How To Get Over A (Personal Finance) Blogger Burnout

On Wednesday, October 25, 2017, seven months after launching Frugal Asian Finance, I officially got burned out from blogging.

Over the past seven months, I have been blogging every day for at least 3 hours a day whether it’s weekdays or weekends.

The only two days I slowed down was after Baby FAF came back to DC from China.

I didn’t spend as much time commenting on other blogs or writing posts.

I wanted to give our son the attention he deserved after staying away from us for more than a year.

After those two days, I tried to use every waking moment of my life outside of work and family to catch up with my posts and stay active on social media.

Two weeks later, Baby FAF started daycare, and our lives got into a rhythm.

Over the past 7 months, there hasn’t been a day when I was awake and not thinking about my blog.

In the weeks leading to October 25, I spent most of my free time writing posts and increased my post backlog from 3 months to 4.5 months.

I had 48 posts and 8 drafts scheduled until mid March 2018.

I felt happy because I had been able to apply my frugal mindset to blogging.

I need a 3-month emergency “fund” for my posts in case something happens and I don’t have enough time to write.

However, amidst the happiness of staying ahead of my own schedule, I also felt tired and resistant. Blogging suddenly felt like a chore and a job. I felt like I had to stick with my own schedule, and I’d feel guilty and unproductive if I didn’t.

That day I tweeted that I’d spend the night not worrying about my blog and just unwinding. And I did for the most part except that I still responded to comments, shared my content on social media, and double-checked my next post.

I felt tired and started to dread blogging. However, instead of giving up on my blog, I took the following steps to re-balance my life.

Step 1: Take a break

If you’re burned out from blogging, chances are you’ve spent a lot of time on your blog. It doesn’t have to be 10-30 hours. The amount of time could simply be more than what you’d like to spend blogging.

For me, I spend on average 25-30 hours a week writing posts, staying active on social media, responding to comments, among other tasks. When I realized I was starting to dread doing anything blog-related, I decided to take a break later that evening.

When I woke up the next day, I felt more refreshed. Yet, after another 3-4 hours of blogging, the dreadful feeling came back.

That weekend, I started to take most of Saturday evening off and not think or do anything blog-related. In the following week, I slowed down on writing posts since it was the main reason for my burnout.

Step 2: Resume your favorite activities prior to blogging

Prior to Frugal Asian Finance, I used to do the following things in my free time:

— Learning about real estate investment

— Watching YouTube videos about food, traveling, and any topics that I was interested in at the time

— Hanging out with friends

— Meeting new people

However, since I wanted to grow my blog fast and consistently, I gave up on most of those activities to focus on blogging and my family.

When I got burned out on October 25, I felt like my life had gone down a path that revolved around my family, my day job, and my blog. I didn’t have time for anything else.

When I took a break later that day and on the weekend, I wanted to catch up on my favorite YouTube videos, and I did.

The nice thing was that our son went to bed super early that day (8 PM instead of 10 PM), and my husband and mother-in-law also went out. I had the whole evening to myself and enjoyed catching up on a lot of the YouTube content I had missed.

That weekend, instead of blogging anytime I could, I went to attend a Meetup group and had a great time meeting new people.

However, when I came home, I knew that attending Meetup events was only a small part of my life and wouldn’t give me the satisfaction or a sense of accomplishment that blogging does.

Step 3: Reassess your passion

Before starting my blog, I was passionate about real estate investing, more specifically rental property. I watched YouTube videos and listened to various podcasts about real estate such as Bigger Pockets and Rental Income podcasts.

After launching Frugal Asian Finance, I turned to YouTube only to find solutions to technical WordPress problems or instructions on Pinterest and Tailwind. I also started listening only to blog-related podcasts such as The Smart Passive Income podcast and Do You Even Blog.

I sat down and asked myself: What am I passionate about? What is it that I want to do with my free time and possibly for the rest of my life?

At one point, I thought about giving up doing rental property altogether. Why bother dealing with tenants and repairs when I can just sit in front of my computer and blog all day?

However, the blog burnout showed me that writing all the time can be exhausting. Although I can interact with other bloggers online, I sometimes feel isolated. Being creative is also not easy since I constantly have to think of new ideas and create engaging content.

I resumed listening to some of my most favorite real estate podcasts and found that sometimes routines can be soothing to the mind as much as being creative.

