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Ninja’s 12-hour streaming schedule isn’t what mentally exhausts him

Fortnite’s best player opens up about taxing aspect of streaming

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins streaming schedule sounds unhealthy.

Blevins, who quickly became the most-watched Twitch streamer and Fortnite player, spoke to Ethan and Hila Klein on the most recent H3H3 podcast episode. Blevins broke down his current schedule while talking about the difference between creating recorded YouTube videos and generating an audience through livestreaming.

“The schedule is: 9:30 is when I start in the morning and then I play until 4, so that’s like six, six-and-a-half hours,” Blevins said. “Then I’ll take a nice three- to four-hour break with the wife, the dogs or family — we have like family nights, too — and then come back on around 7 o’clock central until like 2, 3 in the morning. The minimum is 12 hours a day, and then I’ll sleep for less than six or seven hours.”

There are days when he goes longer and substitutes an hour or two of extra streaming for sleep. It’s a brutal schedule; Ninja’s working 12 hours a day, and dealing with the pressure to constantly perform in front of thousands of people. Blevins spoke about the mentally exhausting moments that hit him while streaming, telling the Kleins it’s not the hours that get him, but his performance.

“I’ve been doing it for so long that maybe I built up a tolerance or something,” he said. “My worst days where I’m also taxed the most are when I’m not doing well. I think that’s because it just sucks, but it’s also mentally draining. I’m worried about ‘Oh, I didn’t perform today.’ But those don’t happen often.”

Blevins never uses the word burnout, but it’s not an irrational thought to have concerning his schedule. Twitch’s burnout problem is notorious. Lirik, an incredibly popular streamer, spoke about the mentally taxing aspects of streaming every single day earlier this year when he announced a short break.

“I just don’t feel entertaining anymore and don’t really know why people continue to watch,” Lirik tweeted in January. “It’s like going on stage every fucking day and not knowing what to say anymore because you are out of material.”

He added, “Sorry, just need time off the internet. Gets tiring, mentally, living in meme land every day. Trying to figure out my next steps in life, change my habits, discover my goals, and ultimately find what the point is.”

Katrina Gay, national director for strategic partnerships at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, told Polygon in January that streamers keeping a balance between work and home life is essential to preventing burnout. Those little three- to four-hour breaks where Blevins hangs out with his wife and dogs, for example, might be incredibly helpful in keeping active streams.

“Making sure that you stay balanced is essential,” Gay said. “That means the demand of work life is something you need to be aware of. You have to really make sure you can’t allocate yourself in one particular area. There’s a lot of pressure and expectation, and stress is something that you have to manage carefully. You have to learn how to navigate that, how to step away — put limits on it — so you can put more effort into other areas of your life.”

Still, Blevins said it’s his love of streaming and Fortnite that help power him through. He’s amassing hundreds of thousands of paid subscribers on Twitch, with an additional million subscribers every nine days on YouTube. It’s an impressive feat, but only time will tell if it’s a schedule he can keep up month after month.

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