Russell Shaw was a prolific blogger on technology subjects. I say “was” because, sadly, Roger died of a heart attack a few weeks ago at the age of 60. Marc Orchant, a blogger with the publishing giants ZDNet also passed away recently at just 50 years old, also from a heart attack.
The similarity between these two men and their untimely deaths has not passed the mainstream media unnoticed. The New York Times, for instance, linked the deaths to the stress of blogging in a 24/7 world. It’s true that stress is a fundamental cause of heart disease and early death. And if you are a prolific blogger, eager to be the first with the news or any comment, desperate to please your audience, then you could well be increasing your stress levels and making fatal illness more likely.
A Blogger Personality?
But, there is a significant link between personality and heart disease as well. The go-getting, dynamic, always in a rush kind of individual is the most likely to have serious heart trouble. And my guess is that prolific, always “there” bloggers are likely to be those “Type A” personalities who succumb to the stress induced heart trouble. Sad as it may seem, but if blogging didn’t exist, the people who get stressed out by it would have found some other activity to match their personality type.
Yet there is a way you can blog a lot, keep your readers happy and avoid the stress of being “on the go” the whole time. Routine. Every year some person or other reaches 110 years old and they are asked their secret to a long life by some hapless TV reporter who has no idea how to really connect with “old people”. Every time I’ve heard them, these old’uns say the same sort of thing: they did the same things every day.
My Auntie Flo lived until she was 90 – and you could tell the time of day and the day of the week by her activities. Washing on Monday morning, ironing on Monday afternoon; cupboard cleaning on Friday morning, shopping on Friday afternoon. Routine kept her going.
Blogging routine has hidden benefits
I get asked how I manage to keep blogging. Routine. It means I can blog regularly, without getting stressed about it. In fact, knowing that I have a set time to write my blog relieves the stress of worrying about it. True, I might have to adapt my routine to accommodate travel and so on, but generally I stick to it.
But the routine means I always have something to write. Rather than sitting at my PC facing a blank screen and wondering – and getting stressed out, I just sit at the appropriate time in my routine and type away on the subject that I have already pre-planned.
True, it may not stop me getting a heart attack, but I’m confident it will help. And as every doctor will tell you, fear of getting ill is often the pre-cursor to illness. Confidence you are well, often means you stay well. So I can type away, stress free. If you are blogging and you get worried or concerned about it in any way, you need to review what you are doing. Take stock, set up a routine for blogging and have a file for ideas so that you can face your computer without stress. If you don’t do this, the New York Times will tell you that your life is in danger.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+