I also thought more about my interest in opening an Etsy store and an Amazon FBA business. I have to admit that I feel that blogging is still easier to me than those two endeavors.

I have no idea what product I’m going to sell on Etsy or Amazon. However, it’s refreshing to think about having a physical product that doesn’t have to do with writing.

Step 4: Ask yourself if you will be happier without your blog

After taking the break and feeling more refreshed and energized, I asked myself the 64 million dollar question: Do I still want to blog?

I thought about my life prior to Frugal Asian Finance and can still feel the void in it. I wanted to write and be creative. I wanted to start a business on a budget. I was and still am passionate about frugality. And blogging just came out as a winning idea to me.

Now that I have spent almost 1,000 hours on this blog over the past 7 months, I feel like I have invested so much time and effort that it wouldn’t be a wise idea to end the project completely.

Of course, one can argue that it’s a sunk cost, and that there’s not much I can do to take those 1,000 hours back. But as a frugal person, I don’t want my investment of time and money to go to waste.

And most importantly, I don’t think I’ll be happier without a creative outlet in my life.

I can be a stickler for the rules. I am good with self-control and self-discipline.

My life would feel so restricted if I couldn’t express my thoughts and feelings freely in writing. I need my blog to process my thoughts and explore topics that appeal to me.

Step 5: Rekindle your love for blogging

If you feel tired of blogging, just take a moment and ask your self: What is it about your blog that makes you so burned out?

It could be because you’ve written so much content, read too many posts from other bloggers, commented on so many blogs but didn’t get much feedback, or simply have yet to get the traffic that you’ve aimed for.

Whatever the reason is, you can slow down on that activity and focus on what really appeals to you.

It also helps for your to talk to other bloggers to get their support and advice. For me, Lily at The Frugal Gene gave me the much needed encouragement to get me through this tough time.

For me, there are two main reasons for my burnout in October. First, my Pinterest referrals dropped drastically in the second week of that month. I tried to repin more and created new Pinterest images for my popular posts but didn’t see good results right away.

I also tried StumbleUpon and other strategies in a desperate attempt to keep my traffic up. Not seeing the outcome for the work that I put in was demoralizing.

In the third week, my traffic started picking up significantly thanks to Pinterest, but I had tried to produce so many new posts in advance (4.5 months ahead) that I got tired of writing all the time.

I needed a break and didn’t feel like typing nonstop for hours. Sometimes I felt like I just typed away without even breathing. When I did pause typing, I felt like I was just pulled out of a black hole that just kept sucking me in. It was exhausting.

After taking the much needed break on Wednesday (October 25) and the following week, I felt relieved and more energized to produce this post: How I got over a blogger burnout.

My love for blogging has been rekindled.

Conclusion

After this experience, I feel like blogging is like a marriage. It needs love, work, and time. My relationship with my blog needs to be nurtured.

However, when I devote too much time and energy to blogging, it can get suffocating. I tend to forget almost everything else that I used to enjoy in my life and stay razor-focused on growing my blog.

It’s almost the same as forgetting about your friends and fun activities you used to do when you were still single now that you have a husband or a boyfriend.

The new love can be sweet and enjoyable. But if I don’t know how to moderate it and balance it out with your other activities and relationships, at one point it will take over your life and leave you wondering what else you would have if you didn’t have a blog.

Of course, I would still have my family and my day job, but there’s more to life than just family, work, and blogging. I need to reassess my priorities and give blogging the right amount of time and devotion so that I won’t get burned out so badly again in the future.

If you are a blogger, have you ever experienced blogger burnout before? If yes, how did you deal with it? I’d love to know your thoughts. 

Related:

How I Went From 0 To 31,104 Views/mo In 7 Months

5 Things I Stopped Doing Thanks To My Personal Finance Blog

Why I Don’t Follow Commercial Personal Finance Blogs

5 Downsides of Personal Finance Blogging

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23 thoughts on “How To Get Over A (Personal Finance) Blogger Burnout”

  • Point 3 really resonates with me. It’s a question you should ask for every activity: does this actually make me happy, whether that’s directly or indirectly.

    Writing posts and articles can definitely be a chore sometimes, but I anticipate that the work will eventually pay off long term –> make me happy. After finishing, the satisfaction of finishing is already increasing the happiness usually. 🙂

    Great post, FAF!

