49 comments on “Things I Learned From Taking a Week Off

  1. I like that you did this and then wrote about it. Soon I’ll be going on a bunch of summer camping trips with my family, and usually, I LOVE the time away from it all, but this year I have a blog, and I’m a bit worried about it. I’m worried people will forget about me, and I’m worried that I will miss reading some good stuff. But, then I think about the blogs I follow, and that when someone is away for a while, I am just happy to see them when they come back. I would never stop following them just because they weren’t posting regularly. I will have to figure out what to do about the built-up reading, though. Personally, I think it’s a good thing to step away every once in a while, if we can. I usually end up doing this most weekends, anyway. It’s a lot harder for me to find computer time when my kids are home from school. I think I will be experiencing this over the summer for the same reasons. I guess we’ll see what happens…

    • I usually do less with blogging and social media on the weekends, but that’s usually because I’ve got other stuff going on. It was nice to put it all aside for a bit without those other obligations, to just get some “me” time.

  2. Yep, I sure do. Sometimes I put up a post saying I was unplugged, but the last time I just packed up and took off for the week. It gets crazy, and if I try to respond to every blog post I read I would spend my days doing only that. It was hard the first time I did it. But I have real live human people who live with me and near me and they were getting short shrift. It helped center me and balance me. Whenever I get that feeling that I just gotta read all of those posts I take a deep breath and pet the kitty or the dog.

    • See, for me, most of my friends are long distance, and the ones around here I’m not especially close with. I think it’s easier for me to get sucked into the internet – and not feel guilty about it – because I don’t have much going on in my life. But I still really needed a break.

  3. I don’t know if I’ve ever unplugged all the way. Even when I have taken hiatuses, I still checked in and sort of couldn’t let go of the blogging thoughts. But I do think it’s a healthy thing to do!

    Commenting is a HUGE time suck! It is one of the things I struggle with the most. Before I moved countries, I had plenty of time to comment and interact with others, but now I struggle to even do three a day (which is my current goal). I do think it makes a huge difference on blog traffic. I think the main reason my blog grew so much that first year was because I was a commenting machine. Now, I get traffic yeah, but it’s not like before. But what can you do? I’m slowly just forgiving myself for not being able to comment like before because that’s just how things are now, but it still sucks. I think for me the biggest thing is I just feel bad. I don’t mind if people aren’t visiting me in return, but the fact that I’m not visiting all those blogs and bloggers I love and letting them know I love them? Boo.

    Ah well. That’s why it’s good to unplug. To stop worrying about such things! :) Glad you have a good little break!

    • Yeah, sometimes I comment more, sometimes less… and I don’t think I ever really pressure myself, but at the same time it was really nice to just not worry about it at all. I think if I took a longer hiatus, I might check in a bit, but for just a few days I needed to let go of it completely.

  4. The last time I did this was for four or five days last Fall when I was out of town without internet access and it was really nice. Sure, there are things you miss, but you catch up on anything that’s totally necessary for you to know. Everything else is just filler.

    I’m totally with you on needing to clean up my reader. I usually give myself permission to mark all as read, but I think that just means I have too much I don’t regularly read that needs to be deleted…it’s a task that will take some time, though.

    • Yeah, it’s a lot of filler… but at the same time, the filler is the stuff I enjoy. I mean, blogging itself is filler, in the grand scheme of things. I don’t think I’ll ever mark all as read, not my entire reader anyway. This time around I marked some categories as read and skimmed the others, skipping a lot of posts along the way. I have to learn to be ruthless about it. If I feel obligated to read posts that I don’t care so much about, that means I have less energy for the ones I do.

  5. I have never unplugged for an entire week. A day here and there. But then I feel overwhelmed trying to play catch up. I love the idea of unplugging. Some days I just hate social media and don’t even want to look at it – but it’s become a habit and my phone is always close by with the temptation to look. I’m glad you posted about this! It’s good to take a break once in awhile.

    • Yeah, I feel like a day isn’t really enough. I sometimes go a day, either by circumstance or because I just don’t feel like being on the computer… but exactly, then I’m trying to catch up on everything I missed. By making it a longer break, it was easier to pretend the internet, at least the part of it I usually spend my time, didn’t exist for those couple days… and when I came back, just jump back in rather than trying to catch up on everything.

