Yesterday I had the incredible honor of having a guest post published on The 99 Percent about finishing masterpieces. Tons of fresh faces subscribed here because of the article (hi there!), and lots of traffic was sent this way.
In a weird twist of luck, an article on Mashable also ran yesterday that featured yours truly spouting off nonsense about freelancing.
When it rains it pours, I guess.
If there’s something you should know about me, it’s that I’m a stats guy. Actually, it’s deeper than that. I like to figure out exactly why people are doing things on my site, like leaving or subscribing. I like to really dig deep and analyze data, looking for trends or things that I think I could improve around here.
It’s also a way for me to tell if people are engaging with my writing. I want to provide the most bang for your buck. Stats can be a useful yardstick to help gauge the fruits of my labor, if you will. But when a monolithic traffic day like yesterday happens, I can turn into a twitchy, compulsive stat checker. I’m not proud of it.
Yesterday I caught myself checking email subscriptions and site analytics on an hourly basis. I’d officially entered the “Obsessive Zone” of blog ownership.
There is a fine line between being “attentive” and “obsessive”. No matter what site owners tell you, they love checking stats. It’s like almost like a game. (I’m sure there are a few weirdos who deep down don’t really care, but they are definitely a minority.)
But more importantly, things like compulsively checking stats are really detrimental to our creative output. We all have something that steals our focus and attention away from the bigger picture.
In Making Ideas Happen, Scott Belsky talks at length about how the nitpicky, obsessive stuff that we seem to gravitate towards might actually be how we avoid doing the really important stuff. It’s a form of self-sabotage. (Cue Beastie Boys!)
We place a fake “importance” on little stuff that doesn’t really do anything but steal our attention from the things we should be doing.
Did checking my site stats obsessively somehow lure more people into subscribing? Nope. All it did was satisfy that ADHD little boy in me and waste my time.
Committing is hard. Really hard. Having timelines, goals, accountability, and all that other good stuff is what keeps ideas alive and into motion. But the fact that committing ain’t easy means that you’re going to be more vulnerable to distractions. You’re going to want little escapes to keep you distracted from reality.
Even worse than a blatant distraction (viral video, anyone?) is a small, nitpicky task that looks like something you might “need” to do. These are the real wolves in sheep’s clothing. They could be tasks like checking stats, or organizing planners, or trying out a new productivity tool. Tiny, small, unsuspecting things that add up to ginormous wastes of time that only distract from our masterpieces.
But in the end, if you can power through the nitpicky stuff and focus on what’s needed to create fantastic things, then you’ll gain momentum. You’ll gain clarity and focus, and most importantly, you’ll finish.
I know I’ve touched on this before, but you’ll want to buy or steal Making Ideas Happen (affiliate). It’s fantastic. (Just don’t tell Scott I told you to steal it.)
Photo by Janine