Taking a break

Why I took a break and why maybe you should too
Hi everyone

In this newsletter I wanted to write about taking a break and why you should probably take more breaks than you think and why they matter.

In my last newsletter I wrote about missing a week. This newsletter I'm writing about taking a break (and I posted recently that I took almost two weeks fully away) - now, I'm feeling much better and have even more clarity about what I want my corner of the internet to be about.

I was getting tired, trying to publish content every day without taking a step back on how good that content was. Heck I even posted a WordPress "story" when I was in the pub enjoying some time with the family just to keep my streak up.

I am also quite exhausted from having a newborn, and a toddler who is going through some sort of phase. Juggling too many website goals as well is too much.

Had my passion become an addiction? Was I being ruled by the "streak". What about all those gurus who say you need to publish every day for your blog, your business or your idea to grow and be successful.

My take: do what you can, without sacrificing time with your family, or impacting your day job.

I think deep down that trying to chase my publishing streak to 100 days, while having a new baby and starting some other fun ideas (like my 7 day WordPress Course) I was taking on too much and getting behind. This was making myself even more tired with a false notion that I NEEDED to publish daily.

I'd time-boxed some late time (10pm - 11pm) to write content, knowing the toddler would be up from 7am and my wife is nursing a newborn so really needs me looking after the toddler in the day (thankfully I'm on a very generous paternity leave so can be fully present during the waking hours).

Still wanting to create every day, using that time-boxed window I was just about treading water. Some of my new series (like Twitter Tuesday) wasn't getting any engagement and others, I was just publishing things for the sake of publishing something.

Then my toddler decided to start waking up at midnight, 5am and then still up at 7am for the day. Which meant that time (10pm - 11pm) - I really should be sleeping.

Also, longer term it's not sustainable when I'm back from Paternity leave, I'll need to make sure I get enough sleep to be able to fully focus on my role and keep this running in the hours outside of what I commit to my role.

Trying to do too much sometimes means you won't get much done at all and get overwhelmed.

The key now is to laser the focus down even further into weekly or fortnightly chunks and work on those, shipping what I can (heck, it's how we manage our product roadmaps anyway - why manage your personal site any differently).

So, what am I iterating on?

  • This newsletter, will now (mostly) be weekly, unless I'm taking a vacation somewhere, or on a team meet up - or I'm feeling a bit worn out.
  • The blog, will be less content, but more valuable posts (no more, hey here's a photo of me at the pub).
  • I still want to get better with video, and make a free WordPress course to teach everything I know (the landing page is up, the video explainer is coming hopefully in the next two weeks).
Everything else will play second fiddle (for now) and if I hit my two-week goals, I'll have the next set in line.

But, what about me?

If you're reading this and have felt in the same boat, often overwhelm comes from having too many things to do. Narrow down the focus even more and set realistic goals for the next week, next fortnight and you'll feel like things are moving in the right direction again.

That's all there is for this week and I'll catch you in the next one.


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