Balancing productivity alongside your own mental health can be one of the most difficult tasks of a content creator on Twitch. These days, we’re often expected to be available 24/7 in order to create and react and chat and more. It can be hard to know when to turn it all off.
Many of us struggle to be productive without putting too much pressure on ourselves. So how do we navigate this always online and constantly evolving world without sacrificing our mental health?
Productivity Does Not Equal Value
Before we dive too far into the tips, I want to make sure we’re talking about the serious shit.
A common trap that a lot of content creators fall into is associating the value of the content they create with the value of their worth as a person. I know this will be much easier said than done, but the first step to balancing your work and your health is learning how to separate the two.
Honestly, this is not even something I have fully figured out for myself, but I am on my way. That’s all I can ask of myself.
It’s easy to check your performance and your follower counts and your engagements and every other type of analytics to see how your work is doing. However, it is also easy to let yourself feel distressed or worthless if those numbers aren’t living up to your expectations.
If you are struggling with this, I have one recommendation to get started: Take some time off from checking your analytics. Just don’t look at them. You get to continue creating and doing what you love without stressing over numbers.
Again, I know this is a lot easier said than done. Take it slowly and be easy on yourself. Your work is not all of you and you are not only your work. I 100% understand that you want to create incredible things for the world to enjoy. I get it, I do.
Here’s the thing: you can’t do that if you’re constantly beating yourself up.
Plan, Plan, Plan
While you’re taking time off from checking analytics religiously, let’s work on adding something positive to your life: routines and planning! Routines have been shown time and time again to be beneficial both for productivity and for mental health. So how can we use them here?
For me, it all comes down to time blocking. I have set times every day to work on specific aspects of my life:
- Morning and night routines
- Business/Other Content
Since these are all set up in my Google calendar as recurring events, I always know what time is for what aspect of my life. The way I utilize this is constantly changing, but I have talked about my planning process in the past. I have even designed a Self Care Planner to help make my day work better for me and my mental health.
As someone with ADHD and Bipolar II, I never really know how my brain is going to be functioning from one day to the other. My routine and planning process are crucial for how I get things done, but I also allow myself space to fail. A routine is something you will ideally do every day but it is not something that you have to do every day. It will be there for you when you’re ready.
So take some time to plan out your days. At the very least, schedule in some time for yourself every single week to work on your content. This should include things like your streams, your planning, and your post-content evaluations like checking analytics (after you add that step back in!) Once you’ve scheduled that time, try your best to ONLY do those things in their respective time slot. This allows you to create that separation from “me” and “my work.”
Timers are another sort of routine that you can implement to keep yourself healthy while still being productive! As a Twitch streamer, I have a few set timers to remind myself to drink water or to stretch. Sitting in one spot for hours definitely isn’t good for us, but it can be so easy to fall into that trap during a stream. I highly recommend adding a similar timer system in your own bot if you’re a streamer, as well!
Now, for those of you who create other forms of content, this is still a great tip for you. Instead of an automatic timer like the one I use in my bot, a great way to include this in your productivity is by using the Pomodoro technique.
This technique essentially asks you to set a 25 minute timer and focus until the timer goes off, then take a 5 minute break. But it doesn’t have to be that restrictive! I’ve utilized this technique with focus modes of 10 minutes or even 2 hours. The point is you are actively setting a timer and making yourself get up, stretch, drink water, etc.
By implementing recurring breaks throughout your productive time, you are giving yourself some much needed room to breathe.
Create a Healthy Workspace
A crucial piece in balancing your productivity and your mental health is to make it easier on yourself to have the things you need. A healthy workspace is a workspace that encourages breaks when you need them but doesn’t distract you otherwise.
For me, this looks like: a water bottle next to me, a comfortable temperature, a clear but cute desk space. For you it might be a standing desk, a yoga mat, etc.
One huge recommendation I have is something I myself can’t actually do right now:
Keep your desk out of your room.
It’s easy to stay up late and workworkwork when we are in our bedrooms all the time. But this means there is no separation between our “office” and our “home.” Without this separation, it can be hard to turn our brains off of work and relax. When your bedroom and office are one and the same, you’re likely to feel like you’re always “locked in” and working, which can inevitably lead to burnout. Burnout can leave you feeling depressed and overworked, plus it’s no good for our productivity, either. We can’t produce quality content if we’re too exhausted to create!
Be Open About Mental Health
When it comes down to it, the best thing we can do to balance productivity and mental health is just to be open and honest. Let your community know what is going on with you and lay out a game plan for the rest you need and how you’re going to get it.
This could mean few streams or YouTube videos; it could mean an extended hiatus; it could just mean a single day off while you take some time for self care. What’s important is you are communicating to your audience what exactly is wrong – that’s crucial here – and you’re also letting them know your next steps.
While on the subject, I have to give a shout out to the Twitch streamer Jambo. She is a partnered creator who puts a lot of energy into her streams and other content – and she recognizes when she needs a break. A quick scroll through her Twitter will show you she is open about her mental health and when she needs a break. I find it incredibly admirable and my hope is that everyone can follow her lead and listen to their bodies and minds!!!
Mental health is becoming less taboo to discuss, but there is still a bit of a stigma surrounding it. Help reduce that stigma by being honest about what you’re feeling and why you need a break.
Take Time Off
When you notice it’s time for a break, take one! I’ve seen so many creators talk about taking time off and then they’re right back at it just as hard the next day! While this may seem admirable, it’s not a feasible way to run any business. As content creators, we are already working virtually 24/7 – no need to stretch yourself even more thin.
Most jobs around the world offer vacation time. There’s no reason streamers shouldn’t follow that same model. Even if you’re just taking a day or so off every month, allowing yourself a “vacation” gives you time to reset and come back refreshed.
There’s no need to overwork yourself. A tired creator cannot produce good content; that’s simply all there is to it. Allow yourself to take time off to relax or even to rejuvenate your content. You’ll be better for it in the end and who knows; maybe the work you produce will be too.
In the end, balancing your productivity and your mental health is going to be a personal journey. We are all on different paths and how we react under certain pressures is going to vary from person to person.
The two biggest things I want you to be able to take away from this are:
- Your productivity does not define your worth
- You deserve a break
Contrary to popular belief, the life of being a content creator is not an easy one. A lot of hard work and long hours go into making the things that we do. What’s important is that we allow ourselves time to balance that creation with time to recharge.
I truly hope you’ve found this article helpful. Leave a comment down below if you have any additional tips on how to balance productivity and mental health or if you have any questions! I’m also active on Twitter if you’d like to take the conversation over there.