Managing Overwhelm When Starting a Blog

overwhelmed by blogging, messy desk, laptop, flowers

I have no doubt that you know what I mean when I say “overwhelm.” But if you’re reading this then you’re already ahead of the game! You’ve recognized it for what it is, and you’re on the hunt for solutions and fixes. Hopefully these tips help!

Set your “big picture” priorities

Most bloggers have a general idea of what their goals are, but it helps even more to set a list of specific priorities that are going to get you there. If you have a money goal in mind, how are you hoping to earn it? What do you need to do to make it happen? Write these things down as top priorities, and keep them top-of-mind whenever you’re choosing what to work on (and what can wait).

Keep a master “To Do” list

Create one big “To Do” list for everything related to your blog, then every time you learn about something new you need to do or research or figure out for your website write it on the list. My to-do list is a notebook. Yes, an ENTIRE NOTEBOOK (it’s only about 1/3 full so far, but still!). This works magic for reducing overwhelm because the very act of writing something down gives you permission to forget about it (at least for the moment). Plus it’s fun to see so much getting scribbled out, and the notebook keeps it all together in one place (because a slew of Post-It notes sticking all over your desk does not reduce overwhelm).

Embrace a “good enough for now” mentality

Your blog will never be finished. It will always be growing and evolving and changing and improving. Embrace “good enough for right now” when it comes to anything and everything. Of course you should always be striving to do your best, but don’t expect perfection. It’s a process! It happens in steps and stages. Make your peace with that with “less than perfect, but it’s getting there.”

new blogger burnout, overwhelmed by all there is to do. Cup of tea, pink flower.

Do the next thing you know to do

This is something my mom used to say to me as a kid when I had a big project or homework assignment I was stressing out about. “Do the next thing you know to do” she’d say, and to this day that advice has served me well (I think it was actually inspired by this Elizabeth Elliot poem). Feeling frozen by fear and insecurity? Not sure where to start? Just do the next thing you know to do. Look at your to do list and find something, anything, that feels “accomplishable” and get started. Then move to the next thing, and the next. As the saying goes “the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” (Gross, but true.)

Not everything has to be a major effort

It’s okay to come upon an amazing article about SEO, or a super comprehensive YouTube video about using Pinterest, or __fill_in_the_blank_here_ and NOT WATCH IT. Or to read it but NOT TAKE A SINGLE NOTE. It’s okay to pass if you have a full plate, or expose yourself to the information in the moment and then move on to something else without making a major effort to to take notes and save all the information somewhere. That in itself can be overwhelming — you could easily compile a room full of notebooks full of information. I’m a big believer in the idea that knowledge and expertise are largely born of time and experience, and that not only will it all still be out there when you’re ready, but also small exposures add up to big knowledge in the long run. Focus on one thing at a time, and the rest will wait. Stressing yourself out over learning it all in-depth right now is more detrimental to this process than helpful. It doesn’t all have to happen now. It can’t actually. So just relax already.

Keep a success journal

I’ve said this before but keeping a blog success journal can go a long way towards reducing overwhelm because: look how far you’ve come! Blogging is hard, often thankless work and every step you make along the road to success deserves to be remembered. Success journals can take many forms, but I like the simple idea of just writing the date and the “success,” in chronological order (much like an old school diary, ha) plus some inspirational quotes. The idea is that when you’re feeling discouraged or overwhelmed or just nostalgic, you can start at the beginning and read through your successes for some perspective on the mountain you’ve climbed so far. You’ve come a long way, baby.

And I can’t wait for what is yet to come!

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white peony, pen, desk, managing overwhelm

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