–by Izzy Wisniewska
The world of search optimisation (SEO) is an incredibly exciting, dynamic and satisfying place to inhabit. Unfortunately, it can also be stressful.
While SEO is at times fun, it is more often unpredictable. None of us really know what Google is up to and I’m yet to meet anyone in this field who can predict their next algorithm update. They always surprise us, make us think twice about our working practices and, sometimes, throw us off course entirely.
Keeping up with Google, bringing new clients onboard and maintaining positive relationships with those you already have is difficult and can result in long, tiring days that do nothing other than raise one’s stress levels. SEO freelancers, in particular, often find themselves working sixty hour weeks.
Overworking in this business doesn’t’t benefit anyone and, thanks to many years in the practice, I’ve picked up some great methods for preventing myself from reaching burnout when working on SEO projects. I’d like to share them with you in this post:
I pick the right clients
If you’re only just starting out, this may seem like something of an alien concept, but the ability to say “no” to clients who will do nothing more than stress you out is one of life’s most important lessons.
Choosing clients who aren’t’t a good fit for your SEO business is akin to setting yourself up for failure, right from the off. Scope creep will make a regular appearance and dealing with the expectations of a client who really should be employing the services of someone else can be very stressful.
Only pick clients you feel confident working for and whose aspirations you know you can satisfy.
I keep my work-life balance in order
Most people who work in SEO also have an active interest in the web and tech in general, and, as a result, keeping one’s work-life balance in order can be tricky. Without knowing it, you can easily fall into the trap of taking your work home and continuing to research SEO techniques from your couch.
I avoid this by switching off when I get home. The laptop doesn’t’t leave its bag, I only look at my phone if it absolutely demands my attention and I set strict working hours, even if I’m working from home.
I also book time into my diary to spend with loved ones, because they are one of the corner stone of one’s life, and one of the best ways to keep that all-important work-life balance in check.
I strive to learn more every day
Burnout can often stem from the belief that you’re out of your depth or what is known as ‘imposter syndrome’ (where you believe strongly that you shouldn’t’t be doing the job you’re doing). These are natural human traits, but I counter them by pushing myself to keep learning the art of SEO.
I know that I will never master it – no one will. But what I can do is continue to read and observe my peers. In doing so, I learn more about SEO every day and feel more confident in my abilities as a result.
I take regular breaks
When I first started out, I’d work constantly throughout the day, only occasionally taking a break to make a hot drink or have a spot of lunch. That didn’t’t work at all and my productivity levels slipped because I was wearing myself out.
Now, I take regular breaks throughout the day and rely on the Pomodoro technique to ensure they are long enough to recharge my batteries and frequent enough to raise my productivity levels.
Sometimes, I completely disconnect
As hard as it may be, it can often be a good idea to completely disconnect from the digital devices in your life. That’s why I occasionally turn off email and my smartphone entirely. It’s a tricky thing to get your head around at first, but the benefits are numerous.
I work on a good variety of projects
Working constantly on technical SEO or link building can get rather boring, and that’s why I spice my days up with a good variety of projects and tasks. SEO isn’t just about the technical stuff, and to avoid burnout, you should engross yourselves in everything that relates to it.
A little bit of stress is no bad thing, but too much of it can be damaging to both your SEO business and health. Use the tips above to stay focused, remain positive and deliver brilliant work to your clients without wearing yourself out.