“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Joe Lewis
How much time do you spend blogging?
Don’t worry, I’m not about to do a survey on you and tick you off as “certified insane.” I merely ask this because I’m genuinely concerned about your health.
I’m not concerned in a physical or mental way, but rather in a lifestyle way. You see, there are some people in the world who spend the equivalent of a 70-80 hour work week on their computers. Their blogs have become their reasons for existing, and their loved ones question whether they truly know them anymore. It’s become a sad situation.
I don’t like to see that happen, as I’m sure you don’t too. So for these people, and for anyone who is worried about turning into someone who relies on their computer for life-support, this post is for you.
The Two Death-Beds
Have you ever heard of the death-bed statement?
It’s a statement that you say to yourself when you’re lying on your deathbed, drawing your last breath. It could bea general summary of your life and your opinion of it. It could be regret over not spending enough time travelling and adventuring, or satisfaction in knowing you had lived your dreams.
As it’s not likely that we’re going to be at this point any time soon, it’s best that we imagine for now. So here are two possible scenarios that will emphasise the theme of this post, and hopefully help you gain a little more awareness:
‘He lies on his deathbed with his loved ones surrounding him, their hearts full of grief. Pale and tired, he looks up to the sky, tears starting to fill his eyes. Quietly, but firmly, he utters these words, “I wish I had spent more time working on my SEO techniques.” Then he dies.’
‘He lies on his deathbed with his loved ones surrounding him, their hearts full of grief. Pale and tired, he looks up to the sky, tears starting to fill his eyes. Quietly, but firmly, he utters these words, “I wish I had spent more time with my loved ones.” Then he dies.’
Hopefully you can see the difference here. As laughable as it may seem, this is the direction that a lot of bloggers are heading towards. Their family and friends have taken a backseat to monetizing and traffic. Their priorities have been lost in translation.
What Your Blog Won’t Do
Now I’d be the first to say that blogging has a lot of uses. It helps to develop your profile internationally. You can express your own opinions. And as Christian has pointed out, you can generate a whole load of great connections.
But despite all its good worth, it is not your life. There are some things blogging can’t do.
Save your offline relationships
If it has got so bad that your online relationships are of more importance to you than your offline relationships, then stop what you’re doing and think about this. Who loves you unconditionally? Who’s there to have amazing, face-to-face connections with where you can share your souls? It’s your loved ones, your nearest and dearest. Those who care for you and respect you.
Blogging will not develop and strengthen your relationships in the ‘real world’ – it will only develop your online relationships. And the online relationships should be taking a back seat to those that truly matter.
Solve all your problems
Sometimes we think that turning to the internet and pouring out our stresses and troubles in the latest blog post will help us solve these problems. That blogging will act as a form of therapy. Unfortunately, it won’t.
We all have problems in our lives, and we will continue to have problems for as long as we live. Problems are an essential part of life. Just because you’ve turned to the computer screen in an attempt to hide away from your depressing life, does not mean that your problems have magically disappeared.
Look at the bloggers in the world who have hugely popular blogs – Darren Rowse, Leo Babauta, Brian Clark. Do you think that just because they have “made it” in the blogging world, their lives are trouble-free? Hardly. They all have families to look after, bills to pay and boring chores to do. They have the same stuff that you and I have.
Because they’re human beings.
Get you fit
I think this one speaks for itself, but blogging won’t improve your physical health. Sure, your mental health may improve, and you may become a wiser and more spiritual person if you read the right blogs. But physical improvement? I’m afraid blogging is the worst thing for that.
It’s possible to get conditions such as deep-vein thrombosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and a standard ‘bad back’ from excessive use of the computer. Not to mention cramp, arthritis, wrist pain and visual stress. Now you can learn all about these conditions from the internet, and you may even find some cool blog posts and articles that tell you how to reduce the chances of getting these symptoms, such as Christian’s 5 Steps To Become A Healthier Blogger.
Now this all seems nice, but do you want to know the best way to reduce the chances?
Get off the computer.
The Offline Day Challenge
There was a period in my life when, due to various ‘offline commitments’, I decided to take a break from being online for one whole day. On that day, I attended a course, took part in an amateur dramatics group, and worked my day job. All of this didn’t involve blogging.
The results? I felt refreshed at the end of each day, despite it being a full load of productivity. This is because I hadn’t been staring at a computer for so many hours, or worrying about anything to do with my blog. I took a break, and I’m glad I did.
As much as I love blogging, I feel it’s good to take a step back. So here’s my challenge to you – select one day in the week and make that your ‘offline day’.
In this offline day, I don’t want you to do anything online. Don’t check your e-mails, don’t work on your blog, don’t surf the web, don’t do anything that involves you turning on the computer. Anything else is fine, as long as it’s offline.
You could work your day job, play with your kids, enjoy your hobby, whatever it is that provides you with activity and happiness. The idea is that from this break, you will be refreshed and re-energised, ready to return to blogging with renewed vigour.
So are you up for the challenge? Let us know if you decide to have an offline day, and how it went. We’d love to hear your thoughts!
Stuart is a personal development blogger who wants to help you out. He thinks you’re awesome. You can often find him at Unlock The Door, where he writes constantly to make it a better day for everyone. You should also check out his tweets at @theunlockeddoor.