One Trick to Prevent Podfade and Burnout Before It’s Too Late

So going to episode 511, I want to talk about pod fade today because I think this is a really important topic to talk about, especially right now. Because I think most podcasts I talk to, falling into one of two banks, they’re super fired up and stoked for the New Year. And like let’s do it, 2020 be damned and they’re full tilt. They are full tilt, ready to record. Let’s do this. Then there’s another group that is like, “Ease my way in. I need to see what live land’s going to be and where their intention to just another place maybe they’ve got.” A launch coming up or they’re looking at sales goals or they’re looking at goals that are unrelated to podcasting. And so they’re just not as mentally in the game. And that happens at different times for different people, but it absolutely happens to everyone. Like I can not make this clear enough.

It happens to every single person. And if you are anything like me, it could very well happen three to five times a year, legitimately. There’s just seasons where I’m like, “I don’t want to.” And I know that’s going to happen. And so I prepare for them. And part of the way I prepare for them is that awareness is just knowing what’s going on through a bonus tip before we really get into this. But I am a huge fan of Tara Newman over at The Bold Leadership Revolution. And she’s got a podcast called The Bold Money Revolution, but inside of her community, she has a tool called The CEO Debrief. And she’s got an opt in. You can get some of the questions and hear a preview of some she’s done in the membership in the past. But I have used that tool over the last handful of years to really get a better hold on, noting the seasons, noting the causes to the effects I’m not enjoying.

Because I can go look at those debriefs and see what was happening before I sort of hit the skids on my podcasting mojo and be like, “Huh, there’s a theme here.” And I can learn to navigate it. So that’s sort of get the awareness, figure it out. But before you get the awareness, when you are sitting in the spot of like, I have a podcast. I’m committed to it. I’ve got to get episodes done. I want to talk a little bit today about how I make sure that I stay in my mojo or I can get myself back into my mojo and how I prepare for the inevitability of my mojo going away, of my interest waning as it were. I think that awareness is great. Awareness is absolutely an important step. I prefer awareness not be my first step.

I want to prepare for what I do once I get aware of I’m in, right? I want to be ahead of the game a little bit. So that’s what we’re really going to focus on today. First, I want to talk a little bit about this phenomenon called pod fade. One, because I think not enough people understand it as a term and two, because I don’t think the commonly spoken about definition is 100% accurate. And so first we’ll talk pod fade. Pod fade is generally considered somebody early in their show think, and the numbers quoted changed based on who you’re talking to. But it can be 10 episodes, 15 episodes, 25 episodes. I tend to see podcast fade, pod fade happen under 100 more often than not under 50 episodes. And it’s somebody who’s got a podcast and they’re going and they’re consistent.

And then maybe there’s some gaps, maybe like a weekly show goes monthly and then nothing. It’s just gone. Now, the show is still there. It still exists, but there hasn’t been a new episode for a while. And so the podcast just sort of faded out and this is what really prompted a conversation we had at the end of last year around should you relaunch a show that you had before or start a new show? Generally speaking, this idea of pod fade is what causes you to be in a place where you’re trying to make that distinction, where you’re trying to answer that question of, “Should I go back? Or should I start fresh?” And so I want to talk about when this happens really, because we are all at risk for pod fade, regardless of how many episodes we had. This is episode 511 of the show.

And I could just as easily fall off the planet next week and never record again as if I had five episodes. The chances are actually a little more likely now than they were when I had five episodes. And so there are some things that I do to put in place, backup plans, safety nets, things of that nature. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today, but I want to make sure that we’re really clear because when we talk about podcast feed, we so often talk about it early in the show. I want us to be really clear that this happens all the time to people who’ve had a show a while and it just doesn’t last forever. So raise your hand if you’re guilty of disappearing from your show for two weeks, for four weeks, for eight weeks, for 12 weeks. It happens all the time.

And sometimes it’s strategic. Sometimes it’s like, “You know what? I’m going to take a month off.” It’s not always. You want to know our real secret? This show has dipped its toe in the fade pool. In 2019, I unexpectedly took four to six weeks off of the show because I just did not have it in me. Couldn’t find it. Didn’t know where it went. Couldn’t even identify it as a thing. Didn’t have it. And so it happens. And I think that realization in 2019, that like it would have been just as easy for me to never record another episode of the show as it was for me to start recording again, really taught me how important some of the things I had built for myself over the years were. And it encouraged me to formalize some of that process. And so I want to talk today about the two most important pieces and what they can look like for me.

Number one, batching.

I know this feels like a thing that’s just going to be really hard. Batching your content is a big energetic output, but having to do an episode when you’ve gotten lax on your batching is a much bigger, energetic output. And here’s where I get really honest with you because I’m living with the consequences of not doing this effectively right now. Like in right now. This episode will release January 12th, 2021. Right now it is 9:52 AM on January 8th, 2021. I try really hard not to get this far behind, but December was nuts. We were getting clients prepped to be done through the end of January. By the way, all of our clients are done through the end of January. They’re all, they aced it. I wanted to take some time off and effort to do that. I got a lot of stuff done.

