Being a Food Blogger Gave Me the Attention Span of a Pea
A rather bold statement I’ll admit, but being a food blogger has completely turned my attention span to mush. Don’t get me wrong. I love blogging and all that encompasses it. The freedom and creativity that blogging allows me in my life is second to none. I’ve met wonderful people, I get to make my own schedule, I have worked with fabulous brands in the food industry and have even published my own cookbook; all of which wouldn’t have been possible without having my food blog. However, when I recently started to feel overwhelmed, I took an attention span test and got a 30 out of 100; which means that I basically have the attention span of a pea. I bet if I took this test before I became a food blogger, I would have more than likely scored in the upper 75% percentile. Is this what technology has caused in our society? By being "ON" 24/7?
Let me start from the beginning. Three years ago, I was laid off from work where I was a marketing manager/human resources/statistician/computer technician/all around "jack of all trades." I had a lot of responsibilities at work and then came home and took care of my family and all that entails. (Read: housework, shopping, cooking, Mom taxi, appointments, bills, etc.) It taught me how to balance my workload very carefully and pay attention to all of the minute details of my life to make sure I wasn’t wasting any precious time unnecessarily.
Fast forward three years later, and I can’t stay focused on any one thing for very long. Being a food blogger entails not only cooking, photographing and writing about a recipe. It also means you have to get your post out into the blogosphere for all to see. Facebook. Twitter. Google+. Stumble Upon. Pinterest. Instagram. LinkedIn. Kitchen Daily. BlogHer. ZipList. Bloglovin. Foodgawker. Tastespotting. YumGoogle. Tasteologie. I've even tried to schedule content to keep Carrie's Experimental Kitchen active even when I cannot be with sites such as Klout, Swayy and Ahalogy. And then there is Email. It's exhausting trying to keep up with all of that content!
My life is a constant “DING” from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. (Think of the scene from the movie You’ve Got Mail x 250.) Now some of you reading this will be saying "Just turn off the notifications!" and I have done that. However, when you do finally log on, those updates are all there just waiting to entice you and take you places beyond your wildest dreams. Bouncing you from one social media experience to the next; yet all intermingled at the same time.
Okay, so I’m exaggerating just a bit, but I know that you understand what I’m talking about. Let’s see a show of hands. How many of you can go on Pinterest and just post or share one pin? It’s IMPOSSIBLE! Social media sucks you in and doesn’t want you to leave. It’s shiny and sparkly and captures your attention until the next thing you know, you’ve spent close to an hour in the abyss.
Being a food blogger, you have to be everywhere, everyday, all the time in order to get your content seen. Even though there is only one of me, there are billions of readers to reach with their own personal social media preferences. Not to mention the time differences. I have followers that hail from the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom to other far away countries such as Australia, Chile, Slovakia and Taiwan. I’m constantly bouncing from one place to the next, sharing not only my content, but when time allows, content from my food blogging peers because that’s the way we roll. It’s the "I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine" philosophy. It works, and I’ve made many wonderful friends along the way. However as the years go on, I'm finding it more difficult to share other's content as much as I used to. For that I also feel a bit guilty, but know that in every blogger's life you also need to step back and focus on other aspects of your life. This has been that year for me.
Focusing and building my food blogging business has also caused me to have what my family and I like to call the "Squirrel Effect," as in the movie Up where the dog is chasing something, then quickly loses his attention and focuses on something else completely different. I will be in the middle of writing a new post and the wind will blow outside causing the ornamental grass to waft in the wind, and I’ll turn my head to look and think "pretty" and then try to regain focus to what I was doing. Squirrel. Or I’m on Google+ or Facebook uploading my post for the day, and I notice this really chocolaty, decadent dessert that a fellow food blogger has posted and I’m craving chocolate so, of course, I have to stop by and tell them how good it looks. Squirrel. Or if I log into my email and wind up spending hours on "to do" requests when I was supposed to be cooking and photographing a recipe for a new post. Squirrel. I could go on, but I think you get the point.
Being a food blogger is very rewarding in so many ways. For me, it's the ability to be able to share my love of food with all of you and experiment with meals for my family that are easy to make and are cost effective. Even though it does come with its challenges, the benefits outweigh the negative. It's just a matter of finding balance like everything else in life.
Has your attention span decreased since becoming a blogger? How do you manage to stay focused on your goals without sacrificing your personal life?