  6. I think it is important to unplug sometimes, though I haven’t for a really extended period – I like to “unplug” more on the weekends – just focus on reading, but I do still check twitter and write blog posts so it’s not complete! I don’t know if I would enjoy not checking in regularly though because like Asti said, I feel kind of bad if I don’t visit my fave blogs and leave a comment! And it would stress me that things are piling up! That’s probably not healthy though…

    • Yeah, exactly, I needed a clean break for a bit. As for the stuff that piled up while I was gone, I skipped over most of it, but skimmed titles in case there was anything that really jumped out at me. The key really was getting rid of my bookmarks and notifications, so it wasn’t all in my face all the time.

  7. For an extended time, most recently? When we moved into our duplex here (less than 2 years ago) we were without internet for almost 6 months.

    It amazes me by how much I see “I can’t live without the internet”, “I can’t live without my phone”. It’s a crappy age we live in when those become the most important things in our lives. I have lived without internet for an extended period of time multiple times and we haven’t had cell phones in over 2 years. Internet is a treat that we give ourselves. If my hubby came home and said we couldn’t afford to do it anymore, I’d give it up and not miss it too much. Sure, now that I’m blogging I’d miss it a bit, but I’d walk a half mile to the library once a week and go online there, until winter comes anyways. I hate cell phones, only had one with basic calling, when we had to. Now we don’t need it. We have a house phone that we pay $12 for that rings about twice a month.

    There’s more to life than internet. I could take it or leave it really and I enjoy it when we have it. I’m glad that you were able to enjoy your unplugged time. Don’t stress too much about just clicking “read” on all those blogs you missed. There will be plenty more, and I’m sure if you missed something big, it’ll still be talked about so you’ll catch it still. :)

    • It doesn’t have to be a crappy thing. I don’t make friends easily, so most of the ones I have are long-distance; I’m not ignoring real people to spend time with my phone, I’m using my phone to spend time with people. Speaking of which, I love having a smart phone. When I just had a regular cell phone (which I wouldn’t want to go with out, partly for convenience and partly for emergencies) I never used it because I’m just not a phone person. Now I’m paying slightly more than I was (granted, our old plan was ridiculously over-priced) for something I actually get use out of.

  8. I don’t think the reason why your pageviews went down was because people left.. I think it’s just because you didn’t have anything new. I also was gone (sick sick sick) and I always lose views during that time. But really just because there was nothing new to look at and people don’t usually go through old posts. I have an easy time unplugging myself. I go out of town I don’t get on the internet. I too won’t go back through all the posts I missed last week. Just too much work.

    • No new content probably didn’t help either, but two posts a week isn’t all that unusual for me, so I don’t think it was just that. I also don’t really get online when I’m out of town, but it was really nice to take a break not because I was busy elsewhere, and actually take advantage of that extra time to myself.

  9. I unplug regularly — random weekends, weeks or even a month or more (for Lent, Facebook anyway). It’s good to be away when I do…I think it’s easy with all of the social media out there to get overwhelmed and giving yourself a break once in a while is a good way to get back to just “whelmed” ;).

  10. I completely relate, after taking a blog hiatus for almost 3 weeks while traveling. I still kept up with email and Facebook for my personal and work life, but left the blog (and related social media) almost completely alone. And one of my big revelations was one of the points you made: reading other blogs is taking up a huge amount of my time, and I felt so much freer without! Not that I want to ignore everyone (and get ignored in turn), but I turned off all email notifications when I went away, and it was awesome to see my email inbox back under control! I have to figure out what’s the sanest way to jump back in. I’ve reactivated the email notifications for a just a small number of blogs that I really enjoy as of now (hi, Cheap Thrills!), and I may just rely on Bloglovin and the WordPress reader to keep up beyond that and see how it goes. Long-term, I’m not sure, but I did learn from my time away that less is more, and that I’m a happier person with less online pressure. Great post — thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Thanks! I follow all blogs through Feedly, but I have lots of different categories set up to keep them all organized. Some of them I feel okay marking all as read, some I skim and pick and choose, and some I read every post. On the whole I think it works for me, but I could still stand to scale back… whether that means following fewer blogs, or just being more ruthless on which posts I skip (especially when I fall behind).