    • Thank you for the support! I totally agree with you. The current work might seem daunting sometimes, but the long-term reward is undeniable. After finishing a post, I also feel a great sense of relief and accomplishment too! 😀

  • We all go through the burnout phase at some point. I still do at least once per year, usually when I ran out of topic to write about. Take it easy and figure out how to get through this phase. I’m sure you’ll come back strong. You probably don’t need that huge amount of posts scheduled. The most I ever had was about 10 days in advance when I’m on vacation. 🙂
    Best wishes

    • Thank your for always being so kind and supportive, Joe! I’m so glad I found your blog and have you comment on mine (really!) ^.^

      I am trying to take it slow to prevent another bad burnout. I think writing too many posts in a row is one of the main reasons why I started to dread blogging one day. Gotta fix that and keep going! 😉

  • I had been blogging seriously for about a year now. At first, it was just an outlet for me to share my thoughts. Then that thought morphed into a business idea and then a side gig.

    After a few months, things can get challenging and you come to realize that you are investing a lot and I do mean A LOT of time with minimum to no return. Then you go through a phase where you would question yourself if you can be successful with this blogging stuff.

    After some soul searching, I started to put more emphasis on the passion for blogging. I will continue to blog as long as I am still passionate to share my knowledge. Secondly, I stopped worrying about traffic and monetization of my blog.

    • “Then you go through a phase where you would question yourself if you can be successful with this blogging stuff.”

      Yes, that would be me! After spending so much time on my blog without making a cent off of it, I started to wonder if all of this is gonna go anywhere. I mean, I enjoy writing and the interaction, but I do question the purpose of my life sometimes.

      Thanks for sharing the great tips! I agree that worrying about traffic and monetization can be discouraging! 😉

  • I hear ya there. I’m living “paycheck to paycheck” on my posts 🙂 No EF for me, though I have ideas at least now for the remainder of the year which is a good feeling for once.

    For me the big thing is just stepping away for a while. Last week I scheduled my social media posts through Friday and didn’t do anything else. I read and comment on other blogs but didn’t do anything other than that, and found that break of feeling like I needed to be doing something for the blog really helped me so far 🙂

    • Yes, taking a great is always a good idea! I’m glad you managed to take a break and got into the groove again.

      I like your concept of living “paycheck to paycheck” on posts. I just thought of it as an emergency fund but not “living paycheck to paycheck.” I read your blog anniversary post. You’re doing great! Great to see your feedback as always ^.^

  • We’ve all been there and if we don’t quit it’s likely it’s through a similar process to your own. I’ve hit it about every six months. I’m actually in he process of coming out the other side of one now. I’ve found the other side usually involves an explosion of post ideas.

    • I can totally relate! After writing so much content, I got tired of writing and got into a slump. I’m glad you’re getting over the burnout! 🙂

  • When I was in my early-thrities, with two young kids, and working part-time ,a friend’s successful Mom told me: “You can have it all. Just not all at the same time.” It was the first time I ever heard the expression but it stuck with me. I am very impressed by your commitment to maintaining your day job, building and growing your blog and being a wife and mother. I just want to say that you may feel burned-out because you are simply so overextended at this time in your life. You have such amazing entreprenuerial spirit, but with all that you are already doing, you are blowing my mind by talking about starting an Amazon or Etsy business and investing in real estate too. BUT, with that said, I do recommend that you stop watching real estate investing videos now, and instead use that time to find one investment property and just do it. Even the best real estate investing information will only get you so far, because at some point, you just have to just take the leap. And I definitely think establishing a passive income source now (through a rental property), will be less time consuming in your life than establishing a new on-line business. But good luck to you in all your endeavours, your blog is great and I hope you continue to thrive on all fronts.

  • I hear ya. I have three children and blogging sometimes can feel like a 4th child. Something that needs constant care and attention.

    I’ve never considered having an ’emergency fund’ of blog posts built up. That’s a fantastic idea, thank you for sharing.

  • I love this post because I totally see myself. In the past I tried to bite off more than I can chew and got completely burned out. It’s just so easy to get carried away when you’re trying to build something you believe in and if you don’t take time to recharge you’ll run out of gas. i learned that the hard way and now I’m totally fine taking a day off from writing, reading other blogs etc. so I can spend some extra time with my kids, have a date night with my wife, or just read a book for fun instead of for educational reasons. You work hard Mrs FAF! You deserve a night off once in awhile! 🙂

    PS – I’m so jealous of your 3 month “emergency fund” of posts. We need to kick our writing into high gear to create that buffer for ourselves.

