A lot of the blogs I read talk about productivity. I appreciate the necessity of a topic like this. We need to be more productive so we can 1) make money faster, 2) see other kinds of goals or results faster, and 3) move on to other things faster.
I’ve seen people mention a lot in their comments here that they’re amazed at how much I get done here on Blogging Bookshelf. The “secret” of my “amazing” productivity really just comes down to three things.
- I spend a LOT of time actually working on writing and promotion (many hours a day).
- I live and breathe this blog, so even when I’m not actually at my computer working on it, I am always thinking about it and constantly coming up with new ideas and improvements.
- I make success my only option.
I think the first two are fairly self-explanatory, but I want to spend the rest of this post talking about the third.
More specifically, I want to talk about how I blog with a gun to my head.
[First off, let me say that I do not mean that I literally blog with a gun to my head. Please, do not try that! This is only a figure of speech. Again, DO NOT TOUCH ANY GUNS!!!]
What I mean by this is that I have certain mechanisms in place that FORCE me to get things done or else I will suffer the undesirable consequences.
First I’m going to talk about some specific ways anyone can force themselves to be more productive, and then I’ll talk little bit more about my motivation for writing this blog.
Stick to a regular posting schedule… and make it known
We’ve all heard this before. Pretty much everyone who talks about blogging tips has talked about the importance of having a regular posting schedule. This means consistently posting on certain days.
For example, here at Blogging Bookshelf I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I feel like any more often than this
- stresses me out too much
- causes my content to suffer, and
- takes time away from blog-related things I need to do other than writing.
I don’t post less often than this because, well, if I can post thrice weekly, why not do it?
Now I don’t have any hard evidence from my stats that tell me that it’s better to post on a schedule. It’s just something I’ve always done. And there are enough people saying it that I trust it as gospel.
Oh, and I forgot the most important part. Don’t only make a schedule; tell your readers about it.
That’s the key ingredient. Accountability is absolutely essential! You really need to answer to someone for your actions, or else there is no penalty for breaking your rules.
I know that I have to post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I know that if I don’t, some readers probably won’t notice too much, but a lot of others will. To me, it is unacceptable to miss a day. That’s like a plane being delayed because the pilot didn’t feel like flying. Unacceptable.
It’s that desire to create the best reader experience that keeps me sticking to my schedule.
Ok… But why am I so driven to succeed with this blog, anyway? Keep reading, I’ll get there.
Create deadlines for yourself… and make them known
I did this on Wednesday last week in my post asking what products you wanted to see from Blogging Bookshelf. At the end of the post, I said, “Oh, and here’s what my next ebook is going to look like. It’s coming out on Friday.”
I hadn’t even started writing the ebook yet.
Wednesday came and went and I hadn’t started writing. Most of Thursday came and went. Still no writing. Finally at about 8 in the evening on Thursday night, I sat down and started to write. By 3 am I had finished my ebook and posted it.
Why didn’t I just spend a couple hours writing a post, call it good, and save the ebook for another day? Because I had already announced that it was going to come out on Friday! I couldn’t go back on my word!
You could do this with every post. At the end of every post, you could say something like, “Be sure to come back for my next article on Thursday. I’ll be talking about an incredible, unknown way to make money with your blog.”
That plants the seed in people’s minds.
Of course for this to work effectively, your future posts will have to be good enough to entice people to come back. That one line saying what your next post is could redeem that last crappy post of yours enough to be a reason for people to come back.
Not impressed yet? Keep reading!: My two types of motivation
Ok, NOW I’m ready to say why I’m so driven to succeed with this blog. It’s something I’ve talked about a little bit but not in as much detail as I’m going into now.
I am driven to succeed with this blog because I have no backup plan. I have to succeed in order to survive!
Let me back up a little bit. Let me talk about two kinds of motivation that are working for me here.
They are short term motivation and long term motivation, and they are both an essential part of blogging with a gun to your head.
For me, it’s my current financial situation that I’ve put myself in by choice (short term motivation) coupled with my fear/hatred of working for someone else (long term motivation).
I am an unemployed recent university graduate with no plans to get a job. I have a limited amount of savings that I am currently living on as I try to build this blog. I would someday like to have a family, and in order to support myself and my future family, I NEED this blog to succeed. That is my short term motivation.
That is the gun that is to my head.
You’ve heard the stories of people having superhuman strength and being able to lift school buses off of children? People can achieve crazy things when there is no other option!
I want to live an internet business lifestyle (long term motivation) not because I want to be able to blog from beaches in Thailand, but because I just absolutely hate working for other people. It makes me 100% miserable and cranky, and… I just can’t do it.
So those are actually two guns to my head that are forcing and driving me to work my butt off. They’re both essential in what I’ve been able to accomplish so far (which is still small compared to other people’s feats out there, but it’s a huge deal for me).
Pinpointing your own short term and long term motivation
Obviously, this kind of thing to an extreme degree isn’t for everyone. But I feel like these are principles that anyone can apply to their blogging to some extent. And I’m talking about all of what I talked about above, including sticking to a regular posting schedule, creating deadlines, and realizing what your motivations are.
And speaking of motivations… To help you find your short term and long term motivation, I’ve made this handy-dandy little flow chart/worksheet:
You might want to print it out and write on it.
Deadlines and Consequences
Ugh. While creating that graphic I came up with a couple other things I needed to talk about, so bear with me.
I think deadlines are a really important tool to get you to work harder, but they’re pretty ineffective unless you have some sort of negative consequences that come as a result of not meeting the deadline.
I think the consequences are probably going to be different for every person. A couple general ones I can think of are making a bet of some kind, and being publicly flogged if you announce to people what your plans are.
Got any others?
This post ended up as something wildly different from what I originally thought it would be. It started out as a post on public accountability and then morphed into a lesson in motivation. I hope it wasn’t too scatterbrained or disorganized and that you followed the common thread throughout.
There’s a lot more that I could say on the subject, mainly because it’s something I’ve struggled with so much. But I’ll save that for another time.
Let me say that your motivation for blogging is EXTREMELY important. I honestly don’t think that just “making money” is deep enough of a motivating factor for most people. There has to be a deeper reason of WHY you want to make that money. Otherwise, it’ll be hard to spend all of the time and effort working on the blog. And does take a LOT of time and a LOT of effort.
So that brings me to the questions:
- Do YOU blog with a gun to your head? If so, how so?
- What are some consequences/penalties that you could impose on yourself for failing to meet deadlines?
- What are YOUR short-term and long-term motivators?
- Do you make yourself accountable to your blog readers?
- How do you force yourself to get things done?
And my next post? It’ll be about pretty much all of Google’s tools (20 or 30 of ’em!) that bloggers should be making use of. Believe me, it will be EPIC.
Oh, and I want to send everyone a card for the holidays! So if you’d like a postcard from me, use the contact form and tell me what your address is! I don’t know if it’ll get to you in time for Christmas, but I’ll send them out sometime… soon… And don’t worry, your address will be kept 100% safe and private and I’ll never send you any advertisements or anything other than the occasional card.