This podcast wasn’t one of them. I got last week’s done, but didn’t get this week’s done. Didn’t get next week done. And so these remaining three January episodes that I have to record on January 8th at now, 9:53 AM will get done today. Much closer to the deadline that I like, but I will batch them today because half-assed patching in December and didn’t get them done. And so I’m reaping the consequences of that choice. However, the way I am recovering from that, the way I am preventing being in the spot again next week is batching. And batching is something I talk a lot about because I’m obsessed with it, but I want to be really clear that it is a muscle. It has to be trained. It has to be maintained. It has to be recovered from. I sort of fell in love with weightlifting four years ago now. And I didn’t do any of it.

Well, very much of it in 2020 with gyms closed here, but I have a really good time with it. And there have been times where I started it and I stopped for whatever reason. And I started it and I stopped for whatever reason. For example, when I very first started, I reduced my weight training a ton because I was training for a half marathon. So it kind of builds it up and then I was like, “I only have so much training time in the day and I’ve got to train for the distance for this run.” And so I sort of shifted and out of it. And every time I sort of stepped back and step back into it, and when I stepped back into it later this year, I will feel like I’m starting over. Now, the reality is some of the muscle memory will still be there.

Some of the strengths that I’ve grown will still be there, not starting from the same place I was on day one, the time I first started ever. Depending on how long we take off. I might actually be at this point, but I still have to work back to where I was when I reached those personal bests in 2019. When I hit some of the goals that I hit at the end of 2019. So I want to be really clear that the same is happening right now for me in batching, because in late Q3, early Q4, I got out of my standard sort of structure and habit of batching. And so I spent most of the last bit of last year really kind of like running ahead a little bit and then having to catch up. And then running ahead a little bit and then having to catch up because I just wasn’t in the habit of working this particular muscle.

And so I’m now back in the process of retraining it. So I won’t probably get to record all three episodes that I want the record today because I’m not totally sure that I have three episodes in me. I don’t know that my voice will hold out. I don’t know that my energy will hold out. I’m going to try. I don’t know. Now again, because it’s only been a bit and I was doing some of the batching just on the scale that I normally do. Some of that muscle memory is there. So some of them may hold out. We’ll see. But I trust the process that the more I practice this, the more I consistently get my capacity grows, just like lifting weights. Also, I realize that I have to rest. And this was something that I learned less with weightlifting. This was something I learned before I started weightlifting back when I first started running and I ran my first 5k and then I ran 10k.

Then I ran a half marathon, like I said, a few years ago, but more than anything else in the world, running requires me to rest. Because I can not go any further the next day, like the next time out if I don’t rest. And I don’t know. There’s just something about that specific activity that just really requires me to take my rest seriously, to expand my capacity. And batching feels that way for me too. So when I get done with this tonight, or today when I’ve stopped recording, I don’t have a lot of other co-talking activities on my calendar. I’m not doing this on a day where I have calls. Part of how I’m taking advantage of hoping I can milk out a little. I mess with muscle memory to get me to three episodes. I knew that this day, this particular set of episodes was going to require me to use absolutely all I have as far as my capacity, energetically and vocally right now.

And so I made sure I put this on my calendar on a day where I didn’t have to talk a lot. I couldn’t do this after a morning of client calls or a bunch of sales calls or project calls or whatever, coffee chats. Any day where I have a lot of talking happening on my calendar. It’s not going to happen, because I have to come in rested, and refreshed or rushed, whatever. Rested and refreshed. And also I need time on the other end of this to rest and refresh. And so it also helps that as I’m getting back into this habit today is a Friday. So I don’t have to talk a lot tonight at my house in a COVID world. Friday night is movie night. So we order to take out and we watch a movie. I want us to really talk, because I’m going to sit there and we’re watching a movie.

And then tomorrow again, there won’t be a ton of talking I have to do. I mean, it’ll just be normal life. I won’t have a day full of calls, not leading a workshop. I don’t have to batch, record another six episodes or whatever it is tomorrow. And so really remember and give yourself the space as you get into this habit of batching. And I want you to be really clear, and this we’re going to shift into the second piece here.

You have to find your rhythm or your flow.

What do you need? How does it work for you? And we talk about this when we talk about what type of content, but this is also true with batching. And so I want you, as you start trying on batching, what’s the process, what’s the rhythm that works for you. For example, I don’t outline my episodes on the same day I record my episodes very often.

I don’t edit episodes on the same day I batch and record episodes. Well, I don’t really edit my own episodes now anyways, but I don’t want to have to think about a whole lot else outside of showing up here and talking. I outline and I’m going to read to you what is on my doc here for today’s episode. The scripts as it were. One, 12th 2020. It actually says 2020 instead of 21, but whatever 511 pod fade. That’s not the actual title as you’ll see if you look at the title for this episode. It’s just the general subject line. And then there are three dots. The first one says defined pod fade. The second one says power of batching. And the third one says, watch your calendar cycle style. That’s it. And of script. That’s what works for me.