  • I think I’m a bit burned out too. And way less views obsessed (although I check everyday…) I’m reassessing my passions and once we don’t twin on something!!! Real estate is not my cup of tea. I am burned out from bnb but Jared’s burned out paying the mortgage xD

    It’s time to travel the world and eat.

    • Hey Lily, at the risk of giving you totally unsolicited advice, I just can’t help myself! After reading some of your Airbnb blog posts, I give you huge kudos on the money you’ve made and the equity you’ve been building in your two properties –but your short-term rental bnb biz is super work-intensive and exhausting! Don’t totally give up on real estate yet. Instead, sell the vacation condo (which will always be work-intensive) and rent your townhouse to a long term tenant (for 1 – 3 years depending). Pack up your stuff. Have your husband quit his job. Travel the world and eat! With a decent tenant in place in your townhouse you really can handle property management even while travelling. I know it’s more complicated, etc… but you are 26 years old and I swear it only gets harder to drop out and do the backpacking thing later on. My husband and I quit our jobs and travelled around the world in our twenties, before kids, and I have no regrets. Just don’t let go of your townhouse, because I think that you may regret! Best of luck with whatever you do and just know that you are already so far ahead of the game. 🙂

  • Burnout happens to everyone it seems. It can be tough, but stepping back is one of the best things. I get so caught up on what everyone tells me I should be doing and struggling with blogging that I’m not going to do as others say and what I think works for me. Doesn’t mean I won’t stop researching (I for some reason can’t), but I can decide to focus on one task instead of trying to catch up with #allthethings. Also, I totally think real estate is the way to go, especially if you live in a popular city like DC. Hoping you reach that goal!

  • Although I’m really new to this, I still felt burned out just by learning SOO much from scratch and from trying to write a lot.

    At the very beginning, I found myself exhausted because I was trying to prepare posts almost every day after work and/or on the weekend. Similar to what you mentioned, it almost felt like it was a chore.

    But I learned in a blogging toolkit that it’s okay to go at my own pace. They also mentioned that it’s okay to prepare one post per week and to focus more time in promoting content. They call this the 80-20 rule (Pareto principle). Because most people feel overwhelmed from preparing and writing a lot, they recommend to spend 20% of your time writing that one quality content per week, with 80% of your time focused on promoting content (which apparently improves traffic and readers). Or put differently, they said to get rid of whatever is causing you to burnout 80% of the time (I.e. usually writing, editing, perfectionism, etc.), and start focusing more on the things that yields greater returns (I.e. promoting content).

    I believe every one is different with their approach and there’s no right or wrong way of doing things, but I wanted to share with you what I learned to minimize stress/burnout.

    And BTW, thanks for sharing your experience on this post! I’m sure you will get back on track! 😊

  • I totally can relate! I’ve been blogging since 2009 (sold in 2012) and started a new blog this year. It’s so much harder and demoralizing when I look at the blog stats. I think I am going to set some limits on the time I spend on my blog (just like what J Money posted about today) so that I don’t feel so unproductive all the time. It’s hard being a new mom, wife, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of my sickly dog. I do have posts ahead of time too and that’s been working for me but then I get stressed that it’s not enough haha and days go by and I’m not refilling the “post bank”.

    Thanks for this and keep on bloggin’!

  • Hehe I’ve never had blog burnout because while I invest plenty of time in it and it’s a priority, it’s a form of self care for me to blog. It’s never been something I turned into work and obviously it shows in my numbers but I care about the quality of relationships more than the quantity and my way has afforded long term enjoyment as well as deep and meaningful friendships. Tons of views and comments are nice but I never made that why I blog. It helped a lot.

  • Starting a blog, while pregnant with #2, and working full time, I knew I would have to make it a slow-growing hobby. I am trying hard to just publish when I am struck by something I really want to write about while keeping time for family, rest, reading and other hobbies in my schedule as much as possible. While I love the outlet of writing, my focus is on family and career to achieve our FIRE goals.

    FAF is incredible for such a young blog and I am SO impressed that you are 40+ posts scheduled ahead. I hope you can take some of that buffer to find the right balance for you so you can be a long-time blogger! I’ll certainly be reading to see how you do it 🙂

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