out? If you truly don’t like doing them, but they need to be done, outsource them (more on that in a minute). Or maybe you’re just trying to do too much. (Maybe you write a blog post once a week instead of 5 times.)

3. Know which stats matter…and which don’t

Stats addiction is real. I know, because I’ve experienced it. I used to check my WordPress app every 5 minutes.

But here are a few things about stats:

Stats are only a gauge of what’s working and what’s not.

And they are meaningless unless they are tied to a specific outcome, unless they actually help you meet your goals. (Which brings me back to the original point of knowing your purpose.)

Plus (and this point is really important) you can’t actually control your stats. So focusing on them will lead you on a path to frustration and overwhelm unless you look at them the right way.

If you start to get overwhelmed by your stats, take a step back and ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this stat actually matter for my blogging goals?
  • How can I use this data to improve my online presence?
  • Why do I really care about this so much? Am I trying to measure my self worth with this stat?
  • If this number were to dramatically increase, what would the outcome be? Is it really worth focusing on?
  • If it is worth focusing on, how can I do things that are under my control (unlike stats) to make the number go up?

There are a bajillion and one different stats you can look at – social media followers, social shares, page views, bounce rate, Alexa score, email subscribers…the list goes on and on. And trying to make an impact on all of them at once is an exercise in futility.

So let some go. You can still be successful. I promise.

4. Get focused

This is really, really important. So pay attention.

The quickest short cut to blogging success is to deeply understand what you write about and what you don’t, who you write for and who isn’t in your audience, and the special brand of barbecue sauce you bring to the table.

Without a clear focus, your actions – all of them – will have far less of an impact. Which gets overwhelming fast.

So figure out your focus. And do it now.

5. Create systems that work for you

Sure, you can find blog post checklists everywhere on Pinterest. They’ll tell you exactly what you need to do every time you publish a post, from writing headlines to sharing on social media.

The only problem? The person who wrote that checklist created it based on what works for them. Not what will work for you.

So take the checklists and allow yourself to cross off everything that makes you feel like bashing your head against the wall.

In addition to your blog post writing workflow, here are a few other things that you can systematize:

  • Making branded graphics (ahem, use a template)
  • Sharing on social media
  • Gathering blog post ideas
  • Writing your blog newsletter

In our Mastermind call in Have Your Cupcake today, one of the blogger, Angela Walker, shared her strategy for beating the social media beast.

She has a sticky note with a list of all of the social media activities she needs to do every day – Instagram, Facebook, etc. Then she quickly goes through the list in about 20 minutes, after which she turns social media off (imagine that!) and gets back to her other work.

Your system can be as simple as a post it note!

6. Outsource to software or people

Speaking of systems, I hate to break this to you, but you are just one person. (Yeah, I know, that’s hard to hear.)

And, as one person, you can only do so much. (Sorry to break it to you.)

So figure out what you can offload to software, or hire someone to do some things for you.

Here are a few ways I use software to lighten my load:

  1. I use Meet Edgar to post in my Facebook group and on Twitter for me. It recycles posts so I don’t have to keep refilling it.
  2. I use Boardbooster to constantly recycle my pins to different group boards. (It’s the best $5 I spend every month and has brought tens of thousands of visitors to my blog.)
  3. I use CoSchedule to automatically post my new blog posts on Twitter and Facebook.
  4. I use Acuity to schedule appointments with people without going back and forth over email.

(The Boardbooster, Coschedule, and Acuity links are affiliate links.)

But…there are some things software just can’t do.

Like creating a beautiful branded graphic template for your blog posts. Or helping you develop a Facebook presence.

And sometimes it’s worth it to hire someone else to do these things for you. Not only will you be less overwhelmed, but they’ll do a better job than you could.

The key is knowing what you’re really great at, and getting help for the rest.

It’s hard, I know. Hiring people is scary. But if you plan to make your blog into a business, it’s totally worth it.

7. Focus on one thing at a time

You need to learn…design, tech skills, writing, SEO, social media, how to build relationships with other bloggers…the list goes on and on.

And you can’t do it. You just can’t learn everything at once.

So focus on one thing at a time (and base it on your incremental goals for your blog). Learn that, and then move to the next thing.

If you can afford to buy a course or hire a coach, do it. That will greatly speed up your learning, and you’ll learn things you never even knew you didn’t know.

8. Know your own limits

If you can’t write 3 blog posts a week, don’t.

If you can’t wrap your mind around Twitter, let it go.

If you can’t design your way out of a paper bag, get someone else to design for you.

If you’re not an expert on something, but your audience wants you to be, go ahead and disappoint them.

If you hate writing a newsletter every month, and it drags you down, figure out why and then change it to make it work for you.

You are not superwoman. So give yourself a break.

9. Take time off from your blog every week.

Be your own best blogging boss.

That means acknowledging yourself for kicking butt when you do.

That means treating yourself to a massage (and a cupcake) every once in awhile.

And that means taking a break at least once a week. Force yourself to stop blogging, tweeting, designing, WordPressing, emailing, and whatever else you do for your blog for one whole day each week.

You’ll come back replenished and ready to keep going with your blog.

How to cut through overwhelm and love blogging

To recap, to cut through blogging overwhelm…

  1. Know why you’re doing this whole blogging thing in the first place.
  2. Stop doing low impact things.
  3. Know which stats matter and which don’t (and why).
  4. Define your niche, your audience, and your voice.
  5. Create systems.
  6. Outsource to software or people.
  7. Focus on one thing at a time.
  8. Know your limits.
  9. Give yourself a blogging break every week.