Lessons from my time away

Sep 23, 2021

Back in April I took time to reflect on my 2021 goals. I came to realise that I was facing burnout, and I was not ok with that. It was down to trying to maintain the cadence of two blog posts per week. It doesn't sound like a lot, but I know how limited my time is. It wasn't helped by the vast amount of posts on social media pushing everyone to hustle, do more, and focus on building content or a business.
Blogging for me was never meant to be a business. It's a way to help people, including myself, by sharing lessons I have learned.

With only having limited time on an evening to work on posts, as well as everything else I wanted to do, I was spending all my time on posts, and none of my time on other things, like learning. Nor was I ever getting down-time which was purely mine. I had family time, but that is tiring in itself. I didn't have time for just me.

I've taken far longer away from blogging than I anticipated. In that time I did manage to start some courses, get some proper down-time, and also re-evaluate a few things. My issue is I have so much I would like to do, I don't really know where to start. I have ideas for projects, but I worry that I'll start development and never complete it. Or the idea will suck. Or, as often happens, I'll get started, have a new idea, and end up with a graveyard of part-baked ideas. But I do want to continue with blogging.

The hardest part for me has been getting back into blogging, as I wasn't sure what to write about. That was until I remembered most of my inspiration for blogging came from problems I've had to overcome as part of my job.

Whilst I do intend to get back into blogging (and perhaps other content creation), it will not be with the level of frequency I had at the start of the year. I need to take more time for myself and other things I wish to do instead of purely smashing out blog posts twice a week.

One of the things I wanted to do whilst I had time away was to migrate my blog from Ghost SaaS to self-hosted. I've abandoned that idea after stumbling across Troy Hunt's blog about why he hosts his blog with Ghost, and not by himself. He knows he could save money by hosting it himself, but the time it would take to keep everything secure and patched far outweighs the cost of hosting monthly. It makes sense for me, who has limited free time, and wants to be able to better balance things, to allow someone else to pick up the stress of the hosting, infrastructure, upgrades, and all that hassle. I have enough of that in my day job.

I'm still looking for an Open Source project to work on in my spare time. The biggest challenge I have is that I only really use GitLab. Helpdesk, project management, source code tracking etc. It's all there for me. I have a some other problem domains I am looking into which may lead me to contributing there, but if not, I'll spend more time working on GitLab.

So, the actual lessons I learned:

  1. Time is an incredibly scarce resource. I need to use it wisely and in a fulfilling way.
  2. Making time for myself and allowing time to relax and unwind is more important than creating new content all of the time.
  3. While some tasks/projects can make sense financially, the ongoing time cost might outweigh that financial gain.
  4. Do things you really enjoy, and because you want to; not because others say you should.

As a slight aside, I haven't actually seen a traffic drop-off on my side despite not posting anything new since April. Sure, my audience hasn't grown (I wouldn't expect it to), but it also didn't tank like I thought it might.

So yes, I am back. but not at the same capacity I was trying to sustain this year.

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