  11. I find it very easy to wander away sometimes too — I have a big internal struggle between my desire to share the bookish love & participate in the bookish community and to just forget all of it and go back to the days when I used to just read, period. I love reading other blogs, supporting other bloggers, and getting recommendations, but sometimes it is a huge time-suck. I’m looking forward to unplugging for my summer vacation coming up and we’ll see what happens when I return. Usually I get much more selective about what I keep up with/comment on when I’ve been away for a bit and do a purge of my RSS reader lists. So far, I haven’t thrown in the towel, but it has been tempting — the more tempting it gets, the more I know I need to take a step back and give myself a break — posting less often, feeling less obligated to do whatever it is I’m feeling pressure to do, that kind of thing. But you’re so right that the important people will still be there and that we all need a break sometimes — both as bloggers & blog followers!

  12. Love that you took a break!

    And definitely weed through your reader and unfollow the blogs that you don’t have an interest in reading regularly, and don’t feel too guilty about not reading/commenting on all posts. We’re all only human, and none of us have time for that. No reason to make it stressful!

    • I’ve never felt like I had to comment on everything I read, but when I’m reading posts that I want to comment on but can’t seem to work up the effort to do it, then I know I’m in a slump.

  13. I’ve done blogging breaks now and then, and I’ve always found them to be really helpful. The blogs will still be there when you get back! I’m glad yours was a good experience for you, and I’m also (of course!) glad to see you back. :)

    • I go through some periods where I’m really active and others where I’m not so much, but I hadn’t taken a conscious break since I started over a year ago. I really think I was overdue.

  14. I almost completely unplug on the weekends, and it is glorious! I’m glad you got to walk away and examine the experience a bit. I organize my Feedly folders so I have blogs I try to check daily, some weekly, and some whenever I get around to them. That helps me keep myself in check, and I don’t pressure myself if a post doesn’t capture me. I don’t read them all. Great post! Sharing!

    • I have my Feedly folders too, which helps me to prioritize when I do have a back-up to get through, but when I am checking it daily, it’s really hard for me to see new posts and not read them right away. I’ve heard others who use completely different methods for following different categories of blogs – email subscription vs a reader, or Feedly vs Bloglovin – and I’ve been thinking about doing that. It would be easier for me to let some go for a while if those new posts weren’t staring me in the face.

  15. I’ve taken a couple of breaks this year, although I haven’t gone completely cold turkey because I can’t leave Twitter, and I loved the time off. I was going to take a few days off when I go to Germany in July, but I’ve decided that I don’t want to yet. I think taking breaks is important, though. Do what you need to do, and like you said, the important people aren’t going to abandon you :)

    • I think the fact that I was able to let Twitter go was the most surprising. I mostly wanted to take a break from blog-related stuff but figured I’d just try to limit my Twitter time (mostly afraid that, without the blog, I’d just be spending that much more time on Twitter). But, like I said, once I got rid of my bookmarks and notifications, I was pretty shocked at how easy it was to just ignore it for a few days. I don’t know that every blog break will come with an accompanying Twitter break, but it’s nice to know I’m not as much a slave to it as I thought! Thanks for stopping by!

  16. I’m a newer blogger yet, so I haven’t taken time off, but I have adjusted my posting schedule and have cut back from posting 7 days a week, to just 3 days. This works much better with my ‘real life’ schedule! My daily visit numbers have gone down a bit, but I’ve gained quite a few new followers-go figure, lol.

    I love reading other book blogs, and follow close to 300 of them. But, I’m picky about what kinds of posts I read and I usually only end up reading/commenting on 15-30 a day. I have no problem scrolling past a blog post that doesn’t interest me (I follow other blogs mostly through bloglovin, which makes it really easy to pick and chose which posts I want to read). And then I spend about an hour a week exploring new-to-me blogs and doing some networking. So far my system is working out well!

    Just found your blog and I’m now an email subscriber!

