April 04, 2019

Mama Life || Less Work, More Success

Less work, but more success and greater happiness? I know it sounds far fetched and I would have thought the same, but the last few months have proven that this strategy can work and that maybe working too hard can cause a drop in quality and enjoyment in our work, which can ultimately bring us down. This is how I've more than tripled my blog traffic in just a few months.

Towards the end of last year I sought help for my ongoing battle with anxiety and depression and began making changes in my life that would reduce the overwhelm of the day to day. I needed to feel less pressured each day and not cause myself to feel like I'm failing, when I don't need to. Sometimes I put too much work on myself, so much in fact that I'd almost certainly fail. I needed to stop setting myself up for this disappointment and get real with my goals. I was drowning, yet forcing myself into an endless cycle of overly high expectations, predictable failure and ultimately a lot of self hate which wasn't healthy or helpful in any way.

The first thing I changed was my blog schedule. I was stuck in a rut of posting daily posts as well as a daily photo. As my visitor numbers dwindled, I kept trying to keep trucking with my blog, whacking out these posts that I wasn't enjoying and photos I wasn't proud of because I felt I just had to keep up that pattern or it would surely all go down the pan. I was worried about those visitor numbers to my site going down even more, which in turn effects the work I can get and the aspects that really matter. I wasn't happy, I wasn't enjoying it and I felt like my creativity was almost non existent at one point so I knew that this daily struggle had to change.

I stopped the daily posts, I stopped the daily photos and instead I posted when I wanted to, about things I wanted to write about, that I'd enjoy writing about. I started posting a weekly pictures post as although I love sharing my photography, I didn't need to do it every day and I wasn't getting the enjoyment out of it when I felt that pressure to come up with something new each day that was a different theme to the day before. I decided to share occasional dedicated photo posts such as 'Spring flowers' or 'Castle pictures' instead of that daily slog and straight away the passion came back to my photography. I was taking pictures because I wanted to and not because I needed something quick to slap on a post.

My posts were better written, more interesting (I hope) and I enjoyed writing them, researching and reading them. This is exactly what blogging should feel like and I will never get back to that slog again if I can help it. When that pressure was lifted, my creativity came back and the quality got better too.

Spending less time and energy worrying about those daily musts meant that I had more time free for myself, to invest in things I truly enjoy. I really needed to focus on self care and spend that time doing things that make me smile and get my creative juices flowing. It's strange to think that by taking more time off I felt so much better. The only thing is though is that we really don't have much money after the bills have been paid, so I do still need to try and earn. In the short term though, I figured it would be better to be skint, but feel happier, calmer and enjoy my work.

So I got stuck into my art, I got illustrating my kids book, blogging when I really wanted to and when I got some work trickling in. The change was HUGE, I felt so much better by making those little changes, I had less on my plate and didn't resent this job that I've made for myself any more. I didn't feel a failure but instead started to see more success and feel better about myself. Less stress always makes you happier, so it's worth seeing if there are changes you can make to alleviate anything that causes you needless worries in life.

I've actually managed to pretty much finish my book now, all ready for publishing, after having it sat here in draft for over two years! I've done work I'm proud of, felt happier and re-branded my blog to reflect the change. I've done less work, but my blog is better and I am a better person for it, who'd have thought it?

The biggest surprise of all though has been that despite posting far less each week. I am getting more than triple the web traffic I was getting with greater interaction such as shares and comments and lots of new visitors. People are spending longer on my site and I'm getting feedback from others that they love my 'new blog'. You can't deny your progress when you see actual growth in numbers and I have to say it feels amazing. I've even been getting more work over the past few weeks, which could well be a coincidence with the year end coming up, but I like to think not, I'll have to see how that goes.

It just goes to show that quality really is better than quantity especially when it comes to blogging and that when your heart isn't in it, it really does show. This proves that by doing what makes me happy, the rest can and will fall into place. 

Whatever it is in your life that brings you stress, see what changes you can make and try and cut that 'to do' list down and see what a difference it makes when you take a little more time doing what you love best.

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