We have clients who script the entire episode word for word. We have clients who outline much more heavily than I do. We have clients who only know the title and they jump in and they just talk. Find what works for you. Try some things on. When I am struggling the most with my creativity and my energy. I have to write more. We’ve talked about this before. I was with 500 of the show was a great example. I struggled with that episode. And so we did a pretty thorough outline, borderline scripty for that episode. And guess what? I ended up not using a lot of it. I ended up really just talking, but I had to get it out so that I could make space for the stuff that was actually going to come out of my mouth. And so pay attention. What works for you? All calendar wise. I tend to batch record on Thursdays and Fridays because I don’t have calls on Thursdays and Fridays most often.

I never have calls on Fridays. And so look on your calendar, what works, also factor in times of your months, if you’re somebody who has an AB schedule or it takes one week where you do no calls. For example, I don’t do calls on the last week of the month. I’ve marked that off, because I want some time to do sort of catch up from the month of stuff that hasn’t gotten done. So we don’t do calls. There have been times in my business where I had days of the weeks where I didn’t do calls. And so podcast episodes ended up there. Look at what works for you timing wise in the month. I don’t love recording episodes the first week of the month. The first week of the month and the last week of the month, if I’m honest are the hardest, because the first week of the month, I’m sort of making sure things are going and making sure things are where they need to be.

Last week of the month, I’m making sure I got everything done that I needed to get done that month because I chunk out my life in a very specific way. So look at what works for you. This is also true as you look at times where you’re going to be taking large chunks of time off. We have clients who do things that go on sabbaticals. I take December off. And so that means I need to have enough content to cover my time away and also to cover the time like what I would have recorded while I was in that time of a way. And this is where I’m paying the consequences right now, because I didn’t do this. When I take December off, I want to have all of our clients did such a good job doing this. I want to have all of December’s episodes and all of January episodes recorded before I sign off at the end of November. Because I also need to make up for the day in December, where I would have recorded January episodes that I’m now not.

Otherwise, you end up in the situation that I’m in right now, which is, “Oh, no, it’s the first week back in the office and I have an episode that needs to go out next week.” I’ve also put myself in this situation in times where I came home or I came back to work rather. And I had traveled during my time off in December, and I got really sick. Oh, God, like six years ago now, we was living in Arizona still. And we had come out to California for Christmas. For Christmas, Santa brought my son a trip to Disneyland. Santa at my house likes experiences. And so we took a family trip to Disneyland for the last week of winter break for New Years. And we all came home with the flu and it was awful. It was the worst. It was January, 2016.

So, I was all excited and also not at all going to record episodes because I had no strength and very little voice to do so. And so it bit me hard. Now, I try not to do that. Now, I did do it this year, which again, I’m being really honest that I did and I’m reaping the consequences now. Thank goodness I didn’t get sick, but mostly because I didn’t go anywhere. Because I haven’t been anywhere. Has anyone really? Anyways, I want to encourage you to be paying attention to that calendar, looking at what’s ahead, planning ahead for that prep. These are the things that keep you out of those stress points. These are the things that you want to be paying attention to when we talk about awareness. We talked about sort of debriefing and being aware of when you’re energetically in times of creation and not.

We have a client who we’ve been working with and we’ve been producing their podcasts since agency launched in 2019. And really we actually started it a little bit in 2018, producing our show. And I know every January, that woman is good for like five months with the content in January. Like she is creating machine in January. I also know that once summer runs around, that can change. I also know that when we go into peak sales seasons for her, it shifts because her energy and her attention has shifted. So part of what we help with is saying, “Hey, this is going to be happening and this is going be happening. So here’s what we need to work around that.”

And that’s what I want you to look at as you’re looking at your debrief, as you’re looking at patterns in the past.

I know I don’t do well when I have to do this in January. And so I should’ve done better about protecting this time and knowing that I wasn’t going to want to come back and do this. I am not a creating machine in January. I’m certainly not on my back is up against the wall. And so look at that awareness. It will impact what your calendar, what your work cycle, what your work style is. All right? This one was a little soap boxy admittedly, but I think we talk about pod fade like this is an inevitable thing to happen. And it is, well, the desire to do it is. The actual result of it, no.

It’s completely preventable if we’re working ahead, if we’re working smarter and if we’re paying attention. All right. Next week, we’re going to talk about sound quality. We’re going to talk about some ways to improve your sound. And I want to point that out today because some of the sound stuff we’re going to talk about next week is also part of how I get my mojo going when I show up to record this podcast. So stay tuned for that next week. If you have questions, thoughts, ideas, something you want to hear on the show, head over and reach out either on the website, over at or of course over on Instagram at either Uncommonly More or The Stacey Harris. All right? Heads up. We are back open and welcoming in production and launch clients.

Actually had a couple of conversations with people. So January might be booked for launches already, but reach out and we can get your show off the ground in 2021. I’m excited and we’re taking production clients on all the time. So if you have show and you’re ready to up-level it, ready to get some support and some structure behind your show, join me for that. All right. I hope you have a great rest of your week and we’ll talk soon.

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