    • I think a few days a week is just fine. I look at bloggers who post every day, and I just don’t know how they can keep up with it. I sometimes do for a short period, but my current schedule is two definite posts each week, and then a third (or more) if I have something to talk about, but the most important thing is not to feel pressured about it. Thanks for reading!

  17. I know exactly what you mean about needing to dial way back. I think this is something I need to do as well which is why I asked several odd my local girlfriends to join me. That way it spreads the load out. I love blogging but it’s a lot of work.

    • It is a lot of work, which is one reason I’m in no hurry to go self-hosted. The free service limits my options, but in a lot of ways that’s a good thing.

  18. I’m so glad you wrote about this! I’m having some anxiety (like I need any more) about what happens to the blog in the very near future – I have posts scheduled out through early (mid?) July but things are getting real with bar prep and even now I’ve cut back on commenting on other’s blogs, mostly because I’ve been doing much of my blog reading on the iPad and I hate trying to comment on the iPad.

    I can’t see just walking away for that time – at the very least I have the commitment of ‘Spread the Love’ (which I am currently evaluating the future of) but I’m going to have to scale back even more.

    Also, even with this semi-disengagement, even with new scheduled content I’ve noticed a vast drop in page views, I literally had FOUR on Friday. My ego was not pleased. :)

    • Yeah, engagement comes and goes. I’ve noticed that I do best when I’m posting more often and am out there commenting on other blogs (especially new-to-me blogs). A drop in either of those activities tends to correspond to a drop in views. But if I’m going crazy trying to do it all, well… that’s not worth it just for the stats. I try not to pay too much attention to them anyway. As long as we’re enjoying blogging, and everything that goes with it, that’s the important thing, right?

  19. I’ve never done this but now you’re making me tempted to! One day, if I ever feel the stress taking over my life, I think I’ll do this as well!

    • Even now I feel like I haven’t fully come back… I guess, if nothing else, my time off showed me that that’s okay.

  20. I think it’s very healthy to take a break from time to time. I don’t think we realize how much of our time is taken up by blogging until we take that break and see how much extra time in a day we have to think about and do other things.

  21. It’s great to be offline from time to time. I do that pretty often but it’s not very obvious because I am not active on twitter/instagram/pinterest to begin with.

    WordPress’s schedule a post feature is awesome, so I can write to my heart’s content when I have the time and then post over the week, making it look like I am online a lot, but not really.

    • I do love scheduling posts. I try to stay about a week ahead, which gives me a nice buffer if I hit a lull. Unfortunately I used up my buffer a while ago and haven’t built up a new one yet! I have ideas scheduled, but I’m slacking on getting the posts written, so sometimes they happen and sometimes they don’t.

  22. A couple of years ago (will be 2 at he end of next month), I took the entire month of September off. Most. Productive. Month. Ever! I did write on my blog but shut down all of the social media that was associated with my personal profile. I started going to the gym, spent more time with the people who really mattered in my life & you are right, the people who really matter will still be there. I think its good to get away from technology at times. That taught me to not spend so much time on the computer or my phone. I vowed to spend more time away from social media after that experiment and I’m happy to say as I approach the 2 yr anniversary of having done this, I have not only kept my word but also got rid of cable so when I am offline, I am reading, learning new things (just bought a power saw) and really getting some quality time with the people in my life. Good for you for taking some time for yourself.

    • That’s great! I’m thinking of taking a more extended break, though I’d probably do the opposite and take a break from the blog but keep up on social media. Twitter never feels like a chore to me, except when it’s tied to the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

  23. This is the second recent blog post I’ve read about this. I think it’s a great idea. I keep my blog pretty low key to begin with, but had to pull back on commenting on other blogs. I commented on every post I read at one point. Now, if the little blurb the email gives me doesn’t interest me, I don’t even click the link to read the whole post. The social media aspect is what gets me, but even without my blog I feel like FB alone gets to be too much. Thinking of taking a break from it myself…I definitely get on it less.

    • I keep a pretty casual schedule as well, but it’s still easy to get caught up in the routine of it and get stuck in a rut. Even more so, maybe, because I fool myself into thinking I don’t spend that much time on blogging, so why would I need a break?

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