Actually, quit sharing and go play outside. But for Tuesday…
I really enjoyed Maria Shriver’s recent USC Annenberg commencement speech, in which she celebrated “the power of the pause.” It’s admittedly a completely different message than the one we preach around here, where we encourage frequent blogging, sharing and connectedness. But to an expectedly smaller audience today as many of you are probably already heading out of the office for the weekend (good!), I’ll share a different message: Unplug. (At least a little.)
First though, it goes without saying for our American community members for why you should unplug this particular weekend – it’s Memorial Day. Honor our veterans, take a minute to reflect on their extraordinary sacrifices and contributions. That one’s so important that it really can’t be in the same list as all these other ones, right?
Here are your other really really really good reasons to unplug a little this weekend:
1. Writing too much makes you a crappy writer.
Now, I’m clearly going to have explain myself on this one. It’s tempting to blog for the sake of blogging – the lure of traffic, the validation of retweets. It’s easy to get in a grind and not only add to the noise but also get stuck in the weeds of cranking out content just for the sake of blogging. The result? You end of using the same language and same sentence structure… and worse… blogging about the same old topic… in pretty much every single post.
The solution? Read. Read, whether that’s a book or a completely different type of digital content, read and read something outside of your normal realm. Refresh your enthusiasm for writing by seeing how others write other things.
2. Avoid tunnel vision and you’ll suddenly get more content ideas.
Have writer’s block? There’s no better source of content ideas than realizing the pain points and questions of real, live, breathing people.
Focus is great, but it can lead to a lack of perspective. Talk to people outside of your echochamber – your relatives, neighbors… somebody. Especially if you’re blogging for business, learn how people outside of your echochamber relate to whatever you’re selling.
I see tunnelvision a ton, especially with “social media tips” kind of content. I’m just as guilty of it as the next person. There’s a reason “How to Use Pinterest for Content Marketing” posts strongly outweigh broader-reaching posts, like tips for how small business owners can get the right resources and manage their time effectively when diving into social media.
Step away, have some real conversations and gain perspective.
3. Time-boxing makes you more efficient.
Commit to yourself that you are going to take a break at X time on Friday. In fact, tell others about it and they’ll help hold you accountable. When you absolutely have to be committed to a deadline, you’d be surprised how soon you can wrap up the content that would have taken you all day in perhaps just a half an hour. Don’t be slopping, but stop nitpicking. Hit schedule or publish and walk away.
This one goes not just for this weekend, but probably every day of the week. Put a hard stop time on blog posts, and stick to it.
Of course, some people may disagree with me and say this is more prime-time to get things done. (Which could be true: The internet is quiet, there’s not the distraction of email, you could be fantastically productive this weekend and depending on your projects, you may have to.)
So what do you think: Will you take a blogging and social media break and unplug? Let us know in the comments!